My recent talk at the excellent How the Light Gets In philosophy festival at Hay-on-Wye. With credit and thanks to IAI TV and the staff of the Institute of Art and Ideas, the organisers the event.
Former head of MI6, Sir John Scarlett — he of the dodgy September Dossier fame that led inexorably to the UK’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the death, maiming, depleted-uranium poisoning and displacement of hundreds of thousands of people — has complacently stated during his recent talk at the Hay Literary Festival that:
“One of the problems of intelligence work is that fact and fiction get very easily mixed up. A key lesson you have to learn very early on is you keep them separate.”
Well, no doubt many, many people might just wish he’d listened to his own advice way back in September 2002.
Scarlett is, of course, the senior UK spook who made the case for the Iraq war. Here’s the link: Download Iraq_WMD_Dossier.
No doubt you will remember the li(n)es: not only that Iraq’s non-existent “weapons of mass destruction” could be launched within 45 minutes, but also that fake intelligence documents had persuaded MI6 that Iraq was trying to buy uranium from Niger , as Colin Powell asserted during his persuasive speech to the UN in 2003.
Scarlett publicly took the rap and, by protecting Tony Blair and Alastair Campbell, was rewarded with the top job at MI6 and the inevitable knighthood. No doubt a suitable recognition for his entirely honourable behaviour.
But it gets worse — now he has apparently landed a lucrative job as an advisor on the situation in Iraq working for Norwegian oil mega-corporation, Statoil.
You couldn’t make it up…
… or perhaps you could if you’re a former top spy with an undeserved “K” and a lucrative oil contract who has difficulty separating fact from fiction.…..
I did two sessions at Hay-on-Wye philosophy and music festival — How the Light gets In in May 2011.
The first was a debate called “An Age of Transparency” with neo-conservative commentator Douglas Murray, and philosopher Nigel Warburton.
The second was my talk about “Spies, Lies, and Life on the Run”.
Here’s a link to a video of my talk.