Julia May in London
April 23, 2007
Other related coverage
Blair's aides to face charges in 'cash-for-honours' row: reports
Blair's aides facing charges in 'cash-for-honours' row
THE corruption scandal involving the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has intensified, with police poised to charge some of his advisers. And an embarrassing document has surfaced that reveals Mr Blair's strategy for wooing and "flattering" wealthy donors.
Scotland Yard detectives completed their 13-month "cash-for-peerages" inquiry and referred it to the Crown Prosecution Service on Friday. The Sunday Times reported that police were targeting Mr Blair's chief of staff, Jonathan Powell, over a secret meeting he allegedly held last year about "dealing with" the inquiry.
The paper claimed police were urging the prosecution service to charge Mr Powell with attempting to pervert the course of justice - a more serious crime than selling peerages or failing to disclose funding, both of which were investigated.
In another blow, The Sunday Telegraph published a damning Labour Party document that outlined the roles of the Prime Minister, his chief fund-raiser, Lord Levy, and Mr Blair's most senior advisers in luring donors by giving them access to senior Labour figures and "creating a reason to give". These included flattering donors' offers of policy advice and arranging private meetings with Mr Blair.
The cash-for-peerages investigation was sparked by allegations the Labour Party had sold nominations for the House of Lords for secret loans of £14 million.
Detectives expanded the investigation to include the other political parties. They interviewed 136 people - including Mr Blair - and arrested four people close to him: Lord Levy, Mr Blair's government relations adviser, Ruth Turner and a Labour backer, Sir Christopher Evans. The fourth person, Des Smith, a member of the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, was interviewed but not charged. All have denied any wrongdoing.
The momentum for the case comes in what observers say are Mr Blair's final weeks in office. It is thought he will announce his resignation on May 9 or May 10, by which time the May 3 Scottish elections and a power-sharing agreement with Northern Ireland would be completed.
Angus MacNeil, the Scottish National Party MP who last year tipped off police about the cash-for-peerages deals, said it was unlikely there would be any charges before the Scottish election, but before Mr Blair steps down "would certainly be possible. It casts a massive cloud over Tony Blair's premiership".
The Scottish elections could also prove problematical for Mr Blair and his likely successor, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown. Polls indicate that the Scottish National Party may defeat Labour for the first time, and that the SNP's calls for independence are striking a chord among voters.
But Mr Brown has had a change of fortune after several torrid weeks in which his economic record was seriously undermined. A survey of Labour MPs by his supporters shows that he easily has the numbers to assume the leadership when Mr Blair departs.
This was further bolstered yesterday as a prospective leadership contender, Environment Secretary David Miliband, firmly ruled out a challenge by writing in The Observer that he would vote for Mr Brown.
Al-Qaeda‘planning big British attack’Dipesh Gadher
AL-QAEDA leaders in Iraq are planning the first “large-scale” terrorist attacks on Britain and other western targets with the help of supporters in Iran, according to a leaked intelligence report.
(Are these the same 'intelligence' operatives who told us Saddam's vast arsenal of WMD posed a dire threat to the world? There is no evidence that the group - which does not seem to exist outisde of Western/Israeli intelligence services - has ever operated in Iraq. The allegation that Iran, the next target of the Neo-Fascists, is in on the plot, makes me a tad sceptical ...)
Spy chiefs warn that one operative had said he was planning an attack on “a par with Hiroshima and Nagasaki” in an attempt to “shake the Roman throne”, a reference to the West.
("Spy chiefs"? Whom? This is interesting, given that it weas just announced that there would be drills to simulate a nuclear-terror strike. Remember, there were similar "drills" (Command Posts?) running on both 9/11 and 7/7.)
Another plot could be timed to coincide with Tony Blair stepping down as prime minister, an event described by Al-Qaeda planners as a “change in the head of the company”.
(That's pretty specific, westernized intel ...)
The report, produced earlier this month and seen by The Sunday Times, appears to provide evidence that Al-Qaeda is active in Iran and has ambitions far beyond the improvised attacks it has been waging against British and American soldiers in Iraq.
(In that case, these proven LIARS should put up or shut up.)
There is no evidence of a formal relationship between Al-Qaeda, a Sunni group, and the Shi’ite regime of President Mah-moud Ahmadinejad, but experts suggest that Iran’s leaders may be turning a blind eye to the terrorist organisation’s activities.
("Experts" ... ? Who writes this drivel? This is not responsible journalism.)
The intelligence report also makes it clear that senior Al-Qaeda figures in the region have been in recent contact with operatives in Britain.
(What report? Written by whom? What evidence? You have to first prove the group exists, and is active in Iraq. Thus far, the War Criminals making these unfounded accusations have balked when asked for their "evidence". This seems like an excuse to shrug off the fact that the troops are engaged with a legitimate Resistance Movement, fighting to Liberate its country from a Foreign Aggressor.)
It follows revelations last year that up to 150 Britons had travelled to Iraq to fight as part of Al-Qaeda’s “foreign legion”. A number are thought to have returned to the UK, after receiving terrorist training, to form sleeper cells.
(That's a lot of intelligence for people who claim to be incapable of tracking these people ...)
The report was compiled by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) - based at MI5’s London headquarters - and provides a quarterly review of the international terror threat to Britain. It draws a distinction between Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda’s core leadership, who are thought to be hiding on the Afghan-Pakistan border, and affiliated organisations elsewhere.
(Alright, so this isn't exactly a crediblke group, nor report. Thanks for saving that for the end of the highly speculative article! Shamless ...)
The document states: “While networks linked to AQ [Al-Qaeda] Core pose the greatest threat to the UK, the intelligence during this quarter has highlighted the potential threat from other areas, particularly AQI [Al-Qaeda in Iraq].”
The report continues: “Recent reporting has described AQI’s Kurdish network in Iran planning what we believe may be a large-scale attack against a western target.
“A member of this network is reportedly involved in an operation which he believes requires AQ Core authorisation. He claims the operation will be on ‘a par with Hiroshima and Naga-saki’ and will ‘shake the Roman throne’. We assess that this operation is most likely to be a large-scale, mass casualty attack against the West.”
(Then with all the intelligence they have, the Government should have no problem in stopping such a thing from happening ... Incompetence or Complicity? What will their excuse be this time?)
The report says there is “no indication” this attack would specifically target Britain, “although we are aware that AQI . . . networks are active in the UK”.
Analysts believe the reference to Hiroshima and Naga-saki, where more than 200,000 people died in nuclear attacks on Japan at the end of the second world war, is unlikely to be a literal boast.
“It could be just a reference to a huge explosion,” said a counter-terrorist source. “They [Al-Qaeda] have got to do something soon that is radical otherwise they start losing credibility.”
(Kinda like their opponents ...)
Despite aspiring to a nuclear capability, Al-Qaeda is not thought to have acquired weapons grade material. However, several plots involving “dirty bombs” - conventional explosive devices surrounded by radioactive material - have been foiled.
Last year Al-Qaeda’s leader in Iraq called on nuclear scientists to apply their knowledge of biological and radiological weapons to “the field of jihad”.
Details of a separate plot to attack Britain, “ideally” before Blair steps down this summer, were contained in a letter written by Abdul al-Hadi al-Iraqi, an Iraqi Kurd and senior Al-Qaeda commander.
According to the JTAC document, Hadi “stressed the need to take care to ensure that the attack was successful and on a large scale”. The plan was to be relayed to an Iran-based Al-Qaeda facilitator.
The Home Office declined to comment.
Al Qaeda = PNAC, CIA, Mossad, MI6