A joint British and American spying operation at the United Nations scuppered a last-ditch initiative to avert the invasion of Iraq, The Observer can reveal.
Senior UN diplomats from Mexico and Chile provided new evidence last week that their missions were spied on, in direct contravention of international law.
The former Mexican ambassador to the UN, Adolfo Aguilar Zinser, told The Observer that US officials intervened last March, just days before the war against Saddam was launched, to halt secret negotiations for a compromise resolution to give weapons inspectors more time to complete their work.
Aguilar Zinser claimed that the intervention could only have come as a result of surveillance of a closed diplomatic meeting where the compromise was being hammered out. He said it was clear the Americans knew about the confidential discussions in advance. 'When they [the US] found out, they said, 'You should know that we don't like the idea and we don't like you to promote it.''
The story of the US/UK decision for war gets stranger and stranger. Why were they in such a hurry to get the troops rolling at all costs? The UK certainly can hardly deny the spying operation. It is prosecuting a GCHQ whistleblower for disclosing the operation. We can at least exclude fear that Britain, without action, would face 45 minute WMD strikes.