I’d agree with the former British ambassador to Libya, Oliver Miles, “If you go back to Tony Blair’s first visit to Libya in 2004 one of the very first things that came out of that was a statement about co-operation in the military field, in security”, “It doesn’t at all surprise me that should involve a police element.” He’s referring to the secondment of a PSNI officer to the National Policing Improvement Agency [NPIA] ahead of that officer’s deployment to Libya. It wasn’t the first such training provided by PSNI officers. But the DUP’s Nigel Dodds disagrees
[Nigel Dodds] said it was “totally inappropriate and offensive” that PSNI officers were selected to provide training “given the very recent history of what the Libyans have done in terms of the annals of terrorism in Northern Ireland”. “Whoever made that decision, whoever thought that was the right way to proceed, must be living in a different world and different planet,” he added.
Apparently, that decision was made in December 2008, following a request by the NPIA, when the BBC report tells us – “because the request fell between meetings of the Human Resources sub-committee, protocol dictated that the chair of the committee, Ian Paisley Junior, approved the decision himself along with his vice-chair.” Ultimately it was also approved by the NI Secretary of State, Shaun Woodward, MP. Something Mr Woodward neglected to mention in last night’s Hearts and Minds interview. Adds From the updated BBC report
Mr Paisley said if his colleague had been aware of the background he would not have made the comments and there were benefits to the UK from the move. “In an adult world you don’t have to be a genius to work out why it would be useful to have a senior officer, who has got intelligence skills, in Libya and who examines that country and who looks at the facts that surround that country and to bring that information back to us,” he said. “It would have been very churlish for us, being aware of all of the facts that I can’t go into in total detail… whenever we know that other material came in the opposite direction as a result of Libya trying to help.”