UK Spy Warns of Iraq War Disclosures

Exclusive: For more than a decade since the Iraq invasion, President Bush, Prime Minister Blair and their senior aides have stuck to the story of innocent intelligence mistakes and evaded accountability. But the code of silence may crack if top British spy Richard Dearlove tells his story, says ex-UK intelligence officer Annie Machon.

By Annie Machon

In a surprising statement last weekend, the former head of Great Britain’s foreign intelligence-gathering agency, MI6, suggested that he might break the code of omerta around the fraudulent intelligence case – including the so-called “dodgy dossier” – that was used as the pretext for the Iraq War in 2003.

Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of MI6 and current Master of Pembroke College, Cambridge, contacted the UK’s Mail on Sundaynewspaper to state that he had written his account of the intelligence controversy in the run-up to the U.S./UK invasion of Iraq and indicated that he might release it in the near future.

Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of Great Britain’s MI-6 intelligence agency.

With the much-delayed official Chilcot Enquiry into the case for war about to be published, Dearlove is obviously aware that he might be blamed for “sexing up” the intelligence and former Prime Minister Tony Blair might once again evade all responsibility.

In the months before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, the British government produced a couple of reports “making a case for war,” as Major General Michael Laurie said in his evidence to the enquiry in 2011: “We knew at the time that the purpose of the [September] dossier was precisely to make a case for war, rather than setting out the available intelligence, and that to make the best out of sparse and inconclusive intelligence the wording was developed with care.”

The first such report, the September Dossier (2002), is the one most remembered, as this did indeed “sex up” the case for war as the late Iraqi weapons inspector David Kelly revealed. It also included the fraudulent intelligence about Saddam Hussein trying to acquire uranium from Niger, a bogus claim that President George W. Bush and other U.S. officials cited with great effect.

Most memorably in the UK, the dossier led to the ”Brits 45 minutes from Doom” front-page headline in Rupert Murdoch’s The Sun newspaper, no less, on the eve of the crucial war vote in Parliament. The claim was that Iraq’s Saddam Hussein could deliver deadly germ warfare against British troops and tourists in Cyrus in only 45 minutes.

Also, just six weeks before the attack on Iraq, the so-called “dodgy dossier” was presented by British spies and politicians as an ominous warning of the Iraqi threat, although it was later revealed that the report was based largely on a 12-year-old PhD thesis culled from the Internet, but containing nuggets of raw MI6 intelligence.

Interestingly from a British legal position, it appears that Prime Minister Blair and his spin doctor Alastair Campbell released this report without the prior written permission of the head of MI6, which means that they appear to be in breach of the UK’s draconian secrecy law, the Official Secrets Act (1989).

Thus was made the dubious case for war with Iraq, lies leading to countless Iraq deaths (with some estimates over a million) and many more wounded, maimed, and displaced, yet no one held to account.

Downing Street Memo

Subsequently, there was also the leak of the notorious Downing Street Memo in which Sir Richard Dearlove was reported as saying that the intelligence and facts were being “fixed” around a predetermined war policy.

On July 23, 2002, at a meeting at 10 Downing Street, Dearlove briefed Prime Minister Blair and other senior officials on his talks with his American counterpart, CIA Director George Tenet, in Washington three days before. In the draft minutes of that briefing, which were leaked to the London Times and published on May 1, 2005, Dearlove explained that President Bush had decided to attack Iraq and the war was to be “justified by the conjunction of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.”

While then-Foreign Secretary Jack Straw pointed out that the case was “thin,” Dearlove explained matter-of-factly, “The intelligence and facts are being fixed around the policy.”

There is no sign in the minutes that anyone hiccupped — much less demurred — at ”making a case for war” in this dishonest fashion, let alone objected that Blair and Bush were preparing to launch a “war of aggression” outlawed by the post-World War II Nuremberg Tribunal and the UN Charter.

The evidence showed that the UK’s top spies aided their political masters by disseminating to the public raw intelligence and forged documents, with disastrous consequences for the people of Iraq and the world.

Yet Dearlove long has remained unrepentant. Even as recently as 2011, after his retirement and his receipt of many official honors, he continued to deny culpability. When questioned about the Downing Street Memo during an address to the prestigious Cambridge Union Society by the fearless and fearsomely bright student, Silkie Carlo, Dearlove tried grandiloquently to brush her aside with the excuse that his remarks were taken out of context..

But were the remarks in the Memo really taken out of context? The context of the Memo — and the larger historical context of what the world now knows about the fraudulent case for war with Iraq — would suggest that the comments were entirely in context, that the intelligence was being “fixed” around a preexisting decision to invade.

So Dearlove could potentially have saved many lives across the Middle East if he had gone public then, rather than waiting until the belated Chilcot report might sully his reputation. Would it not be far preferable if these servants of the Crown would actually take a stand while they are in a position to influence world events and prevent disasters like the invasion of Iraq?

Doing so now, purely to preserve his reputation after failing to act earlier to preserve the lives of innocent Iraqis, is even more “ethically flexible” than you would normally expect of an average MI6 intelligence officer. Perhaps that is why Dearlove floated to the top of the organization.

But Dearlove is right to be worried about how history and Chilcot will judge him. These intelligence failures and lies have been picked over and speculated about for years. They are now an open secret. However, finally threatening to spill the beans if he is harshly criticized smacks of desperation.

Dearlove is quoted as saying that he has no plans to breach the Official Secrets Act by publishing his memoirs. But by publishing an account of the run-up to the Iraq War, he would be equally guilty of a breach of the Official Secrets Act. It has been established under UK law that any unauthorized disclosure crosses the “clear bright line” of the law.

And Dearlove seems well aware of this – his original plan was for his account to be made available after his death. I can see why he would plan it that way. First, he would escape prosecution, and second, he could protect his reputation for posterity. But an earlier disclosure by Dearlove could put Blair and Bush back in the spotlight.

The official motto of the UK spies is “Regnum Defende” – defense of the realm. Serving intelligence officers mordantly alter this to “Rectum Defende” – politely translated as watch your back. Dearlove seems to be living up to the motto. He must be one very frightened old man to be contemplating such premature publication.

Annie Machon is a former intelligence officer in the UK’s MI5 Security Service (the U.S. counterpart is the FBI).

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25 comments on “UK Spy Warns of Iraq War Disclosures

  1. F. G. Sanford on said:

    My question is, “Which Neocon think-tank currently employs the author of that 12 year old Ph.D. Thesis?” Academic integrity being what it is of late, I suppose the candidate was awarded his Doctorate in Political “Science”. At any rate, Dearlove will not escape the verdict of history. One way, he’s an accessory to the crime. The other, he’s an accessory after the fact.

    • I believe Dearlove is suffering from his concience he knows he is going to Hell, who will he share his torment with?.

      • Lawrence smith on said:

        It’s about id. Conscience to someone as conflicted as he, is nothing more than a tail in a bad spy movie-a pesky shadow that he can’t seem to shake.

  2. Rehmat on said:

    Who cares what more MI6 lie Sir Dearlove has in his brain – but Philip Zelkow, executive director of the 9/11 Commission, told us why Iraq was invaded in 2003.

    told a University of Virginia audience on September 10, 2002, that Saddam Hussein was not a direct threat to the United States. “The real threat,” he argued, was “the threat against Israel”. He went on to say, “And this is the threat that dare not speak its name, because the European don’t care deeply about that threat – And the American government doesn’t want to lean too hard on it rhetorically, because it’s not a popular sell”.

    http://rehmat1.com/2012/08/24/did-mossad-try-to-assassinate-gen-dempsey/

  3. Mary Pishney on said:

    Interesting that this individual who knows ALL the dark secrets of England and doubtless, most of the world, would now threaten to disclose facts about the conjured, totally baseless war. This is hardly earth-shattering as most Americans feel the war was a “W”/Cheney debacle. The country seems to care little when facts came out that there were NO, WMDs in that now riddled country. “Ho Hum,” seems to be the blaze attitude. What fools inhabit the nation?

    Recently, the New York Times had a small entry that stated at the time of 9/11,
    cell phones COULD NOT CONNECT TO THE US FROM ANY PLANES! This negates all the tear wrenching calls supposed to have been made from the doomed planes. That should have made the public shudder, as it is just one more PROOF the 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB as many from other countries have concluded. Facts are pesky things and FACTS like: jet fuel can never melt steel, building 7 was never touched by planes, yet fell into its own footprint, as did the towers. “Falling” that way is a mark of a demolition, not a result of planes hitting the towers. Many books have been written with FACTS that show 9/11 was just what the neo-cons wanted to implement the Constitutional destruction s that
    IMMEDIATELY followed their “New Pearl Harbor.” Treason on a monstrous level.

    • sandy on said:

      Have you ever flown? You know they have phones installed on the plane, right?

      • Do you know anything about CellPhone technology/AirPhone technology in 2001? Have you ever read/comprehended anything about said 2001 technologies (that have changed since then?) Go read a simple 2001 in-flight pamphlet from an airliner how/when to use their “inflight phones.” No engineering degree required.

        • exomike on said:

          …”how to use THEIR “inflight phones”. The calls were supposed to have been made from personal inflight phones. Where may we find, “a simple 2001 in-flight pamphlet from an airliner how/when to use their “inflight phones.” etc., etc.

    • PangurBantheCat on said:

      And lets not forget the fake video about the crash into the Pentagon. The hole in the bldg doesn’t match with that of an airliner. Nor was there any actual airliner debris found on the ground surrounding the Pentagon.

    • Jonathan Hubbard-Ford on said:

      Several of the purported calls from hijacked planes were from cellphones as Mary P says – and these were clearly fabricated by persons unknown to give credibility to the 9/11 fiction (as cellphones could not be used during flight unless the plane was very close to take-off or landing). They were the ones who failed to read the in-flight manuals and demonstrated that 9/11 was a false flag operation.

    • Rabbitnexus on said:

      Maybe instead of prevaricating excuses to support a discredited lie, you might do well to research what you are being told? Unless you have a job to do, in which case spin away and good luck, as far as stopping the truth of 9/11 becoming mainstream established facts. However I rather think that horse has bolted, so if you’re not a shill just get an education and rejoin the human race.

      Matter of fact in the trial of that dimwit fake Muslim they framed up for 9/11 the FBI admitted NO phone calls from Flight 93 were successful. Not a one.

    • Dvd Schultz on said:

      9 out of 10 tinfoil-hat conspiracy nuts are actually trolls and spooks trying to confuse the obvious. A bunch of SAUDI-ARABIANS did horrible things in the the US so that we would pull all our tanks and troops out of thier country and attack IRAQ. When we attacked the wrong country thier buddies in the US and UK had to make something up quick. You don’t need a video analyzer to figure that out.

    • Padraigin on said:

      What time did you awaken from your coma, Sandy! We are talking about September 2001, remember now, doofus, that day the alphabet soup agencies conspired to demolish 3 buildings in a place called New York.

      So more to the point, have you ever flown? Perhaps yes, right over your cuckoos nest.

    • ThomasT on said:

      911? ‘Where Did The Towers Go’? by Dr Judy Wood, uTube and book.

      Millions of tons of steel, concrete, office furniture, sanitaryware, computers and humans vapourised and nearly ALL blew away as fine dust. The dust’s steel microspheres needed 3000degC to form, so they could blow away, according to Prof Neils Truit from the Metallurgy Dept U of Copenhagen.

      The 110 meteres high rubble that should have been there after the collapse, was not there, nor was the 440metres high centre section if the floors had pancaked.

      Check out the Bangladesh factory collapse. 1,100 identifiable bodies recovered, and 20% rubble remaining.

  4. Tom Carver on said:

    The Bldg Owner Mr. Silverstein announced on National T V that they “Pulled” Bldg 7. This is a controlled razing or demolition. The Twin Towers were , (in my opinion) also brought down with explosives, They were designed to withstand a airplane hitting them. Who had this done, I certainly have no proof, but if it wasn’t Dubya and Cheney, then who ??

    • rosemerry on said:

      W and Cheney were at least complicit, and the fact that no planes followed the “doomed” cleverly flown ones is also suspect.

    • Gordon Clack on said:

      As that evil man Cheney apparently approves of water-boarding, why not give him an hour or so of his own medicine to encourage him to tell us who was really behind 9/11 and why 3,000 people died that day to serve the purposes of the neo-Cons which led to the unnecessary deaths of more thousands.

  5. Erica Stuart on said:

    I just congratulate all for keeping the issue alive until all facts are laid open to the public officially, and actions are taken. We need more Snowdem more Perry and more insider telling the truth for a change. From my part I posted today the simple answer to Government spying and etc. “the issue comes down to us giving up our most cherished Constitutional rights for the possible apprehension of some Jihad fellow…NO THANK YOU, there are other ways to handle them”. And let us examine culpability. I do not support people betraying their country. But we are at a point where a legal issue arise. So, is reporting a crime in itself a crime????.

  6. PangurBantheCat on said:

    I doubt the NSA surveillance is really about stopping terrorism. It looks more like an attempt to advance a police state and a soft for of martial law. Ifind it very interesting that none of the news media are carrying the fact that Jimmy Carter, a former president, has announced publicly that America is no longer operating as a Democratic Republic. The silence on the part of the media in regard to this is a thunderclap.

  7. Roger Thomas on said:

    Never mind cell phone technology which is a diversion from the essential situation. The fact is that the unjustified invasion of Iraq was a war crime as defined by the Nuremberg Tribunal and the UN Charter. Those who launched the war are guilty of the ultimate war crime and should be called to account. The conspiracy of ‘rectum defende’ is so inculcated into the USA’a and UK’s governments that there is little prospect that Cowboy Bush and BLiar will ever face judgment – well not in this World.

    If anyone knows how to bring them, especially BLiar, to book, then I am prepared to make a significant contribution to the costs.

  8. We’ll see how this plays out.

  9. Philip on said:

    I always felt that a particularly compelling element in conspiracy allegations was the FBI’s “discovery of Mohammed Atta’s paper passport amidst radioactive molten steel in the 911 rubble (said rubble being conveniently and quickly hustled off to China before forensic investigations could be conducted).

    • Rabbitnexus on said:

      One among many. The science leaves no doubt at all either. Gravity was apparently on vacation on 9/11.

  10. Frances in California on said:

    What we need right now is a good British Whistleblower . . . Oh, that’s right. The Brits don’t like whistleblowers any more than the Americans . . .