Gareth Williams Inquest to be Secret Tribunal

I’ve been blogging about British efforts to expands the use of closed material proceedings so it won’t reveal embarrassing details about its cooperation in American torture in the future.

Which makes it interesting that Britain’s Foreign Secretary, William Hague, has ordered that the inquest into the death of GCHQ scientist Gareth Williams will be secret. Williams is the GCHQ-on-loan-to-MI6 sometimes-on-loan-to-NSA scientist whose body was found in a gym duffel in his flat a few years ago.

All sorts of cover stories have been leaked about his death: that it was some sort of gay bondage gone bad, that the Russian mafia took him out.

I’ve been most intrigued by the detail that Williams was working with NSA at the time when the US blew up the British planes investigation.

Whatever the reason, we’re not likely to find out, at least not immediately, because of the secrecy surrounding the inquest.

I’m not surprised the Brits don’t want their spy stories told in public, mind you.

18 replies
  1. PeasantParty says:

    Thanks for publishing this, EW. There are too many of these types of deaths. Professor Kelley/sp has still been unresolved to my liking. I also think that some of that Murdoc hacking should reveal more insight too. How to get more insider facts is something of a jagged mountain climb. You are the only one that has reported this much. Keep scooping the fake newz!

  2. PeasantParty says:

    @lysias: Throwing Scotland Yard under the bus. Thump-Thump Thump-Thump. Make them look like Keystone Kops instead of reporting the truth.

  3. emptywheel says:

    @lysias: There’s a witness whose named has been referred to in three different forms. I suspect they don’t want her testifying publicly because those names are not mutually exclusive given her presumed line of work.

  4. pdaly says:

    I wonder if the apartment building’s security tapes have gone missing for the days surrounding the discovery of his body in a duffel bag in his apartment. Didn’t Gareth Williams live in housing owned by GCHQ or MI-6?

  5. pdaly says:

    Part of the story that has not made sense is that Williams apparently was missing for a week. Was the intelligence community not keeping tabs on him, not even for possible counterintelligence purposes?

    Or had they checked for him in the apartment earlier and missed the duffel bag?

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    It is not surprising that this government – which is more radical than a Tony Blair wet dream – is expanding the notion of secrecy to include otherwise mandatorily public inquest. The pusillanimous Mr. Hague must worry that a government agency may be implicated in the death of a normally well-protected boffin. If nothing else, this victim’s normal protectors would seem to have been lax in their duty.

    Next to be caught in the secrecy dragnet may be criminal, not just civil, trials, notwithstanding that such trials are the most intrusive exercise of state power over the individual citizen short of going to war.

    When preserving the “state” means hiding its government’s embarrassing secrets, or those of more powerful imperial allies, gangrene has already set in.

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    @pdaly: If investigators searching for a lost soul had missed the body-size duffel bag laying in the house bathroom, it would embarrass even Inspector Clouseau.

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    @pdaly: The proverbial black bag job. A nice touch was that the perps relocked the front door from the outside. Admittedly, that wouldn’t strain a professional’s skills the slightest. One would think, however, that obtaining access to a military intelligence safe house in the middle of upscale London would require a bit more tradecraft.

  9. pdaly says:

    @ earlofhuntingdon @10:

    In the comments section of the Wired article EW links to above (follow the link “was working with NSA” in main post), I thought manys’ tongue in cheek comment amusing: “Obviously the work of a cycling rival.”

    (Gareth Williams was an avid cyclist).
    Seems no less preposterous than the initial explanation of homosexual games gone awray. I assume the UK government could have run with it, except that a cycling rival theory requires an investigation of videotapes, comings and goings, etc.

  10. pdaly says:


    I missed that detail. No doubt if Williams had a cleaning lady, she was a former MI6 type and wipes fingerprints as a matter of habit–the result of “cleaning the bathroom” for a living.

  11. pdaly says:

    I just came across the pictures of Williams’ flat (followed the link to William Hague “has ordered”). Those pictures are creepy–knowing what happened there.

    BTW, I spotted on the glass table by the windows a “Mack the hauler” truck from the Disney Pixar movie “Cars.” This Mack has hollow spaces inside to carry the smaller die cast cars. Check inside Mack for fingerprints!

    Here’s a picture of Mack from

  12. pdaly says:

    Now this is strange:

    The picture of Mack the Hauler in Gareth Williams’ apartment looks like the Mack carry case that came out with movie sequel “Cars2”–and not like Mack from the first Pixar movie “Cars.”

    But then maybe Gareth got an early release of the Cars2 Mack model, because the movie “Cars2” did not open in movie theaters until June 2011–which is almost a full year after Williams died. ?! (or were British models different from American models?)

    Incidentally, the movie Cars2 opens with a James Bond type scene when a British spy car is discovered infiltrating a black market weapons smuggling ring on an oil rig. The English car is put into a car crusher and turned into a metal cube. Ironic, I know.

  13. pdaly says:

    In case people are not sure what “picture” I’m referring to, go to this newspaper website and scroll to the second picture–showing Gareth Williams’ living room

    Compare it to the Cars2 Mack Hauler carrying case from here

    and keep in mind that the movie Cars 2 was not released in movie theaters until June 2011.
    But Gareth Williams died in August 2010!

    So how is the Cars 2 Mack carrying case present in Gareth Williams’ living room in 2010?
    Were the Mack carrying cases released a year before the movie?

    Can anyone find a Cars 1 version of a Mack carrying case with the same decals as the one pictured in Gareth Williams’ living room photo?

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