Maybe someone at SOCA must grabbed a gardening book. Police investigations are usually given approved names in sequence - sometimes themed, often alphabetical. In fact, each name is first and foremost a cost code. So when you see Operation Plymouth, Operation Two Bridges, for example - someone has delved into their Ordnance Survey Guide to Devon. Weeting, Elveden - East Anglia villages. Flandria, Gloxinia - botanical terms, alphabetically consecutive. 'F' and 'G' - simultaneously allocated.
The contentious 2008 SOCA Report (Project Riverside), finally published unredacted by Exaro News (here) was a strategic assessment of extant intelligence in five investigations which were 'live' during 2006-07 relating to rogue private investigators. It appears these were not a representative sample or wide range of rogue private investigators though, but a very specific nexus. At the core of Project Riverside are discernible links to Operation ABELARD II and the barbarous execution of Daniel Morgan. Each of the five law enforcement operations evidence a chain of associations with Daniel's private investigations company.
THE PROJECT RIVERSIDE FIVE
- ABELARD II was the MET's fifth investigation into the murder of Daniel Morgan, co-owner of Southern Investigations (see here)
- CARYATID was the original Metropolitan Police Service (MET) investigation into phone hacking by News of the World's Clive Goodman and PI Glenn Mulcaire. Mulcaire had previously been sub-contracted by Southern Investigations. (see here)
- BARBATUS was a MET investigation into blagging, corruption and database illegal accessing by a network with associative modus operandi links to them. (see here)
But what of FLANDRIA and GLOXINIA? All that is public domain is what can be gleaned from SOCA's Project Riverside report itself. As SOCA itself said to the Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) in July 2013, the five Riverside investigations have now concluded and none now are under judicial review.
FLANDRIA was a SOCA investigation examining the criminal activities of one particular investigator. FLANDRIA and ABELARD II both involved use of computer email trojans, voice-over-internet (VOIP), dead letter e-boxes, corruption of communication company employees and serving police officers, deployment of anti-surveillance strategies, accessing DVLC databases. Perhaps even more sinister, they also share techniques aimed at deliberate perverting the course of justice through illegal access to the Police National Computer (PNC) to delete or subvert,law enforcement intelligence, criminal records, live investigations, surveillance operations and attempting to access witness protection identities with a view to intimidation. The FLANDRIA focus on one "particular investigator" is its raison d'être - the sub-contracting of an ex-military 'private investigator' with the specialist IT skills to deploy and utilise e-blaster trojan computer malware. The ensuing ABELARD II prosecutions subsequently failed, partly due to subversion, police corruption and evidential disclosure hurdles.
It seems fairly certain then that FLANDRIA was the SOCA arm of the MET's interlinked Operation ABELARD II into the murder of Daniel Morgan and focused on a single corrupt, ex-military IT specialist. As such, FLANDRIA is the pre-cursor to Operation Millipede - itself a pre-cursor to the MET's Operation Kalmyk/Tuleta.
GLOXINIA pre-dates the founding of SOCA in April 2006, but not by much as it still falls within the Riverside declared parameters of 2006-Sept 07. It was a National Crime Squad (NCS) operation inherited by SOCA concerning corruption and private investigators. SOCA expalined to HASC, p 7 (here)
(SOCA Chair) Sir Ian Andrews: My understanding is that Gloxia (sic) which was a former National Crime Squad investigation, actually involved organised crime groups targeting associates. Arrests were not made. The judgment was there was insufficient evidence to arrest or charge the subjects of that operation. Nonetheless, our understanding of what we believe to have happened reflected the content of that 2008 report.Sir Ian was clearly anxious to curtail HASC's questions on GLOXINIA. He continued,
Sir Ian Andrews: That one is closed and I don’t think it is appropriate to go there because there was not sufficient evidence to charge.GLOXINIA may be linked to both FLANDRIA and ABELARD II through the MET deployment of a Covert Human Intelligence Source (CHIS). Following a CHIS cover being blown, some (though not all) CHIS may be offered entry into the MET Witness Protection programme. Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe told HASC, "We do take that very seriously. The witness protection scheme does suffer from an inherent risk. Many of the people that we protect often are involved in criminality themselves. There are obviously the innocent, who are victims normally. And then there are people involved in serious organised crime, the very people who have very good information: if they choose to change their ways, then obviously they are a very interesting group, and they are most at risk." (Q112, p24 here).
Chair: Well, we will decide whether it is appropriate.
His highlighting of amplified risks to generic poacher-turned-gamekeeper witnesses resonates with the Project Riverside alarm-bells ringing of PIs attempting to discover the identity of CHISes". Key CHIS in ABELARD II was "Joe Poulton" - for background see (here).
It seems apparent then that GLOXINIA too was a SOCA operation arm tasked with investigating the MET's use of a CHIS and his blown cover in Operation ABELARD II.
HASC member Chris Ruane MP asked SOCA a question that elicited a studied and technical response given ABELARD II (Q55):
Did you come across any evidence to suggest that people may have committed suicide or been killed or murdered, as a result of the activities of these rogue investigators?It fell to Nicola Blackwood to ask SOCA the crucial question on further links to Operation Millipede:
(SOCA Director General) Trevor Pearce: Not in the five investigations that were the subject of this assessment, sir.
Q45: What about the allegation that, although this evidence was available from 2006-2007, charges were not brought until after the hacking scandal?A masterclass in evasion.
Trevor Pearce: On the five investigations that were subject to the assessment—the document that you have—they were all ongoing at that time and arrests and so on took place. The Millipede investigation, which we have talked about, I think must have been in the last three or four years, so it would have been coterminous with some of the issues that we have seen over that period of time.
FLANDRIA, GLOXINIA, CARYATID, BARBATUS, ABELARD II - all five linked, full house, the same dramatis personae. Additionally, the SOCA report was 'book-ended' by pre-2006 Operation Motorman and post-2007 Operation Millipede. HASC Chair Keith Vaz MP underlined this with his probing of MET and SOCA into the timeline of any liaison over evidence from Operation Millipede. This prompted a written joint clarification,statement from SOCA and Commander Basu (ACPO Lead for the joint inquiry for Weeting, Elveden and Tuleta. (see here)
It makes clear that Operation Tuleta was not an outcome of ongoing pro-active investigation by MET or SOCA, but was prompted by a complaint from a hacked target in 2011.
WHO, WHERE, WHEN?
SOCA's Project Riverside report was published in Jan 2008 and circulated in February internally to SOCA Board Members and SOCA Enforcement, the Home Office and the MET.
Who might have been well-placed to dust off Project Riverside subsequently?
- Andre BAKER - Previously MET lead in Abelard I and very aware of Dave Cook's alleged surveillance by NOTW when Cook was heading ABELARD I. Baker joined SOCA in 2006 as Deputy Director (see here)
- Andy HAYMAN - MET Specialist Operations, Operation CARYATID was under his Command. The same Andy Hayman who was in receipt of Bob Quick's 2000'report warning of press-PI collusion. Hayman's evidence to the Leveson Inquiry was that he had little knowledge of CARYATID detail and had left it to Peter Clarke.
- Peter CLARKE - in direct command of CARYATID's investigation of NOTW's Goodman. Replaced Hayman in 2008. Appointed to the Board of SOCA as non-executive Director 1st September 2009.
- John YATES - only six weeks before Clarke's appointment as SOCA Board Member, Yates undertook a highly publicised, day-long re-evaluation of CARYATID following Nick Davies' Guardian exposé of the extent of NOTW phone hacking. By that time, Yates had already been in command of Operation ABELARD II for more than three years.
The Project Riverside report clearly demonstrates there is now no more room for misplaced faith in successive law enforcement protestations of ignorance and inability to join the dots. The MET and SOCA must be called to account for their past inaction.
Keith Vaz pointed the way to the right forum p5 (here):
Q17 Chair: In terms of the Daniel Morgan inquiry, is some of this information relevant to that inquiry and has that been placed? Because we are not conducting an inquiry into this. We know there is a judge-led inquiry announced by the Home Secretary. Will this information be made available to the Daniel Morgan inquiry?BURNTON
Trevor Pearce: If we have material that is relevant to that, we will make that absolutely available to the judge and his inquiry.
Q18 Chair: Will you wait for a request from the judge or will you just give it to him or her?
Trevor Pearce: In fact, pre-empting this, I have already asked for a trawl of our records to take place so we are in the position to have them.
Q19 Chair: When did you ask for that?
Trevor Pearce: About four weeks ago, before, I think, or at the time of the announcement because it is important that we are able to contribute.
The Daniel Morgan Inquiry, led by Sir Stanley Burnton, is due to start in Autumn '13 (see here).
MET and SOCA accountability has to be closely scrutinised by the Burnton Panel - it cannot be allowed to hide in the long grass any longer.
It is utterly futile to try to lead the public up the garden path any more.
Mayor Boris And The Met Payoffs
Project Riverside And The SOCA Report
All Rise - Justice Saunders At Southwark
The Met - Red Flags And Red Tops
Hackgate - Issues For The Burnton Inquiry Into The Murder Of Daniel Morgan
Hackgate - The IPCC and Surrey's "Collective Amnesia"
Hackgate - Alex Marunchak - Presumed Innocent
Hackgate - Springwatch
You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at email@example.com