Libya’s Lesson for Iran: Beware of Rapprochement


Libya’s Lesson for Iran: Beware of Rapprochement

 

By Dan Glazebrook

Britain and the US used the so-called “rapprochement” with Gaddafi’s Libya to cultivate a fifth column and prepare the ground for war

Britain and the US used the so-called “rapprochement” with Gaddafi’s Libya to cultivate a fifth column and prepare the ground for war

Three years ago, in late October 2011, the world witnessed the final defeat of the Libyan Jamahiriya – the name by which the Libyan state was known until overthrown in 2011, meaning literally the “state of the masses” – in the face of a massive onslaught from NATO, its regional allies and local collaborators.

It took seven eight months for the world’s most powerful military alliance – with a combined military spending of just under $1 trillion per year – to fully destroy the Jamahiriya (a state with a population the size of Wales) and it took a joint British-French-Qatari special-forces operation to finally WIN control of the capital. In total, 10,000 strike sorties were rained down on Libya, tens of thousands killed and injured, and the country left a battleground for hundreds of warring factions, armed to the teeth with weapons, either looted from state armouries or provided directly by NATO and its allies. Britain, France and the US had led a war which had effectively transformed a peaceful, prosperous African country into a textbook example of a “failed state.”

Yet the common image of Libya in the months and years leading up to the invasion was that of a state that had “come in from the cold” and was now enjoying friendly relations with the West. Tony Blair’s famous embrace of Gaddafi in his tent in 2004 was said to have ushered in a new period of “rapprochement” with Western companies rushing to do business in the oil-rich African state, and Gaddafi’s abandonment of a nuclear deterrent apparently indicative of the new spirit of trust and cooperation.

Yet this image was largely a myth. Yes, sanctions were lifted and diplomatic relations restored; but this did not represent any newfound trust and friendship. Gaddafi himself never changed his opinion that the forces of old and new colonialism remained bitter enemies of African unity and independence, and for their part, the US, Britain and France continued to resent the assertiveness and independence of Libyan foreign policy under Gaddafi’s leadership. The African Oil Policy Initiative Group (AOPIG) – an elite US think tank comprising congressmen, military officers and energy industry lobbyists – warned in 2002 that the influence of “adversaries such as Libya” would only grow unless the US significantly increased its military presence on the continent. Yet, despite “rapprochement,” Gaddafi remained a staunch opponent of such a presence, as noted with anxiety in frequent diplomatic cables from the US Embassy. One, for example, from 2009, noted that “the presence of non-African military elements in Libya or elsewhere on the continent” was almost a “neuralgic issue” for Gaddafi. Another cable from 2008 quoted a pro-Western Libyan government official as saying that “there will be no real economic or political reform in Libya until al-Gaddafi passes from the political scene” which would “not happen while Gaddafi is alive,” hardly the image of a man bending to the will of the West. Gaddafi had clearly not been moved by the flattery towards Libya (or “appropriate deference” as another US Embassy cable put it) that was much in evidence during the period of “rapprochement.” Indeed, at the Arab League summit in March 2008, he warned the assembled heads of state that, following the execution of Saddam Hussein, a former “close friend” of the US, “in the future, it’s going to be your turn too…Even you, the friends of America – no, I will say we, we the friends of America – America may approve of our hanging one day.”

So much for a new period of trust and co-operation. Whilst business deals were being signed, Gaddafi remained implacably opposed to the US and European military presence on the continent (as well as leading the fight to reduce their economic presence) and understood well that this might cost him his life. The US too understood this, and despite their outward flattery, behind the scenes were worried and resentful.

Thus, the so-called rapprochement period was anything but. The US continued to remain hostile to the independent spirit of Libya – as evidenced most obviously by Gaddafi’s hostility to the presence of US and European military forces in Africa – and it now seems that they and the British used this period to prepare the ground for the war that eventually took place in 2011.

The US, for example, used their newfound access to Libyan officials to cultivate relations with those who would become their key local allies during the war. Leaked diplomatic cables show that pro-Western Libyan Justice Minister Mustafa Abdul-Jalil arranged covert meetings between US and Libyan government officials that bypassed the usual official channels and were therefore “under the radar” of the foreign ministry and central government. He was also able to speed up the prisoner release programme that led to the release of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group insurgents who ultimately acted as NATO’s shock troops during the 2011 war. The head of the LIFG – al-Qaeda’s FRANCHISE in Libya – eventually became head of Tripoli’s military council, whilst Abdul-Jalil himself became head of the “Transitional National Council,” that was installed by NATO following the fall of the Jamahiriya.

Another key figure groomed by the US in the years preceding the invasion, was Mahmoud Jibril, head of the National Economic Development Board from 2007, who arranged six US training programmes for Libyan diplomats, many of whom subsequently resigned and sided with the US and Britain once the rebellion and invasion got underway.

Finally, the security and intelligence co-operation that was an element of the “rapprochement” period was used to provide the CIA and MI6 with an unprecedented level of information about both Libyan security forces and opposition elements they could cultivate that would prove invaluable for the conduct of the war.

Thus rapprochement, whilst appearing to be an improvement in relations, may actually be a “long game” to lay the groundwork for naked aggression, by building up intelligence and sounding out possible collaborators, effectively building up a fifth column within the state itself. This is what the neo-conservatives in the US Congress opposing Obama’s “thaw” in Iranian relations apparently fail to understand. Thankfully, it is likely that the Iranians understand it perfectly well.

 – Dan Glazebrook is a political writer specialising in Western foreign policy. He is author of Divide and Ruin: The West’s Imperial Strategy in an Age of Crisis.

Photo: Moamer Gaddafi addresses delegates during the 12th African Union summit at the United Nations Headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa on 4 Feb, 2009 (AFP)

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A sick joke!: U.S. and allies threaten sanctions in Libya


A sick joke!: U.S. and allies threaten sanctions in Libya

Libya has been in a state of upheaval since its former leader Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown and killed three years ago. (AFP/File)

Libya has been in a state of upheaval since its former leader Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown and killed three years ago. (AFP/File)

In a joint statement issued late Saturday by the governments of the US, UK, Germany, France and Italy, the group threatened sanctions against violent parties in Libya if a ceasefire and negotiation process is not implemented. **(I would suggest that these governments mind their own business and leave Libya alone. We are cleaning their mess, so they have no right what so ever to even make a comment or implement or condemn or even advise. They were the ones who brought chaos to Libya and left us Libyans to collect the pieces.)

“We stand ready to use individual sanctions in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2174 against those who threaten the peace, stability or security of Libya or obstruct or undermine the political process,” the statement said. ****(You can shout and throw tantrums as much as you want and do as many sanctions as you want WE KNOW YOUR GAME AND YOU ARE NOT SCARING US, INTIMIDATING US OR BRAKING US…. WE ARE UNITED AND THAT IS SOMETHING YOU DO NOT WANT.)

The resolution was unanimously adopted by the five permanent members of the Security Council, and all 10 rotating members on August 27. It calls for an end to the fighting between the government and multiple rebel groups, an inclusive dialogue, and prior notice regarding weapons transfers.

In Saturday’s statement, the group said they “strongly condemn the ongoing violence in Libya and call for an immediate cessation of hostilities.

“We are particularly dismayed that after MEETINGS in Ghadames and Tripoli, parties have not respected calls for a ceasefire,” they noted. *****(You are dismayed? oh poor you, what a problem we have caused you!!!! its your proxies who did not respect the cease-fire, NOT US. BUT WE ARE NOT STUPID TO SIT THERE AND NOT TO SHOOT BACK….)

“We condemn the crimes of Ansar al-Sharia entities, and the ongoing violence in communities across Libya, including Tripoli and its environs. Libya’s hard-fought freedom is at risk if Libyan and international terrorist groups are allowed to use Libya as a safe haven,” the statement said. *****(They condemn their proxies & allies  really? Well if they want to cease-fire they should stop financing them so they would stop doing any further atrocities. We have the proof that they are the ones who are financing them through Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, some of the prisoners of Ansar Sharia confessed so who are they condemning again???? Libya did not fight for its freedom because it had its freedom with the Jamahiryia, you the west came along with your no-fly zone and you started bombing all the Libyan infrastructure, hospitals, mosques, innocent civilians and mostly children, the great man river, you bombed Libya to the stone age so that you the west could rebuild it by stealing our resources, you murdered in cold blood the president of the country and his son and showed it world-wide the gruesome murder, you helped the foreign mercenaries which you paid and trained to gain power the same way you are doing now in Iraq and Syria; so please explain to me which freedom did we fight? You wanted us to lay down and die and allow these terrorists that you so much condemn to become a government for the few like you have in your countries. So please when you talk about freedom be more respectful because from the moment you toppled Qaddafi our freedom stopped.)

“We are also concerned by (ex-military general) Khalifa Hifter’s attacks in Benghazi. We consider that Libya’s security challenges and the fight against terrorist organizations can only be sustainably addressed by regular armed forces under the control of a central authority, which is ACCOUNTABLE to a democratic and inclusive parliament,” the group affirmed.  *****(Your concern about your CIA SPY ASSET Haftar really???? When he tried to do the first coup de tat and failed with the money of USA/U.A.E/SAUDI ARABIA he took refuge at the house of the Ambassador Deborah Jones of the United States, he is doing your bidding YOU are playing in both sides  so please stop the hypocrisy we know your game. From where does Hafter gets his ammunition? planes? and the finance? but from you of course….  You have the audacity to tell us how to run our own country after the mess you left! What government are you talking about? The one that was not elected democratically? it was forced down our throats, well we showed you that its unacceptable and we have chosen democratically  our own government together with the Honourable tribes  which you call terrorists. This government is cleaning your mess.)

The five nations said they “fully support” the work of the UN’s Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG), Bernardino Leon, “and urge all parties to cooperate with his efforts.” Leon is the head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), which was established in 2011 “at the request of the Libyan authorities following six months of armed conflict to support the country’s new transitional authorities in their post-conflict efforts.

“After the Ghadames and Tripoli MEETINGS, negotiations should be pursued with goodwill and adopting inclusive policies, with the aim of finding an agreement on the location of the House of Representatives elected last June 25th and laying the foundations for a Government of National Unity,” the group said****(There is no way that the legal Government and the Honourable tribes will sit down at the same table with the terrorists and discuss of National Unity…. All the Tribes are united and all prisoners are free, so we have already a NATIONAL UNITY what remains is to kick out the FOREIGN MILITIAS who are your allies…)

“We agree that there is no military solution to the Libyan crisis,” they added. “We stress the importance that the international community acts in a united manner on Libya on the basis of the principles and understandings agreed at recent meetings, namely in New York and Madrid.” *****(Well your ultimate goal is to divide as into 3 pieces FRANCE GETS THE PART OF CYRINAICA, ENGLAND GETS THE PART OF TRIPOLITANIA AND YOU AMERICA GETS THE BEST PIECE FEZZAN. Stop trying to manipulate everything to your advantage we are sick and tired of your nagging and incompetence. Put this in your psychopathic minds WE WILL BE THE FIRST COUNTRY IN HISTORY THAT YOU DID NOT SUCCEED TO PUT YOUR PUPPET GOVERNMENT AND WE WILL KICK YOUR ASSES OUT OF OUR COUNTRY BECAUSE WE ARE UNITED.)

The statement also warned against interference from outside parties, and urged “all partners to refrain from actions which might exacerbate current divisions in order to let Libyans address the current crisis within the framework of UN-facilitated talks.” According to UN figures, some 287,000 people have had to flee due to the fighting in and around the cities of Benghazi and Tripoli, leading to a “critical” humanitarian situation. ****(Who are you to dictate us what to do? You should worry about the EBOLA virus that start hitting your countries and leave us alone to deal and clean the mess you left.)

Libya has been in a state of upheaval since its former leader Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown and killed three years ago

United troops trying to take back Tripoli


United troops trying to take back Tripoli

TRIPOLI: Libya’s internationally-recognised prime minister said yesterday that military forces in the strife-torn country had united to try to recapture Tripoli and the second city Benghazi from Islamist militias.

Abdullah Al Thani also expressed his frustration over a lack of support from the international community, calling for foreign weapons and assistance in the fight against the Islamists.

“All military forces have been placed under army command to liberate Tripoli and Benghazi soon, inshallah (God willing),” Thani told AFP in a telephone interview from the eastern town of Al Baida.

Since a 2011 revolution which toppled Libya’s longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi, interim authorities have failed to establish a regular army and had to rely on state-backed militias.

Former rebels who fought against Gaddafi have formed powerful militias and seized control of large parts of turmoil-gripped Libya over the past three years.

On Wednesday, retired general Khalifa Haftar launched an operation against Islamist militias in the eastern city of Benghazi with the backing of army units and civilians who have taken up arms.

The operation is “under the control of the regular army and the control of the government and the parliament,” said Thani.

An AFP count based on hospital sources in the city put the death toll in Benghazi at 66 since Haftar’s offensive began, including eight killed yesterday and four who died in a suicide attack the previous day.

Haftar launched a first, unsuccessful campaign against Islamists in the city back in May but failed to muster support from the authorities who accused the Gaddafi-era general of trying to mount a coup.

Before this week’s assault, Haftar’s forces had been steadily beaten back to a final redoubt at Benghazi’s airport, which has come under attack by Islamists since mid-September.

Thani’s government and parliament, elected on June 25, have taken refuge in the country’s east to escape Fajr Libya, a mainly Islamist coalition which seized control of Tripoli at the end of August.

The fall of the capital followed a weeks-long battle with pro-government militias from the town of Zintan in western Libya.

Thani said the Zintan forces had also been placed under army command and joined regular units which aim to recapture the capital.

“All the forces have been placed under the command of the army to liberate Tripoli,” Thani said.

He branded Fajr Libya as “outlaws” who had set up an “illegitimate” parallel government and alleged the group was the armed wing of movements such the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist factions.

Unlike its predecessor, Libya’s new parliament is dominated by anti-Islamist lawmakers. AFP

Explaining the Meeting between some elders of Zintan and Misrata in Sabratha


Explaining the Meeting between some elders of Zintan and Misrata in Sabratha

Make no mistake these people who are a couple of 100 people are a partial tribe of the Zintan and are NOT with the other part of the Tribes of Zintan who have Saif al Islam Qaddafi.

The western media, Al Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood, Ansar Sharaia, LIFG or as they are called now Daash and Libya Dawn(shits) are using the face book and Twitter social media so that they can misinform the public and all Libyans who have sworn allegiance with the Honorable Tribes its distasteful to try to destroy the image or the conquests of the Honorable Tribes.

This meeting that took place in Sabratha the so-called elders of Zintan are Muslim Brotherhood and Ansar Sharaia very extreme which suits of course the above mentioned terrorist groups together with the USA Deborah Jones ambassador.  (According to the media center the meeting done in Sabratha included  partial elders of Zintan and Misrata who tried to sponsor an initiative of the Municipal Council the leaders of the rebels Sabratha boat house Tallil, in an attempt to heal the rift between the two cities.)

Here are the photos taken by Ruseifa news:

03

As you can see from the photo they do look like the Takfirs we know

02

Wahhabis, extremists you name it, its shown in this picture.

01

When the Jalabia is shorter it means you are a Wahhabi, beards which are not taken care (bushy, uncut etc) are extremists

Spies, Lies & Whistleblowers: MI5, MI6 and the Shayler Affair by Annie Machon


Spies, Lies & Whistleblowers: MI5, MI6 and the Shayler Affair by Annie Machon

I desperately wanted to change MI5 so that it performed a useful job well and lawfully, but I did not then feel that I would have been able to do that either from outside the organisation or from a lower level job. In every potential situation, I therefore came up against a dead end. To complain would mark you out as a troublemaker. To leave took you outside any potential ability to alter things. — David Shayler

But I soon realised that people regarded you with suspicion if you asked too many questions, so I learned to keep quiet … I knew that open protest was not likely to to be successful. If one got a reputation as a revolutionary, one would be regarded as suspect and written off. — Dame Stella Rimington, former Director General MI5

I know all too well that I’m taking on the Establishment, but I am no traitor. All I am guilty off is exposing wrongdoing at the highest level. As a result of that my life has been changed irrevocably. This is not the prosecution of someone who has given away State secrets, but of someone who has embarrassed the Government. — David Shayler

You are working for an intelligence agency and you find it to be rotten to the core. What do you do: do you keep your head down and pretend not to notice what is going on all around you, do you raise your concerns with your superiors, or do you go public with what you know?

This was the dilemma facing David Shayler, an intelligence officer in MI5, the British internal intelligence agency. David Shayler took the riskiest option of the three and went public with what he knew, in doing so putting his life and freedom at risk.

MI5 and the government went on the offensive, doing their best to discredit David Shayler and the sordid tale he had to tell. Facing arrest and possible imprisonment, David Shayler fled to France.

In the meantime, Annie Machon, David’s girlfriend and herself an MI5 officer, appalled at the treatment of David, went public too to say that what he was telling was the truth.

And if that was not enough, Richard Tomlinson, an MI6 officer, spoke out at the abuses and lack of accountability at MI6.

David Shayler voluntarily returned from France to face trial. He was one of the first to try to make use of the Human Rights Act, which should guarantee the right to a fair hearing.

Unfortunately it was anything but. What David Shayler faced was a political show trial. He was even gagged and not allowed to speak in his own defence.

Writing several years after they first went public, Annie Machon documents in Spies, Lies & Whistleblowers: MI5, MI6 and the Shayler Affair what all the furore was about.

David and Annie witnessed at first hand:

  • how MI5 failed to foil at least four major IRA terrorist attacks

  • that MI5 compiled dossiers on British citizens for holding dissident political views

  • a blind eye turned to a known Libyan terrorist organising terror networks in the UK

  • illegal persecution of an innocent journalist

  • MI6 funding of an Al-Qaeda coup in Libya to topple and assassinate Colonel Gaddafi

In Spycatcher Peter Wright wrote of how MI5 ‘bugged and burgled its way across London’. Writing a generation later, Annie Machon shows that not a lot has changed: drunken officers who lose sensitive files, turf wars between the various agencies, turf wars between different sections within MI5, bureaucratic bungling, cavalier attitude to human rights, blatant lying to Ministers and an oversight committee, dirty tricks and smear campaigns against perceived enemies, enemies of the intelligence agencies that is, not enemies of the state, etc etc.

There were so many cock-ups in dealing with the Provisional IRA that it is a wonder they were ever defeated. This bodes ill for defeating Islamic terrorism. Irish terrorists were at least ‘decent’ terrorists. They shared the same values as us, they gave a warning when they planted a bomb, they were not intent on killing people, whereas, hate-filled Muslim terrorists are intent on slaughtering the maximum number of innocent civilians.

Prior to working on counter-terrorism, Annie and David were working on counter-subversion, monitoring and infiltrating fringe groups like SWP, Communist Party of Great Britain, and the anarchist group Class War. It is easy therefore to see why the pair were made less than welcome when they attended a fringe meeting at the Anarchist Bookfair 2005. But, they did not have to attend, and it in no way justifies the smear campaign that has been running against them. Annie describes some of the dirty tricks that were run, and the question has to be asked: are the smear campaigns that are being run by allegedly dissident groups, less the lunatic fringe and more dirty tricks by front organisations, or dissident groups that have been infiltrated and hijacked, as was Class War? [Anarchist Bookfair 2005]

Highlighting the abuses of human rights, that monitoring political dissent, is not what the intelligence services should be doing, was not guaranteed to enhance one’s career prospects.

David Shayler was prosecuted because he caused embarrassment, and to serve as an example to others who may be tempted to speak out. Is this what caused Dr David Kelly to take his own life (assuming he did and was not killed to silence him), an honourable man who spoke out against the lies on the illegal war with Iraq?

There is a confusion between ‘damage to national security’ and ‘harm to the national interest’. The former is easy to interpret, the latter is open to abuse, and too often is interpreted as embarrassment to those in power, and believe it or not not, there is a security classification of ‘causing embarrassment to HMG’.

We saw this in the Shayler Affair, and are seeing it again with the infamous memo where George W Bush allegedly wished to bomb the Qatar offices of Aljazeera. That part is believable, less believable is that Tony Blair acted to dissuade Bush.

We have here parallels with the Shayler Affair where a a Civil Servant and a Parliamentary Researcher are to be prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act as their actions are deemed ‘prejudicial to the national interest’. But whose interest is that, as surely is it not in our interest, as a democratic society, to be told that the supposed leader of the free world, was contemplating bombing a TV channel in a friendly country, but was dissuaded by his comrade-in-arms in war crimes, the odious Blair?

The suppression of free speech ‘in the national interest’ is reminiscent of acts carried out ‘in the good of the people’ so favoured by totalitarian regimes, so no surprise it finds favour with Tony Blair.

The mainstream media as usual are a disgrace. They reported as ‘facts’ the anonymous unattributable briefings on the Shayler Affair, but rarely checked with the principle actors the truth of what they were being told.

We have learnt recently that the Muslim terrorists involved in the Tube bombings in London on 7 July 2005, were known to the intelligence services, had travelled to terrorist training camps in Pakistan, had met known or suspected terrorists in the UK, were mixing with extremist Muslim clerics, but failed to keep tabs on them due to lack of resources.

Would this tragedy have happened if the appropriate resources had been found? Would resources have been available if they were not being squandered on monitoring political dissidents? Questions that the relatives of the dead should be asking, and demanding answers.

Since Tony Blair came to power, we have had a succession of Terrorists Acts, each more Draconian than its predecessor. What is this legislation for? Is it for dealing with real terrorists, or is it for dealing with political dissent, for clamping down on the domestic population?

Would we not be more successful in dealing with terrorists if we had more competent security agencies, rather than passed legislation whose only function is to suppress political dissent?

Anti-terror legislation was used for dealing with protests at the G8 Summit in Scotland in Summer 2005. It was invoked again Autumn 2005 to deal with an elderly gentleman who was manhandled out of the Neo-Labour Party Conference by a bunch of thugs for daring to shout out ‘rubbish’ at the government’s policy on Iraq during a speech by Jack ‘boot’ Straw. An elderly gentleman who had fled Nazi persecution in Europe.

When we tie in the abuses that we see all the time, the steady erosion of our civil rights in the name of the bogus ‘war on terror’, with with the abuses that Annie Machon has laid bare within the intelligence services, then we have every reason to be worried.

The off-the-record briefings and smear campaign run against Dr David Kelly were near identical to that run against David Shayler.

In the US, if someone breaks cover and blows the whistle, the administration shrugs and moves on. There may even be an independent inquiry, to which the whistleblower is invited to give evidence, the whistleblower is not prosecuted. ***(that was once upon a time the US took the advice of the UK and changed the law) In the UK, the whistleblower will be smeared in off-the-record briefings, probably prosecuted to serve as an example to others. If they try to give evidence, as David Shayler did to Tony Blair’s Intelligence and Security Committee, they will be ignored, or as we saw with David Kelly after his death, an inquiry will be launched which is nothing more than a cover-up and a whitewash. Having refused to hear evidence from David Shayler, members of the PM’s ISC went on to brief against him.

Lord Hutton, who on behalf of Tony Blair carried out the cover-up and whitewash on Dr David Kelly, was also one of the Law Lord who sat in judgment on David Shayler.

The difference between the US and the UK is that free speech is protected. Although this has started to change post-911 with the Patriot Act. Those who have spoken out regarding the 911 cover-up have been ignored, gagged or threatened, so even in the US the climate is changing for the worse. [see 9-11 Revealed]

Tony Blair is not satisfied with merely shooting the messenger, he also wants to shoot those who carry and repeat the message. In the Shayler Affair threats were issued against anyone who either tried to help or reported on what David Shayler was saying.

A former editor of Punch now has a criminal record for writing on the Shayler Affair, a student at Kingston University lost her course place after being arrested and detained for offering to mobilise public support for David Shayler when he was on the run from the authorities in France.

We are now seeing history repeat itself with threats against the media if they cover the infamous memo containing allegations that George W Bush wished to bomb the offices of Aljazeera in Qatar, a friendly country.

Annie Machon’s description of MI5 is one of incompetence and bureaucratic bungling. MI5 management that lie to Ministers and an oversight committee to cover up their incompetence and bungling. Competent officers leaving, leaving behind the failures who have nowhere else to go. Having once worked in a similar environment, my experience was very similar.

With MI6 it is more sinister. The picture painted of MI6 is that of an agency out of control. When not busy trying to kill people, MI6 is planting stories in its in-house newspaper The Daily Torygraph.

MI6 financed an Al-Qaeda plot to assassinate Colonel Gaddafi. Although the coup and assassination attempt failed, innocent civilian bystanders were nevertheless killed. But let us assume their hair-brained scheme had succeeded. If it had, Al-Qaeda would now be running Libya. Would the world have been a safer place?

One reason David and Annie went public on the MI6/Al-Qaeda plot was that they were one of the few who knew of the plot and feared the fate that later befell Dr David Kelly to silence them.

Violence begets violence. We see that all over the Middle East. We see it in Israeli-occupied Palestine, we see it in the illegally-occupied Iraq.

After the failed assassination and coup attempt, a different approach was tried with Colonel Gaddafi. Softly, softly diplomacy. As a result Colonel Gaddafi has come in from the cold, has given up any WMD programmes (assuming he ever had any), he is cooperating in the war on terrorism, and Libya is slowly, slowly moving towards democracy.

Contrast the Libyan diplomatic approach with the illegal war and occupation of Iraq.

A well written and researched book and Annie Machon should be complimented for having had the courage to write it. A pleasant and realistic change from the breathy, jolly-hockey-sticks account we have of MI5 in Open Secret by Dame Stella Rimington, former Director General MI5, an account where it is jolly good fun to bug and burgle one’s way across London and steam open other people’s post.

I still thought the essence of the Cold War and spies and stuff was fun. You know, going around listening to other people’s telephones and opening their mail and stuff.

We expect the establishment not to forgive Annie and David, and that has been their experience. If they keep their heads down, they are left alone. If they speak out, then they receive undue attention.

What they fear is ending up like Dr David Kelly, the man who exposed the lies behind the illegal war with Iraq. A man who was found dead in a wood with his wrists slashed. And for that reason they are careful to protect some of their sources, as they do not wish to see them end the same way.

In this they are not alone. Gerald James was the boss of Astra, once a firework company and the company that provided the propellant for the Iraqi super-gun. When Gerald James spoke out, he found his life was under threat. [see Gerald James, In the Public Interest, Warner Books, 1996]

All this is understandable. What is less understandable and deeply regrettable, are the attacks on the integrity of these two coming from within the dissident community. The only possible explanation, apart from the usual lunatic fringe, is that those making the attacks are agents of the state doing their best to destroy the credibility of those who have dared speak out at their former employers.

Highly recommended for anyone who wants to see a little light shed into the deeper recesses of of our intelligence agencies and wants to better understand how our civil rights are being eroded.

Annie Machon has written a devastating critique of our intelligence agencies and the need for reform. Grounds if nothing else for a public inquiry into their operation.

We need an intelligence agency that is there to protect democracy, that is accountable, not one which is there to enslave us.