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Tony Blair: MI5 Agent?


John Simkin
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The current edition of Lobster Magazine includes a quote from a MI5 officer that the publisher removed from Anne Machon and David Shayler's book, Spies, Lies and Whistleblowers:

"Blair was recruited early on his career, around the time he stood in the Beaconsfield by-election in 1982. He was just the sort of agent MI5 wanted at the time, a man who appeared to be committed to the Labour Party but who in fact was - to use Thatcher's phrase - "one of us" ... MI5 terminated Blair in the the late 1980s when it was downgrading its study of subversion and Blair was rising to the higher ranks of the Labour Party."

This helps to explain why Blair was originally a member of CND. Under Thatcher, CND was seen as a subversive organization and as a result a large number of MI5 agents joined the CND to spy on them. It also helps to explain why Blair is so keen to sign a new contract for Trident before he leaves office.

http://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/

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This article raises important issues about Blair's relationship with the intelligence services. It has received little publicity in the UK but hopefully the actual testimony will now be published in the world's media.

http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/article2076163.ece

Whistleblower that ministers tried to muzzle

By Anne Penketh and Andy McSmith

Published: 15 December 2006

Carne Ross wrestled with his conscience for three more months after he secretly submitted evidence to the Butler committee into the use of pre-war intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

Beset by long-standing private doubts about the Government's Iraq policy which he had implemented for four years in New York, he had previously drafted "about six" resignation letters in the past which he never sent.

But after emailing his testimony to the Butler committee from Kosovo where he was on secondment, Mr Ross realised that he had probably jeopardised his 15-year career. After agonising for another three months, he sent another email in September 2004, this time terminating his employment with the Foreign Office. He was 38.

Until then, he had been on the fast track to diplomatic glory, during a Foreign Office career which began in Bonn. In New York, where he worked from December 1997 to June 2002 as first secretary at the UK mission to the United Nations, he was responsible for Iraq policy.

It was a turbulent period, yet he still found time to take a playwriting course, which gave rise to his first play The Fox, performed in New York, in which a young peacekeeping officer is changed for ever after watching a massacre in a country bearing a striking resemblance to Bosnia.

After leaving the Foreign Office, Mr Ross established Independent Diplomat, which assists small, democratic countries with no experience in diplomacy to punch above their weight.

Mr Ross was back in the spotlight last month, following his revelation to the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee that he had testified to Butler, and that he was prepared to share the information. But he said: "I was advised by the lawyers of my union that I might be liable for prosecution under the Official Secrets Act if it was to become public."

Labour's Andrew Mackinley - a long-standing member of the awkward squad - did not agree. He insisted that if Mr Ross handed his own evidence over to a Commons committee, he would be protected from prosecution by parliamentary privilege.

But the committee chairman, Mike Gapes, a government loyalist, needed to think carefully before taking such a step. He tried to close the meeting with the matter undecided, but as it was breaking up, Mr Ross spoke again. "I have given it years of thought," he said. "This has been on my conscience for a very long time, and I was waiting for an opportunity under privilege to share my evidence to the Butler inquiry. I would be happy to share it with the committee."

The committee met again in closed session on 6 December. There are rumours that there was a fierce argument, but the outcome was a letter from the committee clerk to Mr Ross, asking for a copy of his evidence.

The next meeting, on Wednesday, was also held in secret, but again there were rumours of a ferocious argument. Whatever was said, the outcome was that in the morning, the evidence that had been kept secret for two-and-a-half years was available on the internet, at last.

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So what did Carne Ross tell the Butler Inquiry that he is being threatened with the Official Secrets Act if he told anybody else?

Here is an article that appeared in the New Zealand Herald today:

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cf...jectid=10415635

The British Government's case for going to war in Iraq has been torn apart by the publication of previously suppressed evidence that Prime Minister Tony Blair lied about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

An attack on Blair's justification by Carne Ross, Britain's key negotiator at the United Nations, has been under wraps because he was threatened with being charged with breaching the Official Secrets Act.

Ross, 40, makes it clear Blair must have known Saddam Hussein possessed no WMDs. He said that during his posting to the UN, "at no time did HMG [Her Majesty's Government] assess that Iraq's WMD (or any other capability) posed a threat to the UK or its interests".

He also reveals British officials warned US diplomats that bringing down the Iraqi dictator would lead to chaos.

"I remember on several occasions the UK team stating this view in terms during our discussions with the US (who agreed)."

He claims "inertia" in the Foreign Office and the "inattention of key ministers" combined to stop Britain carrying out any sustained attempt to address sanction-busting by Iraq, an approach which could have provided an alternative to war.

The Foreign Office had attempted to prevent the evidence being made public, but it has been published by the Commons Select Committee on Foreign Affairs after MPs sought assurances it would not breach the Official Secrets Act.

Ross told the inquiry "there was no intelligence evidence of significant holdings of CW [chemical warfare], BW [biological warfare] or nuclear material" held by the Iraqi dictator before the invasion.

"There was, moreover, no intelligence or assessment during my time in the job that Iraq had any intention to launch an attack against its neighbours or the UK or the US," he added.

Ross' evidence directly challenges assertions by Blair that the war was legally justified because Saddam possessed WMDs which could be "activated" within 45 minutes and posed a threat to British interests.

This is what Daily India had to say today:

http://www.dailyindia.com/show/93487.php/B...-possessed-WMDs

London, Dec 15 (ANI): Former UK negotiator at the UN, Carne Ross, who helped negotiate several UN security resolutions on Iraq, has challenged the "legality" of the Iraq war, saying that before joining the US forces for waging the war, British Prime Minister Blair must have known that Saddam Hussein didn't possess any WMDs.

In the evidence delivered to the Lord Butler inquiry, which investigated intelligence blunders in the run-up to the conflict, Ross revealed that "Blair had lied" over Saddam Hussein's WMDs.

Ross' evidence directly challenged the assertions earlier made by Blair that the war was legally justified because Saddam possessed WMDs that could be "activated" within 45 minutes and posed a threat to British interests.

Ross, whose evidence had been kept under wraps for the reason that their publication they would breach the Official Secrets Act, revealed that UK officials had on several occasions warned their US counterparts that war on Iraq would lead to serious consequences.

In his deposition before the Butler inquiry, he reportedly said: "There was no intelligence evidence of significant holdings of CW (chemical warfare), BW (biological warfare) or nuclear material held by the Iraqi dictator before the invasion. There was, moreover, no intelligence or assessment during my time in the job that Iraq had any intention to launch an attack against its neighbours or the UK or the US."

Ross (40) was considered a "highly rated diplomat", but he resigned because of his misgivings about the legality of the war. He still fears the threat of action under the Official Secrets Act, reported The Independent.

He said that during his posting to the UN, "at no time did HMG [Her Majesty's Government] assess that Iraq's WMD (or any other capability) posed a threat to the UK or its interests."

Ross revealed that it was a commonly held view among British officials dealing with Iraq that any threat by Saddam Hussein had been "effectively contained".

In the testimony revealed today, Ross also revealed that British officials warned US diplomats that bringing down the Iraqi dictator would lead to the chaos the world has since witnessed.

"I remember on several occasions the UK team stating this view in terms during our discussions with the US (who agreed). At the same time, we would frequently argue when the US raised the subject, that 'regime change' was inadvisable, primarily on the grounds that Iraq would collapse into chaos," the paper quoted him as saying.

According to it, the British Foreign Office had attempted to "prevent the evidence being made public", but it has now been published by the Commons Select Committee on Foreign Affairs after MPs sought assurances from the Foreign Office that it would not breach the Official Secrets Act. (ANI)

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That's interesting. As we are aware, Peter Wright also faced prosecution under the Official Secrets Act for SPYCATCHER.

Perhaps he should come to Australia and tell all (assuming there is more to tell). Then again, Johnny is in power so.....

Edited by Evan Burton
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