Author:Darwish, Adel

Adel Darwish reports on recent allegations by a former M15 agent that Her Majesty's Secret Service plotted the assasination of the Libyan leader.

The Libyan leader Colonel Mu'ammer Gaddafi is not a man who would normally generate much sympathy world wide, or even in many Arab countries. Over the years he has attracted thousands of words from the world's press; reports attempted to link him with acts of international terrorism in the early days, reports are more light-hearted these days, such as stories of his female bodyguards. They dangle their guns from their shoulders like Gucci style handbags and, it is alleged, the Colonel insists on them wearing nail varnish, lipstick and perfume and styling their hair in order to avoid the loss of femininity frequently suffered by their European sisters when they participate in `man's work'.

Colonel Gaddafi became a Western media icon early in his career, reporters were interested in his style of dress and his megalomaniac ideas -- for example, his Green Book or his anthology of short stories about an astronaut who saves mankind.

Last month, however, Colonel Gaddafi began to generate sympathy world wide, even more sympathy than that which followed the BBC 1986 dispatch from the Libyan capital, following the American air raids that killed one of his children and injured many civilians. It later transpired that President Ronald Regan had picked the wrong man on whom to wreak revenge, as the people behind the Berlin bar bombing -- for which the air raids were intended as retribution -- were the Syrians, not Gaddafi.

This time the story is different. This time the alleged villain of the piece is a permanent member of the Security Council, and one whose conservative institutions -- including the media -- have always arrogantly believed themselves a cut above the rest of the world, including the gung-ho Americans. This time the alleged villain is The United Kingdom, whose response to any previous allegations of dirty dealing has always been a rather snooty disclaimer issued by a rather snooty official of Her Majesty's Government. The CIA may make bungled attempts on the lives of foreign leaders but members of Her Majesty's Secret Service never kill people. Or do they? Last month, a revelation by David Shayler, a renegade MI5 -- British intelligence -- officer claimed that MI6 -- MI5's sister branch responsible for foreign operations and counter espionage -- had plotted to kill the Libyan leader.


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