|AN AFFAIR OF STATE|
What was your first thought when you heard that Diana had been killed? For myself, I had openly predicted such a death since Diana had appeared on the BBC's Panorama and declared that first, Charles should, perhaps, be replaced as heir to the throne - implying that her eldest son should replace him; and further, that she "would not go quietly." In an earlier age, she would have been beheaded; even in 1997 treason was a capital offence; and for some in the United Kingdon there is no higher law than regnum defende - defence of the realm (also the motto of the UK's Security Service).
I was not alone in having such a thought. Since 31 August 1997, many a person claiming to know about such matters has quietly expressed their view, or even claimed knowledge, that Diana was assassinated by those who defend the realm. Proving this is entirely another matter.
The conspiracy aimed at Diana started with the covert recordings of her intimate phone calls, which were later rebroadcast over a number of days. Picked up by amateur radio enthusiasts and released to the news media, the unsullied image that Diana had enjoyed was torn to shreds. Even so, the damage was not comparable to that suffered by Prince Charles with the release of the "tampon" tape.
Like civil wars, family spats are often the nastiest. The Spencer children had grown up within the inner circle of the Royal family. Sarah Spencer married the Queen's private secretary. His assistant was recruited from the Secret Intelligence Service. When Diana married Charles, any serious falling out was bound to risk grave repercusions.
UK Security and Intelligence services would not be the only parties with a "need to know" the intimacies of Diana's thoughts, words and actions. Under the Echelon system, the NSA and CIA would also monitor her every move. Both the UK and USA share a vested interest in preserving the staus quo.
Diana had the power to destroy that balance. Her interest in banning landmines was sufficient demonstration. Any doubts would have been later disproven by the deluge of public grief at her death. The death threats delivered to James Hewitt also prove how seriously the "Old Guard" took Diana's relationships.
Quite what was happening in the sudden relationship between "Dodi" Fayed and Diana the public may only guess at. Was he going to marry her? Was she pregnant? Was Dodi's previous relationship really over? The answers lie in Top Secret files. As does the answer to exactly what happened the night that the couple, along with their driver, M. Henri Paul, were killed.
Two of the UK agencies - the Security Service and the Secret Intelligence Service - have agents of influence within the UK media. It has been told to this writer, by a senior journalist, that their confidential briefing system was put on hold three weeks before the killings. A few days beforehand, an agent gave a coded warning to a London journalist. Italian Intelligence noted the arrival as guests at the Paris Ritz that weekend of six SIS agents. Englishmen behaving awkwardly were noted and photographed at the hotel.
The weekend of 30-31 August a new "Squidgygate" tape was making the rounds of selected homes. It was let known that the Duke of Edinburgh was thoroughly against Diana's relationship with Dodi; and that Mohammed Al Fayed's Harrods was to lose royal patronage. The Way Ahead group, set up to steer the monarchy through troubled times, was meeting on Sunday, 31 August.
Was there a rush to dispose of the Diana problem? Yes, if strong rumours were true that she was about to announce both a marriage to Dodi and a pregnancy. If James Hewitt warranted mere threats, then Dodi was going to get the "full monty".
The Fayed entourage contained numerous ex-members of Britain's Special Forces - the SAS included. The Ritz acting head of security was an agent for the French, Israelis and British. Knowing and controlling the movements of Diana and Dodi was simply accomplished.
The ex-SAS/SIS agent Richard Tomlinson and an ex-SAS soldier have since described how car crashes are arranged by their past masters. Careful selection of the location, prepared vehicles and experienced operatives ensure a high expectation of success.
The unravelling of the assassination will come from the ensuing coverup, much as Nixon was undone not by Watergate, but his desperate machinations to distance himself from the crime. Maybe the close relationship between Chirac and Al Fayed will be insufficient to break the case open. The NSA and CIA may defeat the attempts to pry away their secrets - though they have so far failed. Disinformation planted in the media, through news agencies and cooperative editors may fool some of the people - who treasure their ignorance - for a while. But the ball of string is becoming unravelled and promises to continue to do so.
The first thread to be tugged free was the attempt to make Henri Paul appear a gay, drunken, alcoholic speedster.It was easy to plant false evidence, but the overlay, planned and so carefully arranged, presented a picture that could not be made to fit the facts. That Paul took and passed his aviator's medical examination just days before was unfortunate; but to have a carboxyhemaglobin level upon autospy that must have been near 40% when Paul came on duty on the evening of 30 August, was plain daft. He was supposed to have driven the super-cautious Dodi with Diana and Trevor Rees-Jones, through the streets of Paris, losing the paparazzi, whilst filled to the gills with booze, topped up with two drugs, and the CO level of a suicide.
The second lose end was the French judicial system. It was chance as to which judge would be appointed to direct the investigation and bad luck that this turned out to be a judge responsible for the arraignment of the previous Minister of Justice - his only boss. On top of that, a second judge was appointed as backup, and this one enjoyed a reputation of being tougher than Stephan. Despite the bumbling of various experts and the police, the two judges have worked from the beginning with the understanding that assassination was a strong possibility. Not just their offices, but the whole floor upon which they are based, has been like a fortress under seige.
Some credit must be given to the assassins. Trevor Rees-Jones received a number of visitors whilst in hospital including one from the Special Forces. An injection was administered that would have been fatal except that it was discovered and the damage halted in time to save him. Today, Rees-Jones keeps his lips sealed. We may call this result a scoreless draw.
Will this end in tears for the defenders? "The truth will out" as the bard said. Like the Gordion Knot sliced in two by Alexander, this one promises to be undone. British media has kept to its promise to leave well alone, but once the French report is out, the gloves will be off.
© 1999 by Elint, All rights in the above article are
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|John Bartram, whose career combined journalism with Intelligence, is a contributer to ELINT, purveyors of the unvarnished truths that others do not want you to know.