Thanks to an email from Romania for reminding us about the article in The Sunday Times giving a few more details about the scandal surrounding the treatment of whistleblower James Cameron , the former British Consul in Bucharest. Together with Steve Moxon's revelations, James Cameron revelations about immigration visa policies, to David Davis the Conservative Shadow Home Secretary, lead to the resignation of Home Office Minister Beverly Hughes.
"Foreign Office doubts on visa 'witch-hunt'
The Foreign Office has admitted its campaign to silence a diplomat who blew the whistle on an immigration scandal will be seen as a witch-hunt, confidential Whitehall e-mails reveal.
The files relate to James Cameron, the British consul in Romania, who earlier this year exposed a series of visa scams, including the case of a one-legged roofer granted a work permit to run a business in Britain.
The documents, released to Cameron after he applied for them under data protection laws, detail Foreign Office concerns shortly before a police inquiry was launched into his embassy work and after he had been recalled to Britain.
The Scotland Yard inquiry was launched into what Cameron?s friends say are entirely false accusations of taking backhanders or obtaining sexual favours in exchange for granting visas. They say the allegations are smears to discredit him and punish him for speaking out.
The Yard?s fraud squad has raided his home in the West Country and seized his computer and private papers. Nine days ago he was interviewed by detectives from the Yard?s specialist crimes directorate.
During five hours of questioning at Belgravia police station, detectives accused him of bringing women back to his four- bedroomed embassy villa in Bucharest. They said the theft of expensive perfume from the villa that he reported could be explained by this.
Cameron was outraged when police said they suspected he was being blackmailed by criminals who had sought visas in return.
Cameron has told police the allegations of wrongdoing are categorically untrue."
"The diplomat recently applied under the Data Protection Act for all Foreign Office documents relating to his case, mainly e-mails and reports.
One Foreign Office diplomat wrote to a counterpart at the Bucharest embassy in May that they were open to accusations of persecuting Cameron, given that: 'He already faces a disciplinary case with regards to leaks to the opposition on the visa issue . . .'
"In a report to London on the case, Quinton Quayle, the British ambassador to Bucharest, said diplomats feared negative publicity for the Foreign Office if news of Cameron?s forced return to London leaked out.
The dossier shows Cameron's superiors regarded him as an awkward employee even before he exposed the visa scams. 'He has a history of odd and erratic behaviour,' wrote Quayle's deputy. 'There are also other strange happenings . . . He has an uncanny knack of being in the spot where lightning strikes (numerous break-ins, a mugging and other strange goings-on). This latest episode shows poor judgment and a degree of bloody-mindedness.' "
It is interesting to compare this apparent use of the Data Protection Act 1998 with that by Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migration Watch UK (an immigration campaign group which has managed to embarass the Home Office over the immigration statistics) apparent use of the the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to get similar emails released by the Home Office. The Freedom of Information Act is not yet in force until January 2005, but many organisations have already had to change their policies to be compliant in anticipation.
Is it a coincidence that both of these stories were first reported by The Sunday Times reporter David Leppard ?