August 27, 2010


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Red Terror File: British GCHQ officer, MI6 secondment found dead in his upscale London flat; Slovenian blogger: “Communist involved in death of spy”


- Bugged and Buggery: Alleged Homosexual Spy’s Apartment Presumed MI6 “Safe House,” Owned by Russian Company Registered in British Virgin Islands

Scotland Yard is investigating the murder of a British spy who was stabbed to death, possibly up to two weeks ago. The decomposing body of Gareth Williams, reports the Daily Mail, was found in a large sports bag in his bathroom. Williams rented an upscale, two-storey apartment only a few hundred yards from the headquarters of MI6, the United Kingdom’s Secret Intelligence Service. His flat is believed to be an MI6 “safe house,” one of several in the area.

Williams’ mobile phone and a collection of SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) cards were carefully spread out on a table. Police believe Williams was murdered on site, and possibly by someone he knew since there were no signs of forced entry.

The Welsh-born, 31-year-old Williams was an employee of the British government’s signals intelligence agency, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Cheltenham, Gloustershire. The cipher and codes specialist was on secondment to MI6 at the time of his disappearance and death. A mathematics genius, according to a family friend, Williams studied at Cambridge University. He was an avid cyclist, but a loner. Williams’ neighbors, many of whom are bankers and politicians, are horrified by his demise. Tellingly, details of the murder investigation have been forwarded to Prime Minister David Cameron.

The British Foreign Office is saying little: “There is an ongoing police investigation. It is a long-standing Government policy not to confirm or deny that any individual works for the intelligence agencies.” Patrick Mercer, former chairman of the House of Commons Counter-terrorism Subcommittee, admonished: “This underlines the danger that our outstanding security services have to face on a minute-by-minute basis every single day.”

MI6 fears that “Britain’s enemies” could have stolen classified material from Williams’ laptop computer or MP3 player. “Whether he was killed by Islamic extremists, Russian gangsters or someone altogether closer to him, MI6 operative Dr. Gareth Williams died a spook’s death,” ponders the Daily Mail in another article.

According to the British tabloids Williams was a homosexual and transvestite which, if true, would make him a prime target for blackmail and manipulation by foreign intelligence services, especially the Russian SVR. Williams allegedly had a “close friendship” with former GCHQ colleague Raphael L’hoste-Morton, but Raphael denies this.

The last spy to have perished on British soil was former Russian Federal Security Service officer Alexander Litvinenko in November 2006. He was poisoned by radioactive polonium-210. British authorities suspect that former colleague Andrei Lugovoi, now a deputy in the Russian State Duma, perpetrated Litvinenko’s death. Prior to Litvinenko, Bulgarian defector Georgi Markov was killed by a communist agent who used an umbrella to fire a ricin pellet into his leg as he crossed Waterloo Bridge in September 1978.

Upon learning of Williams’ demise, we immediately speculated that the Not-So-Former Communist Bloc was somehow involved. We have no hard leads, except the following tantalizing morsels.

First, Land Registry documents reveal that the building in which Williams lived is owned by a private company called New Rodina. This company is registered in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), not the UK proper. Someone purchased the property for 675,250 pounds (US$1.2 million) in 2000 with a mortgage from the Royal Bank of Scotland, and remortgaged the property in 2005 and 2006. New Rodina’s owner operated through a law firm called Park Nelson, which once occupied a rented office in Bell Yard, off Fleet Street, but no longer appears to exist. The word “rodina,” we should highlight, means “motherland” in Russian and Bulgarian. The BVI, incidentally, is a known haunt of the Russian mafia.

Second, on August 26 a blogger at the Slovenian website Polonika attributed Williams’ death to a communist agent from his own country. The post was deleted the same day. The only information that can be obtained is from the post’s title, which search engines can still locate. According to this unknown individual “[A] communist from Slovenia [is] involved into [sic] the death of spy Gareth Williams. He [that is, Williams] was researching mind control, prostitution, and kidnapping (because Slovenia is [a] Russian satellite).”

Until 1991 Slovenia was part of Communist Yugoslavia. Slovenia's prime minister, Borut Pahor, is an "ex"-communist. In June 2010 Pahor attended the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, where he met with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

That a Russian company, possibly a front for the SVR, owns property near MI6 headquarters, probably for the purpose of snooping, is not surprising. That MI6 would rent an apartment from an offshore-registered Russian company to be used as a “safe house” is surprising. Actually, it’s unbelievably stupid. Former MI6 officer Harry Ferguson told the Daily Mail: “There are lots of flats in this area owned by MI6 and their big worry will be that a terrorist group or intelligence group was involved.” Williams’ flat could very well have been bugged before MI6 made the first rental payment.

That the SVR, moreover, might lure Williams into a compromising relationship with a Russian agent, especially a male agent if Williams was indeed a homosexual, is not surprising either. “Another possibility is that he was the victim of a dangerous sex game gone wrong,” muses the Daily Mail. Any standard history of the Soviet/Russian secret services will confirm that “dangerous sex games” are useful tools for entrapping Western agents. From Russia with love?