Monday, November 28, 2005
a mess of memos, a wealth of whistle-blowers
28/29th November 2005 ~ David Keogh and Leo O'Connor will appear before Bow Street magistrates on Tuesday.
They are charged with leaking the secret 5-page FCO government memo. Iraq in the Medium Term - (which has been on warmwell via the Sunday Times since May 23 2004)
Like the excellent Blairwatch, we are confused as to why the names of Mr Keogh and Mr O'Connor have been linked (in this BBC report, for example) to the 5-page Downing St "Al Jazeera" memo about which the Attorney General has issued his threat of the OSA - in which it appears that George Bush, during a face-to-face meeting with Mr Blair at the White House on April 16 2004,talked about bombing al-Jazeera's building in Doha.
Blairwatch says that the Mirror
- ".. suggest that their memo is the one that David Keogh and Leo O'Connor are being charged over. This is the line that has been taken by the media and Downing St since the story surfaced. Downing St confirming their view that the memo could not be disclosed because it was sub-judice."
- "Could it also be possible that Messrs Keogh and O'Connor are being charged with the leaking of more than one document, but we only know about the charges relating to the Times memo, because it is in the public domain?"
We wait and may see - can Keogh and O'Connor really be thought to have threatened "the country's security or to its international relations" by blowing the whistle on the FCO document?
Michel Berlins in the Guardian has
- "been trying all weekend to think of ways in which disclosing the memo - even if, apart from the al-Jazeera bits, it also contains what Bush and Blair said about the US attack on Falluja - could cause the damage required by the act. I have failed..."
28th November 2005 ~Attorney General. "Me, of all people, gag the press? Heaven forfend." Michel Berlins in the Guardian
- " He was merely reminding papers, in the words of his note to them, "that to publish the contents of a document which is known to have been unlawfully disclosed by a crown servant is itself a breach of section 5 of the Official Secrets Act".
28th November 2005 ~ Sir Ian Blair is to be investigated by the police complaints commission over his role in the immediate aftermath of the killing of Mr de Menezes. See Reuters
Sunday, November 27, 2005
The notion that you can make the world a better place by making it illegal to say nasty and dangerous things has the intellectual sloppiness....
....the headline-seeking shallowness, the philosophical carelessness and the creepy mix of the sinister with the sanctimonious, that marks it out as absolutely characteristic of our Prime Minister’s mind..." wrote Matthew Parris in The Times on September 17th.
Now we have the extraordinary spectacle of Peter Goldsmith, the Attorney General, (or Witchfinder General, brandishing the Official Secrets Act) threatening all and sundry that if they publish the leaked Foreign Office memo, already referred to by the Mirror, they will be damned.
Simon Jenkins is not impressed.
27th November 2005 ~ "The Official Secrets Act is a reasonable tool of internal Whitehall discipline. But it cannot be an appropriate punishment for members of the public or reporters, once a secret is out. ..." Simon Jenkins in the Sunday Times
The Attorney General "...... is dragging David Keogh, a former civil servant, and Leo O’Connor, a former political aide, before the Bow Street magistrates for allegedly leaking a memo to the Daily Mirror. As Tulkinghorn would intone, “The reputation of one of England’s noblest families is at stake.” The name of the Blairs must be protected at all costs.
Goldsmith risks going down in history as the most miserable holder of his Janus-faced office. He is supposedly an “independent law officer” and adviser to the government (as over Iraq). Yet he also enjoys the patronage of the prime minister as his private legal counsel (as over Iraq). The conflict of interest is glaring. ..." Read in full
"I'll go to jail to print the truth about Bush and al-Jazeera" says Boris Johnson
- "If someone passes me the document within the next few days I will be very happy to publish it in The Spectator, and risk a jail sentence. .. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. If we suppress the truth, we forget what we are fighting for..."
Peter Kifoyle's EDMs are EDM 1084 and EDM1117
Is your MP among Friday evening's list of those supporting Douglas Hogg's Early Day Motion?
"That this House believes that there should be a select committee of seven honourable Members, being members of Her Majesty's Privy Council, to review the way in which the responsibilities of Government were discharged in relation to Iraq and all matters relevant thereto, in the period leading up to military action in that country in March 2003 and in its aftermath."
Wareing, Robert N
If not, and you wonder why not, trying faxing your MP online (new window). It is simple.
Many of al-Jazeera's employees have long been privately convinced that their offices in Kabul and Baghdad were deliberately targeted by the Pentagon in 2001 and 2003.
Gagging the press "It is time for the media and lawyers to view the current gag in light of Gun's case. It is time for an editor to challenge the political process and force the issue to be put before a politically unbiased court of law.
To the extent that the attorney general may choose to threaten the UK press, the press should robustly rebut such threat with reference to the European convention on human rights. Under Article 10 of the convention the freedom to receive and impart information can only be constrained if it is prescribed by law and necessary in a democratic society..." Guardian
On the 24th November 2005 ~Radio 4's Today interviewed Ambassador Joseph Wilson
(Mr Blair )"... will have to explain exactly how that happened but certainly, as an outsider, it looks like he was double crossed and had no choice but to go along with it." (written extracts from the Today Interview with Ambassador Wilson : warmwell transcript)
- " I think Mr Blair really thought that he was getting involved in a disarmament campaign- which was all to the good - I fully supported that. I think at the end of the day he was double-crossed by the regime change crowd in Washington and by that time… he will have to explain exactly how that happened but certainly, as an outsider, it looks as though he was double crossed and had no choice but to go along with it." (Read in full)
Plame Scandal On the Today Programme Ambassador Joseph Wilson spoke to James Naughtie (extracts: warmwell transcript)
BBC: "The husband of the CIA agent whose identity was revealed by the White House, says that Tony Blair was double crossed by those in the Bush administration who wanted to go to war with Iraq regardless of the situation on weapons of mass destruction." Listen Again
- " 'The British Government has recently learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa' ....the Administration knew full well that those words weren't true..."
- "...what I saw was a two year smear campaign, a campaign to assassinate my character and impugn my integrity and that reached a crescendo when a Congressman stepped forward and said that my wife, who was a complete innocent in all this, "got what she deserved"...I have always speculated that the real reason they did this was to send a signal to others..."
See also Valerie Plame pages and the Niger pages on warmwell.
(written extracts from the Today Interview with Ambassador Wilson.)
24th November 2005 ~Sending a signal to others?. Richard Norton-Taylor and Michael White in the Guardian - Secrecy gag prompted by fear of new Blair-Bush revelations today talk of , "this week's unprecedented threat by the attorney general to use the Official Secrets Act against national newspapers."
- "....Andrew Nicol QC, a media law expert, said he was unaware of any case going to trial where a newspaper or journalist had been prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act. He said Lord Goldsmith appeared to be trying to "put down a marker" to prevent further leaks or publication of further disclosures from the document already allegedly leaked.
Last night the former defence minister Peter Kilfoyle tabled a Commons motion saying Mr Blair should publish the record of his discussion with Mr Bush."