Monthly archives: July 2008

The Smith Institute: New Labour’s Corrupt Tax Dodge

The corruption of our institutions under New Labour is evidenced by the fact that the Charities Commission have yet again given only a warning to New Labour’s most blatant tax dodge, the Smith Institute. Everybody active in Scottish politics recognises full well that the Smith Institute – named after ex-Labour leader John Smith – is part and parcel of New Labour. It is run by Brown’s close friends and often meets in Gordon Brown’s home. Its board are all New Labour – the supposedly “Neutral” members are John Milligan, New Labour’s biggest Scottish donor,, and Jack Straw fan Paul Myners. Under Myners’ watch the Guardian has finally broken with the terms of C P Scott’s trust. which stipulates that it must pursue the causes of liberalism. With its support for the New Labour’s “War on Terror” and its pathetic equivocation on the War in Iraq, the Guardian has been a cheerleader for the biggest move away from Liberalism since 1821. Are there any lawyers out there up for a legal challenge in terms of the Scott Trust acting ultra vires? There can be no argument that support for New Labour is compatible with liberal values.

The Smith Institute would be perfectly fine, were it not for the fact that it has charitable status as an independent research organisation and thus dodges hundreds of thousands of pounds a year in tax. There is a good report here from Bloomberg


But the article fails to hit the real point. This is the most transparent bit of crookery imaginable. Plainly the Charities Commission in Scotland is fully aware that this is part of New Labour. And yet for years the Smith Institute has been given chance after chance after chance to meet the regulations, without ever having its charitable status removed. No other fake charity would be treated so leniently. Is the Charities Commission yet another quango that has been stitched up by New Labour?

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New Labour and Reality

With great reluctance, I took some Sturgeron anti-vomiting tablets and turned to David Miliband’s much-vaunted article.

I really am stunned. If this is the best hope for New Labour, they have lost all touch with reality. Nobody will recognise the parliamentary answer style list of the government’s great achievements as having any relationship to actual life, on the day that British Gas announced a 35% price rise. The careful soundbites bear no relationship to the way normal people talk about anything. The general vacuity and failure to outline a single policy proposal make Barack Obama look like a man obsessed with practical detail. The continuing failure to admit the Iraq War was wrong (Miliband only parrots the New Labour mantra that we should have prepared better for the results) is an abomination of shiftiness.

I wonder what Keir Hardie would make of this brash, empty, embodiment of undeserving ambition? I wonder if Miliband has ever spoken to a working man other than to give him curt instructions on installing the Aga? If anyone thinks this empty vessel will save New Labour from the worst political defeat for a century, I am chuckling to see them try.

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Law Lords Back Corruption

Here are statements from Corner House and the Campaign Against the Arms Trade on today’s deeply shocking judgement by the Law Lords:

The Law Lords have this morning upheld an appeal by the Director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) against the High Court’s ruling that he acted unlawfully in terminating a corruption investigation into BAE Systems’ arms deals with Saudi Arabia.

The appeal followed a High Court judgment in April that the SFO, acting on government advice, had dropped the investigation following lobbying by BAE and a threat from Saudi Arabia to withdraw diplomatic and intelligence co-operation if the investigation were not dropped. This judgment was in response to a judicial review brought by the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) and The Corner House.

Nicholas Hildyard of The Corner House said:

“Now we know where we are. Under UK law, a supposedly independent prosecutor can do nothing to resist a threat made by someone abroad if the UK government claims that the threat endangers national security. The unscrupulous who have friends in high places overseas willing to make such threats now have a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card ?” and there is nothing the public can do to hold the government to account if it abuses its national security powers. Parliament needs urgently to plug this gaping hole in the law and in the constitutional checks and balances dealing with national security. With the law as it is, a government can simply invoke ‘national security’ to drive a coach and horses through international anti-bribery legislation, as the UK government has done, to stop corruption investigations.”

Symon Hill of CAAT said:

“BAE and the government will be quickly disappointed if they think that this ruling will bring an end to public criticism. Throughout this case we have been overwhelmed with support from people in all walks of life. There has been a sharp rise in opposition to BAE’s influence in the corridors of power. Fewer people are now taken in by exaggerated claims about British jobs dependent on the arms trade. The government has been judged in the court of public opinion. The public know that Britain will be a better place when BAE is no longer calling the shots.”

CAAT and The Corner House will issue a more detailed statement following an analysis of the Lords’ judgments.

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Chiselling the Blindfold

They are going to have to chisel off the blindfold from the famous statue of justice at the Old Bailey. The Law Lords have killed off the cherished notion that justice is blind to outside concerns and does not discriminate between persons or favour the wealthy and powerful. They have also reversed the lesson of the beheading of Charles I – that the Executive is not above the law. Be ye ever so mighty, you can now stand above the law with impunity.

I am deeply shocked by the Law Lords’ judgement in the case of the bunch of crooks at BAE. The government of this country can simply suspend the rule of law by invoking “National security”, and can do so in the interests of the some of the worst corporate sleazebags in the world and the equally unlovely Saudi Royal Family. The government’s assertion of “National security” is itself deemed unchallengeable in the courts.

We have indeed moved far from liberty in this land. We have also lost as a nation any right to criticise African or other governments for corruption, when we actively connive at bribery and at protecting crooks.

My very soul feels sick.

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We Are All Aztecs Now

Neil Mackay was one of the best reporters internationally on extraordinary rendition. He has now broken a story that is important for everyone in Scotland and beyond.

I am a supporter of Scotland’s SNP government, but they have made a terrible blunder in handing Scotland’s census to US mercenary group CACI, whose well-paid torturers were famously involved at Abu Ghraib but are also contracted to carry out interrogations throughout Iraq. CACI has used libel lawyers to try to limit knowledge of its connection with torture, but lost its landmark case against Air America. CACI’s own description of its main activties is

1) National Security

2) Intelligence

3) Homeland Security

CACI has its headquarters in Arlington Virginia – home of the CIA.

I am stunned by this. These people’s main business is providing intelligence services to the US government. Do the Scottish government really want to hand over data on every household in Scotland, including their ethnic and religious background, to the CIA? Does anybody believe that a firm whose primary source of income is the War on Terror and which has wholeheartedly bought into Bush’s “The gloves are off” philosophy – and made a fortune from it – will respect internal firewalls and not give that information to the CIA?

This appointment is an abomination and Alex Salmond must rescind it immediately, or lose much of the ethical high ground which the SNP has so painstakingly won.

There are those who oppose the census per se. I do not take that view, regarding it as useful – but that utility would be vastly outweighed by the danger of giving the individual confidential data to CACI. If the government persists with this appointment, I must with great reluctance join the ranks of those calling for a boycott of the census. Or even better, mess it up with stupid returns. I think, for example, that everyone should declare themselves to be Aztecs working as golf course owners with an improbable number of children, living in a mansion with seventeen cars and regularly worshipping Kon-Tiki. I wonder how much the CIA will give CACI for all that info on Scotland’s billionaire native Americans?

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Nadira and I in Edinburgh

Nadira takes her Arcola sell-out show, the British Ambassador’s Belly Dancer, to the Edinburgh Fringe, where it is playing at the Gilded Balloon from 30 July to 24 August at the somewhat unusual time of 1.30pm. I do hope you will go to support her if you are around Edinburgh for the Festival.

Nadira has her own micro-website on Bloggerheads:

There are still tickets available for my appearance at the Edinburgh Book Festival on 12 August:

I shall be talking about my new book, The Catholic Orangemen of Togo, and revealing some of the information which apparently Tim Spicer and Schillings are attempting to block.

We shall both be available socially in Edinburgh for the next month for those inclined to a pint or a glass of wine and a chat about the way the world is going!

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Jack Straw, Impresario of Torture, Lurks Towards No. 10

Having studied Jack Straw, from closer or further away, over a period of some years now, I have come to the conclusion that he is a simple careerist who believes in nothing other than personal advancement – and so is perhaps the perfect embodiment of New Labour. There are consistencies in his record – such as his close support of British Aerospace over many years, including at key moments over Hawk jets to Indonesia and the burial of the Saudi bribes investigation. But that relates simply to personal interest and the need to fund that Cotswolds mansion.

It was Straw who oversaw the noxious “Dirty Dossier” on Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction and travelled to the Security Council to tell lie after lie, to help precipitate the invasion and cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands. He was centre stage then. But usually, like an impresario, he is behind the stage making things happen.

While I was British Ambassador, I was officially informed in a high level meeting in the FCO on 7 March 2003, that it was Jack Straw who instructed Sir Richard Dearlove, Head of MI6, that in the “War on Terror” we should use intelligence obtained by torture by foreign intelligence agencies. It was Jack Straw who arranged the framework for extraordinary rendition torture flights. And it was Jack Straw who repeatedly lied about both of these to the House Of Commons.

That capacity for duplicity is in full use again now. At least three Labour MPs, with apparent access to all the dark facilities of the Whips’ office, are canvassing their colleagues for Straw to “Quietly” replace Brown as Prime Minister, and are taking care to use the formula: “Of course, Jack doesn’t know anything about this and you mustn’t mention it to him.” That is even more transparent than most of Straw’s lies.

If Brown has any balls, he’ll drop the slimy one in an Autumn reshuffle. But then Brown’s balls have repeatedly been shown to be miniscule, ever since Granita.

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Civility in Politics, and Other Thoughts

My post below brought a comment from Darren who objected to my rather strong and personal attacks on Margaret Curran and Doug Hoyle.

I used to be one of the most civil and orthodox people you might meet. Then I came across the hideous torture in Uzbekistan. I could give hundreds of examples. Two men were boiled alive, a woman was raped with a broken bottle, my neighbour was held down while a truck was driven over her legs, the teenage grandson of Professor Mirsiadov was abducted from outside his home and tortured to death while I was inside eating dinner with his grandfather. And I found that our government not only supported the regime that was doing this as part of the “War on Terror”, but was knowingly and repeatedly receiving and using the intelligence reports that arose from these hideous torture sessions. I then discovered we were doing this not just in Uzbekistan, but all over the world, in support of “extraordinary rendition”.

Then we have the War in Iraq, where hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians – indeed many, many thousands if you only count the children – have been brutally and violently killed as a result of an illegal war launched when we had full knowledge that Iraq no longer had any significant WMD.

We have actively caused the deaths in agony of hundreds of thousands. And yet I found that my colleagues in the diplomatic service were carrying on politely as though none of this had happened – just as those who loaded prisoners on to cattle trucks for Auschwitz were nice people with wives and kids. And I found that at home we were supposed to conduct the charade of party politics in the normal way, as though our government’s actions were not causing screaming deaths in agony. Well. I sincerely hope that the worst that ever happens to Margaret Curran is that I called her a shrew-faced bitch. Compare her distress to that of a mother watching her children die crying with their guts hanging out. Margaret Curran is a lot better off than thousands of very real women, who were just as human as her, and whose lives the illegal wars of New Labour have destroyed.

So think about it, Darren. And fuck the politenesses of politics.

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Hurray For Glasgow East

Like most East Coast Scots, I have only a passing knowledge of the East side of Glasgow. My view of the political culture of Strathclyde as a whole has been pretty jaundiced. Historically it has had a very nasty political culture, dominated by a single party practising machine politics and indulging in every conceivable form of corruption – known in Glasgow as graft. As individuals, the politicians that system has produced have been the nastiest and least principled of their breed. If I tell you that by local standards John Reid is considered charming, that should give some measure of the scope of the problem. This was borne out last night by the graceless vituperation of the defeated New Labour candidate, the shrew-faced bitch Margaret Curran, who made the least pleasant candidate’s speech since the rotten-toothed Doug Hoyle spat his foul-mouthed venom at Roy Jenkins in Warrington.

For a small inner city seat the declaration came remarkably late, and was delayed still further by a pointless Labour demand for a full recount (which slightly increased the Scot Nat majority). A friend of mine at the count overheard a conversation which led her to believe that New Labour were deliberately holding everything up to try to ensure that the result was too late for the later editions of the London newspapers. I was watching events live on Sky News, and Adam Boulton repeatedly expressed consternation at the delays to the count and the apparently lackadaisical attitude of the returning officers. They of course would be from the New Labour controlled regional council. In Blackburn at the last election I encountered continual bias from the New Labour hack officials running the election. It is an essential reform in the UK for election administration to be taken out of the hands of the highly politically partisan local authority chief executives who are normally the returning officers, and for the role of the Electoral Commission to be extended to the actual running of the elections.

Anyway, very well done to the voters of Glasgow East for ditching the numptie war criminals at last and moving towards a more hopeful future for Scotland.

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Barack Obama on Tim Spicer

From the Pat Finucane Centre. I wonder if Schillings will be getting to work over this?

“…As you know, the CEO of Aegis Defense Services Tim Spicer has been implicated in a variety of human rights abuses around the globe. Given his history, I agree that the United States should consider rescinding its contract with his company.”

Barack Obama

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Shameless – Brown at the Knesset

There are times when the shamelessness of our government is breathtaking. For Gordon Brown to stand craving approval from the assembly that controls the World’s largest illegal arsenal of nuclear weapons, without mentioning that fact, is craven. To stand there and try to stoke populist support for war against Iran, because of its far less developed nuclear programme, is so gobsmacking in its hypocrisy that we must all struggle to find adequate words to condemn Brown. I am again deeply ashamed of my ex-FCO colleagues, who will have drafted this tendentious warmongering, that they know very well will be taken by Israeli hawks as a green light of British support for air strikes on Iran.

Doubtless Brown’s speech of strong support for Israel will have achieved progress in reducing the Labour Party’s £23 million debt. A war on Iran will be a distraction from the effects of the judderings of an unregulated financial system by which there is 1,800 times more “Virtual money” moved than money linked to actual trade in goods and services.

Last year I read Hilda Reilly’s Prickly Pears of Palestine. While I know intellectually of the terrible sufferings of the Palestinians, this work of great empathy brought home how it feels to be a Palestinian facing these levels of oppression. Brown reportedly said that Britain stood beside Israel in “The fight for liberty”. Liberty and Israel do not belong in the same sentence.

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Catholic Orangemen of Togo

The Catholic Orangemen of Togo is a prequel to Murder in Samarkand. Catholic Orangemen is a gentle memoir of my African years, with some thoughts on African development issues and the complex and continuing ramifications of colonial rule. The best Chapter is called Almost Gabon, in which I nearly go to Gabon, but then don’t. I might stick that here somewhere as a sample chapter.

How an elegaic memoir of ten years ago can generate such heat is hard to understand. But then there is this:

I suspect that what Schillings are trying to block is the story of how Spicer escaped prosecution, the role of Number 10, and the origin of New Labour’s love affair with mercenaries. Or maybe it’s the bit about when I missed my flight to Gabon.

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More Neo-Colonial War for Oil

Nobody can accuse New Labour of being half-hearted in their embrace of New Colonialism. But even given the dynamics of the rush for hydrocarbons, Gordon Brown’s commitment to embroil the British military in the troubles of the Niger Delta is appalling.

We have got so used to military adventure abroad that there has been almost no reaction – despite the fact that we are going to support the most corrupt regime in the world, in an area where the pollution, social deprivation and political repression spawned by the oil industry are legendary. I know the Niger Delta very well indeed, having served four years in the commercial section of the British High Commission in Lagos. I have seen the environmental degradation, and met with the thuggish local police and military commanders in the pockets of Shell. The execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa was one of the rare moments the World focused on the repression in the Niger Delta, but that was the tip of the iceberg of political violence against the local population.

The rebellion in the Niger Delta is not a spontaneous evil, a mindless outbreak of anarchic violence that must be met with still more violence. It is paused by the grinding poverty and economic ruination of one of the most economically productive regions on earth, with the profits channelled to billionaires in Nigeria and to big oil.

Of course, British military involvement in Nigeria is hardly new. The majority of Nigeria’s military dictators were Sandhurst trained (but not Abacha, contrary to popular belief. He attended lesser English military colleges).

African Union prevarication over Mugabe opens eyes to the continuing venality of much African government, but there is perhaps not enough understanding of how far that permeated through into the United Nations (where senior staff require de facto approval of their home governments for appointment). “Professor” Ibrahim Gambari is Under Secretary and Special Adviser on Africa to the UN Secretary General. Gambari was one of Abacha’s closest cronies. It was Gambari who said “Nigerians don’t need democracy because democracy is not food. It is not their priority now.” It was Gambari who told the United Nations that Ken Saro-Wiwa should be hung because he was “a mere common criminal”. It is therefore a certain sign of the bad faith of Nigeria’s negotiation that they pressed for Gambari to be appointed mediator with the rebels.

The only UK connection to this dispute is that the appalling practices of British oil companies have helped create the resentment that turned to rebellion. We should not get involved in more killing for oil.

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Duncan Campbell Article: Making a Killing: Marketing the New Dogs of War

Duncan Campbell’s excellent article “Marketing the New Dogs of War” on Tim Spicer no longer seems available on the Centre for Public Integrity website. It may just have changed its url or be suffering a technical glitch. Or there could be a less innocent explanation. I have retrieved it from the google cache and post it here, with thanks to Sabretache.


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The Entirely Respectable Tim Spicer


Here is a picture of Tim Spicer. And here is some of the work of his company.

The scariest thing about this is that an official US government investigation into this video by an Aegis employee found that these shootings by Aegis followed correct operating procedure.

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More About Spicer

Tim Spicer is no stranger to the use of lawyers to try to silence criticism of him. The following is an extract from the Irish Echo:

Spicer threatens to sue Echo, MP

By Ray O’Hanlon, Irish Echo, May 25-31, 2005

Controversial former British army officer, Tim Spicer, is this week threatening to sue the Irish Echo and a member of the British parliament in the London High Court. The threat of libel action is contained in solicitors’ letters sent to the Echo and to MP Sarah Teather.

The legal letters follow in the wake of a recent report in the Echo that pointed to U.S. criticism of the manner in which a Spicer-owned private security company has been operating in Iraq. Spicer’s company, Aegis Defense Services, was last year granted a $293 million contract by the Pentagon for security and reconstruction work in Iraq.

However, a strongly critical report by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction recently cited Aegis for not complying with a number of requirements contained in the contract with the U.S. Department of Defense. The contract has sparked controversy in Ireland, Britain and the U.S. because of Spicer’s past record in Northern Ireland where he commanded the Scots Guards regiment during a tour of duty in the early 1990s.

Soldiers in that regiment shot and killed Belfast teenager Peter McBride in September of 1992. Spicer subsequently defended the actions of his men. Two members of the regiment were tried for murder, convicted and sentenced to life. However, they were released after six years and reinstated in the unit. In a letter to the Pentagon several months ago, the Derry-based Pat Finucane Center pressed the U.S. army to justify its decision to award the Iraq contract to Aegis Defense Services, of which Spicer is CEO.

The Pentagon has also been pressed on the issue by a group of U.S. senators, Fr. Sean McManus of the Irish National Caucus, and Teather, a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Commons. It was a line in a recent Echo report that prompted legal letters sent to both Teather, the member of Parliament for the Brent East constituency in London, and this newspaper.In its May 4-10 issue, the Echo, in a story headlined “Spicer speared in scathing U.S. report,” reported Teather’s view that “serious questions” still required answering in the McBride case.

However, it was the Echo’s precise wording of this aspect of the Spicer/Aegis story that prompted the legal letters to the Echo and Teather.

The report stated: “Teather recently told the Echo that ‘serious questions’ were still in need of answers with regard to Spicer and his role in the death of Peter McBride.”

The letter sent to the Echo alleged that this statement, made with regard to “Lieutenant Colonel Tim Spicer OBE,” was “seriously defamatory of him.”

The best collected source of information about Spicer is the Pat Finucane Centre. There is a very good resource here:

Among the incidents I cover in my new book are the murder of Peter McBride, the Aegis Trophy Video, the Papua New Guinea coup, the Equatorial Guinea plot, Executive Outcomes’ muder of civilians in Angola and the Arms to Africa affair. I do hope that other bloggers will generate another Streisand effect through blogging on these subjects.

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Iraq Mercenary Boss Hires Schillings To Block My New Book

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Schillings are a firm of libel lawyers dedicated to prevent the truth from being known about some deeply unlovely people. They managed temporarily to close down this blog (and several others) to keep information quiet about the criminal record of Alisher Usmanov. Now they are attempting to block the publication of my new book in the interests of mercenary commander Tim Spicer, one of those who has made a fortune from the Iraq War. It is sad but perhaps predictable that private profits from the illegal Iraq war, in which hundreds of thousands of innocent people have died, are providing the funding to try to silence my book.

Libel law in the UK is a remarkable thing – Schillings can go for an injunction when I haven’t published anything about Spicer yet and they haven’t seen what I intend to publish. People might conclude that Spicer has something to hide. You will see that they also are attempting to censor not only the book, but what I say at the Edinburgh Book Festival on 12 August. I can assure you that they will find it impossible to affect what I say about Spicer at that event.

Nor will they prevent me from publishing the truth about Spicer, one way or another.

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Andrew Mackinlay – an Honest Man in Parliament

New Labour hates independence of mind, and unsurprisingly therefore views Andrew Mackinlay as a threat. I doubt there is a more genuine and well-intentioned person in the House of Commons than Andrew. For years he has been devoted to the democratic development of Eastern Europe, and he is a mainstay of the all-party committees on the region. He is also an outspoken champion of the rights of Parliament against the Executive, and he asked the best ever question of Tony Blair at Prime Minister’s questions. After one toady New Labour MP after another had asked questions written in No 10 for Tony Blair to look good with a sharp answer, Andrew Mackinlay stood up and asked:

“Does the Prime Minister recall that, when we were in opposition, we used to groan at the fawning, obsequious, soft-ball, well-rehearsed and planted questions asked by Conservative members?”

The House roared with laughter at an embarassed Blair, who was lost for words as things went so badly off message. He eventually replied with a thinly veiled threat that he would make sure Mackinlay remained always a backbencher. As Andrew Mackinlay has absolutely no desire to do other than serve his constituents, and has a Trollopean respect for the House of Commons, that was no great threat.

Media sources tell me that New Labour are now whispering to everyone who will listen (only the Daily Mail has half bought it) that Andrew Mackinlay is a Russian spy and a tool of the oligarchs.

An article saying so has turned up in a Bulgarian newspaper as evidence. Evidently MI6 are losing their touch – they might have at least got it published somewhere outside the EU. Maybe Russia would have been more convincing.

Andrew Mackinlay’s sharp and very well-informed interest in foreign policy has made him a mainstay of the Foreign Affairs Committee for over a decade, where he has frequently exposed and embarassed the government. I can give first hand testimony that the New Labour government and the security services absolutely hate him. They have also tried to discredit him before. In 16 April 2003 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office continued its camapiagn of internal vilification against me with the shocking revelation that I had been to a jazz bar with my secretary. In the same letter, they made the claim that I had been in strip clubs in Warsaw with Andrew Mackinlay. See Murder in Samarkand p252.

This claim is utterly untrue. I have never hidden the fact that while in Warsaw for four years I went to a strip club on two or three occasions. But I never saw Andrew Mackinlay in or near one, and to my knowledge he has never been in a strip club, in Warsaw or anywhere else The question is, why was the FCO in 2003 libelling Andrew Mackinlay in this way, particularly in the context of a letter about Uzbekistan? Andrew had no connection with Uzbekistan. I had known him in Poland on official business as chairman of the British-Polish parliamentary group, but in 2003 I had had no contact with him for five years, so why bring in a totally irrelevant libel? Were they hitting two Iraq war sceptics with one stone? When I did contact him in summer of 2004, our telephone conversation was definitely bugged, as explained in detail in Murder in Samarkand.

Well, now they are trying to label him a Russian spy or stooge. Contempt for civil liberties has grown so strong in this country that the media has failed to focus on the truly appalling aspect of this case: when Chief Whip Geoff Hoon called Andrew Mackinlay in to dress him down for meeting with a Soviet diplomat, he knew the detail of their conversation. An MP had been bugged by MI5 inside parliament. Just ten years ago that would, quite rightly, have caused a scandal and ministerial resignations. Now it appears nobody cares.

One of the reasons the security services have targeted Andrew Mackinlay for years is that he has been a leading opponent in parliament of their exponentially increasing powers to bug citizens at will.

As for the odious Geoff Hoon, Chief Whip from Minister of Defence? It seems the hopelessly impotent Hoon is given increasingly unimportant jobs until they find one he can actually do – a reverse Peter principle I hereby christen the Geoff principle. Personally I suggest they put him in charge of a sub-Post Office, and then close it.

Andrew Mackinlay is worth ten thousand of Geoff Hoon. Anyone who doubts that for a minute should read the speech he made in the House of Commons on this subject.

He is one of the very few independent spirits remaining in the Houses of Parliament. How the Establishment hate him – as I say, I can give eye witness evidence of that from many years on the inside.

I am no fan of the Putin-led Mafia/KGB hybrid that still rules Russia. But Russia and Eastern Europe are huge factors in future world development. We are sinking to the depths of cold war paranoia, that one of the most interested and informed MPs is smeared by the security services for having Russian contacts. Andrew Mackinlay is no Russian stooge and in nobody’s pocket – and that goes for New Labour too.

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