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Profile: Tam Dalyell
Tam Dalyell was a participant or observer in the following events:
Yvonne Fletcher. [Source: Public domain]Woman Police Constable Yvonne Fletcher is shot and killed in London’s St James’s Square during a protest outside the Libyan embassy. Eleven demonstrators protesting against Libyan ruler Mu’ammar al-Qadhafi are also injured in the volley of gun fire. The shooting is followed by a siege of the embassy, as well as the breakdown of diplomatic relations between Britain and Libya. After ten days, thirty Libyan diplomats are allowed to leave Britain. Because they are granted diplomatic immunity, there is effectively no police investigation in Fletcher’s murder. [BBC, 3/25/2004] Not everyone, however, is convinced that Libyans are to blame. In 1996, Channel Four shows a documentary entitled Dispatches: Murder at St James’s, in which several respected criminal and ballistic experts express doubts that the fatal shot could have come from the embassy. The program is praised by Tam Dalyell, a veteran Labour MP, who is also a critic of the governmental investigation of the Lockerbie crash. These arguments are dismissed by British authorities. [Guardian, 7/23/1997] Later, the Libyan government, eager to ease crippling diplomatic and economic sanctions, accepts “general responsibility” for the death and allows British investigators to come to Libya in search of the shooter, but Scotland Yard fails to find him. The case remains unsolved. [Observer, 6/24/2007]
A Labour Party lawmaker storms out of the House of Commons after saying the Blair administration lied about a recent dossier it released that purported to show Iraq’s deceiving UN weapons inspectors about its presumed cache of WMD (see February 3, 2003). Tam Dalyell, the longest-serving member in the Commons and a member of Tony Blair’s Labour Party, thunders, “To plagiarize an out of date Ph.D. thesis and to present it as an official report of the latest British intelligence information, surely it reveals a lack of awareness of the disastrous consequences of such a deception.” Dalyell calls for an emergency debate on the issue. “This is not a trivial leak. It is a document on which is the basis of whether or not this country goes to war and whether or not young servicemen and servicewomen are to put their own lives at risk and indeed thousands, tens of thousands of innocent civilians.” [Associated Press, 2/10/2003]
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