Before Christmas I wrote an initial response to the Operation Paget inquiry report [hereafter "the Report"] on the deaths of Diana, Dodi and Henri (titled "Collision or Collusion"). It was a bit jumbled and muddled but covered my main concerns. Having re-read it, I decided to write more on the subject, this time breaking it down into separate topics. This entry focuses on the 'CIA telex', which I link in my mind with the request from the Special Branch officers. I intend writing later on various other problems I have with the Report.
'b' wrote in the comments:
Very interesting that you were asked or told by Special Branch to watch, presumably including on Usenet, as early as October-November 1997, for material suggesting it was murder by the British secret state. Can you possibly say more about this?
I can only delve into my memories again. When I first saw the 'CIA document', it seemed real, and when I saved it to my hard-disk I think I felt a frisson of fear. But, then, the more I looked at it, the less I believed it. As previously stated, I thought that points seven and eight looked to have been typed by a different machine and I, for some reason, therefore suspected forgery. And everyone was talking about a Fiat Uno having been involved, whereas this document mentioned a Fiat Turbo. I also wondered whether Mohamed al-Fayed mightn't himself have had it forged...
So, by the time the SB officers called, I was agnostic about the document. My memory of their request was that they were serious about wanting me to look for something but that they struggled to specify what - I believe I may even have helped them out by filling in the words for them, delicately. But I was left in no doubt about the general area of their interest - 'unusual' internet allegations about the death of Diana, especially of British-intelligence involvement.
I saw no good reason to reveal to them my possession of the document. If the CIA document, whether authentic or fraudulent, had provoked their enquiry, then in all likelihood MI5 already possessed a copy. If they didn't, I wasn't going to do their job for them. If it was a forgery, why get involved? If it was authentic, I definitely didn't want to say anything.
I think that, by the time the Oswald LeWinter matter became public, I'd already had to re-format the hard-disk and had lost the original copy of the document. Or it may have been later. Whatever, I meant to find it again but never got round to it - I'd seen that its text had been copied on to various websites, so I assumed the original file would be easily found again. Now, I don't remember where I found it nor know whether or not it still exists online.
Now, when I look at the 'CIA telex' again, I'm struck again by its verisimilitude. Sure, there are its implausible bits - the quote by Edinburgh, and the unlikeliness of an internal CIA document becoming public, for example. But other parts still intrigue me. Here follows some thoughts on the actual content of the document, with quotations from it in this colour.
The headings look genuine enough. There is, or rather there was, a 'DOMESTIC COLLECTION DIVISION'. According to this website, it was once, in JFK's time, called the Domestic Contact Service and is now known as the National Resources Division. The Domestic Collection Division gets variously mentioned on the web and my impression is that it existed as the DCD in 1997.
SOURCE: CASParis/CASLondon/COSGeneva/CASKingston/UK citizen Ken Etheridge
CAS stands for 'controlled American source', meaning agent or informant (see, e.g., here). Dunno about COS - it could mean 'consulate' or, and I'm guessing, 'controlled other source', or such like. (Please, God, let it not be the Church of Scientology!) Dunno who Mr Etheridge is nor which datum he provided to CIA.
1. Relationship initiated between Diana POW and Dodi aF according to reliable intel sources in November 1996. Intimacy begins shortly after they meet. (Report filed)
If the Report is to be believed, Diana and Dodi first met on the 14th July, 1997. Yet the CIA telex indicates otherwise. According to the Report:
It was on 14 July 1997 that the Princess of Wales spoke to the press gathered nearby and made her comment quoted in the press as, ‘You’re going to get a big surprise, you’ll see, you’re going to get a big surprise with the next thing I do.’ (Operation Paget Other Document 546) Subsequent speculation and comment about this remark has suggested that it was a foretelling by the Princess of Wales that she was going to announce her engagement to Dodi Al Fayed. The comment was made around mid-day, before the Princess of Wales had met Dodi Al Fayed that summer and before he had even arrived in St Tropez.
Mohamed al-Fayed's memory tells a different story.
Diana and Dodi met long before the summer of 1997 and during their romance had more time together than people knew. When her sons were very young, the Princess went to Turnbull & Asser, the celebrated gentleman’s shirt maker in Jermyn Street, St James’s. She wished to order pyjamas and a selection of shirts for the Princes William and Harry. There was a board meeting in progress when she entered T & A, but the Managing Director, Ken Williams, left the meeting to serve the Princess. “What are you doing upstairs, Ken?” she asked. “Come and see”, he replied. Diana joined the meeting. “Ah”, she said, “so this is how you waste your time”. The Princess was introduced to the directors, including Dodi.
They got on well and saw each other from time to time at film premieres and fashion shows. Dodi played polo at Smith’s Lawn, Windsor, and the Princess attended the tournament for the magnificent silver gilt Harrods Trophy.
In this instance, for once, I'm inclined to believe Mr al-Fayed.
3. Request from highest circles to DEA attache UK for 6 on Dodi re: Cocaine.
If MAF had forged the document, it's unlikely he'd have mentioned the cocaine. Dodi's alleged cocaine use later emerged in the press (see USA Today). (For UK readers, DEA is the Drug Enforcement Administration.)
4. US liaison to MI6 requested by David Spedding for assistance in providing permanent solution to Dodi problem. Blessing of Palace secured (Twiz filed)
The notes 'report filed' and 'copy filed' I understand, but what the hell is a 'twiz'? Whatever, it reads as a genuine shorthand for something.
5. WHuse (White House -ed) denies Spedding request. Harrison authorized only to arrange meeting for MI6 representative with K-Team Geneva. (Twiz on file)
The name of the US liason to MI6 would be a secret, and who knows whether in 1997 he or she was named Harrison, but the casual use of the surname seems to me to have the ring of truth. Dunno about K-team Geneva, but there's a company in Switzerland called K-Team that deals in 'mobile robotics' (website).
8. COBGeneva reports that on May 28, 1997 heavily weighted Fiat Turbo... (end of page text)
First, I reckon COBGeneva is a typo (for COSGeneva). Second, I'm not at all knowledgeable about cars, and when I first read this nine years ago I thought 'the forger' had got the model of car wrong. But now, with hindsight, I realize that Fiat Unos came in 'Turbo' editions, more powerful than the usual type.
All in all, I'm not convinced that the 'CIA document' is a fake. Its appearance in the LeWinter affair, for me, added to its credibility (see previous post). Its non-appearance in the Paget Report does likewise.