Why is it that the we allow political and bureaucratic vested interests to attempt to "shoot the messenger" when a whistleblower exposes a scandal in government ?
We ask again, is the Shadow Home Secretary David Davis's email account under communications data content interception surveillance by the UK Government ?
According to the Sunday Times, which printed the stories from Steve Moxon and James Cameron which eventually lead to the resignation of Home Office Immigration Minister Beverely Hughes earlier this year:
June 13, 2004
Migrant leak diplomat ?framed?
A FOREIGN OFFICE diplomat who blew the whistle on an immigration scandal says he has been framed in a ?dirty tricks? campaign by the government.
James Cameron, the British consul in Romania, has been secretly recalled to London after being accused of ?criminal misconduct? by Whitehall investigators. Friends say he has been falsely accused of taking backhanders or obtaining sexual favours in exchange for granting visas.
Cameron exposed dozens of scams including one involving a one-legged roofer given a visa to run a business in Britain. The revelations led to the resignation of a Home Office minister.
However, Cameron has now been told the Foreign Office has called in Scotland Yard?s fraud squad about his alleged ?improper dealings? with a travel agency in Moldova."
"Cameron, a diplomat for 14 years, has told friends he is the victim of a 'political prosecution' designed to punish him. He has been accused of providing the Tories with 'political ammunition to attack the government' in a visa scandal which led Beverley Hughes, the immigration minister, to resign.
A senior Foreign Office diplomat and friend of Cameron's said staff at the embassy in Bucharest are furious about his treatment. 'James is being set up with what appear to be completely unsubstantiated charges,' the diplomat said.
'These charges have been trumped up as a way of getting him back to London. He's been removed from his post and his wife has lost her job, all because he's been a thorn in the government's side.'
Cameron, 54, fears he will be sacked when he appears at a disciplinary hearing in London tomorrow. A Foreign Office panel will hear evidence from Quinton Quayle, the British ambassador to Bucharest, that Cameron's disclosures are not covered by a law designed to protect whistleblowers. A source said Cameron would be told his revelations about visa scams by Bulgarians and Romanians wanting to come to Britain were designed to damage the government"
It is NOT up to a British Ambassador or the Foreign and Commonwealth Office or the Home Office to determine what is and what is not a Protected Disclosure under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 that is the legal function of an independent Employment Tribunal or a court of law.
"(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), it is immaterial whether the relevant failure occurred, occurs or would occur in the United Kingdom or elsewhere, and whether the law applying to it is that of the United Kingdom or of any other country or territory"
"47B. - (1) A worker has the right not to be subjected to any detriment by any act, or any deliberate failure to act, by his employer done on the ground that the worker has made a protected disclosure."
"This weekend David Davis, the shadow home secretary, said: 'Had it not been for James Cameron's brave actions, much of the failures, misdemeanours and deceit would not have been exposed.'
Cameron came to public attention in March during the row over the government's 'fast-tracking' immigration policy. He sent two e-mails to Davis saying he and other embassy staff were being instructed by the Home Office to turn a blind eye to fraudulent visa applications."
Comments by an expert on electronic interception, the Labour Home Secretary David Blunkett, led us to speculate that these emails to the Conservative Shadow Home Secretary were intercepted i.e. David Davis's email account is under surveillance, rather than the initially anonymous email accounts which James Cameron supposedly used.
"Hughes denied she had known of officials' concerns about the fraud but had to resign after it emerged she had been previously warned about it by another minister.
Cameron, who was suspended on full pay, believed his whistleblowing was covered by the Public Interest Disclosure Act because he was revealing breaches of immigration rules by government officials.
His position changed dramatically last month when he and his wife were interviewed without legal representation by Whitehall investigators. 'They asked him straight out if he had taken any backhanders or if he was in a sexual relationship or taken sexual favours from the travel agency,' said a friend. 'James has never taken a penny from anyone for a visa. Neither did he have sex with anyone in the travel agency.'
The Foreign Office would find it difficult to take legal action against a whistleblower as it would be a 'detriment' to his career, but by making criminal allegations, officials were able to punish him by recalling him to London.
Last week Cameron said he could not discuss the matter but added: 'I can say that the allegations of criminal misconduct are totally unfounded.'"
Is this a plot by civil servants or the Sunday Times to re-open the scandal which the Labour politicians and media spin doctors had hoped was forgotten by the public and media after the resignation of Beverely Hughes ?
The Sunday Times has a second article"On the carpet: the visa scam whistleblower
" which gives more details about the investigation by a joint Home Office and Foreign Office official investigator.
"Cameron's role in tipping off the Tories became apparent after an embassy colleague he thought he could confide in betrayed him to his bosses. The consul was suspended and banned from his office. His wife Angela, 44, was falsely accused of helping him to leak the material. Friends say she was ?bullied? by embassy investigators and on one occasion broke down in tears. "
David Davis made his allegations public on Monday. 29th March 2004. c.f.
"Is the Shadow Home Secretary's email being monitored ?"
"Both David Davis and David Blunkett appeared on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme just after 8am. David Davis answered the accusation made yesterday as to why he had not revealed the email to the Home Office on 8th March when he got it. He explained that the email had been anonymous, and that without proof he would be unwise to confront the Home Office with it. He claims that the consul phoned him last Wednesday evening (24th March) after he had been suspended by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, and that the first opportunity to raise the issue had been yesterday (Monday 29th March) once the story had been checked."
At what point between the 8th of March and the 24th of March, did UK Government investigators have access to the "anonymous" hotmail (?) emails sent to David Davis ? If the "Embassy investigators" knew the contents of these emails, why did the FCO not inform the Home Secretary and Beverely Hughes before Monday 29th March ?
Or were their attempts to communicate with the senior officials and Ministers in the Home Office no more successful than Steve Moxon's or James Cameron himself ?
If, as the Home Secretary claimed, nobody in Government knew about these emails on Monday 29th March when David Davis made his point of order in the House of Commons, then why was James Cameron already suspended ?
Ironically, if the "embassy investigators" had applied for an email interception warrant under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 in order to obtain the content of the emails, then it would have had to have been signed by the Home Secretary David Blunkett himself, unless he had already signed a blanket surveillance certificate or multi-purpose warrant putting the Bucharest Embassy, consulate and the homes of the employees under surveillance, presumably by GCHQ and or MI6 the Secret Service.
Presumably given David Blunkett's comments on the Today program, no individual application for such a warrant was given to him for signature. Did the "embassy investigators" therefore act illegally or was James Cameron browbeaten into handing over his home computer and email passwords ?
It would be a scandal of a different sort if the "embassy investigators" had turned to the local Romanian authorities or Internet Service Providers to help them obtain copies of these emails.
"Throughout their ordeal the couple stood firm. Supported by work friends and their two daughters Samantha, 26, and Linda, 25, they remained confident that they would be cleared of wrongdoing. Cameron believed that the Public Interest Disclosure Act, brought in six years ago to protect genuine whistleblowers, would mean that he could keep his job.
However, that view suddenly changed last month when he was told to attend the embassy for a 'fact-finding' interview that might involve a disciplinary matter. When he entered the office of Iain Lindsay, the deputy ambassador, he was stunned to see Henry Dove, the chief anti-corruption investigator at UK Visas, a joint Foreign Office/Home Office unit which oversees all visas for migrants coming to Britain.
The two-hour interview was tape-recorded by Dove under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, used by investigators to quiz suspects who might later face criminal charges. Treated as a common criminal, the man appointed by the Queen to oversee the visa regime in Romania was dumbfounded by the questioning.
Dove explained that while going through Cameron's e- mails, investigators had found a message addressed to the consul from a travel agency in neighbouring Moldova. It explained that the agency's representatives would be travelling to Bucharest shortly. In a phrase that has come to haunt the consul, it ended: 'We will be at the apartment and Victoria will be available to meet you.'
The agency, OL & DI, is entirely respectable. Victoria is a member of its staff. They travelled to Bucharest and rented a short-term apartment three or four times a year as they were involved in arranging trips for students and tourists from Moldova to Britain. They had dealings with Cameron because there were no British visa staff in Chisinau, Moldova's capital city, and they needed advice.
Yesterday an employee at the travel agency said all the meetings had been official and there was nothing improper about relations with the consul. However, Dove and his fellow investigators took a different view.
One senior diplomat said: 'They were trying to infer that by meeting these people away from the embassy there was something improper going on.
?They told James there were only three reasons why he had been meeting the travel agency at the apartment. One was that there were backhanders, which he totally denies. Second, that there was some form of sexual relationship, which he also denied totally. The third was that he was being naive.'
Cameron left the interview shaking. A week later he received a letter from David Warren, director of human resources at the Foreign Office, telling him that because of the investigation his position had become 'untenable'.
He was to be 'withdrawn from post' and sent back to London. His wife was told that she had been cleared but ' in what friends say is a 'double whammy' ' she lost her job working for her husband at the embassy. As the wife of the principal diplomat, she must also leave if he is withdrawn.
The couple were given five days to clear their home in Bucharest. Now back in Britain, Cameron has been told that his file has been passed to Scotland Yard's fraud squad. He refuses to discuss the case but he has told friends that he has been 'stitched up' by the Foreign Office in revenge for the embarrassment he has caused. "
Why is the Fraud Sqaud involved, when any charge should surely be under the Prevention of Corruption Act as amended by the Anti-terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001 or the common law offence of bribery ?
Both these stories seem to have a lot of "off the record" comments by "senior diplomats", presumably at the British Embassy in Bucharest - are these too now going to be subjected to a witch hunt ?
It must be soul destroying and morale sapping for loyal, public spirited, civil servants to work for the Home Office or Foreign and Commonwealth Office.