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March 2, 2000

David vindicated over existence of Qadhafi Plot

This press release is being put out as a reaction to The Sunday Times report of 13 February 2000, "Revealed: Cook misled public over Libya Plot".

Key Points

         Although the report does not absolutely confirm that MI6 paid an agent to assassinate Colonel Qadhafi, it does confirm that MI6 had an agent who had prior information about the plans of a group of army plotters who had decided either to arrest or kill Qadhafi as part of a coup in February/March 1996.

         David told the BBC Panorama programme broadcast on 7 August 1998 of the existence of a document to support the Qadhafi Plot.  This document appears to be the one, although David also remembers other similar documents with more details.

         The report directly contradicts Foreign Secretary Robin Cook's assertion that the Qadhafi Plot was "pure fantasy".  The report was sent to the FO's PUSD, the permanent under-secretary's department, which directly advises the Foreign Secretary.  The Foreign Office therefore clearly knew that MI6 knew of advanced plans to stage a coup in which Qadhafi would be arrested or killed at exactly the time I was talking about.   In that position, to say that the Plot was "pure fantasy" was a dereliction of duty, if not a downright lie.

         The Ministry of Defence intelligence staff, the Cabinet Office, GCHQ and others members of MI5, G6A/5 and G6A/3, are addressees as well as G9A/5, David's "star designation" when studying the Libyan target.

         Prime Minister Tony Blair is also implicated.  As head of the intelligence services, he must have known that the foreign secretary had lied about the lack of a Qadhafi Plot.  Instead of bringing this to the attention of parliament and the people, he chose to become involved in the cover-up.

         To state it baldly, since August 1998 members of the government have been prepared to allow a lie rather than the truth to circulate about an illegal MI6 plot which led to the murder of innocent civilians.  The government and MI6 conspired to protect PT16/B, the officer who led the operation, from being arrested and charged with murder while David languished in prison.

         PF1 calls for an independent enquiry; the resignation of the Foreign Secretary; an apology to David from both the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary; and a full review of the current oversight arrangements of the intelligence services.

Background

David downloaded the document from the website in question, www.geocities/byanymeans_2000/document.html, on Saturday afternoon after The Sunday Times alerted him to its existence.  David has confirmed the document is genuine.  He also believes that:

a.    it is the document that he saw in December 1995 at the time of issue.

b.    he copied the original document to his line manager in MI5, G9A/1 and filed it on SF754-0168.

David has kept a downloaded copy of the document as he was afraid the government might try to ban The Sunday Times story in the same way that it initially banned the Mail on Sunday and the Panorama programme on the Qadhafi Plot in August 1998.  He believes the document can be disseminated because it is in the public domain already and it raises issues of enormous public interest.

David's represetatives passed a full account of the Qadhafi Plot to the government on November 25 1999.  A censored version, which the government has given PF1 permission to put out, is attached.

David has been advised by his lawyers not to comment on the provenance of the document as legal proceedings are still outstanding against him.

On 10 August 1998, the Foreign Secretary was reported in the Daily Telegraph as saying:

"I do wish people would recognise that somebody who has left another service - not the Secret Intelligence Service MI6, he was never in MI6 - is making allegations, no doubt for his own reasons.  I have pursued these allegations.  I am absolutely satisfied that the previous Foreign Secretary did not authorise any such assassination attempt.  I'm perfectly satisfied that MI6 never put forward any such proposal.

"Nor have I seen anything in the 15 months I have been in the job which would suggest that MI6 has any interest, any role or any experience over the decades of any such escapade.   There was no Government-inspired plan to assassinate Gaddafi.  There was no SIS proposal to do it, and I'm fairly clear there has never been any SIS involvement.  I'm perfectly clear that these allegations have no basis in fact.  It is pure fantasy."

David Shayler said today: "In August 1998, after Cook denied the Qadhafi Plot, many people thought I was a fantasist.  It is good to now be vindicated.  This whole episode highlights the complete lack of democratic accountability in this country.  I hope those who ignored me are now honourable enough to apologise to me and to make amends by ensuring that in future ministers are not allowed to collude with the intelligence services to cover up a murder plot.

"All those who ignored my evidence, including MPs and in particular, the parliamentary intelligence and security committee, now look negligent and foolish.  They failed to uphold the rule of law.  In doing so, they sided with a suspected murderer in the Establishment rather than listen to the evidence of a public-spirited whistleblower.  They should not compound their shame by continuing to refuse to investigate my evidence.

"I was in prison when Cook said the Qadhafi Plot was "pure fantasy".  I'm sure he did it to support the British government's extradition application against me so I could be returned to England for trial without the public or parliament knowing that I was telling the truth about the Qadhafi Plot.  If either Cook or Blair had a scrap of honour, they would resign forthwith."