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Hakluyt set up by former MI6 agents spied on campaign groups for Shell and BP

November 16, 2008

Tony Blair’s former Iraq aide joins defence giant

Sir David Manning has become a non-executive director of the British arm of Lockheed Martin, which develops jet fighters and missiles.

Manning was a top foreign office mandarin when he was seconded to Downing Street around the time of 9/11. He was at Blair’s side throughout the build-up to the Iraq war and was sent to Washington as ambassador soon after the invasion in 2003.

Lockheed Martin was among the firms that sponsored a leaving dinner for Manning when he left Washington last year. It confirmed that he had joined the company and said he would prove an asset to its UK division.

The corporation builds the Hercules transport plane, a workhorse for British and American forces. Among the weapons it makes are the hand-held Javelin antitank missile and the helicopter-launched Hellfire missile and its associated Longbow targeting system. All were used in the Iraq war.

Manning has also taken a job on the advisory board of Hakluyt, a private intelligence firm partly staffed by former MI6 officers.

Hakluyt was set up by former MI6 agents in 1995. The firm once hired a former German agent to spy on environmental campaign groups such as Greenpeace on behalf of oil companies. It was unavailable for comment.

The decision of the former diplomat to take up the posts, which will appear on the official government register in the next fortnight, is being questioned by opposition MPs. Norman Baker, Liberal Democrat MP for Lewes, said: “Here’s another example of unsavoury revolving doors.”

Manning’s appointments have been approved by the government watchdog that polices jobs taken up by former ministers and civil servants. There are restrictions on the personal involvement of such appointees in lobbying Whitehall.


RELATED ARTICLE:Sunday Times: MI6 ‘firm’ spied on green groups: 17 June 2001

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