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Thread: Claire Short

  1. #1
    Agrajag's Avatar Just Lame
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    Claire Short, a former member of Tony Blair's cabinet has publicly stated that she saw documents which showed that the British Intelligence Service bugged Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the United Nations. She claims to have seen transcripts of private conversations.

    This material would be classified as Top Secret and she has announced it in public. If a Civil Servant had done this there is no doubt in my mind that they would have been arrested and prosecuted. My question is, should she also be arrested and prosecuted ?

    My answer is yes, the rules are for everyone. She may have done this for what she believes to be good motives, lots of people do, however she should not be immune from the same rules as everyone else.

  2. The Drawing Room   -   #2
    Rat Faced's Avatar Broken
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    10 years ago i would have agreed with you.

    Now, however, they have the "Public Interest" defence, and would not be automatically prosecuted....as that defence will then give more publicity to what the Government doesnt want let out. Its more likely they would be moved to a crappy job no one wants...which doesnt apply to Ms Short.

    As Mr Blaire is under scrutiny about lying to the public, i would consider this in the Public Interest, and doubt any Court would convict a Civil Servant for doing this.

    An It Harm None, Do What You Will

  3. The Drawing Room   -   #3
    Agrajag's Avatar Just Lame
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    Originally posted by Rat Faced@27 February 2004 - 13:44
    10 years ago i would have agreed with you.

    Now, however, they have the "Public Interest" defence, and would not be automatically prosecuted....as that defence will then give more publicity to what the Government doesnt want let out. Its more likely they would be moved to a crappy job no one wants...which doesnt apply to Ms Short.

    As Mr Blaire is under scrutiny about lying to the public, i would consider this in the Public Interest, and doubt any Court would convict a Civil Servant for doing this.
    Public interest has a fairly strict definition and does not equate to, "of interest to the public". The Public Interest allows certain agencies and bodies to share intelligence under certain circumstances and controlled conditions. It does not allow former Ministers to make Top Secret material public knowledge.

  4. The Drawing Room   -   #4
    j2k4's Avatar en(un)lightened
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    My God, how stupid can Blair be?

    What a thundering waste of good resources, spying on Kofi Annan.

    Tony Blair is a big dummy.
    “Think about how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of 'em are stupider than that.” -George Carlin

  5. The Drawing Room   -   #5
    Originally posted by j2k4
    My God, how stupid can Blair be?

    What a thundering waste of good resources, spying on Kofi Annan.

    Tony Blair is a big dummy
    Taking into account who your current President is.. I'd be careful about throwing stones in that glass house of yours.

    btw are you aware that it was your Gvt who asked us for help with this little operation?

    Its good to know that our taxes are being spent wisely by the intelligence services. Can you imagine what would happen if we didnt spy on Koffi Annan? My God... our National Security would be in tatters within days.

  6. The Drawing Room   -   #6
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    Originally posted by leftism+28 February 2004 - 05:14--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (leftism @ 28 February 2004 - 05:14)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-j2k4
    My God, how stupid can Blair be?

    What a thundering waste of good resources, spying on Kofi Annan.

    Tony Blair is a big dummy
    Taking into account who your current President is.. I&#39;d be careful about throwing stones in that glass house of yours. [/b][/quote]
    On a given day or given circumstance, you think you have a limit.
    And you then go for this limit and you touch this limit and you think &quot;Ok, this is the limit&quot;.
    As soon as you touch this limit, something happens and you suddenly can go a little bit further.
    With your mind power, your determination, your instinct and the experience as well, you can fly very high.

    - Ayrton Senna, R.I.P.

  7. The Drawing Room   -   #7
    Biggles's Avatar Looking for loopholes
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    Agragjag

    I would agree with you that the OSA should be applied equally across the board. It has, over the last 30 or so years, become common practice for Ministers to leak when it suits them and to decrie it when it doesn&#39;t.

    Claire Short has, despite the somewhat foaming at the mouth response in some sectors of the press, only given credence to what has been fairly common knowledge (inside the UN as well as outside).

    The response that she has put agents at risk is frankly silly. For a start the transcripts almost certainly originated from GCHQ through electronic eavesdropping rather than James Bond sneaking around in the dark and secondly even if a physical bug were found in the UN H.Q. how would that relate to a UK operative as opposed to a US or French or Chinese etc., etc.,

    A breach of the new OSA (as opposed to the old OSA where it was an offence to disclose which type of tea we favoured at Tiffen) is supplying material evidence to an enemy that is detrimental to the interests of our country. To highlight an illegal activity by our own government in support of an aim which in itself had dubious international support is hardly a crime. If she had named an operative or disclosed the techniques used that would constitute a breach.

    In summary, it is extremely unlikely the Government will risk the embarrassment of a court case in pursuing Claire Short.
    Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum


  8. The Drawing Room   -   #8
    Agrajag's Avatar Just Lame
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    Biggles,

    I agree that it is unlikely any action will be taken, however that is not the point. Neither is confirming that which many others may have suspected anyway. The world is full of things we all "know", this does not give others the right to confirm them. The point, in my opinion is that she was in a position of enormous trust, granted her by the people of this country. She has broken that trust, to further her own ends, that in my opinion is heinous.

    The material she had access to when in the Government was not available to her as a private person, it was available to her in her capacity as a Minister. As such she had no right to broadcast it, then or now. I think her obvious dislike for the PM has caused her to go way beyond the pale.

    I do appreciate that leaks happen all the time, I am sure you will agree that the bulk of them relate to rather more mundane matters. To officially state that, in your capacity as a Minister you saw evidence that we had bugged Kofi Annan is a whole different ball game. She should, in my opinion be punished for this. At the same time pointing out to others that being an MP does not make you above the law.

  9. The Drawing Room   -   #9
    Biggles's Avatar Looking for loopholes
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    Agrajag

    I think the fact she will not be prosecuted is pertinent to the point. The Attorney General did not proceed with the prosecution of Mrs. Gun for fear of serious embarrassment to the Government. One normally only proceeds with a case if there is a reasonable liklihood of conviction. If Mrs. Gun (a small fish) was not pursued then Claire Short (a big fish) is liable to be even more difficult to land on the boat. Whilst collective responsibilty is admirable it should not extend to mild acquiesence to illegality - although I have no doubt it often has.

    I believe that the Government want to forget about Iraq. It is done, and is now more a liability than anything. High profile court cases in which wrong-doing on the part of the UK Government is exposed will do nothing for the PMs authority or standing and only serve to drag the whole Iraq thing longer than the Government would like.

    Claire Short resigned because she believed what was happening was wrong and has said so. She could have secured her Cabinet career on the back of supporting Tony Blair - she chose to sacrifice it on a matter of principle. This is all too rare in Government these days. As to punishing her, what can TB do? He can remove the whip but she may well get elected anyway by her constituency - as happened in Falkirk recently or in London with Ken. He can hardly damage her career as she has already given it up. Furthermore, he is trying to get his party to rally round after the University vote - going after a leading leftwinger is not going to do much for that strategy. I think this is primarily why Tony is so angry and why he resolutely spoke on domestic issues at Inverness.

    I myself am torn. I think clearly there has been wrong doing on the part of the Government and that the course they chose was flawed. However, eyes and pins spring to mind when Howard&#39;s name is mentioned. So in a way, I think it is essential that the Shorts and Cooks act as the brakes - as the opposition is so useless and such a ghastly proposition as an alternative. (Apologies to any Conservatives this purely my opinion and not an objective assessment).
    Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum


  10. The Drawing Room   -   #10
    Agrajag's Avatar Just Lame
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    Biggles,

    I agree with everything you say, at least those parts I understand. However it does not change my view. I find a breach of trust on this scale to be totally indefensible. I realise that nothing will happen because of political expediency. That for me is one of the great sadnesses of the issue. Someone can do this and get away with it, because to take any action would not suit political agendas.

    What does that look like to the public eye - politicians are above the law. She can pass on this material and nothing is done. It is appalling, at least to me.

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