Sunday, May 06, 2007

No Prosecution for Peter Kilfoyle MP

Peter Kilfoyle MP has been told by the special prosecution unit of the Metropolitan Police that no further action will be taken following an interview under caution last year about the leak of a memo said to be a summary of President Bush’s meeting with Tony Blair in April 2004.

In a letter, DC Jasper Bartlett said: “I am writing to you regarding the police investigation into the leak of a classified government document, for which you were interviewed under caution.

“The Crown Prosecution Service has advised me that no further action shall be taken with regards to this investigation due to insufficient evidence.”

Kilfoyle told the Liverpool Post “I think the case has been dropped for political reasons, because they did not want me to discuss the memo in open court.

“They knew that’s what I would do, even if it breached the Official Secrets Act, because I wanted to ensure the information got out. Thousands of people died at Falluja, which must be considered a war crime, and there has been a cover-up of what happened there.”

Rob Merrick's report for the Liverpool Post includes some background, suggesting that the memo records that Tony Blair "apparently argued against missile strikes on Al-Jazeera’s Qatar headquarters." "The two leaders also discussed the American assault on the Iraqi city of Falluja, in which up to 1,000 civilians are feared to have died. Pictures were shown on al-Jazeera, infuriating US generals."

In a related story, the trial continues of civil servant David Keogh and political researcher Leo O'Connor, charged under the Official Secrets Act. The BBC has reported that prosecuting QC David Perry has told the jury that issues around Iraq are not relevant to decisions about guilt.

"For all I know you may be opposed to the government's view or you may support it wholeheartedly or you may be neutral. It does not matter.

"Similarly you may approve or disapprove of what the United States does.

"The real point is that there are British troops in Iraq risking their lives on a daily basis and trying to install order and calm."

Mr Perry said the publication of the memo would have posed a significant risk of making the situation in Iraq worse and British soldiers would have "borne the brunt of it".

In earlier evidence Keogh said he had "very strong feelings" when he first read the document. as reported by Richard Norton-Taylor in the Guardian, "when he started to explain why, the trial judge, Mr Justice Aikens, imposed a contempt order preventing journalists from reporting Mr Keogh's remarks to the jury."

Mr Keogh told the jury the consequences of disclosure of the document would be "purely embarrassment" and would not pose a significant risk to any British individual, civilian or in uniform.


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