January 21, 2004

Katharine Gun has a much better grasp of the true

There is little doubt that the_resident and the VICE
_resident sleep well, as souless as they have acted
for all these years, but how can
the-shell-of-a-man-formerly-known-as-Tony-Blair sleep
at night?

Bob Herbet, New York Times: She hoped that her actions
would help save lives. She thought at the time that if
the Security Council did not vote in favor of an
invasion, the United States and Britain might not
launch the war. In a statement last November she said
she felt that leaking the memo was "necessary to
prevent an illegal war in which thousands of Iraqi
civilians and British soldiers would be killed or
maimed."

Repudiate the 9/11 coverup and the Iraq War Lies, Show
Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

Published on Monday, January 19, 2004 by the New York
Times
A Single Conscience v. the State
by Bob Herbert

Katharine Gun has a much better grasp of the true
spirit of democracy than Tony Blair. So, naturally,
it's Katharine Gun who's being punished.

Ms. Gun, 29, was working at Britain's top-secret
Government Communications Headquarters last year when
she learned of an American plan to spy on at least a
half-dozen U.N. delegations as part of the U.S. effort
to win Security Council support for an invasion of
Iraq.

The plans, which included e-mail surveillance and taps
on home and office telephones, was outlined in a
highly classified National Security Agency memo. The
agency, which was seeking British assistance in the
project, was interested in "the whole gamut of
information that could give U.S. policymakers an edge
in obtaining results favorable to U.S. goals."

Countries specifically targeted were Angola, Cameroon,
Chile, Bulgaria, Guinea and Pakistan. The primary goal
was a Security Council resolution that would give the
U.S. and Britain the go-ahead for the war.

Ms. Gun felt passionately that an invasion of Iraq was
wrong morally wrong and illegal. In a move that
deeply embarrassed the American and British
governments, the memo was leaked to The London
Observer.

Which landed Ms. Gun in huge trouble. She has not
denied that she was involved in the leak.

There is no equivalent in Britain to America's First
Amendment protections. Individuals like Ms. Gun are at
the mercy of the Official Secrets Act, which can
result in severe in some cases, draconian
penalties for the unauthorized disclosure of
information by intelligence or security agency
employees.

Ms. Gun was fired from her job as a translator and
arrested for violating the act. If convicted, she will
face up to two years in prison.

We are not talking about a big-time criminal here. We
are not talking about someone who would undermine the
democratic principles that George W. Bush and Tony
Blair babble about so incessantly, and
self-righteously, even as they are trampling on them.
Ms. Gun is someone who believes deeply in those
principles and was willing to take a courageous step
in support of her beliefs.

She hoped that her actions would help save lives. She
thought at the time that if the Security Council did
not vote in favor of an invasion, the United States
and Britain might not launch the war. In a statement
last November she said she felt that leaking the memo
was "necessary to prevent an illegal war in which
thousands of Iraqi civilians and British soldiers
would be killed or maimed."

"I have only ever followed my conscience," she said.

In 1971, in what the historian William Manchester
described as "perhaps the most extraordinary leak of
classified documents in the history of governments,"
Daniel Ellsberg turned over to The New York Times a
huge study of U.S. involvement in Vietnam that came to
be known as the Pentagon Papers. The Nixon
administration tried to destroy Mr. Ellsberg. He was
viciously harassed. His psychiatrist's office was
burglarized. And he was charged with treason, theft
and conspiracy.

The prosecution was not successful. The charges were
thrown out due to government misconduct. In an
interview last week, Mr. Ellsberg, who was with the
Defense Department and the Rand Corporation in the
1960's and 70's, told me he wished he had blown the
whistle much earlier on the deceptions and lies and
other forms of official misconduct related to Vietnam.


He is lending his name to a campaign in support of Ms.
Gun. She took a principled stand, he said, early
enough to have a chance at altering events.

"What I've been saying since a year ago last October,"
said Mr. Ellsberg, "was that I hoped that people who
knew that we were being lied into a wrongful war would
do what I wish I had done in 1964 or 1965. And that
was to go to Congress and the press with documents.
Current documents. Don't do what I did. Don't wait
years until the bombs are falling and then put out
history."

Ms. Gun is being allowed by British courts to plead an
unusual "defense of necessity." She has said that her
disclosures were justified because they revealed
"serious wrongdoing on the part of the U.S.
government," and because she was sincerely trying to
prevent the "wide-scale death and casualties" that
would result from a war that was "illegal."

She's due in court today for a pretrial hearing.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

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Posted by richard at January 21, 2004 06:21 PM