Friday, 22 October 2010

Wilful contempt of Parliament by HM Treasury?

In my preceding post, George Osborne's secret choice: Spending public money unlawfully on terrorism in Afghanistan or spending on hospitals and schools in the UK, I drew attention to the concealing from the House of Commons of the evidence suggesting that UK military action in Afghanistan is "terrorism" as defined in Section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

The question arises, was such contempt of Parliament merely an omission (albeit a hugely important one) or part of a conspiracy by HM Treasury to deceive the House of Commons and the British public?

Sadly, my conclusion is that HM Treasury is premeditatedly concealing from Parliament and the British Public that it has reason to conclude that its spending on military action in Afghanistan is spending for the purposes of terrorism.

I reproduce here the text of a letter sent on 6th February 2010 by Recorded Delivery to the Permanent Secretary of HM Treasury on 6th February 2010.

The public silence of the copy recipients is also a matter of interest, in my view.

6th February 2010

Sir Nicholas MacPherson, Permanent Secretary, Treasury

Cease and Desist Request
Iraq and Afghanistan Wars: Multiple Serious Criminal Offences under the Terrorism Act 2000 by HM Treasury civil servants

Dear Sir Nicholas,

I write to you to request that you and the civil servants in the Treasury who report to you forthwith cease and desist from acts which I believe constitute offences under the Terrorism Act 2000.

I urge you to give this important matter your urgent and careful attention.

The foundation of my request is my belief that the military interventions by the United Kingdom in Iraq and Afghanistan constitute “terrorism” as defined in Section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

The text of the Terrorism Act 2000 is available online and Section 1 is not particularly opaque.

The offences I see as being most relevant are specified in the following sections of the Terrorism Act 2000: 15, 16 and 17. You will note that the punishments, on conviction, include the possibility of significant terms of imprisonment (up to 14 years on conviction on indictment).

Given that I’ve brought these matters to your attention in the course of your employment I think you should also read Section 19 with care.

You will notice the obligation on you to provide the Police with information about all relevant offences within your knowledge. Not to do so is an offence under Section 19 of the Act.

More broadly, I believe you have a legal duty to inform your staff of this information. They, similarly, have an obligation under section 19 to draw offences of which they are aware to the attention to the Police.

I fully understand that you will require to take legal advice before deciding how to proceed but I think that, once the question is asked, the matter is remarkably straightforward (if potentially hugely disturbing to some).

If civil servants in the Treasury persist in unlawful actions in connection with Afghanistan it seems to me that you place yourselves and those under your authority in a highly precarious legal and moral position.

I suggest that if legal advice confirms my opinion, that you have a duty to inform Treasury civil servants about the implications of the Terrorism Act 2000 for their current, past and future actions.

Additionally, I anticipate that there will be a need to inform ministers, including the Prime Minister, of the position.

I am copying this letter to Sir Augustine O’Donnell, Cabinet Secretary. I have separately written to him in more detail of how the situation that I perceive arose, not least by virtue of the (in my opinion) negligent and fraudulent legal advice given by Peter Goldsmith in March 2003.

I am also copying this letter to Jonathan Baume of the First Division Association, whose members are likely to wish to understand their position in this matter. The latter might also wish to be aware that I have drawn my concerns on this matter to the attention of Sir William Jeffrey, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defence and Sir Graham Stirrup, Chief of the Defence Staff.

Thank you.

Your sincerely

Andrew H Watt


Sir Nicholas MacPherson
Permanent Secretary
HM Treasury
1 Horseguards Road


Sir Augustine O’Donnell
Cabinet Secretary
Cabinet Office
70 Whitehall

Jonathan Baume
First Division Association
8 Leake Street

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