Sunday, March 02, 2008

Ronald Bleier: Book Review: Annie Machon' s Spies Lies and Whistleblowers: MI5 & MI6, Agents of Terror

Here are the first three paragraphs of a review by Ronald Bleier of Annie Machon's 2005 book, Spies, Lies and Whistleblowers: MI5, MI6 And the Shayler Affair . To read the entire review (3800 words)go to:

Some of the main themes of corruption, illegality and sponsorship of terror in the British security services and in the broader culture are encapsulated by two quotes from the book.
We joined the services to stop terrorism, not become involved in it.”

“It appears that we have given up on the notion of due process, fair trials and democratic rights in Britain.”

-- Annie Machon

It’s the (Intelligence and Security) Services, Stupid: A review of Annie Machon’s Spies, Lies and Whistleblowers: MI5, MI6 And the Shayler Affair

By Ronald Bleier
February 2008

In August 1997 two ex- MI5 officers, David Shayler and his companion Annie Machon, fled to France in connection with their plan to expose corruption and mismanagement in MI5 and MI6, Britain’s domestic and foreign intelligence services. Both highly rated agents, they had spent years unsuccessfully attempting to redress issues of corruption and mismanagement. Spies, Lies tells their story in remarkable and eye opening detail as they blow the whistle on outmoded procedures, low officer morale and drunkenness, and on misguided and illegal operations. Their book traces the steps by which they came to the alarming conclusion that the intelligence and security services have devolved into the enablers and initiators of terror.

At the heart of the book is the exposure of a sensational case of MI6 collusion with an Islamic extremist group that tried to assassinate Colonel Gaddafi. The public didn’t learn of the plot until the New York Times (NYT) published an account on August 5, 1998 under the interrogative title: “Did the British government try to assassinate Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi the Libyan leader, in February 1996 by planting a bomb under his motorcade?” The Times noted that MI6 paid $160,000 to the group. (pp. 247- 250) The NYT story was soon confirmed on BBC’s Panorama TV program and a few months later, in November 1998, the government of Libya showed TV footage of the attack.

Machon explains that she and Shayler decided to voluntarily leave the service about a year before they fled England. They coordinated their flight with the publication of an article by Shayler in the Mail on Sunday, the sister publication of Britain’s popular newspaper, The Daily Mail. They fled in order to give the newly elected Labour government led by Tony Blair time to investigate their evidence. They were optimistic about getting a fair hearing since Blair had just won an election by a landslide on a reform platform that included human rights and an ethical foreign policy. (p. 192)

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