The curious on-going case into the death of Gareth Williams


2:15 pm - May 3rd 2012

by Septicisle    


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There are many things about the investigation into the death of Gareth Williams that leave a nasty taste in the mouth. The apparent murder of an MI6/GCHQ worker in such bizarre circumstances is always going to invite comment and speculation.

But it’s fair to say that the leaks to the press alleging that Williams was either gay, a transvestite or had come to a sticky end at the hands of al-Qaida, all emanating from uncertain sources were little short of smears.

The Met were only able to take statements from MI6 officers that were then “anonymised” afterwards, making the process a travesty.

The inquest itself was delayed for over a year, yet this seemingly didn’t allow the time for a detective from outside SO15 to be vetted and conduct the interviews again. When it did finally take place, the MI6 challenged every decision made towards openness, demanded anonymity and claimed “national security” would be endangered if almost anything approaching “sensitive” material was discussed in open court.

Most shocking of all is that MI6 didn’t investigate why Williams hadn’t turned up for work until 8 days after he was last seen. This was according to MI6 a simple error by his line manager, and yet it seems astonishing that an officer of any of the security services can vanish for days without anyone attempting to make contact with them.

The police for their part still seem to be focused on the idea that his death his down to his private life, although the coroner appears to have dismissed this.

Despite the likes of Mark Urban repeating myths that he was interested in claustrophilia, his internet use seems to have been minor, and his slight interest in bondage websites may well have been down to specific training he was about to undergo at MI6, something else they have declined to comment on.

If he was secretly gay, or interested in dressing up in women’s clothes, then there seems to be no evidence that he indulged in either with partners, and no one has come forward to say they were involved with him when you would have expected they may have done.

Despite the coroner also saying there’s no evidence that his death was connected to his work, which rather suggests that we’re no further than when the investigation began.

It seems remarkable there’s been so little comment on how the heating had been turned up in the flat, in spite of how it was August, likewise that there were no fingerprints in the bathroom near to the bath as you would expect.

All of this suggests that this wasn’t someone panicking at a sex game that went wrong, but as Williams’s family suspects, something far more sinister. It’s difficult not to think that MI6 knows exactly what happened to Gareth Williams, but they have no intention of letting anyone else know.

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About the author
'Septicisle' is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He mostly blogs, poorly, over at Septicisle.info on politics and general media mendacity.
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Reader comments


Just to add a couple of points…

Despite the likes of Mark Urban repeating myths that he was interested in claustrophilia, his internet use seems to have been minor, and his slight interest in bondage websites may well have been down to specific training he was about to undergo at MI6, something else they have declined to comment on.

The notion of factchecking seems to be an alien one to the Beeb’s man. It was his landlady, not landlord, who claimed she’d found him tied to his bed, and it’s claustrophilia that he’s accused of being interested in, not claustrophobia. (Why the hell would somebody with claustrophobia get into the bag? I’ll assume it was a typo.)

The landlady’s testimony is possible evidence of an interest in bondage – though, even if that’s the case, there’s quite a few degrees of separation between that and the kind of dramatic and dangerous act of claustrophilia that this is claimed to be. And, as you say, there’s no evidence of a particular enthusiasm for such practices, still less of him making contact with people who are so inclined.

Most shocking of all is that MI6 didn’t investigate why Williams hadn’t turned up for work until 8 days after he was last seen. This was according to MI6 a simple error by his line manager, and yet it seems astonishing that an officer of any of the security services can vanish for days without anyone attempting to make contact with them.

And he wasn’t even an employee of MI6. He’d been seconded from GCHQ, whose human resources department had specifically told his line manager at MI6 to call the police if they failed to contact him. They didn’t.

It seems remarkable there’s been so little comment on how the heating had been turned up in the flat, in spite of how it was August, likewise that there were no fingerprints in the bathroom near to the bath as you would expect.

And his iPhone had been wiped.

Yes it sure it weird. Can we say anything else beyond speculation? The security services could know everything, supposedly the family think they were involved. Alternatively it could be covering it up because they don’t know what happened and don’t want to admit one of their agents was killed in London leaving them clueless; or they know/suspect who did it and don’t want the operations of that organisation to be public. There’s probably a few other explanations which are possible but lack any evidence.

3. Trooper Thompson

For me, the fact they were leaking to blacken his name indicates they have something nasty to hide.

I have a comment in moderation.

It’s a shame the age of the Times insight team has long passed. I suspect we’ll never know what truly happened.

To expand slightly, I do sincerely hope this turns out to be a case similar to Hilda Murrell, where the vast majority now accept that her murder was committed by Andrew George and had nothing to do with the state. It would be foolish to completely dismiss the possibility that this was a sex game that went wrong, but it would be equally foolish to imagine that MI6 don’t know a hell of a lot more than they’re letting on, especially about what exact work he was doing abroad and whether that might have made him a target, whether for a foreign power or even a gang. Either way, it’s acutely embarrassing for a service that desperately needs an independent body set-up to provide proper oversight.

And I should thank Ben for further piquing my interest in this case through his repeated posts on it, and whose latest on it puts this rather to shame.

8. Charlieman

A couple of points of information.

Gareth Williams was employed as a mathematician. I can understand therefore why he might have worked in the USA. I don’t understand why he went to Afghanistan.

MI6 discovered nine USB flash drives at work that “belonged to him” — and we don’t know whether they were personal property (unlikely) or tools of the job. MI6 were reluctant to share the contents with the Met. Is that surprising, given revelations at the Leveson inquiry?

For the record, I have examined computer devices that I knew to have been used for illegal acts before giving them to the police. Once the device is in the hands of the police, they won’t tell you anything about its contents. The choice is whether to preserve the purity of evidence or to know about what happened inside your organisation.

9. Planeshift

MI6 are covering this up because they know lots of people will spend the next 15 years speculating on what happened rather than focus on actual crimes they have committed and their violations of civil liberties.

10. Dick the Prick

I have worked with some proper leient bosses but didn’t turn up for a week? Hmm…bollox.

11. So Much For Subtlety

10. Dick the Prick

I have worked with some proper leient bosses but didn’t turn up for a week? Hmm…bollox.

I have worked in the Civil Service. It doesn’t surprise me at all.

Still it is an interesting case in so far as it gives an insight into the personalities of the people who post around here. A sort of ideological Rorschach Test.

12. Chaise Guevara

@ 3 Trooper

“For me, the fact they were leaking to blacken his name indicates they have something nasty to hide.”

Agreed, and I don’t think this would be the first time a hit was disguised as an embarassing fetish-related death.

I have some more background information about this case, but I am not allowed to disclose it.

“indulged…”

Oh dear.

I am sure you didn’t mean anything bad by it, septicisle, but gay people do not ‘indulge’ in sex together any more than straight people do. Would you ever speak of a person ‘indulging’ in heterosexual sex? Honestly? Do you get the salacious connotations?

I appreciate that you were trying to defend Gareth Williams from prurient homophobes etc, but you have inadvertently used the language of said people. And if a man – gay or striight – wants to dress in women’s clothes, fine. Not really anyone else’s business or needing any excuse.

I hope you understand why I’m making this point, because in other respects this is a useful and clearly well-intended article. Thanks.

15. Charlieman

@14. Lamia: “Would you ever speak of a person ‘indulging’ in heterosexual sex?”

What have other people’s euphemisms done for anyone?

To engage or to indulge or to fuck? The consensual response suffices.

Lamia, as you say, I’m sure you can tell from the rest of the piece that I wasn’t putting any negative connotations around gay sex. Indulged was perhaps not quite the right word, but I can’t say that I wouldn’t also use it in the sense of heterosexual sex; that might say more about me than I usually reveal. I think it’s fairly obvious that I couldn’t care less about anyone’s sexual preference, but I do think it’s a fairly petty thing to pick upon.

“Indulged was perhaps not quite the right word, but I can’t say that I wouldn’t also use it in the sense of heterosexual sex”

Bollocks.

18. Witchsmeller Pursuivant

Lamia – indulge has been in use for a very long time in reference to any sex acts outside of heterosexual coupling. A heterosexual couple performing acts of oral, anal or group sex, bondage, sado-masochism etc. could reasonably be described as indulging themselves. The word refers to the subject’s (deviant) sexual appetite.

Septicisle’s use of the term is quite in line with literary norms. He is not using it in a judgemental sense and he is right when he says that the word reveals something of the user. But it’s not homophobia. It’s that the user of the word regards the described person as possibly more sexually deviant than themselves. It’s not a value judgement until the appetite is described pejoratively; sordid, perverse, prurient etc.

Incidentally, why do you feel the need to police the language of posters, looking for unintended slights against gay people?

but gay people do not ‘indulge’ in sex together any more than straight people do.

You’ve clearly not been to Trades in Blackpool then.

Lamia: Glad we could discuss that in a calm manner. I seriously didn’t mean anything by using indulged, I’ve said I could have worded it better, but if you want to take it as a slight however innocuous, fair enough.

21. So Much For Subtlety

12. Chaise Guevara

Agreed, and I don’t think this would be the first time a hit was disguised as an embarassing fetish-related death.

Really? And when was the last one? Stephen Milligan? Rinka?

Andreas Moser

I have some more background information about this case, but I am not allowed to disclose it.

Sure you do. We all believe you. What colour is the boatshed at Hereford?

As I said, as people keep proving, this is a Rorschach test. Fascinating really.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
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