Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Thursday 24 November 2005

Let freedom reign! Silencing the press is NOT the solution ...

The Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, has threatened the press with action under the Official Secrets Act if they reveal the contents of a document which allegedly provides details of an alleged dispute between Tony Blair and George W Bush (POTUS 43) concerning operations in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East 'theatre' - the alleged dispute relates to allegations published in the Daily Mirror in this article that President Bush had last year planned to attack the Doha (Qatar) headquarters of media broadcaster al-Jazeera and had only been persuaded against this action by Tony Blair; these allegations have been hotly disputed by the White House.

My view was, and remains, that military action against Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein and his regime from power there was justified, but like many people I have become disillusioned with the conduct of operations there and associated operations elsewhere in the wake of this action. Some people were always against military action in Iraq, such as Garry at A big stick and a small carrot, but I share his general analysis as he writes it here, including his scepticism/disbelief that even Bush43 could not, surely, have been crazy enough to have seriously entertained the notions alleged, against which must of course be weighed the participation of Frank Gaffney in Tuesday's edition of BBC2's 'Newsnight' programme when he, watched by me and many others, was heard to say that such an attack, even if the allegations were unproven, would have been entirely justified if it had indeed been contemplated.

Against which must also be weighed the fact of Lord Goldsmith's threat of action against any newspaper which publishes any document which purports to give credence to the allegations published by the Mirror in its article. If the allegations are indeed completely unfounded, and so weird as to be unthinkable on the part of the world's major economic, military and political power (surely, or am I being naive?) then why has the British government made this pretty crude threat against such alleged documentary proof being published?

Probably my own view of this sorry series of events is best mirrored by Boris Johnson MP. His article today in The Dail Telegraph encapsulates these rather well. I hope that, should the alleged document fall into his hands that he will indeed publish it, even at the risk of a period in prison - if he does carry out this brave act, then I will gladly salute it for the principled stand which it would be. (And I suppose my writing this, if the gtovernment wished to make an example of me, could be read as some kind of incitement to Boris Johnson to flout the law, although I doubt very much that my writings come to the attention of Mr Johnson - anyway, so be it!) I don't, quite obviously, subscribe to the somewhat hysterical view expressed at The Devil's Kitchen when he wrote "Personally, I'd send in the SAS and quietly garotte the lot of them." - this is the same kind of nut-job view expressed by Frank Gaffney on the Newsnight programme and I deplore it.

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