Former MI6 head man Richard Dearlove, the successor to the fictional “M” of Bond fame, has been sounding off about Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s meetings with a Czech diplomat in the late 1980s. And despite Jan Sarkocy having already been exposed as a liar and a fantasist, the right-wing press has been more than happy to hang on his every word - particularly the Murdoch goons at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun.
The paywalled original of this story was in the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph, but the inmates of the Baby Shard bunker have most kindly lifted the relevant bits. “JEREMY Corbyn’s Cold War spy link must be taken seriously, says an ex-spook … Former MI6 boss Sir Richard Dearlove said it was ‘absurd’ for the Labour leader to suggest he didn’t know who he was meeting … Sir Richard, stationed in Prague during the Cold War, insisted that Mr Corbyn had ‘questions to answer’”.
There was more. “He told: ‘Everything I learnt about the way those services, known as the StB, operated tells me these accusations should be taken seriously’ … Sir Richard, head of the Secret Intelligence Service from 1999-2004, said the StB tried to identify ‘recruitable’ MPs … And he slammed the Czech regime as ‘one of the nastiest in Europe’”.
There is, sadly, one teensy problem with taking Dearlove seriously: his track record consists mainly of him getting it wrong, and in a way that has proved seriously damaging to this country. Take, for instance, the 2003 Iraq war: the Chilcot Inquiry looked at the claims of WMD and observed “Sir Richard Dearlove's personal intervention, and its urgency, gave added weight to a report that had not been properly evaluated and would have coloured the perception of ministers and senior officials. The report should have been treated with caution”. Why should caution have been exercised?
Richard Dearlove - good at getting it wrong
Because MI6 “did not inform No 10 or others that the source who had provided the reporting issued on 11 and 23 September 2002, about production of chemical and biological agent, had been lying to SIS”. In other words, they failed to tell Tony Blair and his team - who got all the stick for the wrong WMD call - that the intelligence was suspect.
Instead, Dearlove urged his people to find the non-existent WMDs, telling his contacts in Iraq he was “emphasising the utmost importance of a major find in the next two weeks, and asking them to do everything possible to try and identify where materials are being hidden”. He knew he’d sold Blair a pup, and was desperately trying to cover his arse.
Dearlove is also a favourite of the Alt-Right Henry Jackson Society, where in an address on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 he got it wrong yet again: “what is surprising ten years on is the relative failure of violent Islamism to make a more lasting political impact … what we are seeing … is a resurgence of moderate Islam with Islamist parties. These groups are now apparently arguing for the very democratic values and individual rights that al-Qaeda was so opposed to. This can be seen in what is happening today in Egypt, in Libya, the sort of things that Erdogan was saying on his visit to Egypt. The Turkish Prime Minister has recently been immensely important”. Yeah, right.
Egypt has gone backwards, Erdogan has become a virtual dictator, and while Dearlove bleated about moderates gaining the upper hand, IS was taking hold. All of which shows that when it comes to intelligence matters, we need take no lectures from him.