Documents detailing an alleged tapped conversation between President Mohamed Waheed, his daughter Widhadh Waheed and her California-based husband, former Yahoo! executive Jeremy Goodrich, are circulating on Maldivian social media networks.
The documents (page 1, page 2), attributed to the UK’s electronic eavesdropping agency GCHQ, are stamped ‘TOP SECRET STRAP 1’ and conform to the format of similar documents leaked during the recent NSA/GCHQ Edward Snowden scandal.
Official verification of the documents is impossible given the British government’s policy of not commenting on leaked classified material. A spokesperson for the British High Commission in Colombo stated “we do not comment on intelligence matters”. A spokesperson for GCHQ likewise told Minivan News, “in line with longstanding practice we never comment on intelligence matters.”
The document refers to the ‘Maldives June 2013 crisis’, and summarises an alleged 230 minute conversation between Waheed, his daughter and son-in-law, apparently intercepted on June 12.
According to the summary:
Mr Goodrich proposes concession to Adalath party in terms of allowing more Sharia law in addition to proposed punishments
Mr Goodrich suggests temporary martial law enforced from Aug 2013 to end of Dec 2013
Mr Goodrich advises the president on a number of campaign strategies, including addition of alien workers as temporary wards for voting purposes
Mr Goodrich advises on smear campaign against President Mohamed Nasheed and PPM party candidate Mr Yameen A Gayoom
Mrs Goodrich [Waheed’s daughter] suggest using social networks with marketing firm Rooster to “astroturf” a new “massive grassroot” support structure aimed at “winning hearts” of Maldivian citizens
Mr Goodrich suggests such efforts have failed previously and suggests exercising executive power
Mrs Goodrich and Mr Goodrich discuss pros and cons of both systems and come to conclusion on a hybrid system – as need arise
Dr Waheed states other coalition partners might be leaving, including DQP Party Leader Dr Hassan Saeed
Mr Goodrich asks if concessions could be given to DQP
Mrs Goodrich informs that DQP is not a long term risk and could be seen as collateral.
Dr Waheed states Adalath might join either PPM or JP
Mr Goodrich clarifies Adalath strength and suggests launching campaign to weaken leadership
Various discussion of proposed temporary martial law followed, ending with funding discussion followed by ‘NRTR’ discussions.
The document refers to an “embedded” source in the Maldives, whose identity is blacked out: “Malunet continues to furnish with highly detailed, high-value, sensitive reports on target and power structure and variances in a timely manner.”
According to the report, the “key focus has been on [the] President’s immediate power distribution and structure”. It highlights as of secondary concern a “flow of funds” to Norway via Italy.
“Funds transferred via IC/42 were intercepted at control point in Italy and further in Norway. A sum of USD 2,500,000.00 was noted in metadata. Later deposited into CHASE Bank, California, with IF: 4201840-22 and IC: 401-CHASE,” the report notes.
The reference to ‘Rooster’ possibly refers to Rooster Creative Public Relations Ltd, which Waheed’s new government engaged in March 2012 to combat widespread negative headlines in the wake of the previous month’s power transfer, protests and police violence.
This attempt did receive some coverage in the British Media, with prominent columnist for the Daily Telegraph, Oliver Smith, writing, “The moral implications of visiting the Maldives have been called into question following the downfall of Mr Nasheed.”
Saeed, who was appointed Waheed’s Special Advisor following February 7 2012’s controversial transfer of power, resigned and joined Gasim Ibrahim’s Jumhoree Party (JP) in what one coalition source described as a sudden and unexpected departure.
Saeed meanwhile in a statement accused Waheed of failing to take advice from coalition partners in favour of “family members and expatriates”.
President’s Office Media Secretary Masood Imad told Minivan News he was unaware of any leaked documents or such a conversation, but dismissed the suggestion that President Waheed would take advice from his children “on political matters” over his own views and those of First Lady Ilham Hussain.
Masood questioned the credibility of the documents, describing their publication on social media as being “one of those things” and comparing it to spurious pre-2008 election allegations raised against former President Nasheed, which alleged he was conspiring with Salisbury Cathedral in the UK to blow up the Islamic Centre and build a ‘victory church’.
Minivan News has contacted Jeremy Goodrich seeking to confirm whether the conversation occurred and clarify the context of his suggestions to President Waheed, and was awaiting a response at time of press.
According to his twitter profile, the former Global (Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Leader for tech giant Yahoo! describes himself as a “bestselling self published author and digital mercenary” who is “passionately interested in a better tomorrow” and works “at the junction of social good and business profit.”
On professional networking website LinkedIn, he notes that his career highlights so far “include winning and or being nominated for prestigious marketing awards at large companies, being quoted in the Wall Street Journal on behalf of a startup I co-founded and being able to semi-retire to the tropics, travel and reflect on my career for more than a year.”
Goodrich has also self-published a 70-page novella on Amazon, illustrated by his wife Widhadh Waheed, titled ‘The Vampire Hangover’, about a martial artist who “starts his morning in a duel with a master swordsman. Afterwards he gets attacked by vampires, abused and beaten.”
A prospective sequel, ‘Ninja Vampire Hunter’, promises to include “a vampire, a djinni and a ninja, not to mention a cat fight filled with side splitting, ironically crafted innuendo.”