The definition of 'shame' offered by the Meriam-Webster dictionary is: "a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety". Yes, I think that about sums up my feelings which are brilliantly described by Peter Oborne in The Mail today. He bases his column on the cringe-inducing embarrassment of the apology, finally squeezed out of HMG this week to the Libyan-born Mr. Abdel Hakim Belhaj and his wife. It is only fair to point out that Mrs. May's government had no part in this despicable action which took place under the auspices of former Prime Minister Tony Blair and his utterly spineless Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.
They and their political/civil service hacks were the ones who, at the behest of George Bush, put pressure on the commanders of MI6 to assist in the kidnap and rendition of Mr. Belhaj and his then pregnant wife Fatima back into the brutal clutches of Col. Gaddafi in Libya where they underwent a regime of torture. According to Mr. Oborne, three feeble and stupid men at the top of MI6 were mainly responsible for capitulating to Blair's pressure to ensure that Britain supported America in the Iraq war.
John Scarlett, then chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, was leant on to produce a dossier making a fabricated case for war. And MI6 head Sir Richard Dearlove, despite having no hard evidence from Iraq about any 'weapons of mass destruction', acted as Blair's go-between with Washington, thus aiding and abetting Blair's march to war.
Separately, truly culpable was Sir Mark Allen, who was head of MI6 counter-terrorism at the time of the kidnapping of Libyan Abdul Hakim Belhaj and is said to have claimed credit for this 'coup', handing him over to Gaddafi's torturers.
I feel particularly aggrieved over all this because I swallowed the MI6 line that Iraq had nuclear weapons and I was fully supportive of the war policy. The reason I swallowed it was simple, I had a great and trusting regard for the integrity of our intelligence service. Mr. Oborne sums it up superbly:
Perhaps I am a romantic, seduced by the achievements of fictional spy George Smiley, but I want to be proud of an MI6 that upholds the traditional British values of decency, honour and fairness.
Indeed, Smiley's creator John Le Carre once noted: 'The only real measure of a nation's political health is the state of its intelligence services.'
If that is the case, then Britain is currently in a very bad way.
Apparently, Sir Mark Allen, the man mainly responsible for the ghastly treatment meted out to Mr. and Mrs. Belhaj, still struts his self-important stuff in various distinguished organisations and one wonders how long it will take them to recognise the stench that accompanies him. Equally, perhaps Her Maj might have time after the wedding to consider removing his Knighthood! As for Blair - 'bang him up'!
House Notice: I'm off to spend the night with 'SoD' and yes, you're right, the word 'Brexit' has been forbidden!