Carne Ross (b. 1966) is the founder and executive director of Independent Diplomat, a diplomatic advisory group. Carne Ross taught in Zimbabwe before attending the University of Exeter where he studied economics and politics. He joined the British foreign service in 1989.
After graduating from Exeter University, Ross joined the British Foreign Office and worked at the UK embassy in Bonn, Germany before moving to the UK mission to the UN, where he worked from December 1997 to June 2002.
At the UN, Ross served as the UK delegation's expert on the Middle East. Ross also worked on several important Security Council resolutions such as SCR 1284 which rewrote the Council's Iraq policy and established UNMOVIC, the weapons inspection body. He also negotiated for the UK the resolution establishing the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan and the Council's resolution of 12 September 2001 condemning the attacks of the day before.
Ross then served as Strategy Coordinator for the UN in Kosovo (UNMIK) where he devised and led a joint UN and government policy to implement a series of standards to improve governance, the rule of law and human rights protection, and advised the Secretary-General's Special Representative on diplomatic and political tactics.
He left the British civil service in 2004 after 15 years of service. He is now a supporter of a UN Parliamentary Assembly. In 2004, he founded the non-governmental organisation Independent Diplomat.
Testimony on the UK's role in the invasion of Iraq
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Ross testified during the Butler Review, which investigated intelligence blunders in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. He testified that at no time during his work on Iraq (1998–2002) did the UK or US assess that Iraq's WMD posed a threat. He also argued that available alternatives to war, namely targeting Iraq's illegal oil revenues, were ignored. This testimony directly challenged Blair's assertions that the war was legally justified by Saddam Hussein's possession of weapons of mass destruction which posed a threat to British interests.
The testimony was published by the Commons Select Committee on Foreign Affairs after MPs sought assurances from the Foreign Office that it would not breach the Official Secrets Act. In an interview with the Brooklyn Rail, Ross stated that "[i]n many ways, the sanctions on the Iraqi people were worse than the war because the economy was taken back decades and the health service deteriorated massively."
Publications and artistic endeavours
Ross published a book called Independent Diplomat: Dispatches from an Unaccountable Elite in 2007 and a book called The Leaderless Revolution in 2011. He wrote a play called The Fox, which enjoyed a short run in New York in early 2001. He also appeared as an extra in an Alan Partridge Christmas Special.
In 2017, he released a documentary The Accidental Anarchist. The documentary charts Ross's change from a civil servant in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to an anarchist. The anarchist writer Noam Chomsky appears in the documentary. Ross explores the philosophy of Abdullah Öcalan and its influence on Kurdish groups in the Syrian Civil War such as the YPG and YPJ. Ross sees these groups as anarchist.
- "Carne Ross". Independent Diplomat. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
- Moss, Stephen (20 June 2005). "Diplomat at large". The Guardian.
- Palmer, John (26 March 2007). "The road from Rome". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 23 October 2007.
- Ross, Carne (3 May 2012). "The ‘Leaderless Revolution’". The Brooklyn Rail (Interview). Interview with Nikolas Kozloff.
- Ross, Carne (2007). Independent Diplomat: Dispatches from an Unaccountable Elite. Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0-8014-4557-6.
- Ross, Carne (2012). The Leaderless Revolution: How Ordinary People Will Take Power and Change Politics in the Twenty-First Century. Blue Rider Press. ISBN 978-0-399-15872-8.
- Sommer, Elyse (2001). "The Fox". Review. Curtain Up. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
- le Carré, John (2013). "Acknowledgements". A Delicate Truth. New York: Penguin. ISBN 978-1-101-61802-8 – via Google Books.
- Personal website
- Independent Diplomat
- UK Publisher: Hurst & Co
- US Publisher: Cornell University Press[dead link]
- Brown, Colin; McSmith, Andy (15 December 2006). "Diplomat's suppressed document lays bare the lies behind Iraq war". The Independent. Archived from the original on 8 February 2007.
- An independent diplomat, a TED talk by Carne Ross
- Ross, Carne (5 April 2012). "Carne Ross on Being an Agent of Change". Moyers & Company (Interview). Interview with Bill Moyers.
- on YouTube