To enjoy the full Mail & Guardian online experience: please upgrade your browser
20 Feb 2008 16:49
Britain’s former spy chief on Wednesday took the rare step of going public to deny that the security services murdered Princess Diana.
The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) normally neither confirms nor denies stories about its operations in the shadowy world of espionage glamorised in the James Bond movies.
But former MI6 boss Richard Dearlove decided to speak out over the deaths of Diana and her lover, Dodi al-Fayed, in a high-speed Paris car crash in 1997.
Dodi’s father, luxury storeowner Mohamed al-Fayed, says that his son and Diana were killed by British security services on the orders of Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth’s husband and Diana’s former father-in-law.
Fayed has said her killing was ordered because the royal family did not want the mother of the future king having a child with his son, and that Diana’s body was embalmed to cover up evidence she was expecting a baby.
That produced a forceful denial from Dearlove at the inquest into the deaths of Diana and Dodi, where Fayed has made a string of allegations against British establishment figures.
Lawyer Ian Burnett asked Dearlove: “During the whole of your time in SIS, from 1966 to 2004, were you ever aware of the service assassinating anyone?”
“No, I was not,” he told the court, rebutting what he called a “very personal allegation” over Diana’s death.
Burnett, putting a string of Fayed’s allegations to Dearlove, said: “It is suggested that Prince Philip and the intelligence agencies really run this country and that we are not a parliamentary democracy.”
“I do not want to be flippant,” Dearlove said. “I’m tempted to say I’m flattered, but this is such an absurd allegation that it is difficult to deal with ...
It’s completely off the map.”
Dearlove dismissed as “utterly ridiculous” claims that Philip and his son, Prince Charles, Diana’s former husband and heir to the throne, were members of MI6, Britain’s overseas spy agency.
He said MI6 needed the authorisation from Britain’s Foreign Minister to carry out any operation that broke the law.
Asked to confirm that no authorisation was sought over Princess Diana, he said: “I can absolutely confirm that.”
Next week three secret service officers are scheduled to appear at the inquest but their identities will not be revealed.
The court will be cleared of the media and public when they give evidence, which will be piped by audio link to an annex.—Reuters
Create Account | Lost Your Password?