In this, the first of three Distract the Media exclusives on the now discredited Trump Russia Dossier we look at the proven MI6 background of the author of the dossier, as a means of ascertaining what may turn out to be the higher strategic motivation for its concoction. And, in so doing, we look at the plausible connections between the authorship of the dossier itself and a little talked about covert power group linked to the 2003 Regime Change in Iraq.
Last week’s apparent hoax by the Anonymous meme and trolling website 4Chan has turned out to be more than just a routine fake news troll aimed at discrediting Buzzfeed. Hard evidence has since emerged that the original source of the material was former MI6 operative and Russia ‘specialist’ Chris Steele, whose name appears on genuine documents linking him to the British Secret Intelligence Service. The same material also appears to connect him directly to a number of vested interests within the British Intelligence and Security Establishment linked to the so called ‘Dodgy Dossier’ that led to Britain’s involvement in the 2003 Invasion of Iraq.
On Thursday 12th January the Guardian newspaper published an article naming fifty two year old Christopher Steele, co-founder of the Belgavia based Orbis Business Intelligence, a private investigations and intelligence outfit, as the person allegedly responsible for compiling the original document that led to Buzzfeed’s story and the media food frenzy that followed. The Guardian’s story followed hot on the heels of a lengthy article by Richard Behar that had appeared on the Forbes website the previous day.
Behar’s story in turn was a follow up to previous reports on CNN that a then unidentified former Secret Intelligence Service operative had been behind the dossier that had been forwarded to President Obama the week before. His article also made reference to an interesting and no less controversial document that had appeared on the website of another organization directly linked to the murky world of private intelligence and security that made specific reference to Steele’s previous involvements with the SIS.
What neither Behar nor any of the other mainstream media commentators who have thus far picked up on the story have managed to ascertain, however, is the direct link between Chris Steele and a number of vested interests directly linked to the 2003 Gulf War. Close scrutiny of the other names in the document on the other hand would lead those who are in the know to conclude that these connections are there for all to see.
Top of the list of dignitaries who appear at the very head of the document is the former British Secretary of State for Defence Tom King, who, previous to serving the Thatcher and Major Governments in that capacity between 1989 and 1992, had preceded Peter Brooke as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland between 1986 and 1989. During his tenure of office in the latter department King’s close involvements with the Security Service MI5 and its counterpart MI6, to which Steele had previously belonged, had been necessitated by the political situation in Ulster at the time; during the era referred to historically as ‘The Troubles’.
During his time at the Ministry of Defence, between July 1989 and April 1992, Tom King was directly responsible for overseeing the British involvement in the 1990-1991 Gulf War. What is less well known, however, is that between April 1989 and a somewhat unspecified date in 1991, King’s department was directly involved in the drawing up of an audit into the notorious Al-Yamamah Arms Deals in association with the National Audit Office; under the auspices of Sir John Bourn. In 1992, prior to the audit’s publication, the report was suppressed ‘on the grounds of national interest.‘ The resulting scandal that would eventually break would not only implicate Sir Mark Thatcher, son of the deceased Tory Prime Minister, in profiting directly from the deals as a result of his Mother’s connections, but would eventually see the former government minister, arms dealer and high flier Jonathan Aitken jailed for perjury.
Another little known fact, which appears to have escaped the attention of most of the mainstream media over the years, is that Norman Lamont, the former UK Chancellor of the Exchequer whilst King was at the MOD, was the minister responsible for brokering the Al-Yamamah Arms Deals in the first place. During his own previous tenure of ministerial office, as Secreatry of State for Defence Procurement between 2 September 1985 and 21 May 1986, Lamont had been closely involved with the securing of ‘Al-Yamamah I’, signed by Michael Heseltine as Secretary of State for Defence in 1985. This is estimated to have been worth between £40 billion and £50 billion; involving the sale of 72 Tornado planes, 30 Hawk trainer jets and 30 other trainer planes to the Saudi Regime. Previous to this he had worked for the investment bank N.M. Rothschild rising to the position of director of Rothschild Asset Management prior to entering Parliament in 1972.
Of further significance still is the fact that both Jonathan Aitken and Norman Lamont are former members of ‘Le Cercle‘, another covert power group of the West akin to the Trilateral Commission and the Bilderberg Group; which has been compared to the equally covert anti-communist extra-governmental network Gladio. Indeed, according to the Wikispooks website, ‘Le Cercle’ has been described as a ‘deep state milieu set up in the early 1950s. It has members from around 25 countries and has biannual 2-4 day secret meetings on alternate sides of the Atlantic. The group’s activities are little known but leaked documents and members’ interests would tend to suggest the subversion of the political process – especially using Gladio-style terrorism and assassination under the banner of “anti-communism” – and the clandestine arrangement of fraudulent business transactions, especially arms deals.’
According to the same source Lamont was to act as European Chairman of this organization until 2008, when he was succeeded by the current European Secretary, Michael Ancram, another former Conservative Minister who was among a number of other senior Tory politicians who would eventually succeed Tom King as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Like the former British Prime Minister David Cameron, who recently stood down, Ancram is a former member of the Bullingdon Club, whose previous members also include former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and former Mayor of London, now Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson. It should also be noted that David Cameron worked closely with Norman Lamont during his involvement with the Conservative research department under John Major from 1988-93.
The alleged role of ‘Le Cercle‘ in the regime change that took place in Iraq after the 2003 Invasion comes through apparent involvements between the troubled former Labour Minister of State for Europe, Keith Vaz, and the wealthy British Iraqui businessman Nadhmi Auchi. The extent of these involvements was originally outlined in an article on the Guardian website, which was to become the source of a highly publicized legal dispute between Mr. Auchi and the Guardian’s legal team. Auchi’s apparent involvements with a number of key players likewise linked to ‘Le Cercle’, of which he himself is also allegedly a member, are also detailed in the article.
Elsewhere, in an article dated Sunday February 2, 2003, which originally appeared in the Guardian’s sister publication, ‘The Observer’, the newspaper conjectured that the fact that Auchi ‘remains well placed to act as a middle-man in any negotiations with Western companies over Iraq’s oil fields’ in spite of the controversies over his business dealings, would make him a prime mover in the country in the event of a regime change. In the same article ‘The Observer’ also commented that ‘Sources close to his empire claim that Tony Blair met him to discuss Iraq shortly before his Christmas holiday in Egypt. A Downing Street spokesman said : ’We have no record of a meeting with the Prime Minister.’ But he said that he could not rule out the possibility that they may have met socially.’
These facts have led to much further speculation that these relationships were at the heart of Alastair Campbell’s decision to ‘sex up’ the so called ‘Dodgy Dossier’ that led to Britain’s involvement in the US led Invasion of Iraq. Blair’s former Director of Communications and Strategy, like Keith Vaz, has himself been linked to a number of major controversies, most notably his involvements with David Mills, husband of the former Labour Minister of Culture Media and Sport Tessa Jowell.
According to the previously cited ‘Observer’ article, company accounts for Auchi’s flagship company General Mediterranean Holdings name Vaz as a director for the financial year ending December 1998. Elsewhere on the Guardian website both Norman Lamont and the then Speaker of the Scottish Parliament Lord Steel, along with former EU President Jacques Santer and Baroness Falkender, the former aide to British Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson, are claimed to have held directorships.
In a future article we shall examine Steele’s apparent personal connections to this matrix of international intrigue and power politics in the light of some of the additional materials that have risen to the surface over the course of the previous few days. We shall also be examining the Trump Dossier more fully as a means of shedding further light on what, exactly, were the principal motivations for its concoction in the first place. In the meantime suffice to say that recent revelations in the UK Independent newspaper, that the present head of the SIS used Steele’s material as part of a well publicized speech, show a common thread of information and disinformation that appears to flow through both Steele’s work and material being circulated by MI6 in spite of Theresa May‘s claims to the contrary.
Having begun his career as a junior researcher at Thames Television in London, he has written for a wide range of publications including 'The Brighton Reporter', 'Durham Town and Country', 'The Brighton and Hove People' and 'The New Celtic Review'. As an exhibited film maker he has been a regular contributor and award nominee at the Portobello Film Festival in London; and has seen his work shown at the annual London Film Makers' Convention at the prestigious Round House Theatre.
As well as receiving enthusiastic reviews from BBC Radio 4 and others for his book on Sir Walter Scott, his pioneering work as an Underground Film Maker on the fledgeling Goa Trance Scene has set him in a field of his own amongst many of his contemporaries; both in the UK, where he presently resides, and elsewhere. Current projects presently in hand include a book centred on his 'Legendary London' series of documentary films, which have stimulated an enthusiastic response from the likes of Glenda Jackson and others; and a novel set in France and Edinburgh during the eighteenth century Scottish Enlightenment.
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