Thoughts on the al-Jazeera memo

1) The Official Secrets Act is much harsher than any comparable law the US has. Brits are subjects, not citizens, and they have no Constitution. Plus, once a trial is ongoing, the press is severely limited as to what they can say.

2) Why does Blair always bow to Bush? I dunno either sometimes think Bush has some major pressure hold on Blair. Because Blair seemingly always buckles. "The Senator from England", he’s been called, and he’s certainly not lacking in compliance and obedience either! The question is, why? What’s in it for him?

I stang with alJazeera 3) The bombing memo does exist. A member of Parliament told BlairWatch that he has read it. This directly contradicts Bush’s denials.

4) Al-Jazeera has sent a letter to Blair asking for an explantion. This issue will not go away.  The more they try to kill it, the bigger it gets (except for the comatose US mainstream media that is.)

5) There’s hints of much more in the memo besides the bombing threat, esp. concerning Fallujah. Something damning enough that the Official Secrets Act is being invoked to block it from being printed. Of course, this just makes people want to read it even more.


Blair Watch, leading the way

Don’t Bomb Us – A blog by Al Jazeera Staffers

DailyKos post War on the Media: "Don’t Bomb Us"

The Washington Note

  • You’ve been my main starter source on this story. I don’t know too much about the construction of British governments or the Official Secrets Act, so please keep posting updates as stuff happens on this.

    Even if it’s just links to other stories elsewhere.


  • A friend of mine has been doing some digging into the background of the Official Secrets Act. The UK government helpfully lays out the legislation here. The Guardian has an overview of OSA and why this heavy-handed tactic is wrong.

    “Mr Keogh, 49, a former communications officer at the Cabinet Office, is charged with making a “damaging disclosure of a document relating to international relations without lawful authority” (section 3). Mr O’Connor, 42, a former researcher for the former Labour MP for Northampton South, Tony Clarke, is charged with having received a document “through its disclosure without lawful authority by a Crown servant” (section 5).

    The defendent cannot tell his lawyer anything about the document to assist in his own defense, meaning the strength and veracity of the case can never be truely tested; it’s contents cannot be mentioned in court, unless the room is cleared of public, media and, one assumes, defense lawyers. And if nobody is left in court, nobody can report on the case’s details.

    The restrictions are indeed heavy,a logic of total secrecy:
    “State prosecutor Rosemary Fernandes said that if information from the memo was likely to be disclosed in open court she would seek reporting restrictions (under Sections 11 and 14 of the Contempt of Court Act). The attorney-general, Lord Goldsmith, has already warned newspapers they could be prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act if they disclose further details about the memo.

    Sensitivity surrounding the memo is such that Mr O’Connor’s defence lawyer is not allowed to see it. It also raises the question of whether the attorney-general will ask for the trial to held in camera, with the media and public excluded. “The document may not be damaging,” Mr Clark said, adding that it was “very disappointing” that his client had been charged. Mr O’Connor was “shocked”, he said.

    It is extremely rare for anyone to be charged under section 5 of the Official Secrets Act, which covers the receipt of classified documents. It is believed to be the first time an attorney-general has threatened newspapers with prosecution under the act in this way.”

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