Sunday, February 25, 2007


Exclusive: Prince buys his own kit

By Ryan Sabey

PRINCE Harry has had to spend more than £1,000 on extra kit for duty in Iraq in a damning indictment of the funding of British forces.

The 22-year-old royal — third in line to the throne — bought at least TEN items considered vital for his tour in war-torn Maysan province in May.

But scores of junior-ranking troops in Harry's Blues and Royals regiment have complained they simply cannot afford the equipment.

Many earn less than £16,000-a-year.

Poor or missing kit has blighted the Iraq campaign despite repeated government promises of help.

In March 2003 Sgt Steve Roberts, 33, was shot dead at an Iraqi checkpoint after being ordered to give his body armour to a colleague judged to be at greater risk days earlier.

Six Red Caps were killed by a mob when they were sent 12 miles from base with communications equipment that could only reach nine miles.

Harry's self-bought kit includes a lightweight Para helmet costing £225, far more comfortable than normal Army-issue, and £70 for some specialist goggles.

The prince has also spent more than £300 on three pairs of boots — troops say standard issue footwear simply isn't good enough. He paid £110 for a pair of Lowas, £125 on waterproof jungle boots and £70 on Magnum desert boots.

The prince has also spent £140 on a Global Positioning System so he can pinpoint exactly where he is on the Iraq-Iran border.

Along with many others in his troop he has forked out £80 on a quality sleeping bag.

Harry also bought £30 Helly Hansen long-johns for the cold nights.


Less expensive items include extra webbing to hold equipment like drinks bottles and a Gerber knife, both cost £20.

Harry will be in charge of 11 men patrolling an area populated by Iranian-backed Shia Muslim extremists loyal to cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

The unit will carry out long-range desert patrols.

A source said: "The squaddies have been saying for a long time that they don't get any help paying for equipment. It's a case of having the right kit for the job.

"There's no resentment towards Harry. It just shows how standard Army equipment isn't up to scratch."

Sunday, February 18, 2007

EXCLUSIVE: Lord Goldsmith admits affair with barrister

By Philip Whiteside

THE country's highest-ranking lawyer, Attorney General Lord Goldsmith, has sensationally confessed to the News of the World that he cheated on wife Joy with a top barrister.

Lord Peter Goldsmith, a close friend and long-time ally of Tony Blair, admitted having an affair with Kim Hollis — the first Asian woman to reach the rank of Queen's Counsel.

He made his shock confession to us in the week it was revealed Director of Public Prosecutions Ken Macdonald had cheated on HIS wife Linda with blonde barrister Kirsty Brimelow.

When we asked him about mum-of-two Mrs Hollis the Attorney General, who is the DPP's boss, released a statement saying: "My wife knows all about this and has done for some time. It is all in the past.

"We are both very happy. This is a private matter and my wife and I have no further comment."

MPs last week demanded to know whether the DPP was guilty of a conflict of interest as a result of the affair with high-flier Kirsty.

Their concerns may now extend to whether the Attorney General could also have been compromised by having a close relationship with a senior QC.

One source said: "You have to question whether they've had their minds fully on the job of looking after the legal needs of the government and country."

As Attorney General Lord Goldsmith, 57, is the government's legal adviser.

He was appointed to the £106,358-a-year post in 2001 and his most famous act was telling the Cabinet he believed the invasion of Iraq was justified under international law.


Having previously questioned its legality, he was accused of caving in under pressure. Since then he has been mired in controversy over his decision to abandon a prosecution over the export of arms to Saudi Arabia.

The Prime Minister was understood to have been keen to appoint Lord Goldsmith to the post of Lord Chief Justice when Lord Woolf stood down, but the plan was abandoned in the face of massive opposition.

There have recently been growing calls for his position to be scrapped with confidence in his role as an independent legal adviser to the government at an all-time low.

Before joining the Government, Lord Goldsmith was one of the founders of the Bar Council's Pro Bono Unit which offers free legal work for people in need.

He was chairman of the unit from 1996 until he took on the role of Attorney General.

Lord Goldsmith, who went to the same Quarry Bank School in Liverpool as John Lennon, once said if he had not become a lawyer he wanted to be the "Fifth Beatle."

He and Joy, left, have three sons and a daughter in their teens and early 20s and live in London's Westminster.

Mrs Hollis, 49, the grand-daughter of an Indian freedom fighter who battled alongside Mahatma Gandhi, split from her husband Andrew three years ago.

It is unclear if her affair was the cause of the break-up. But it is believed she and Lord Goldsmith met regularly in secret over several months behind the backs of both spouses.

The attractive QC was called to the Bar in 1979 and soon after began to specialise in defending those accused of sex crimes and so-called honour killings.

But perhaps her most famous case was prosecuting the man who handled thousands of pounds worth of Victoria Beckham's designer underwear after it was stolen at an airport.

She grilled binman Mark Oliver in the case at Isleworth Crown Court and spoke with Posh when she took the stand to give evidence in 2001.


Mrs Hollis helped secure the conviction against Oliver, who got 15 months in jail for handling the clothes.

She became a QC, the legal profession's most prestigious inner circle, the following year.

Mrs Hollis, born in the Forest of Dean to an Indian father and British mother, has two children by Andrew, one at university and the other taking GCSEs.

There was no reply at Mrs Hollis' home in Fulham, west London, on Saturday.

Lord Goldsmith was on an official trip to the US with his wife.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

DUKE & THE HOOKERS: He pays for sex as soldiers risk lives

By Ross Hall

WHILE 900 courageous Territorial Army heroes put their lives on the line in Iraq and Afghanistan their multi-billionaire boss is home revelling in seedy sex with a procession of vice girls.

A News of the World investigation exposes The Duke of Westminster— Britain's richest man, Prince Charles' best friend, full-blown major-general and married dad of four—as a serial cheat and user of £750-an-hour hookers.

Our sensational dossier reveals how the Duke, Assistant Chief of Defence Staff Gerald Grosvenor, disgraced the record of 11,000 TA reservists sent to Iraq since 2003 as he:

- HIRED four prostitutes over the last six weeks to party at his posh West End mews house.

- RISKED blackmail and security scandal by revealing his name and Army connections to the girls.

- BRAGGED he knew how to find al-Qaeda boss Osama bin Laden.

- HAGGLED with one prostitute for a discount despite being worth an incredible £6.6 billion.

- DEMANDED sex without condoms—while bemoaning the fact his men have to be regularly tested for sexually transmitted diseases.


The 55-year-old Duke commands 250,000 reservists—including 138,000 young cadets who look up to him as a role model. Six of his men have died serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He stays in London three days a week carrying out his Ministry of Defence duties while wife Natalia lives at their vast country estate Eaton Hall 200 miles away in Cheshire.

But after clocking off from his Whitehall office he hires girls young enough to be his daughters to join him at his luxury home off Oxford Street—part of his massive property empire which includes over 300 acres of central London with vast swathes of Mayfair and Belgravia.

On THURSDAY DECEMBER 28 the Duke paid £2,000 to bed 26-year-old Lithuanian Zana Brazdek at the mews house.

She arrived at 5pm and left with a wodge of cash in an envelope marked Eaton Estates two hours later.

Zana, who was booked through an agency, said Grosvenor crowed about his Army connections and even attempted to haggle over her price. "I thought his conversation was quite boring," she said. "He talked about the Army, going to Afghanistan and bin Laden. And he wanted unprotected sex. I refused."

On TUESDAY JANUARY 9 the Duke arrived home around 1.30pm. At 2.45pm an Asian girl in black coat, knee-high boots and heavy make-up strolled up to his front door.

After a discreet glance over her shoulder to make sure no one was looking, she pressed the buzzer on the intercom system.

Moments later the door opened and she was ushered inside. An hour and a half later at 4.15pm the huge black door opened again and the Asian girl shuffled out, heading off towards Oxford Street. Bright and breezy the next morning, the Duke was out of the house and into his waiting dark green Jaguar by 7.30am.

He left the house wearing green military trousers, a white shirt and camel-coloured sleeveless jacket.

He was also carrying a riding crop and military jacket, which he carefully placed on the car's parcel shelf before getting into the rear.

The Duke puffed on a cigarette as his chauffeur drove him to the MoD building on the Embankment just before 8am. Armed security guards waved the vehicle through their gates and into the car park, which backs onto Whitehall directly opposite Downing Street.

The Duke's importance in Britain's military hierarchy was apparent on Tuesday, January 23, as he drove his Maserati sports car to visit the Army's tank training base in Bovington, Dorset—where Prince Harry spent four months last summer and Prince William is due next month.

But a week later the Duke was back at his London pad and up to his old tricks. At 6.20pm on TUESDAY, JANUARY 30, a blonde Russian hooker working under the name Stella pouted as she approached the Duke's door in a silky red dress and black boots.

When the door opened Stella, caked in thick blue eye shadow, provocatively strutted into the hallway to start her night's work.

About an hour and a half later at 7.45pm, out walked the girl. This time the Duke poked his head around the door to wave her off, as she puckered up and blew him a kiss.

He giggled and then watched as she wandered to the top of the road before flagging down a black cab to take her home. Next morning Grosvenor was up bright and early to report for duty at the MOD, with his chauffeur waiting outside at 6.45am.

This time he appeared in the same sleeveless top, a white shirt and black trousers, with his military pass strung around his neck.

And last week on WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 7 the Duke was dropped off at the house by his driver at 4.30pm. At 6.20pm, under cover of darkness, a brown-haired Brazilian girl arrived in a pink coat, clutching a small black handbag.

She pressed the buzzer and was quickly taken inside. After the usual hour and a half had passed the Duke saw the girl out. As he waved her off he was wearing just a brown dressing gown.

On Thursday it was business as usual, picked up and taken to the MoD in his Jag by 8am.

But the Duke—who is paid £240 a day for his Army role—faces censure when he returns to his desk tomorrow. For The Armed Forces Code of Social Conduct insists:

"The overriding operational imperative to sustain team cohesion and to maintain trust and loyalty between commanders and those they command imposes a need for standards of social behaviour which are more demanding than those required by society at large...and a requirement to avoid conduct which offends others."

Our revelations will raise serious questions about the Duke's position because of his access to top-secret military information.

And he has often proclaimed himself a devoted family man. In an interview he once vowed that he would never cheat on his wife.

"I don't need other women as a substitute," he said. "I immerse myself in work."

Sunday, February 04, 2007

TERROR: How MI5 snared al-Qaeda kidnap gang

By Lucy Panton & Ian Kirby

THE al-Qaeda plot to behead a British Muslim soldier was smashed after MI5 intercepted a panic order to the kidnap gang: "If you can't find a Muslim, ANY squaddie will do."

The demand, made directly to Birmingham from a terror boss in Pakistan, came after the British-based cell spent days trawling a Midlands army base for a victim.

A military source revealed: "Security services and police had been watching for them to try to grab a Muslim soldier. But as soon as we knew they were willing to take anyone in any uniform — man or woman — and cut their head off then they had to act.

"The sheer casual, callous evil of what these British guys were willing to do on the orders of al-Qaeda is beyond belief."

Now we can reveal the truth behind the Birmingham raids is even more terrifying than first thought.
- AL-QAEDA CHIEFS in Pakistan planned, ordered, directed and activated the plot. It was not a home-grown idea.
- Anti-terror police and MI5 became seriously concerned about the plot just FIVE WEEKS ago.
- None of the Birmingham suspects had recent terror training abroad. "SLEEPERS" were put in place years ago waiting to be activated.
- Suicide attacks were ruled out. Al-Qaeda wanted the group to do it AGAIN as many times as possible.
- Large bundles of CASH were handed over to the suspects to fund the planned atrocity—hiring houses, buying clothes and video cameras.

One senior Anti-Terrorist Squad officer said: "This is even more terrifying than some of the highly complex long-term plots we have already disrupted and taken to court, such as 21/7 and the airline bomb plot. "It was barely a month in the making and its aim — to kidnap and kill one anonymous soldier — was so limited they could easily have succeeded. But the ramifications would have shocked the nation, probably the world."

The News of the World can reveal a massive counter-terrorism police and MI5 operation was swung into action between Christmas and New Year when they discovered a top secret communication from a notorious senior al-Qaeda chief to a known British extremist suspect.

An MI5 source explained: "We had known for some time via routine terrorist ‘chatter' we monitor worldwide of a vague plot but it seemed that was all it was — words.

The head of MI5, Eliza Manningham-Buller, said recently that at any one time there are about 30 top-level Islamic terror plots under way in this country that we are fully committed combating.

"This was not one of them. It was far lower priority until that message from AQ in Pakistan in explicit terms, which activated this sleeper group into carrying out the attack.

"The logic from Pakistan to the Birmingham guys was simple. They'd wanted a summer spectacular, but one hadn't happened, and the airline plot had been defeated.

"They wanted something, anything — and this was the quickest and easiest plot they could think of that wouldn't require complex planning like, for instance, buying a ton of special fertiliser from scores of garden centres to make bombs.

"Ideally they wanted a Muslim soldier, preferably in uniform, and hopefully one who had served in Iraq or Afghanistan.

"They didn't look for one home on leave, as has been suggested. In fact there is a military base in the Birmingham area where some troops live with their families in army houses on estates mixed in with ordinary civilian housing.

"We monitored suspects 24/7 and saw them begin scouring the streets there simply looking for a Muslim face in a uniform."

Around 700 counter-terrorist detectives from Scotland Yard and MI5 agents from London, Wales and Manchester poured into Birmingham to help local anti-terror cops.

MI5 discovered barely 100 Muslim servicemen had served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Of those about 20 lived in the Midlands.

The source added: "They never got to the point of finding a specific Muslim target, though we spotlighted two most likely victims and gave them specific protection in case the gang made a kidnap bid."

A Ministry of Defence source revealed: "Because they'd failed to target an individual Muslim, AQ back in Pakistan got impatient.

"Last weekend the security services discovered another message had been brought to Birmingham which ordered the suspects to strike immediately - and if they couldn't find a Muslim squaddie, simply snatch any serviceman or woman off the street.

"After that we couldn't allow the police to wait any longer. Protecting a small group of soldiers and their families 24/7 is one thing, particularly as they were doing it in secret.

"But the danger of anyone in the armed forces—man or woman, black, white, Muslim or Chinese—being taken off the street like this to be beheaded on film was another.

"They couldn't put protective surveillance around them all. So we insisted it be brought to an end and the raids began."