Mar 21 2011
Ex MI5 chief, Eliza Manningham-Buller, says “We should reach out to Al-Qaeda.” (And Winston Churchill is turning over in his grave)
UK DAILY MAIL — The former head of MI5 has made a controversial call for the Government to negotiate with Al Qaeda. Baroness Eliza Manningham-Buller, the security service’s former director general, said she ‘would hope’ the Government was ‘reaching out’ to the shadowy Islamic terrorist group headed by Osama bin Laden. Calls for negotiation with Al Qaeda by other public figures have resulted in furious condemnations by the Foreign Office.
The baroness made the comments in a television interview to be screened today in a BBC2 documentary, The Secret War on Terror. She said: ‘I would hope that people are trying to do so… it’s always better to talk to the people who are attacking you than attacking them, if you can. ‘I would hope that people are trying to reach out to the Taliban, to people on the edges of Al Qaeda, to talk to them.’
‘If we can get to a state where there are fewer attacks, less lethal attacks, fewer young people being drawn into this, less causes – resolution of the Palestinian question, less impetus for this activity, I think we can get to a stage where the threat is thus reduced.’
When calls for negotiation with Al Qaeda were made in 2008 by Sir Hugh Orde, then the head of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, and Jonathan Powell, a top aide to former prime minister Tony Blair, it resulted in a furious response from the Foreign Office, which said such talks would be ‘inconceivable’.
Mr Powell, who was involved in forging the Good Friday Agreement, said: ‘If I was in government now I would want to have been talking to Hamas, I would be wanting to communicate with the Taliban and I would want to find a channel to Al Qaeda.’
A Foreign Office spokesman said at the time: ‘It is inconceivable that Her Majesty’s Government would ever seek to reach a mutually acceptable accommodation with a terrorist organisation like Al Qaeda.’
(I’m not so sure about that. They made a deal with Libya’s Gadaffi to return the Lockerbie bomber in exchange for a favorable oil deal for BP)