Insomnia (insomnia) wrote,
Insomnia
insomnia

Blair to Britain - We're completely unaccountable.

Arguably the bravest act of defiance to those in the British and US government who rushed headlong into war in Iraq was that of Katharine Gun, a translator for the UK government's communications headquarters, who blew the whistle on a US-sponsored effort to encourage its allies (especially Britain) to spy on U.N. delegations in the run-up to the war in order to influence their decisions.

Ms. Gun faced two years in jail for leaking a memo from the NSA, thereby violating Britain's oppressive Official Secrets Act, but when the trial came to court, the prosecution dropped the case, presumably at the request of the Blair government. Ms. Gun isn't letting the matter rest, and has called for an explanation/investigation (RealPlayer) into why the government charged her and put her through months of hell and expense, if they never intended to prosecute.

This issue is heating up on the domestic front, however, with revelations that the U.S. spied on a private meeting of U.N. representatives, using illegally gained intelligence to derail a U.N. compromise agreement on Iraq. BTW - can anyone tell me what in the world the Bush administration was doing mucking around in the U.N. if they weren't prepared to negotiate an international agreement to disarm Iraq in good faith?

This issue also threatens to be the final straw for Tony Blair's government, as former British cabinet minister Claire Short has told the press that Britain routinely spied upon U.N. Secretary Kofi Annan's private conversations.

"We want this action to stop if indeed it has been carried out" U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard said. "It is not good for the United Nations' work and it is illegal."

Blair refuses to comment on such intelligence matters, of course, which leads one to wonder how any act of intelligence gathering which contravenes natioalal or international agreements could ever be investigated. The answer, of course, is that it can't, and that Britain's government is ultimately unaccountable to its citizens. There won't be any phony investigation which will bail him out of this one though, and somehow, I don't think such a response will earn him any friends.
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