Fox affair: the alleged links to Mossad and US radical right

What the papers continue to say about Liam Fox and Adam Werritty.

David Cameron and his team at Number 10 will have been well aware that the Sunday newspapers have been working up new lines on the Liam Fox-Adam Werritty story all week. But they will have hoped, too, that Fox's Friday departure would have taken some of the impetus out of the affair -- at worst, stories meant for the front page will have been relegated to the inside pages; at best, stories dropped entirely.

No such luck. The Sunday Telegraph, Observer and Independent on Sunday all splash on the story, the latter two papers claiming contact between Werritty and the radical right in the United States and between Werritty and the Israeli security agency Mossad respectively. Here's a taste:

 

Liam Fox resignation exposes Tory links to US radical right (Observer)

Key passage:

At the heart of the complex web linking Fox and his friend Adam Werritty to a raft of businessmen, lobbyists and US neocons is the former defence secretary's defunct charity, Atlantic Bridge, which was set up with the purported aim of "strengthening the special relationship" but is now mired in controversy.

An Observer investigation reveals that many of those who sat on the Anglo-American charity's board and its executive council, or were employed on its staff, were lobbyists or lawyers with connections to the defence industry and energy interests. Others included powerful businessmen with defence investments and representatives of the gambling industry.

 

 

Revealed: Fox's best man and his ties to Iran's opposition (Independent on Sunday)

Key passage:

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.

Some of this has been alleged already. As Sunny Hundal over at Liberal Conspiracy points out, the former UK ambassador Craig Murray had drawn similar conclusions in a blog post on Thursday.

 

 

 

 

Fox affair: donors' fury over 'lies' (Sunday Telegraph)

Key passage:

One of the donors told The Sunday Telegraph they had been misled over how their money would be spent and had called in lawyers. Another company, whose employee set up Pargav [ the company set up to further Dr Fox's interest in foreign policy] on Mr Werritty's behalf, had instituted a formal investigation by a leading City law firm.

 

All three papers say Adam Werritty and the Foreign Office were variously unavailable for comment as they went to press.

 

Jon Bernstein, former deputy editor of New Statesman, is a digital strategist and editor. He tweets @Jon_Bernstein. 

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Rising crime and fewer police show the most damaging impacts of austerity

We need to protect those who protect us.

Today’s revelation that police-recorded crime has risen by 10 per cent across England and Wales shows one of the most damaging impacts of austerity. Behind the cold figures are countless stories of personal misery; 723 homicides, 466,018 crimes with violence resulting in injury, and 205,869 domestic burglaries to take just a few examples.

It is crucial that politicians of all parties seek to address this rising level of violence and offer solutions to halt the increase in violent crime. I challenge any Tory to defend the idea that their constituents are best served by a continued squeeze on police budgets, when the number of officers is already at the lowest level for more than 30 years.

This week saw the launch Chris Bryant's Protect The Protectors Private Member’s Bill, which aims to secure greater protections for emergency service workers. It carries on where my attempts in the last parliament left off, and could not come at a more important time. Cuts to the number of police officers on our streets have not only left our communities less safe, but officers themselves are now more vulnerable as well.

As an MP I work closely with the local neighbourhood policing teams in my constituency of Halifax. There is some outstanding work going on to address the underlying causes of crime, to tackle antisocial behaviour, and to build trust and engagement across communities. I am always amazed that neighbourhood police officers seem to know the name of every kid in their patch. However cuts to West Yorkshire Police, which have totalled more than £160m since 2010, have meant that the number of neighbourhood officers in my district has been cut by half in the last year, as the budget squeeze continues and more resources are drawn into counter-terrorism and other specialisms .

Overall, West Yorkshire Police have seen a loss of around 1,200 officers. West Yorkshire Police Federation chairman Nick Smart is clear about the result: "To say it’s had no effect on frontline policing is just a nonsense.” Yet for years the Conservatives have argued just this, with the Prime Minister recently telling MPs that crime was at a record low, and ministers frequently arguing that the changing nature of crime means that the number of officers is a poor measure of police effectiveness. These figures today completely debunk that myth.

Constituents are also increasingly coming to me with concerns that crimes are not investigated once they are reported. Where the police simply do not have the resources to follow-up and attend or investigate crimes, communities lose faith and the criminals grow in confidence.

A frequently overlooked part of this discussion is that the demands on police have increased hugely, often in some unexpected ways. A clear example of this is that cuts in our mental health services have resulted in police officers having to deal with mental health issues in the custody suite. While on shift with the police last year, I saw how an average night included a series of people detained under the Mental Health Act. Due to a lack of specialist beds, vulnerable patients were held in a police cell, or even in the back of a police car, for their own safety. We should all be concerned that the police are becoming a catch-all for the state’s failures.

While the politically charged campaign to restore police numbers is ongoing, Protect The Protectors is seeking to build cross-party support for measures that would offer greater protections to officers immediately. In February, the Police Federation of England and Wales released the results of its latest welfare survey data which suggest that there were more than two million unarmed physical assaults on officers over a 12-month period, and a further 302,842 assaults using a deadly weapon.

This is partly due to an increase in single crewing, which sees officers sent out on their own into often hostile circumstances. Morale in the police has suffered hugely in recent years and almost every front-line officer will be able to recall a time when they were recently assaulted.

If we want to tackle this undeniable rise in violent crime, then a large part of the solution is protecting those who protect us; strengthening the law to keep them from harm where possible, restoring morale by removing the pay cap, and most importantly, increasing their numbers.

Holly Lynch is the MP for Halifax. The Protect the Protectors bill will get its second reading on the Friday 20th October. 

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