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British agents were given a ‘license to kill’ by former PM

British secret service agents working for MI5 have a "licence to kill" without fear of prosecution, a tribunal has heard.

Published: October 11, 2018, 9:31 am

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    The former UK Prime Minister, David Cameron admitted to a “long-standing” secret policy to let security service agents break the law, The Daily Mail reported, after campaigners launched a legal challenge to reveal what crimes have been committed in the name of MI5 since the 1990s.

    The document containing the evidence was made public on Thursday. In it, Cameron explained to a retired judge Sir Mark Waller not to rule on the legality of cases.

    Waller had been charged with oversight of various secret service agencies, including MI5, MI6 and GCHQ. Cameron urged him not to suggest referrals to prosecutors, effectively blocking the Investigatory Powers Tribunal in London to examine the criminal activities of British agents.

    The team representing the intelligence agencies, the Home Office and the Foreign Office, could thus keep details of MI5’s conduct from the tribunal, since Cameron’s letter from November 2012 effectively gave MI5 agents a licence to break the law with impunity.

    Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing on Wednesday that the British special services’ instructions authorising agents to commit crimes make the United Kingdom look like “the Evil Empire” because of the timing of the letter.

    It is highly significant as just two weeks later, Cameron had admitted there was “state collusion” in the 1989 murder of Belfast solicitor Patrick Finucane. No one has ever been prosecuted for the murder.

    “The British public start asking questions about activity of their special services,” Zakharova said. “Documents have been made public about the MI5 policy authorizing its agents to commit criminal acts.

    “The released secret letter dated by the year 2012 and signed by then Prime Minister [David] Cameron along with a directive are reported to prove that the agents are allowed to commit crimes, including murder and sexual assault, if this is – I am quoting – ‘in the discharge of their function to protect national security’,” Zakharova noted.

    “It is not Russian propaganda and it is not a Russian information machine, as we are called. These are declassified documents,” the diplomat told Russian news agency TASS. “If it is just how it has surfaced, [the United Kingdom] is just the Empire of Evil in its basic form and sense.”

    On 1 June 2007, the building housing MI5 was designated as a protected site for the purposes of Section 128 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005. The effect of the act was to make it a specific criminal offence for a person to trespass into the building

    The security service has been giving its informants and agents the freedom to commit “grave criminality” for almost 30 years, according to The Daily Mail.

    Finucane, who represented several high-profile Irish Republicans, was assassinated in front of his family by loyalist gunmen. After his death it emerged that the British paramilitary intelligence officer responsible for directing Ulster Defence Association attacks, Brian Nelson, was an agent controlled by the British Army’s “Force Research Unit”.

    In Cameron’s letter, he wrote: “In the discharge of their function to protect national security, the security service has a long-standing policy for their agent handlers to agree to agents participating in crime, in circumstances where it is considered such involvement is necessary and proportionate in providing or maintaining access to intelligence that would allow the disruption of more serious crimes or threats to national security.”

    In an official MI5  document “guidelines on the use of agents who participate in criminality” was also for the first time made public on Thursday. The policy states that an officer is “empowered” to “authorise the use of an agent participating in crime”.

    Despite this “licence to kill”, military analyst Michael Herman has said that British intelligence as a whole had not been very successful in making sense of crucial areas where technical military analysis and political analysis are inextricably intertwined.

    Herman hints at figures such as Colonel Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, formerly commanding officer of Britain’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Regiment and Nato’s Rapid Reaction CBRN Battalion, and assistant director of Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Land Forces, HdBG, and officially retired from the British Army in 2011.

    Since then, he has emerged as a key figure in British “information operations” in relation to chemical warfare, including in Syria. The continuing role of HdsBG in “false flags” has been discussed in section 7.1 of a post by the “Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media” on the 7 April false flag chemical attack in Douma.

    Moreover, following the Salisbury incident involving Sergei Skripal, the supposed chemical weapons expertise of HdBG played a crucial role in the attempt to sustain the “narrative” of Russian involvement to which the British government has committed itself.

    MI (Military Intelligence) previously had agencies numbered up to 19, but not all at the same time. Most were folded into MI5, MI6 or GCHQ after WW2.

    MI1 (Codebreaking), MI2 (Russia and Scandinavia), MI3 (Eastern Europe), MI4 (Aerial Reconnaisance), MI8 (Military Communication Interception), MI9 (Undercover operations), MI10 (Weapons analysis) MI14 and MI15 (German specialists), MI19 (PoW debriefing), MI17 (Military Intelligence “Head Office”).

    A full list of Miliary Intelligence (MI) Departments can be found on pages 147 and 148 of “Codebreaker in the Far East” by Alan Stripp, published in 1989 by Oxford University Press. This goes numerically up to MI19 plus MIL, MIR and MIX. The author says that the whole series has now been replaced by MI5 and MI6, but even this distinction may have been blurred.

     

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