Britain invited two of Moamer Kadhafi’s sons to the headquarters of the SAS special forces unit as former premier Tony Blair tried to build ties with the Libyan regime, The Sunday Times reported.
In the latest revelations from intelligence documents obtained by media and rights groups in Tripoli, the paper said Blair had also helped another of Kadhafi’s sons, Seif al-Islam, with his doctoral thesis.
The Sunday Times said one secret paper showed that Major General Robin Searby, Blair’s defence co-ordinator on Libya, sent a confidential invitation in 2006 for Khamis and Saadi Kadhafi to watch “VIP demonstrations” of the Special Air Service (SAS) and its sister regiment, the Special Boat Service (SBS).
Britain’s Ministry of Defence said the visits did not go ahead.
“The article alleges that they were invited on two particular dates in 2006. We have checked and no such visits took place,” a spokesman told AFP.
One proposed itinerary in July 2006 suggested Khamis and Saadi hold meetings at the Ministry of Defence with top officials including with the then chief of general staff, General Mike Jackson, the paper said.
They would then visit the headquarters of the SAS in Hereford, central England, for a display of “close quarter combat.” The next day they were due to meet defence companies at the Farnborough Air Show in Hampshire.
A second suggestion included that they visit the SBS in Poole, southwest England.
“There can be no publicity at all connected with this visit, either here or in Libya,” it quoted Searby as writing in the letter, found in Saadi Kadhafi’s abandoned office in the Libyan capital.
“It is UK policy to never discuss Special Forces matters,” wrote Searby, who is now an adviser to counterterrorism to British Prime Minister David Cameron.
In a separate document, then-premier Blair signed a letter to “Engineer Saif” — Kadhafi’s son Seif al-Islam — thanking him for outlining his “interesting” thesis for the London School of Economics.
Blair also cites three examples of greater collaboration between government, civil society and business “that might help you with your studies.”
Blair, who was prime minister from 1997 to 2007, led efforts to lead Kadhafi’s regime in from the cold after years of international isolation.
Seif al-Islam has issued several messages of defiance since rebel forces overran Tripoli last month and toppled his father, but Saadi has reportedly expressed readiness to surrender.
Rebels have said that Khamis was killed south of Tripoli and buried on Monday. Khamis commanded a brigade seen as the most effective and loyal force of the Libyan leader.
Files from Moamer Kadhafi’s intelligence archives seen by AFP on Saturday appeared to document deep cooperation between the US CIA, MI6 and the former Libyan regime, including the shipping of terror suspects for regime interrogation.