John McDonnell had the best response imaginable to the ex MI6 boss trying to stop Corbyn

John McDonnell
Support us and go ad-free

The establishment has again wheeled out ex-MI6 boss Richard Dearlove to try and cement smears that Jeremy Corbyn is a ‘security risk’. But shadow chancellor John McDonnell dealt with Dearlove perfectly the first time.

‘He should contemplate his role in the Iraq war’

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Dearlove demanded:

Do not even think of taking the risk of handing this politician the keys to No 10.

He claimed Corbyn would be a “present danger to our country” if elected, without any clear evidence other than innuendos about Corbyn’s previous “political company”.

Back in 2018, McDonnell responded to similar claims from Dearlove :

Dearlove was head of MI6 from 1999-2004. McDonnell said:

Well I’m not surprised. This is… a reactionary member of the establishment. So I don’t think he’d welcome a Labour government of any sort… I’m disappointed with him, but there you are…

I think he should spend his retirement in quiet contemplation of the role that he played with regard to the Iraq war where over half a million people, at least, were killed. He was strongly criticised as the head of an organisation whose intelligence took us into that war.

“Facts were being fixed around the policy” of invasion

As The Canary reported, history doesn’t look good for Dearlove’s role in the Iraq war. Known as the ‘smoking gun memo’, a 2002 Downing Street document concerning the case for war in Iraq was leaked to the Times (which published it in 2005). A section on Dearlove (known officially as ‘C’) attending a meeting in Washington reads:

C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.


On social media, people were unimpressed with Dearlove:

The motive for an invasion that left hundreds of thousands dead

So why were Dearlove, Tony Blair, George Bush, Alastair Campbell, Donald Rumsfeld, and the rest apparently fixing “intelligence and facts” to invade Iraq? Well, the answer lies outside the conclusions of the Chilcot report, which ignored or downplayed compelling evidence that the explicit motive was oil.

Corbyn opposed Iraq

The Iraq war further destabilised the region, led to the death of up to one million Iraqis, and provided fertile ground for the rise of extremist groups such as ISIS (Daesh). Dearlove’s support for the war raises the question of who is really a security risk.

By contrast, Corbyn led opposition to the Iraq war. At one of the biggest protests in UK history in 2003, Corbyn said:

Thousands more deaths in Iraq will not make things right. It will set off a spiral of conflict, of hate, of misery, of desperation that will fuel the wars, the conflict, the terrorism, the depression, and the misery of future generations.

Corbyn is only a risk to the economic security of the British establishment and its Tory Party, as McDonnell alluded to. The Labour leader opposed Iraq, predicting the knock-on impact the war would have. Judging by Corbyn’s record, we’d be safer with him as prime minister. Get out and vote on 12 December.

Featured image via Garry Knight/ Flickr

Support us and go ad-free

We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support

The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.

The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.

So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.

Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. Says Dearlove, the man who forgets he lied us into an illegal war which showed how much a danger he is to other countries’ national security, which endangers ours. He forgets nobody radicalised more Muslims than Bush and Blair, which from day one exposed us all to the dangers of revenge attacks.

      He forgets we are the bad guys. We are the ones killing everybody who’s got oil or who Israel doesn’t like or who the Yanks think their government is too socialist. And he forgets, he’s one of the world’s leading war criminals; up there with them all, all white, all English-speaking, all western neoliberal scum.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.