'Axis Of Lies Is Spun To Hide The Truth'

"After Labour won the 1997 general election, the paper [Tribune] maintained an oppositionist stance, objecting to the Blair government's military interventions and its reliance on spin-doctors. In 2001, Tribune opposed the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, and it was outspoken against the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The paper under Seddon also reverted to an anti-European position very similar to that it adopted in the 1970s and early 1980s and campaigned for Gordon Brown to replace Blair as Labour leader and prime minister.... Seddon resigned as editor in summer 2004 and was replaced by Chris McLaughlin, former political editor of the Sunday Mirror."
'Tribune (magazine)' - Wikipedia


12 May 2006

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Michael Meacher is Labour MP for Oldham and Royton

Axis of Lies is spun to hide the truth

  Something very odd is happening.  The suspect wanted by the police for ‘masterminding’ the 7/7 and 21/7 bombings, Haroon Rashid Aswat, has now been detained in the UK for seven months, but apparently not even been questioned about the bombings.   Instead he is being held awaiting a decision by the Home Secretary to extradite him to the US on the grounds of setting up a terrorist training base in Oregon.   This may however be explained by the sensational statement made on the US Fox Television network by the American terrorism expert, John Loftus, a former senior FBI prosecutor, that Aswat is in fact an agent of MI6 and has been under their protection for many years.   In Loftus’ own words: “What’s really embarrassing is that the entire British police are out chasing him, and one wing of the Government, MI6 or the British Secret Service, has been hiding him……He’s a double agent”.

     This is not the first time that information put into the public domain by the UK security services has turned out to be distinctly dodgy.   We were told for months that US rendition flights taking prisoners to countries that sanctioned torture had never landed at British airfields.   It is now admitted that two CIA-chartered aircraft used for this purpose landed at least 14 times at Northolt and Brize Norton in a 7-month period shortly after the Iraq War.

     We were told (eerily familiar from the 9/11 attacks) that the 7/7 London bombings last year came out of the blue and the security services had no prior warning.   We now know, from internal security sources, that MI5 was aware a year beforehand that two of the bombers were planning to fight for Al-Qaeda, and had bugged them for two months as they talked about this and their plans to return to a camp in Pakistan for British terrorists.   Rebel MI5 agents have leaked documents showing Ministers withheld information from the public about what the security services knew about the suspects before the bombings.   They want an inquiry into ‘intelligence failures’, but this has been rejected.

      When the Brazilian Jean Charles de Manezes was shot shortly after the abortive 21 July bombings, a series of allegations about his behaviour and clothing were made public to justify his wrongful killing.   Again, we now know that none of them was true.

    We are already familiar, in the case particularly of the Iraq War, of stories being planted in the public domain to manipulate opinion into the acceptance of policies that would otherwise have been insupportable.   The story of an alleged ‘poison gas’ attack on the London Underground broke in November 2002, four months before the Iraq War was started.   MI5 and police sources were cited to claim that “a terrorist attack had been nipped in the bud”.   In fact, no plot had been discovered.

     Even more significantly, on 5 January 2003, just two months before the war, a police raid on a flat in Wood Green, north London, was said to have found a ‘poisons laboratory’, including recipes for ricin.   Two days later the Prime Minister announced that the discovery highlighted the dangers of WMD and that “the arrests show this danger is present and real and with us now.   Its potential is huge”.   Yet on that same day chemical weapons experts at Porton Down had found in more accurate tests that the initial positive result for ricin was false.   There was no ricin in the flat.   But this crucial evidence was kept suppressed for over two years.   When by chance it did come to light in the Kamel Bourgass murder case, the defence lawyers argued that it was a massive conspiracy tapestry woven by the authorities, and used by the government to justify the war in Iraq and detention without trial in the UK. 

     A similar tactic was used to legitimise the war in Kosovo in 1999.   The then US Defence Secretary, William Cohen, claimed that “We’ve now seen about 100,000 military-aged [Albanian] men missing…they may have been murdered”.   The Prime Minister invoked the Holocaust, and the British press took up the call with headlines like “Flight from genocide”.   Yet a year later the International War Crimes Tribunal found that the final body count in Kosovo’s ‘mass graves’ was less than 2,800.   The genocide-that-wasn’t had legitimised a war that was actually aimed at the dismemberment of the last centralised State-run economy in Europe.

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     Even when the true facts have been uncovered by independent investigation, the security services may still try to spin a false line.   When the American-led Iraq Survey Group were due to report categorically after the war that there were no WMD in Iraq, John Scarlett, head of the UK Joint Intelligence Committee, still tried to insert 9 ‘nuggets’ into the report, reintroducing claims that the ISG had already found to be false, to make it appear that maybe there were still WMD out there.  Not content with the ‘sexing up’ of the Government’s original dossier, he then tried to do the same to the US report.

     The implications of this catalogue of fabrications, distortions and lies are serious.   Can the security services and the authorities be trusted?   Two reforms are clearly called for.   One concerns the Commons Intelligence and Security Committee which at present is appointed by the Prime Minister and reports directly to him, and he can edit their report before publication if he chooses.   If intelligence briefings are not to be selectively used or misrepresented for political purposes, the ISC should in future be appointed by the House as a whole, should receive full intelligence briefings on key issues, and should report directly to the House.

     Second, allegations made by the security services or Home Office against alleged terrorists should not by themselves alone justify indefinite detention by control orders without charge or trial.   Charges should be stated and a trial held unless a judge independently, on the precedent of public interest indemnity certificates, concurs with the Home Secretary’s advice that there are overriding reasons of national security that the evidence cannot be made public at an open trial.   This is a reform which Parliament should insist upon later this year when the Terrorism Act is due for review. 

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