A former MI6 officer told the inquest into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, that she could have been murdered by MI6 using a strobe gun to blind her driver.
Richard Tomlinson said he realised that the Secret Intelligence Service may have been responsible for Diana’s death after watching a documentary, which claimed that there had been a bright flash before the Princess’s car crashed in a Paris underpass.
He told the inquest how he had attended an MI6 training session in which he was shown a portable strobe light intended temporarily to blind targets in vehicles.
Mr Tomlinson said he had also seen an MI6 document in 1992 detailing a plan to murder Slobodan Milosevic, the Serb leader, by flashing a strobe light at his chauffeur as he entered a tunnel in Geneva.
It bore an “alarming and very eerie similarity” to the crash that killed the princess, Tomlinson said.
After telling the inquest that “A” was a “very ambitious and diligent” MI6 section sub-head, Tomlinson described how “A” showed him the plan in his office on the 11th floor of Century House, then the headquarters of MI6.
The document gave a justification for murdering Milosevic because of his plans for a greater Serbia and his support for Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb leader.
The circulation list for the plan included the private secretary to the head of MI6. “There was no doubt in my mind that ‘A’ was entirely serious about his plan,” Mr Tomlinson said.
“He was an ambitious and serious officer who would not risk his career by making such a proposal in jest.”
Nicholas Hilliard, counsel to the inquest, said that “A” had revealed there was a document, written in March 1993, about someone else in the Balkans – not Milosevic – and that it was a “contingency plan”.
The other figure was not named but among the likeliest targets would have been the warlord known as Arkan.
Mr Tomlinson also suggested that Henri Paul may have been employed from time-to-time by MI6.
When he was reading files on an operation to smuggle weapons out of the Soviet Union he came across details of an unnamed French security officer at the Ritz Hotel who he later concluded was Mr Paul.
“There is no doubt Henri Paul would have been of interest to the intelligence services,” Tomlinson said, adding that on occasion MI6 paid people for information or access, including a member of the paparazzi and a barrister.
Mr Tomlinson was recruited by MI6 in 1991 after graduating from Cambridge University with a first-class degree in aeronautical engineering.
What’s interesting here however is the way BBC TV news covered Tomlinson’s appearance at the inquest – or rather didn’t.
After reporting the inquest into Diana’s death nightly for weeks, BBC TV news omitted any coverage of Tomlinson’s testimony on the day of his court appearance.
Other sectors of the mainstream media were no less lax. Tomlinson was elsewhere described as a “renegade spy”: which suitably helped characterise him as shady and untrustworthy.
While the BBC’s web site, which did report his testimony, went of its way its way to subtly disparage it. Under the headline MI6 ‘Diana-style’ plot dismissed, the BBC described how Tomlinson “admits he may have got his facts wrong” and also how “he told the Diana inquest in London he may have got the details confused.”
Richard Tomlinson’s testimony on Princess Diana’s death has been around for nearly nine year now. But this is the first time the BBC has ever reported it and it does so adding comments that cast further doubt on Tomlinson’s credibility. Like the quote below, which featured on BBC Online.
According to the BBC’s Daniela Relph: “Clearly the credibility of Richard Tomlinson has been dented because he doesn’t have really the evidence to back up what he told Mohammed al Fayed nine years ago.”
Which is like saying circumstantial evidence is inadmissible because it is not material proof. Think about it, because that is what she’s effectively saying.
All of which makes one wonder: if MI6 paid people for information or access would they pay journalists – maybe by providing them with stories or inside information – to put a certain spin on events? Like putting a spin on Tomlinson’s testimony, for instance?