The Foreign Office Must Be Challenged Over Sacoolas’ Immunity 319


The government has stepped up its lies about immunity in the Sacoolas case to a breathtaking degree. I genuinely am astounded by the sheer audacity of the lies now being told, including a staggeringly mendacious FCO-briefed BBC article yesterday stating that “23,000 individuals in the UK have diplomatic immunity” and that it extends to “drivers and cooks”. This follows up the breathtaking FCO statement to Sky News that RAF Croughton “is regarded as an annex to the US Embassy in London” – a total falsehood.

What I cannot understand is why. The entire incident is extremely strange. On the face of it, Harry Dunn’s death was a tragic accident caused by somebody who had not long been in the UK driving on the wrong side of the road. This dreadful mistake is forgivable, as Harry’s very sensible parents have said; there seems little reason to believe the justice system would have been more harsh. There was no conceivable need to run away. That is what they cannot forgive.

Make no mistake; the spiriting of the Sacoolas family out of the UK was a considered act by the US Government and, in the case of a manslaughter in an allied state, the decision not to waive immunity would have been taken right at the top of the State Department. Make no mistake about it either, the FCO would have been informed and complicit in the decision and has only pretended to protest after massive public pressure, got up by Harry’s admirable family a full three weeks after the incident had been, the government would have hoped, successfully buried.

But why? It should be stated that it is the norm to waive diplomatic immunity in serious cases between allied or friendly developed states, where each has confidence in the other’s justice system. Unless the accident did not happen as stated, or there is a Chris Huhne type blame switch involved (Trump yesterday very carefully made the point that cameras had confirmed the identity of the driver – I was not sure why he brought this up when nobody had questioned it), it is very hard to understand why diplomatic immunity has been insisted on in this case. Assuming that Anne Sacoolas was the driver and the incident was as described, the only explanation I can think of is that it was hoped by getting them out the country to avoid all publicity and scrutiny of Jonathon Sacoolas’ real job, which is to spy on British citizens communications’ for GCHQ, who face legal impediments in doing so.

I would like to be able to say that if that cover-up is the plan, it has backfired, except that the media has unanimously censored all reporting of what Sacoolas actually does in the UK. Which is quite extraordinary given the massive but (deliberately) wildly misleading coverage of this case. I wish there were many more places than here you could come to learn the truth, but there are not. In which context, it is worth noting that both Buzzfeed and the Huffington Post have joined the DSMA Notice Committee and become willing tools of the UK security services.

After I pointed out that Sacoolas does not appear on the Diplomatic List, does not hold diplomatic rank and is not accredited to a diplomatic mission, and therefore cannot be a “diplomatic agent” under the Vienna Convention, the FCO first admitted this and claimed his immunity stemmed from a separate bilateral agreement, as reported by Sky News.

Having negotiated many international agreements in my time in the FCO, I know that they need to be given effect in UK domestic law, usually by Order in Council. I therefore searched for legislation giving the Secretary of State authority to grant immunity from criminal prosecution under bilateral agreements for spy bases, and I could find nothing. The legal basis for granting immunities under the Vienna Convention is the Diplomatic Privileges Act 1964, which enacted it into UK legislation. The legal basis for granting military immunity under Status of Forces Agreements, or for NATO personnel, is clear and set out in the Visiting Forces Act of 1952.

I could find nothing that would give legal powers to a Secretary of State to grant immunity to US spies on military bases working on communications interception of UK citizens. No legislation was passed to give legal effect in the UK to the reputed bilateral agreements which cover this.

I therefore wrote to the FCO asking for a copy of the bilateral agreement under which Sacoolas has immunity, and a copy of the UK legislation giving the authority to grant the immunity to the Secretary of State. I have not received any reply, but apparently it concentrated minds because the FCO has now switched to make an aggressive – and nonsensical – assertion that Sacoolas is a diplomat in terms of the Vienna Convention.

Not only that, the FCO’s admission to Mark Stephens, reported in that original article by Sky News, that Sacoolas was not a diplomat under the Vienna Convention has been expunged from history. The Sky News defence correspondent Alistair Bunkall had tweeted a reply to me copying this report, as evidence there was no DSMA notice controlling the reporting of the Sacoolas case.

Yet this article, held up by Bunkall as evidence of a free media, was within 24 hours totally rewritten to remove the FCO’s admission that Sacoolas was not on the diplomatic list, and replace it with the new FCO attack line of strong assertion that Sacoolas is covered by the Vienna Convention, and to highlight Dominic Raab’s entirely insincere and pretend effort to request Sacoolas’ return. The story has in effect been completely rewritten by the FCO. This is what the same page, the same url, Bunkall tweeted out looks like now:

Pretty well all that remains of the original – accurate – story is the url, now totally at odds with the content https://news.sky.com/story/husband-of-us-woman-granted-diplomatic-immunity-not-registered-diplomat-11830734. There is no acknowledgement that the story has been changed, and the original is strangely not available even on the wayback machine. If Bunkall has not tweeted it, it would be difficult to prove this brief moment of reporting the truth had never existed. The irony of Bunkall’s tweeting a now completely censored report as evidence of press freedom is stunning.

Forgive me but I here must insert my original post on Sacoolas to make plain the actual legal position:

There is no Jonathan Sacoolas on the official Diplomatic list. Neither Sacoolas nor his wife has any right to claim diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention.

Article 31 of the Vienna Convention states that:

A diplomatic agent shall enjoy immunity from the criminal jurisdiction of the receiving state

Article 37 extends this privilege to family members living in his household. A “diplomatic agent” is defined in article 2(d).

The “members of the diplomatic staff” are the members of the staff of the mission having diplomatic rank;

Jonathan Sacoolas does not hold, and has never held, a diplomatic rank. He has never been a member of staff of a diplomatic mission. (All those with diplomatic rank appear in the diplomatic list, see above link. That list also includes some attaches who do not have diplomatic rank (depending on the type of attache), but there is nobody with diplomatic rank not in the list).

Jonathan Sacoolas does not have, and has never had, any entitlement to diplomatic immunity in international law. Sacoolas works as an NSA technical officer at the communications interceptions post at “RAF Croughton”. His role is support to the interception of communications from British citizens. As I explained in Murder in Samarkand, the NSA and GCHQ share all intelligence reports, but each faces legal constraints on mass spying on its own citizens. So the NSA has staff here fronting the spying on British citizens, while GCHQ has staff in the US fronting the spying on US citizens, and the polite fiction is that the results are transmitted back over the Atlantic to the US or UK respectively, before being “shared” with the partner intelligence agency.

None of which has anything to do with diplomacy, and Sacoolas must be the subject of a DSMA notice given that all mainstream media are referring to him constantly as a “diplomat”, when they all know that is not true. The irony is of course that if Sacoolas actually was a real diplomat, the US would very probably have waived the diplomatic immunity of his wife, as the issues around his presence and function would be much less sensitive.

The UK has no Vienna Convention obligation to acknowledge the “immunity” of Sacoolas’ wife, contrary to all reporting to date. What does apparently exist between the UK and US is a secret, bilateral agreement to treat GCHQ and NSA staff as if they had diplomatic immunity. That is not at all the same thing as Vienna Convention protection under international law. I cannot conceive the grief of Harry Dunn’s parents, but I do hope that they are not deceived by the pretence at intervention in this case by Johnson and Raab.

I am not at all convinced, as a matter of law, that the government has the power to grant, by bilateral treaty or otherwise, immunity from criminal prosecution to foreign nationals, plainly outside the provisions of the Vienna Convention. This should be tested by the courts.

ENDS

With this in mind, let us examine the claims made by the FCO to the media in response. From that Sky News report we have:

This is utter nonsense. It is simply untrue. RAF Croughton is not an annex to the US Embassy. The FCO has invented this lie to counter the fact that, to qualify for diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention, Sacoolas must be attached to a diplomatic mission. RAF Croughton is not a diplomatic mission. A RAF base cannot be a US Embassy.

That RAF Croughton is an annex of the US Embassy can be immediately disproved. An Embassy is the sovereign territory of the nation which owns it. Within Embassy premises, the law which applies is the law of the Embassy’s state, not the host state. That is not the case in RAF Croughton. That RAF Croughton is not an Annex of the US Embassy can be instantly proven beyond any doubt or argument by the fact that the bye-laws applicable within it are promulgated by the UK Secretary of State for Defence.

If the base were an annex to the US Embassy, the UK Secretary of State could not make bye-laws for it. There is no mention within the bye-laws covering security and management of and access to RAF Croughton of any area within it being part of the US Embassy. The claim is a simple and straightforward lie, and a rather desperate one.

Finally, if RAF Croughton were an annex to the US Embassy and if Mr Sacoolas were a diplomat, the cars of both he and his wife would have diplomatic CD plates. Mrs Sacoolas was not driving a diplomatic car – an obviously vital fact in this case, again omitted from all mainstream media reporting.

There are further lies in the Sky News report.

On the contrary, the Diplomatic List is a comprehensive record of every diplomat notified to the FCO as having diplomatic status by Diplomatic Note – and as specified in Article 10 of the Vienna Convention, a person must be so notified to become a “diplomatic agent”. There are no “diplomatic agents” not on the Diplomatic List.

I was in the Foreign Office for 20 years and a member of its Senior Management Structure for 6 years. It would be nice if you took my word for this, but you don’t have to – it is very neatly explained at the very start of the Diplomatic List:

The entire purpose of the list is to record those with diplomatic immunity and the legislation under which they get it. From page 127 to 137 it lists those who have diplomatic immunity not under the Diplomatic Privileges Act – which only covers national Embassies and High Commissions – but under other legislation as they work not for nations but for international agencies: and in every individual case the Diplomatic List names the specific legislation which confers the immunity.

The major purpose of the London Diplomatic List is to be a compendium of diplomatic status with a precise attribution of immunity and its source. As Sacoolas is not listed as a diplomat of the US Embassy in the Diplomatic List or the Consular List, he is not a “diplomatic agent” entitled to full diplomatic immunity. Full stop. As explained below, Sacoolas’ wife would only have diplomatic immunity while driving privately if he held a full diplomatic rank (in which case her car would have diplomatic CD plates, which it does not).

The FCO claim that the Diplomatic List only covers London is also ludicrous. The same government webpage gives you the full list of consulates, with their consuls, and even of honorary consuls, outside of London. It does not list Embassy annexes outside London because there are none and the concept does not exist in international law. Embassy outposts from the capital are consulates or consular offices.

The FCO is trying to convince you that their entire section of staff who work on diplomatic accreditations and constantly update the Diplomatic List, are wasting their time on an entirely pointless exercise producing futile and incomplete lists. I wonder how those employees’ morale is today.

But Raab’s FCO did not stop there with the lies. They then briefed the BBC to produce an article on diplomatic immunity so full of lies as to be truly astonishing. I am prepared to confess that I could not complete this blog entry for three days because I was genuinely emotionally upset by the realisation that the UK now has a government whose noted penchant for “aggressive” media and opinion management means it is prepared to employ the big lie on any occasion and subject.

The BBC article is plainly based entirely on an FCO briefing and written with the express and sole intention of obscuring the fact that Sacoolas is not a diplomat. It contains so many outrageous lies that I am afraid this article is going to get still longer. If you have had the patience to stick with me so far, please bear with me a bit further.

This is another quite extraordinary lie, as anybody can easily confirm simply by reading the Vienna Convention. As explained above, full diplomatic immunity is enjoyed only by “diplomatic agents” who must be persons “Having diplomatic rank”.

As very plainly set out in articles 37 of the Vienna Convention:

Article 37
1.The members of the family of a diplomatic agent forming part of his household shall, if they are
not nationals of the receiving State, enjoy the privileges and immunities specified in articles 29 to 36.

2.Members of the administrative and technical staff of the mission, together with members of
their families forming part of their respective households, shall, if they are not nationals of or
permanently resident in the receiving State, enjoy the privileges and immunities specified in articles 29
to 35, except that the immunity from civil and administrative jurisdiction of the receiving State specified
in paragraph 1 of article 31 shall not extend to acts performed outside the course of their duties. They
shall also enjoy the privileges specified in article 36, paragraph 1, in respect of articles imported at the
time of first installation.

3.Members of the service staff of the mission who are not nationals of or permanently resident in
the receiving State shall enjoy immunity in respect of acts performed in the course of their duties,
exemption from dues and taxes on the emoluments they receive by reason of their employment and the
exemption contained in article 33.

So “diplomatic agents” “having diplomatic rank” – which, remember, Sacoolas does not have – hold full immunity as do their families.

“Administrative and technical staff” have immunity from prosecution only while performing acts “in the course of their duties”. That is while actually engaged in work for their governments, not outwith their working time. Their families also have exactly the same immunity, and as the families do not have any official duties to be engaged in, in practice their immunity is only civil ie from taxation.

In the case of another spy, Shai Masot, not on the diplomatic list, when challenged as to his diplomatic status the FCO claimed he was not a “diplomatic agent” but only “technical and administrative staff”. As an NSA communications interception expert Sacoolas could arguably be “technical and administrative staff” if it were true that RAF Croughton were an annex of the US Embassy – but that plainly is not true.

However even were Sacoolas covered by immunity as “technical and administrative work” he and his family would only be covered for events that happened in the direct course of his work, and very, very plainly Anne Sacoolas would not have had diplomatic immunity when she hit Harry Dunn. She only had immunity if Sacoolas is a full blown “diplomatic agent” – which he isn’t. We are yet to be told what “diplomatic rank” he allegedly holds. So for the BBC to try to obscure the case with cooks and gardeners – who as “service staff” have even less immunity and their families none at all – is deliberate obfuscation.

This is an utterly tendentious claim. As explained above, the only people with practical diplomatic immunity outside their actual work are full blown diplomats, and there are just over 3,000 of them, all captured in the Diplomatic List. The BBC report attempts to make out that categories such as “international organisations” account for significant parts of this alleged horde of diplomats, but as noted above those from international organisations entitled to diplomatic immunity are all in the London Diplomatic List pp 127 to 137 and amount to just 220 people. It is also worth remembering that the majority of family members who have immunity are children.

There is a much larger number of military personnel who enjoy immunity under the Visiting Forces Act – a total disgrace, in my view – but this is not diplomatic immunity and it is not claimed Sacoolas has it. I have no idea where the ridiculous 23,000 figure for diplomatic immunity originates. Dominic Raab’s arse seems the best bet.

The Johnson/Raab PR strategy here is plain – to drown investigation of Sacoolas’ extremely dodgy claim to political asylum in a sea of tens of thousands of fictitious holders of dodgy political asylum. The government has decided to make us overlook Sacoolas by pretending that there are 23,000 obscure foreigners roaming our country as “diplomats”, each of whom has the license to burgle your home, piss on your floor, kill your daughter and rape your son without facing any possible criminal prosecution or comeback. If this were true, it would be a catastrophic and alarming state of affairs. Thankfully it is a great morass of fiction the government has created within which to try and bury Sacoolas.

This fake “diplomatic immunity” needs to be challenged in court, but I am not sure anyone except Harry Dunn’s family has the locus to do this. Their son was killed by the wife of a spy and to avoid political embarrassment about his activities, the government has falsely connived at a status of diplomatic immunity and then pretended to be trying to get Mrs Sacoolas back. That is an awful lot to take in for people in a terrible state of grief. After losing a son, the cognitive dissonance involved in uncovering state secrets, and learning that the state is malevolent and senior ministerial office holders are liars, is a huge hurdle to surmount. The Dunn family have first to summon the will to fight it, and then to avoid the attempts to hug them in the suffocating embrace of an establishment lawyer – believe me the powers that be will be covertly thrusting one at them – who will advise them they are most likely to make progress if they rock no boats.

The only people I know of who effectively enjoy secret diplomatic immunity are spies from CIA/NSA like Jonathon Sacoolas or from Mossad like Shai Masot. There are not any other categories of pretend diplomats having immunity, and the elaborate charade to pretend that there are is a nonsense. It must not distract from the fact that the claim that the government can grant US and Israeli intelligence agencies diplomatic immunity at will is a lie. The government is acting illegally here. There is no legislation that covers Raab in allowing Mrs Sacoolas to kill – albeit accidentally – with impunity.

I pray both the government and Mrs Sacoolas will be brought to account. I hope Mr and Mrs Dunn find what peace they can with their loss, and are able to remember with due warmth the eighteen wonderful years that I am sure they had with their son.

——————————————

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319 thoughts on “The Foreign Office Must Be Challenged Over Sacoolas’ Immunity

1 2 3 4
    • Sharp Ears

      Yes great stuff. Craig should supply us with nose pegs to protect us from the stench he unearths.

      I was looking at Raab’s TWFY. Earlier this year, he received multiple donations, well in excess of £100k, presumably for his bid to become PM which failed.. One was from an outfit called Melior Advisers Ltd, Greek St W1, for £6,480. One of the directors is a Barbara Kahan, aged 88!, described as ‘consultant’ on Company Check. It lists her as having 21915 appointments, 241 still active. YCNMIU
      https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/officers/aqWJlHS4_rJSJ7rLgTK49iO4gAg/appointments

      A fiction within Companies House? Is Kahan for real?

      Another of Raab’s donors was Michael Spencer of IPGL who gave him the use of a helicopter. Must be nice to have such useful friends. Spencer is the Tory Party treasurer. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Spencer

      Also interesting to read some of the entries on the Diplomatic List. On the entry for Israel, Shai Masot is no longer there of course but you see Col Tidhar Dar, Consular Section. Defence Attaché. Go to the site for the Israeli Embassy and there is no trace of him there. Perhaps Priti Patel could tell us more!

      The list of the US entries is very long.

      • Chris

        Sharp Ears 15:15
        Excellent finds – but I think Kahan is a red herring as far as Raab’s shadowy supporters furtive interests are concerned – pretty sure she is (or works for, or is used by) a company formation agent. Hence 20 odd thousand directorships, and her joining and leaving Melior on the same day in April 2013,when it was incorporated.

  • frankywiggles

    Dear oh dear. Quite remarkable the indignities the once mighty lion is now prepared to subject himself to just to maintain the approval of the hegemon.. .. And this is before Uncle Sam even has him bent fully over the table, which is going to he the lion’s pernanent position post-Brexit. I can see this “special relationship” becoming an ever richer source of comedy in coming years, with the rest of the world regularly having to avert its eyes in painful embarrassment for the lion.

    • J Galt

      Oh I think Uncle Sam has had John Bull fully bent over, with his trousers down, since the Atlantic “Conference” in August 1941!

    • Andrew Paul Booth

      In the spring of 2012 I drove on narrow roads past RAF Croughton. My dark blue left-hand drive Peugeot 306 HDI Break with Barcelona plates seemed to briefly hold the attention of the military police patrolling outside the perimeter in their well-maintained but what looked like thirty year-old cruisers. I spent that night at the local pub down the road past Aynho, where the road crosses the Oxford Union Canal on a narrow bridge, the Great Western Arms (I was en-route from Wivenhoe to Bath and would spend the next day in the Cotswolds – I’d been a long time out of the country and the weather, suddenly, was fine). When I commented that evening to the landlord, after identifying the base on the Michelin map and looking it up, “I see you have a US base just down the road,” he immediately replied, “We never see them. They’re certainly not spending any money in the local economy around here!”

      We then dropped the subject. The evening grew warm and lively. It stuck in my mind. In the silence of the early morning we pushed a repainted narrow boat out of its dock and down the canal to a mooring under the bridge. Silence but for moorhens and ducks.

      Everything those people need is on their base, including schools for the kids. That a Sacoolas child was being educated at a private school outside the base, I would suggest, is an indication that this family is of high rank or status.

  • michael norton

    Great article written with passion.
    A written question should be sent to Rabb.
    Was Mrs. Sarcoolas covered by Diplomatic Immunity at the time of the collision?

  • Rowan Berkeley

    “NSA disavows husband of US spy in UK traffic death”
    Susan Katz Keating, Washington Examiner, Oct 11 2019.
    NSA spokesman Chris Augustine told the Washington Examiner: “Jonathan Sacoolas is not an employee at NSA. He does not work here.” The NSA typically does not verify employment, but made the unusual move to disavow Sacoolas amid a transatlantic dust-up over the spy’s wife. An intelligence source said: “The man works for a US spy agency. Look at other agencies named in your coverage.” On Wednesday, the Washington Examiner reported that the couple has lived “at various addresses in northern Virginia close to CIA HQ at Langley.” Jonathan Sacoolas had been widely described as an NSA official working signals intelligence at the Croughton base, where he lived with his family. Radd Seiger, a lawyer for the dead boy’s parents, told a British newspaper: “He was working at Croughton, which is a communications base, so he was working with intelligence, which I guess is why it has been handled in the way that it has.” Craig Murray, a former British diplomat, wrote on his website: “Sacoolas works as an NSA technical officer at the communications interceptions post at RAF Croughton. His role is support to the interception of communications from British citizens.” The CIA did not respond to questions from the Washington Examiner.

  • MJ

    “the only explanation I can think of is that it was hoped by getting them out the country to avoid all publicity and scrutiny of Jonathon Sacoolas’ real job, which is to spy on British citizens communications’ for GCHQ, who face legal impediments in doing so”

    I thought the cat was let out of the bag on that one some time ago.

  • different frank

    This kinda reminds me of this.
    The Soham murders were probably committed by Technical Sergeant Randy Bitter, USAF Lakenheath.

      • glenn_nl

        Didn’t the caretaker cough to those murders? Why would he do that if someone else did it?

          • glenn_nl

            They had his confession, and he pleaded guilty in court… wouldn’t the judge, or his brief, notice if he wasn’t really all there? His girlfriend was complicit too. Call me naive, but I find it hard to believe they would both admit to such an atrocious crime if they were innocent.

    • Deb O'Nair

      This is the second thread about Sacoolas where the claim has been made that the Soham murders were covered up to protect the US. Huntley admitted the girls died in his house (he claimed in court accidentally) and also admitted to returning to the girls bodies to hide forensic evidence. Being drugged up/brainwashed is a lame conspiracy to overcome such behaviour.

      If the authorities want to cover up a death then they simply let the investigation run cold as bringing in a patsy to court runs the risk of being exposed, unless prosecuting a patsy has some other benefits to the state. Where are the benefits for falsely prosecuting a school caretaker?

      I’m beginning to wonder whether these Soham claims are a distraction technique conducted by the state, so that future news articles can label Craig’s excellent research as a conspiracy theory and use the comments as an example of the ‘audience’ Craig writes for.

        • Paul Barbara

          @ Scouse Billy October 13, 2019 at 12:41
          Exactly. It was a very high-level paedophile ring, covered up at the highset level.
          It would not be surprising if Yanks were involved. US bases were used to terribly torture and abuse children in MK – Ultra CIA Mind Control ‘procedures’.
          Many US bases , at home and abroad, have legal ‘Church of Satan, facilities, as does at least one RN ship.

  • Loftwork

    Thank you, Craig – masterful analysis. This farrago of deceit already rivals the woeful dementia of the Skripal affair. I look forward to seeing media efforts to weasel out of another totally untenable position. They are, as the game show host says, “Terrible at tenable”.

  • Tim

    Not a decisive point, but the idea that Embassies are extraterritorial is no true. The laws of the host state apply, it’s just that the police can’t enter to enforce them.

    • Tim

      Incidentally, a UK national overseas who committed an offence in analogous circumstances could be tried in the UK as if the offence occurred in the UK, under Section 31 of the Criminal Justice Act 1948

    • craig Post author

      Not sure Tim – the Vienna Convention does not seem explicit on this point either way. In practice, when an offence is suspected within British diplomatic premises, such as a fraud or breach of the official secrets act, it is investigated by the UK authorities – the Met or MI5 – under English law.

      • Tim

        The use of “on its territory” in Art 21 (and similar VCCR provisions) seems pretty clear, And Art 22 would be unnecessary if the Mission were territory of the sending State. Also the provision allowing a Head of Mission to act for more than one State.

        The CJA 1948 provides the basis for prosecution of UK diplomats abroad as if offences took place in the UK. So eg in countries where drinking alcohol, adultery or homosexuality are illegal, UK diplomats enjoy personal immunity from local law, but can still be tried for conduct like fraud which is an offence in the. UK

      • Tim

        On wider immunity, the history of capitulations would be worth its own discussion

        eg “In 1964 the Shah and his Prime Minister, Hassan-Ali Mansur (1923-1965), signed an agreement that granted U.S. military advisers and their families immunity from prosecution in Iran. The Majles [parliament] then ratified the agreement. The law became known as the Capitulation Law. In a fiery speech, Ayatollah Khomeini said,

        They [the parliament] passed it [the agreement] without any shame, and the government shamelessly defended this scandalous measure. They have reduced the Iranian people to a level lower than that of an American dog. If someone runs over a dog belonging to an American, he will be prosecuted. Even if the Shah himself were to run over a dog belonging to an American, he would be prosecuted. But if an American cook runs over the Shah, or the marja’ [source of emulation] of Iran, or the highest officials, no one will have the right to object. “https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tehranbureau/2009/12/december-18-marked-the-beginning.html

      • Paul Barbara

        @ craig Post author October 12, 2019 at 16:52
        But since how long have International and National laws been passe?
        All the ‘wars’, invasions and ‘Regime Change’ interventions are illegal under International Law, and in most cases National Laws.
        Can Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria sue?
        Make no mistake, I admire your exposures of the abominations, ‘blind sided’ by the MSM propaganda brigade.

    • David G

      The notion, repeated by Craig here, that embassies are the “sovereign territory” of the mission’s state isn’t technically correct. It is better to stick to the text of the Vienna Convention, as he is otherwise doing.

      The term “extraterritoriality” is a bit ambiguous, but generally such status is not accompanied by actual sovereignty, though there are exceptions, such as Vatican City (but not the major basilicas in Rome and Castel Gandolfo, which are more like embassies) and the British base areas on (but not in!) Cyprus.

  • Mary Pau!

    Well I am thinking of Valerie Plame. Are we sure it is not Mrs Sacoolas’ role and possible activities in the UK which are being covered up?

    Incidentally those of mature years may recall an incident in London, many moons ago
    where a lowly employee of I think, the Nigerian embassy claimed diplomatic immunity amid a similar row. It then turned out the entire staff of the embassy were claiming diplomatic immunity. This revelation only inflamed the row and caused further outrage and the government subsequently announced that DI would be restricted to accredited diplomats and staff helping them in their duties. Unfortunately this was all pre internet so I cannot look it up and provide a reference.

    • pretzelattack

      i’m not sure of the relevance of plame. she was outed by her own government, as opposed to the government covering it up.

      • Mrs Pau!

        What I meant was that wives of US government employees overseas could be employed by the US government in their own right. Even as CIA. Agents. We do know, via the Sun newspaper that Mrs Sacoolas was historically employed by the US State department in Washington. No information for how long. If she still is. And in what capacity.

        But after the row over the outing of Valerie Plame, it would make sense, if either of the Sacoolas does work for the CIA, that they would be spirited back to the US before any enquiries about what they were doing here, could begin in earnest. And then the FO got a DSMA notice over them and issued a load of ” mispeaks” about their role and immunity here.

    • M.J.

      That sounds like a plausible theory. Mrs Sacoolas could be a spy, and her natural charm would be an instrument to persuade the citizens of other countrries to part with their secrets. OTOH, why would an American spy be necessary to persuade UK citizens to part with British secrets, since the UK shares her secrets with the USA anyway?

  • Mr V

    Quoting far-righter caught lying dozens of times, with medieval views on minorities and women, plus exactly ZERO credentials in any science, climate or otherwise? What? You might as well quote Bellingcat on Russia or Fox Lies on EU politics, it would have exactly as much weight and relevance in the matter. That is, less than nothing, because it leaves you dumber and less capable of formulating coherent thought than you already were before trying to comprehend that drivel.

  • Walter Cairns

    Much of their criminal activity has been not only hushed up, but also resulted in others being charged with criminality and their lives destroyed. I am not the only one to link the Soham murders to a nearby US airforce base

  • Sharp Ears

    What did this judge mean by ‘progress’ yesterday? Extradition? Even Justice for Julian perhaps?

    “I very much hope we can make some progress on this case,” Judge Tam Ikram told him at the end of the five-minute hearing at London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

    More torment to come for Julian. ‘He is due to appear in court again, this time in person, on Oct. 21 with the full extradition hearing due to start on Feb. 25 next year.’

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-assange/wikileaks-founder-assange-remanded-in-jail-after-brief-uk-court-hearing-idUSKBN1WQ1EQ

    Somebody tell Reuters that the name is Tan Ikram.
    https://www.judicialappointments.gov.uk/case-study/tan-ikram-district-judge-magistrates-court

    • Hatuey

      Can I suggest we keep on topic with this particular subject for a while… it’s big and viralesque.

  • Flak Blag

    Politics has always been a game of bread and circuses for the gullible. The general population has now been sufficiently domesticated, like the ferocious aurochs that became the placid cow. There is no longer a need to maintain any pretence of justice or legitimacy. Why wear a veil when everyone is blind? Any dissenters can be Assanged safely now, the light has been all but extinguished, the princes of darkness and their servants can act with impunity.

    Regarding climate change: I suspect much more than 70% will be culled over the next century or so, and it won’t make a jot of difference. The tipping points were passed some time ago. This fact is not wholly unrelated to my previous point.

    Time to head for the hills.

    Also… Thanks Craig, lightbearer, for another detailed and justifiably outraged article dripping with unpalatable truth.

    • Dungroanin

      Placid cows are known to kill farmers.
      They know where their sons are dispatched and how they are kept lactating by the farmer.
      The farmer knows this.

      Arise the placid cows!

  • Deepgreenpuddock

    I cant hep thinking, having read through this article, that the independence of the UK is a fiction. The evidence rather points to there being secret agreements that we are in effect, ‘citizens of nowhere'(to borrow a notable politician’s phrase) ie we are under the control of the US-in effect a US state but without any of the advantages or rights. How convenient for the US. Is Brexit and all its accompanying supplicants such as Raab, Johnson Fox, Gove, etc just a process to simply bring us more closely into some unstated jurisdiction , and as yet unknown.Would this explain that extraordinary performance by May when she met the idiot golf dwarf Trump.

    • Andyoldlabour

      Deepgreenpuddock

      Unfortunately I agree with every word, it is depressing isn’t it.

      • Tom Welsh

        “…we are under the control of the US-in effect a US state but without any of the advantages or rights”.

        Like Puerto Rico.

    • lysias

      Airstrip One.

      The previous U.S. government didn’t want Brexit, but the current one apparently does.

    • Deb O'Nair

      A very accurate analysis there. The UK would have more “democracy” if it elected it’s own congressmen and senators. I am sure Trump has said as much in public.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Deepgreenpuddock October 12, 2019 at 17:02
      A ‘British’ idea for joint World Domination with the US and other 5Eyes, which got taken over by the smarter Bankster group.
      They now ‘Puppet-Master’ events, and the puppets and bribed and blackmailed silly sods do the required.

  • Node

    Typo
    Your article begins with a screenshot of the document “Statutory Instruments – 2014 No. 815.” I think this is a typo. You include the same screenshot later in the article at a place where the context is more appropriate.

      • Iain Stewart

        O felix culpa quae talem et tantum meruit habere redemptorem.
        You may know the work of the Italian “micro-historian” Carlo Ginzburg, who uses the “happy mistake” as part of his research method. Like you, he analyses texts patiently to find the revelatory blind spot which always escapes official control.

        • Denton Scratch

          OK, I get “O Felix Culpa” as “Oh, happy mistake”.

          The rest of it might as well be Greek to me.

          I spent about 7 years studying Latin; I failed my “O” level after 5 years, and got a 7 (minimum passing grade) 2 years later. So I have a Latin “O” level. I think I spent about 4 hours a week on the subject, over seven years. I love knowing a bit of Latin; I think it helps me to understand English better, not to mention French. But if you chuck a pile of “raw” Latin at me, I’m just lost.

  • Borncynical

    With apologies for repeating myself on this website – but my point is relevant to the fundamental question mark raised against the integrity of this government/FCO – I have yet to receive from the FCO clarification of the legal basis for the UK’s detention of the Iranian Grace 1 oil tanker. I wrote to my local MP on 23 July requesting that he obtain the information for me as the EU Council Regulation referred to by “an official spokesperson” as the legal basis does not confer any power on the EU to prevent or dictate trade activities between two non-EU member states in respect of Syria. I have sent three reminders that I am still awaiting the information but have received no reply or even official acknowledgement of my letter.

    As someone who in my Civil Service days was responsible for negotiating EU trade rules (agricultural products) and applying them in the UK, I am fully aware that the EU is not empowered to have ANY authority over trade solely between non-EU countries. As soon as the FCO ‘justified’ their actions over the tanker by referring to “non-compliance with EU sanctions” I knew that they were blatantly lying, presumably being comfortable with this rather than disobeying their string pullers across the ocean. It is appalling the depths that recent UK governments have sunk to.

    As has been mentioned already, the Skripal case is another obvious example of the UK Government’s completely dishonest and immoral behaviour.

    • np

      ‘Cocaine makes me feel giddy’ – UK foreign secretary Sir Anthony Eden, writing in his diary in November 1942 (during WWII)

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Borncynical October 12, 2019 at 18:2
      You need support on this. You are obviously onto something. I suggest you get in touch with UK Clumn, Glabal Reaearch, 21st Century Wire, and others to get more publicity on your admirable quest for answers.
      Also, any commenters on here should back you.
      I don’t know if you can take the relevant department to court fo not replying to your query, but please check it out.
      There’s crowdfunding to finance a court case. I’m sure you’ll be handsomely backed by many commenters on this blog.

  • Hatuey

    I don’t think I have ever seen Craig Murray so angry.

    CM: “it is very hard to understand why diplomatic immunity has been insisted on in this case.”

    That’s what I am interested in.

    I don’t believe that they are simply sensitive about admitting Sacoolas was a spy. There must be more to it than that.

    As Craig Murray points out, the decision to spirit the Sacoolas family out of the country rather than face the music is a decision that would have been taken at very high levels.

    There’s more to this than any of us know. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that someone with a fuller understanding of the situation contacted Craig Murray in the coming days to throw some light on it. Murray is the man leading the charge on this, internationally recognised as such, and the man you would go to if you wanted to get something off your chest and out there.

    I’m officially calling this a developing story…

    • michael norton

      We must suspect that the American Deep State do not want any of the Sarcoolas family,
      blabbing anything about anything, they do not want them to take the stand, where they would be examined.
      It will be about their other non-legal activities in Britain.

      • Hatuey

        It’s hard to imagine that the police investigation would venture into that sort of stuff though. I’d assume the focus and scope would be quite narrowly limited to the accident itself and the usual questions of whether she was driving legally, with insurance, was sober, etc.

        That’s what the Americans wanted to avoid.

        All this stuff about spying and diplomat lists only became relevant and interesting when the spirited her away.

        Thus, we can deduce that if there’s something compromising here that they didn’t want leaked or didn’t want to face, it most likely concerned the legal status of the driver and/or the car itself.

        I seriously doubt the decision to get them out of the country had anything to do with anyone’s job in the CIA or anything like that because that wouldn’t be the focus of a road traffic accident investigation.

    • Andyoldlabour

      Hatuey

      “There must be more to it than that. ”

      I think it really is that simple, because it has happened before, when George H W Bush refused to apologise for the shooting down of the Iranian airbus, saying he would never apologise for US actions.
      This is no different, this is why they are exceptional, most human beings have “empathy”, the US politicians lack empathy, they have arrogance and evil in spades, they care nothing for anyone else.

      • Hatuey

        Yes, well, everyone knows about that but we aren’t Iranians.

        We are supposed to be special.

        • Tom Welsh

          “We are supposed to be special”.

          From whose point of view? From the Iaranians’ point of view, they are “special”. But they are urbane and civilized enough to understand that everyone feels special from their own viewpoint.

          (I did notice the irony, by the way).

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Andyoldlabour October 12, 2019 at 19:25
        ‘…the US politicians lack empathy, they have arrogance and evil in spades, they care nothing for anyone else…’
        And our lot, and most of the worlds, aren’t the same? Be fair!
        That’s the nature of MOST (but certainly not all) politicians.
        Exceptions include Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Salvador Allende, Rafael Correa, Mahatma Gandhi, Jeremy Corbyn, and many (though far too few) others. I suggest it is no accident they are all left wing (Mahatma Gandhi might dispute his allegiance, but I see hima as that, just as I see Jesus as left-wing).

  • Ort

    Thanks for this tour de force, Craig!

    I’m sorry that you’re so distressed by the grim truth that in the US-dominated Western hegemony, the government-perpetrated Big Lie has become the rule, not the exception, for promulgating and justifying government action and public policy.

  • Andyoldlabour

    Well done Craig, another excellent piece, which quite simply exposes the hypocrisy and corruption, the misuse of power which exists and is frequently used by so called Western, democratic countries.
    Then of course you have the government puppet – the BBC – which tells us that this is a quite common state of affairs, boasting of £100 million in unpaid congestion charges by foreign diplomats, they just treat the rest of us with utter contempt.

  • David G

    “… spies from CIA/NSA like Jonathon Sacoolas or from Mossad like Shai Masot.”

    The link at the above point in the post is to the same BBC article that is discussed at length, which does not mention Shai Masot.

    Perhaps this is a slip? I’ve never heard of this person, so a link to something relevant would be appreciated.

  • Mist001

    I wonder if she hit the wrong person? Was she (they?) aiming to hit someone else deliberately and this poor kid got in the way thus alerting their intending target to the danger and opening a can of worms so they’ve been removed to the USA for their own safety?

    Something is definitely fishy with this but like most of the articles that Craig posts, the government/establishment/media just deny and/or lie and continue to get away with it.

    • Rex Mundi

      No, it was a simple accident. She had been in the country for only 3 weeks, it’s clearly a terrible accident and it’s not difficult to see how it happened. It’s also a known problem, afterall some airports I’ve been to have reminders that we drive on the left at the exits.

      I think the family left the UK while the investigation was in the early stages, we’re supporting the claim of “diplomatic immunity” because there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it. Expel US diplomats as a protest? Hardly likely. The alternative is to admit they are not covered by diplomatic immunity but we’re still not going to do anything about it.

      If there was something to cover up with regards the nature of their employment then I think she would have been instructed to just take the sentence, this has just placed the spotlight directly over them whereas if she had just followed the judicial process I doubt any of us who don’t live in the locality would have heard of the story. The US simply doesn’t feel its citizens should be held responsible for the deaths of non US citizens. ‘America First’ as Trump says, or ‘Americans are Exceptional’ as Obama liked to say.

      It’s disappointing that our Government is so complicit and not willing to stand up for the Dunn family, though I doubt any post WW2 government would have behaved any differently.

      • Hatuey

        Everything you say here is either regurgitated crap from the MSM or crap that you might be given credit for yourself.

        • Rex Mundi

          I think on the balance of probabilities a simple accident is far more likely than a CIA assassination plot gone wrong, despite all their experience in the field, involving the wife of an officer with her 12 year old son in the passenger seat hitting the wrong motorcyclist 400 yards outside a US Airbase with heavy CIA connections.

      • Tom Welsh

        “Expel US diplomats as a protest? Hardly likely”.

        Why? Is there something special about them?

        The UK government expelled 23 Russian diplomats (genuine ones) over the Skripal affair, in which there has never been a shred of evidence for Mrs May’s pronouncement that Russian guilt was “highly likely”. The coroner in the case of Dawn Sturgess is apparently postponing the legally compulsory inquest sine die, because the police and prosecution authorities cannot provide any evidence as to the cause of her death. (What? What has become of the deadly Novichok “of a type manufactured in Russia”?) Perhaps that is why Sergei Skripal’s body has never been found – that way they don’t need to have an inquest, or psotpone it sine die (which looks bad).
        http://johnhelmer.net/skripal-update-english-coroner-runs-out-of-legal-camouflage-and-genuine-evidence-for-postponing-inquest-into-dawn-sturgess-death-spokesman-attempts-lying-to-press/

        Yet no Americans can be expelled for the disgraceful and highly illegal manslaughter of an innocent British citizen going about his lawful business.

      • Denton Scratch

        I agree; it was a simple accident. If she’d turned up in court and pleaded guilty, she’d have got a £1,000 fine. No biggie.

        So either she’s a scaredy-cat, or her husband has something to cover up. I favour the analysis that doesn’t involve cats; someone doesn’t want her giving evidence under oath, in court.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Mist001 October 12, 2019 at 20:10
      Highly unlikely. But if she had a teenage son, there is a possibility she was letting him drive, which would explain the Orange Buffoon’s unwarranted info that ‘cameras showed she was driving’. That had not, to my knowledge, been challenged.

    • Denton Scratch

      OK, I get “O Felix Culpa” as “Oh, happy mistake”.

      The rest of it might as well be Greek to me.

      I spent about 7 years studying Latin; I failed my “O” level after 5 years, and got a 7 (minimum passing grade) 2 years later. So I have a Latin “O” level. I think I spent about 4 hours a week on the subject, over seven years. I love knowing a bit of Latin; I think it helps me to understand English better, not to mention French. But if you chuck a pile of “raw” Latin at me, I’m just lost.

  • David G

    Craig writes: “The government is acting illegally here.”

    As informative and persuasive as this post is, the above statement is not supported, and may well be false.

    I see the UK government as doing essentially two things here:

    1) declining to prosecute this woman, and

    2) shamelessly lying to the public about why it is doing so.

    Are either of those contrary to British, EU, or international law?

    • David G

      I should also have included the European Convention on Human Rights as a possibly relevant source of law, but even therein it’s far from clear to me that the Dunn family or anybody else has a remedy here.

    • Andrew

      You make a good point. I too was a diplomat in a previous life. If this were an ordinary diplomat or diplomatic spouse, the standard sequence of events would be:
      1. host government asks sending government to waive the perpetrator’s immunity
      2. sending government usually (and, it seems, in the US case always, as a matter of policy) declines, and either voluntarily repatriates the person, or more rarely, waits for
      3. host government to require repatriation by a persona non grata declaration.
      So, leaving aside the mysteries of the status of Jonathan Sacoolas, where the UK and US have ended up on this is pretty much what one would have expected, sad though that is for the Dunn family. What is really astonshing is the clumsy and mendacious way the UK in particular has got there. Not to mention counterproductive, if the aim was to avoid drawing attention to the nature of his duties at RAF Croughton and who his real employer is: these are irrelevant to a prosecution arising of a motor traffic accident caused by his spouse, so the wise thing for the Americans to have done, even if precluded by their normal policy, would be to negotiate a waiver of immunity in return for whatever guarantees of leniency they can extract from the probably fairly amenable UK side, for whom anything is better than nothing. But wisdom is in very short supply these days.

      • David G

        I quite agree that the course taken has been counterproductive if the goal was to minimize public attention to what is going on inside this “RAF base”.

        To me this suggests that the fairly sophisticated mendacity of implementing and camouflaging the total surveillance state itself gives way to the primitive but even more seductive mendacity of arrogance and personal impunity: reading everybody’s emails is nice, but nowhere near as sweet as knowing you and yours can leave a teenager’s lifeless body in the road, and then just fly away home.

        • Paul Barbara

          @ David G October 14, 2019 at 03:30
          Such a thing! How many ‘teenagers’ (or babies, or grandmothers, or grade school kids) have NATO ‘Regime Change’ interventions left in bits in the road, or in the remains of their houses or megre shelters?
          I cannot quite figure how you think the road ‘accident’ might be seen as sweet by these people, as it is presumably an accident?
          Unless you believe they are ghouls, which is a possibility but completely unsupported by any evidence to date.

    • Denton Scratch

      Any claim about whether a thing is legal, or criminal, “may well be false”. You find out when the trial is finished, right?

  • D_Majestic

    The Indy has been covering this story for days. Just checked back, and read the ‘Granted Diplomatic Immunity’ stuff yet again. The article was last updated 25 minutes ago, as of now, 8.48 p.m., 12/10/19. We live in interesting times.

    • D_Majestic

      Many thanks for this impressive work, Craig. Incidentally, no comments allowed on this latest piece. Comments on earlier offerings of this story were heavily tampered with, I noticed.

  • Ant

    Very interesting. Thanks, Craig. There were bound to be a few corrections needed in an article that long; can I suggest these two?

    Paragraph 4, restructure sentence: Assuming that Anne Sacoolas was the driver and the incident was as described, the only explanation I can think of is that it was hoped by getting them out the country to avoid all publicity and scrutiny of Jonathon Sacoolas’ real job, which is to spy on British citizens communications’ for GCHQ, who face legal impediments in doing so.

    Paragraph 12, replace ‘never’ with ‘ever’: If Bunkall has not tweeted it, it would be difficult to prove this brief moment of reporting the truth had never existed.

  • Gary

    The one thing that stuck out of this like a sore thumb was the phrase “HAS been granted immunity” Not WAS granted, “HAS been” as though this was done retrospectively and even THEY don’t want to flat out lie about it. Over the course of more than a decade my job had me meet and interview many people who wanted to lie to me; they, for the most part, were not comfortable with their lies – and it showed. Small slippages like this one would occur as they found that the lies stuck in their throats and they tried to ‘weasel word’ their way out of it – even Civil Servants aren’t immune.

    I think they HAVE attempted to attach Diplomatic Immunity (wrongly both in moral and legal terms) AFTER THE FACT. I’m no lawyer but I don’t think being granted immunity (even legally) after the fact could save you, legally, from prosecution. Of course the new found immunity COULD be used to skip out of course, as she has.

    What IS troubling about this is that I don’t believe she, Anne Sacoolas, made the decision. I believe the decision was made, as you have already said, at the very top to remove her from this situation to prevent publicity on the activities of her husband. In this, the press have been compliant. Our press and TV news are either the singularly most incompetent idiots ever or they have chosen to be the lapdogs of our government and knowingly cover for their lies – perhaps a mixture.

    By the end of net week this story will no longer be getting any air time, either here or in the US. Whatever the Dunn family do decide to do, it won’t be getting covered…

    • lysias

      I certainly expect George Galloway to feature this story on his RT/Radio Sputnik show tomorrow.

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