Foreign Secretary Liz Truss officially apologised over a 30-year cover‑up last week. But her statement was designed to hide a bigger lie.
Truss admitted that a warning was not passed to British Airways (BA) of an Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Passengers and crew on the BA flight were then taken hostage.
The British government had long insisted that it did not know an Iraqi offensive was underway until after the flight landed. Now it has confirmed that the British ambassador to Kuwait had confirmed an invasion in time for the flight to reroute.
The warning was passed on to Number 10 and MI6 but not BA. But Truss continued to deny that the reason the flight was allowed to land was because there were special forces soldiers on board.
The government wanted them to reach Kuwait and sacrificed the rest of the passengers.
A political intelligence officer at the British embassy in Kuwait City and some of the operatives themselves have confirmed this.
The soldiers left the plane before Iraqi forces seized the hostages.
Truss’s apology did not impress those who were used as “human shields”. Businessman Barry Manners was on the flight and was held captive for more than four months in Iraq.
Last week he said, “I live in the real world, I’m not a snowflake—if they pulled us into a room and said, ‘Terribly sorry, we had to do it, have a year off paying income tax and here’s a gold card for British Airways, keep your gob shut’, I would say ‘fair enough’.
“But when people lie to me, then I get upset. So, no, I don’t accept the apology. It’s a fudge.
“I know what I saw going on with that plane. I know they were soldiers.”
Manners added, “I believe in democracy and the rule of law. But it’s confirmed what so many people have said about this government, and perhaps all governments, that they lie.”
Derwentside removal centre will replace Yarl’s Wood in Bedfordshire as a place to cage women and then deport them.
The Home Office hopes the centre will be operational by the end of the year. The site previously served as the Medomsley detention centre for young offenders and was the scene of widespread abuse for decades before it shut in 1988.
HM Revenue and Customs has struck a deal to relocate tax workers into a new office complex in Newcastle owned by major Conservative party donors through an offshore company based in a tax haven.
The department’s planned new home in the north east of England is part of a scheme developed by a British Virgin Islands entity controlled by the billionaire property tycoons David and Simon Reuben.
The deal will see officials at the government department responsible for preventing tax avoidance working from a site owned by a subsidiary of a company based in a secretive offshore tax jurisdiction.
The Reuben brothers, their family members and businesses have donated a combined £1.9 million to the Tories.
A few days before the office announcement the brothers were reported to have shared a table with Boris Johnson at an exclusive Tory party fundraising dinner.
David Reuben’s son, Jamie, is a close ally of the prime minister and has served as a Tory party treasurer.
He has donated more than £750,000 to the party since Johnson entered Downing Street.
David Cameron lobbied Lloyds Banking Group to reverse a decision to cut ties with the ailing Greensill Capital, appealing to a board member who he had made a lord while prime minister.
Cameron lobbied Lloyds in January, according to the Financial Times, when he contacted Lord James Lupton, a director of the bank who had previously been a Conservative party treasurer.
He successfully persuaded the bank to continue doing business with Greensill.
Lupton, Tory treasurer from 2013 to 2016, has donated more than £3 million to the Conservative Party and was appointed to the House of Lords in 2015.
Cameron earned millions of pounds as a boardroom adviser to Greensill, the supply-chain finance company. Its collapse earlier this year dragged the former prime minister into Westminster’s biggest lobbying scandal for a generation.
Months before Greensill’s failure in March, Lloyds indicated that it would stop doing business with the group.
This jeopardised a finance scheme for NHS pharmacies operated by Greensill that relied heavily on Lloyds for funding.
Britain’s public spending watchdog said last month there was no evidence the programme provided any benefit to taxpayers.
But after Cameron’s plea, the bank reconsidered its decision and agreed to continue funding the pharmacies.
Lupton had declared his relationship with Cameron when passing on the former prime minister’s request.
But some people inside the bank found the former prime minister’s intervention surprising and unwelcome.
They said it was decisive in causing the U-turn.
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