Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Wednesday, 25 February 2004

GCHQ trial collapses

Katharine Gun was accused of having leaked a memo which she saw in the course of her work as a translator at GCHQ, the main monitoring centre for the British intelligence services. After having made a formal plea of not guilty earlier today to the charge of having breached the Official Secrets Act (1989), the prosecution barrister announced that the prosecution would offer no evidence against Ms Gun. No explanation was offered.

It is believed that the government was anxious that documents the defence would have insisted be brought before the court, to aid their client's defence, should not be revealed as they would prove 'embarrassing'. The already leaked memo alleged that the US and/or the UK bugged key UN members' delegations to the UN last year.

It becomes clearer by the day that our government, and that of the US, played 'fast and loose' with their tactics in the run-up to the recent Iraq war. It may be that if the documents Ms Gun's legal counsel had insisted be revealed had become public, that serious breach of diplomatic regulations would have been shown to have happened - this would, rightly, have caused a furore. It seems that the less painful option of allowing their case against Ms Gun to be dropped has been chosen. None of this affects my attitude toward the wisdom of our action in Iraq - I still support it fully, but I just wish that our government had stated clearly its justification for participation as the need to rid the world of Saddam Hussein's regime. A good enough reason for me and, more importantly, I suspect most Iraqis.

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