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Most people are profoundly shocked, and rightly so, by the idea that Dodi and Diana were murdered. Yet it is my firm belief that Britain's racist establishment found their relationship utterly unacceptable, and so conspired with the intelligence services to have them killed. My repeated appeals for a full public inquiry in Britain into the Paris tragedy have been rejected out of hand by the prime minister, Tony Blair and the home secretary, Jack Straw but I shall never abandon my fight for disclosure of the full facts. The following open letter explains why.
Since the 31st August 1997, the terrible day that my son Dodi and Princess Diana died in Paris, I have tried by all means that I know to get answers to the many questions left hanging in the air. I have been thwarted at every turn. The official French investigation has so far failed to resolve many key questions. The British government still refuses to hold a public inquiry. The intelligence services in France, Britain and the USA have stonewalled – though we know that intelligence services had Diana under surveillance on the fateful night in Paris. And, as we have seen only too clearly following the publication of the book by Trevor Rees-Jones (but one example), there has been a concerted campaign to discredit my attempts to get at the truth.
I know that I am bitterly resented by some members of the British establishment. There are those who cannot accept that an Egyptian from a modest background should have become the owner of Harrods, a shop they considered a part of their heritage. Others reckon me beyond the pale because of my part in revealing corruption in the highest places. For a few, I suspect, it is simply a matter of racism; though they would never dream of saying so in public, they despise foreigners – especially those with crinkly hair and dark skins. Behind the scenes, the extreme right-wing in Britain still wields enormous influence particularly in the press and the corridors of unelected power. In my experience these people are ruthless in their determination and will stop at nothing to achieve their ends.
Certainly my attempts to make progress through the official channels are blocked consistently by a brick wall of silence and secrecy.
When I met Mr Blair in May 1999 at a reception hosted by the Muslim Council, I gave him this paper which set out my concerns and asked for his help, and a copy of this memo which I had given to the Council. I heard nothing. Then my lawyers wrote to him. Again, nothing. The same wall of silence greeted my letters to the Foreign Secretary, the Home Secretary and the Heads of MI5 and MI6. Such silence is rude and discourteous to me personally. I have given 35 years of my life to this country, paying hundreds of millions in taxes and employing tens of thousands of people. I have helped to win British firms overseas contracts worth billions of pounds. After making such a contribution to the country, I think I've earned the right to some answers. But more importantly, the people of Britain deserve answers: Diana was – in Tony Blair's words – "The People's Princess". A blanket refusal to answer legitimate questions can only fuel suspicion of foul play.
These concerns were taken up in Parliament by the Conservative MP Charles Wardle. He did so of his own volition. In an adjournment debate in July 1999 he set out with great force and clarity the many reasons for holding a full inquiry in Britain into the Paris crash, conducted openly for all to see and follow. He requested a formal response from the Home Office; none has been forthcoming.
I have pursued information in the United States under their Freedom of Information Act. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the National Security Agency (NSA) have confirmed that they hold 39 documents consisting of 1,056 pages of information relating to Diana and Dodi but they refuse to reveal it on the grounds of national security. My American lawyers have been fighting for access to this vital information for the last year. A court in Washington DC has ordered the CIA to hand over the documents, but they have not complied. Recently we sought a subpoena to force the production of the documents – only to have the judge rule that, under the statute which allows subpoenas to be issued in connection with foreign proceedings, he did not have jurisdiction to issue a subpoena against the federal government. We have appealed and hope to get some movement soon, but it is a very slow business.
The attitude of the British government was well-illustrated recently. On 27 February The Sunday Times published an article headlined "Spy agencies listened in on Diana". In this article, "former intelligence officials" confirmed to the newspaper that spy agencies in Britain and America "eavesdropped on Diana". The very next day, in response to my earlier demands for an official statement on this matter, I received a letter from the Treasury Solicitor, categorically denying any such activity by the security services, or those working on their behalf. Given that Diana was mother to the future King, and was often at odds with the Royal Family, it is frankly unbelievable that the security forces were taking no interest in her – but the official line attempts to deny the obvious.
According to Stephen Dorril's newly published history of Britain's overseas intelligence service, "MI6: Fifty Years of Special Operations" (p788):
"... the late Princess of Wales had clearly been under some kind of surveillance, as evidenced by the 1,050-page dossier held by the US National Security Agency detailing private telephone conversations between Diana and American friends intercepted at MI6's request ". (emphasis added)
It is hardly surprising that my efforts to uncover the truth about the Paris crash have made me a lot of enemies. But I have been shocked at the lengths that these people will go to in their attempts to discredit me. The Daily and Sunday Telegraph newspapers, considered by many to be the heart of reactionary opinion in Britain, have mounted an extraordinarily vicious and sustained campaign. Since the crash they have printed a never-ending stream of hostile articles – about 150 in all – accusing me of everything from tax evasion to sexual harassment. Their fellow-travellers, The Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday and the London Evening Standard have joined in the fun. (For a more detailed account, see Mohamed Al Fayed and the Press). While seeking to portray me as some kind of fantasist, they show no interest themselves in establishing the facts. If they are able to prove me wrong, why don't they do so?
The most recent attack on me was The Daily Telegraph's publication of extracts from the book "The Bodyguard's Story" by Trevor Rees-Jones. This account was, in fact, compiled by a committee and crafted by a ghostwriter. It is based substantially on the recollections of others because Rees-Jones himself has no memory of the crash itself and only partial recall of much else. He has simply been used as a vehicle to sensationalise a book which peddles the lies of those hell-bent on silencing me. And he has clearly forgotten completely about the confidentiality clause in his contract of employment with me.
The motives behind the book are plain: they are to clear Trevor and his friend Kez Wingfield, the other bodyguard that night, of all responsibility for the tragedy and also to get "some recompense for what's happened." Everything in the book is shaped by these twin objectives of shifting the blame and selling the book. Trevor is consistently portrayed as a saint while I am relentlessly cast as the evil genius trying to manipulate his memories to support wild conspiracy theories. It is all rubbish and deeply ironic when it is Trevor and those who collaborated with him who are manipulating the truth for their own ends. Trevor has admitted that they – lawyers included – are all part of the book deal and so will share the profits. Like everyone else, I have the greatest sympathy for Trevor. He went through hell. But I cannot overlook the fact that, on the night, he failed to carry out established security procedures. Had he done so, the couple might be alive today.
Interestingly, the ghostwriter Moira Johnston is best-known for a book on a famous court case concerning so-called "recovered memories." In her third-person narrative, individuals have a startling recall of precisely what they were thinking and saying more than two and a half years ago and, even more remarkable, an exact knowledge of what other people were thinking and saying when key events took place!
Every trick in the book, every tabloid technique known to man, has been employed to fashion a fiction that parades as the truth. I bitterly resent this malicious book and its intrusion on my private family life and security arrangements. I simply cannot understand why I was refused an injunction when Tony Blair was awarded one to stop a book about his family written by a well-intentioned nanny who is a friend of the family! Sometimes the law really is an ass.
The Daily Telegraph and other newspapers have claimed quite wrongly that "The Bodyguard's Story" demolishes many of my theories. In fact, it contains no new information and actually lends weight to my conviction that Henri Paul was not drunk at all. Both Trevor and Kez continue to insist that Paul gave no indication whatsoever of being drunk before he got behind the wheel. They had been with him for extended periods that evening and still maintain that there was nothing in his behaviour or general conduct to suggest that he had been drinking. If this is the case, how then do they account for the inquiry finding that, within three minutes of leaving the hotel, he was more than three times over the drink-drive limit?
The book makes several claims (about the engagement ring and the reported last words of Diana) which are wrong, but otherwise it consists of little more than gossip and innuendo designed to clear the bodyguards of any responsibility for what happened. Despite this, the Establishment has hailed it as a work of great significance. Like the recent revelation that the brother-in-law ofThe Sunday Telegraph editor is a senior MI6 officer , it shows how far the influence of the Establishment extends.
I remain convinced that most fair-minded people believe there was foul play in Paris. Even The Daily Telegraph Home Affairs Editor Philip Johnston was recently forced to acknowledge:
"Since the serialisation began, this newspaper and others connected with the book have been contacted by people who just cannot come to terms with the banal circumstances of the Princess's death. One caller yesterday berated The Daily Telegraph for 'covering up what everyone knows is the truth' ".
Like Trevor Rees-Jones, I too would like to move on and lead a normal life but the Establishment is making that impossible. It is their constant refusal to answer perfectly straightforward questions that drives me on. They should know that the efforts to discredit and destroy me will not succeed and that I will never give up my fight to discover the full facts about the deaths of Dodi and Diana. I am not alone in wanting answers. There is widespread public unease about the circumstances of the tragedy. Very many ordinary people in this country want answers and they deserve them. In my own mind I must be certain that what happened in Paris was truly God's will and not the will of others. I have great faith that God will guide and protect me in my search and I fear no one. I am equally sure that one day the truth will be known.