Saturday, May 12, 2007

Guardian editorial shows signs of engagement

Things may be moving a bit in terms of the Guardian taking a line on editorial.

There is a leader today about the gagging order as they see it. Also a story by Richard Norton-Taylor about Peter Kilfoyle's intention to raise questions in the House of Commons. I am still confused as to what is allowed to be reported. The fact that the Crown Prosecution Service considered prosecuting Peter Kilfoyle and then decided not to is not included in current reports. Maybe Liverpool media are not seen as significant sources by journalists in London. Sorry I take that back. They are getting there, however slowly.

This blog by the way comes from somewhere out in Google land, nowhere near the UK. For security reasons the exact location of the Google servers is never revealed. Google News is another service not based in the UK for purposes of not joining up the dots.

Craig Murray makes an interesting point about the web.

"Finally, what a terrible shame that the would-be leakers decided to try to use the newspapers rather than the Net. Our pusillanimous newspapers are still controllable by the courts. Despite Norton Taylor's huffing and puffing, the Guardian will obey Justice Aikens (did I mention he is a wanker) ? The Net, however, is unstoppable. The documents we leaked are on hundreds of sites all over the World."

Another point to ponder-

"One worrying aspect of this case is that the jury convicted. There has been a historic reluctance of juries to convict in OSA cases, because they tend to sympathise with the defendants and not with the draconian legislation. This conviction might encourage the government to make more OSA prosecutions. It did not dare prosecute me, even though I very openly released many classified documents related to our policy of using intelligence from torture. There remains, of course, the stinking fact that "Top Secret" intelligence is regularly leaked by the ministers and special advisers in the Home Office to the media whenever they wish to start a new terror scare."

The lack of public concern in this recent case follows the success of the government in preventing full reporting. At the time of the Daily mirror reports concern was expressed by Boris Johnson and Chris Hitchens and others. Not much recently, but the media have responded to pressure, as far as I can tell.

OhmyNews have published another story on the convictions and the gagging.

This blog is a space to write about my thoughts as a citizen. I try to write for OhmyNews as directly as possible. "AP Style" is suggested as a guide. I include occasional comments but mostly show sources with weblinks and use extensive quotes.

My impression is that Labour have destroyed large chunks of UK civic space for dialogue, including their own membership organisation. It is not just Tony Blair, the whole structure has gone with it. This is only one consequence of the Iraq decisions but is important for people in the UK. Without giving sources now, it seems to me that the "intelligence" was over presented and that some people working in "intelligence" leaked to that effect to protect their own reputation. So far only the BBC has been damaged but other structures are accidents waiting to happen.

There seems to be a new trend of briefing, see New Zealand Herald

Loyal Blairites launched a campaign to pin the blame for the mistakes made after the conflict on the Bush administration, which rejected Britain's advice by abolishing the Iraqi army after Saddam Hussein was toppled.

Alastair Campbell, the former Downing Street communications director, and Baroness Morgan of Huyton, the former director of government relations, both criticised Donald Rumsfeld, the former US defence secretary, for the post-war decisions.

Will this be based on evidence if it continues? Is it ok for Baroness Morgan to leak or is she just expressing an opinion?

And what happened to the idea of not embarrassing George Bush or the USA?

As reported a while ago in the Guardian

Margaret Beckett, the foreign secretary, hinted that embarrassment was the real issue at stake when she signed a certificate for the court last year. She claimed the disclosure of the document would have a "serious negative impact" on UK-US diplomatic relations. "The ultimate consequence", she claimed, "would be a substantial risk of harm to national security."

The recent statements by sources close to Tony Blair are not going to help much with US-UK diplomatic relations-

Labour officials in Downing Street said Blair had most influence over Bush when they were together, one-to-one. One says: "That is why he went over [to Washington] so much. The weekly video conference was no substitute, partly because there were so many people listening on either side. But Bush was straight to deal with and did not play games, but it was up to him to make the right decisions. In the end he didn't."

the same article by Patrick Wintour includes a quote from Sir Jeremy Greenstock on disagreements about policy-

According to Greenstock, "perhaps the Brits should have spoken up more loudly with our former colonial experience, because we learned to make law and order the number one priority when we have a situation to mend."

So the UK is an experienced colonial power. Policy has been correct all along. Except that the USA has not implemented it properly. That seems to be the Blair line. Not in a soundbite, but a series of leaks.

Maybe US print journalists will ask some questions during his next visit.


Blogger Biby Cletus said...

Nice post, its a really cool blog that you have here, keep up the good work, will be back.

Warm Regards

Biby Cletus - Blog

4:53 AM  

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