[ 27 November 2002 ]

On this day in 2002, the British government pushed UN weapons inspectors in Iraq to investigate one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces on the Tigris river. Britain felt reasonably confident that Saddam Hussein would refuse them entry, thereby providing the United Kingdom and United States with a much needed pretext to go to war.  However, to their immense surprise, the inspectors were allowed in. They then searched the entire palace for evidence of either nuclear or chemical Weapons of Mass Destruction and found nothing until their hopes were raised on spotting several suspicious refrigerators. They opened them to discover jars of marmalade.

Later Sir David Omand, who was Tony Blair’s security coordinator, recalled before the Iraq Inquiry that the response of those working in MI6 was “that just proves how devious and duplicitous Saddam Hussein is, and how incompetent the inspectors are.”  Hans Blix, head of the UN inspectors thought otherwise, and informed Blair that he thought that MI6 intelligence indicating that Iraq possessed stocks of WMD “had not been all that compelling.”(1)


[ 27 November 2012 ]

On this day in 2012, prime minister David Cameron wrote to Sir Mark Waller, Security Services Commissioner, informing him that there was a long standing arrangement by which Britain’s security services could commit even serious crimes without fear of prosecution in the United Kingdom. It effectively gave MI5 and MI6 agents a license to break the law, including such grave crimes, as torture and murder, with complete impunity.

The letter was sent just two weeks before Cameron publicly acknowledged that there was state collusion in the killing in 1989 of Belfast solicitor Patrick Finucane. Despite, this admission, no one was ever brought to trial for his murder.[2] Finucane, who’s only known crime was to represent Irish republicans suspected of involvement in terror offences, was shot down in front of his family by loyalist gunmen, with support from the British government. Cameron later reneged on an undertaking given both to Finucane’s wife and the Irish government to hold a public inquiry. [3]


  1. Gordon Corera (2012), “MI6: Life and Death in the British Secret Service,” Phoenix, London, p376-377.
  2. Rebecca Camber, “David Cameron gave MI5 agents ‘license to kill’ in secret letter saying they should not be prosecuted for crimes, tribunal hears.” The Daily Mail, 4 October 2018, accessed online at https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6241163/David-Cameron-gave-MI5-agents-licence-kill-secret-letter.html
  3. Gerry Moriarty, “London supreme court to hear case for inquiry into Pat Finacune murder,” The Irish Times, 26 July 2018 accessed online at https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/london-supreme-court-to-hear-case-for-inquiry-into-pat-finucane-murder-1.3167957

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *