Why don't Blair and Olmert just resign together, to boot ?
Dreadfully Too Late Now for Happy Hannukah, Old Chums
These two have been in bed together for so long now, one might think they did indeed reside together. So why don't they give up the whole bloody ship, and just resign together, as well ?
Sorry, old chums. The big news of the day is not an impending resignation of the prevaricating Prime Minister of Great Britain,
or even his patronizing patron, the Prime Minister of Ziostan...
No, if it please the Queen, I would feign to offer a different story.
In my paltry estimation, the following account may seem to pale in comparison with those glaring headlines of Blair and his failed bloodsport in Iraq, but is nonetheless significant, if not more so, after he left the stove on too high in the kitchen at 10 Downing St. and suddenly found himself compelled to get the hell out of there.
But no matter how many 'minutes' he spent at Downing Street, remember old chums - it's not the crime, but the cover-up that gets you in the end. All one could ever wish for the next time is -
if that lyin' limey really can't stand the heat, well he might jump
from the frying pan right back into the fire. Wouldn't that just be simply extraordinary ? He might even win a Tony Award !
Britons Jailed for Leaking Bush, Blair Memo on Iraq
Two British men received prison sentences for leaking a secret memo about a 2004 meeting between U.S. President George Bush and U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair about the war in Iraq.
David Keogh , a former government communications officer,
was given a 6 month prison term today by Justice Richard Aikens at London's Central Criminal Court, also known as Old Bailey. Leo O'Connor , a former political researcher, was sentenced to 3 months. Both must serve half their sentences, the judge said.
Prosecutors claimed the two men put troops' lives at risk -
by attempting to leak the memo, which recorded "highly sensitive" strategic discussions between Bush, Blair and other officials at an April 16, 2004, meeting in Washington. Aikens said that if the memo had been released, it may have endangered UK civilian and military citizens at home and abroad.
"You decided you did not like what you saw , and without consulting anybody you thought it was in the best interests of the U.K. that this letter should be disclosed ", the judge told Keogh.
As well as serving time in jail, Keogh must pay 5,000 pounds ($9,940) toward the prosecution's 35,000 pounds in costs,
the judge said. Keogh also risks losing his civil service pension.
The men were found guilty yesterday of breaching Britain's Official Secrets Act after a three-week jury trial.
They now face a maximum of two years in jail.
Large segments of the trial were conducted in private to preserve the confidentiality of the memo. Today Aikens imposed an order preventing journalists from reporting on what may have been discussed during those sessions. Earlier today the Times of London published an article speculating about the contents of the memo.
Keogh admitted intercepting the letter while working alone at the government's "Pindar" communications center. Rex Tedd QC,
his lawyer, claimed his client felt its contents were 'utterly wrong' and wanted to cause embarrassment for Bush by pushing it into the hands of figures such as Democratic candidate John Kerry.
Instead, O'Connor slipped the document into the papers of his boss, former Labour Member of Parliament Anthony Clarke,
who finally alerted the proper authorities.
Prosecutors said the document was drafted at a crucial juncture in the Iraqi conflict, just two months before coalition forces relinquished governing authority in Iraq.
Both men claim that its disclosure wouldn't have increased the risks for coalition troops, who were already facing backlash in Iraq. The Abu Ghraib prison scandal, involving the abuse of detainees by U.S. military police at a Baghdad correctional facility, also first broke into the news in April 2004.
by James Lumley and Megan Murphy - May 10-07
Here we go again, "Old Chum" - if that first flaming memo
didn't quite burn you, well maybe the next one will !
Yes, old chums, here we go again, with the old one-two gumshoe follow-through. Times of London has timely published something as of today which is more pertinent to the actual "Secret and Personal" contents of this mysterious "memo", and can be found further below under todays' date. I have corrected the date of this Bush-Blair tea party, first given as August 16th, 2004, by the authors above, and which apparently is borne out by recent previous Times releases as being April 16th, instead. I think that it's quite important to get that much straight right from the gitgo.
Along similar lines, as of this April '07, a certain Michael Evans,
Defence Editor at Times UK, has provided a tantalizing peekaboo at what some of those incendiary "contents" could turn out to be.
It may be helpful, herein and throughout, to keep a special tab on Mr. Matthew Rycroft, who was of course very instrumental in the original Downing Street intrigue, and who also appears in a ribald cameo send-up in the fictitious memo I linked to above.
So here's some more meat for the Iraqi meat grinder -
From The Times - April 19, 2007
Blair Aide Leaked Classified Iraq Memo
Michael Evans, Defence Editor
The unauthorised disclosure by a trusted civil servant of a secret document detailing a meeting in 2004 between Tony Blair and President Bush about Iraq may have damaged the Armed Forces seriously and even led to loss of life, an Old Bailey trial was told yesterday.
The document, marked “secret, personal” and circulated to top officials in Whitehall and to MI6, was copied by David Keogh, 50, a vetted telecommunications and cipher officer at a Cabinet Office centre that received classified documents from British embassies.
David Perry, QC, for the prosecution at the trial of Mr Keogh and Leo O’Connor, a political researcher for a Labour MP who was allegedly handed a copy of the document, said that the two men were charged under the Official Secrets Act not because disclosure of the meeting was politically embarrassing but because it could have damaged Britain’s defence interests and harmed relations with the US.
“Diplomacy is a delicate and sensitive art and it can’t properly be carried out in our interests if what one government says to another cannot be kept secret or confidential,” Mr Perry said. “We live in a democratic society, not the Wild West. It is not for people to decide they are going to be the sheriff in town.”
He added that in this case the unauthorised disclosure of information was “likely to prejudice the capability of the Armed Forces either to carry out any tasks it has or lead to loss of life or injury”.
The contents of the secret document were revealed to the jury only after members of the press and public were cleared from court. The defendants are charged under the Official Secrets Act.
Mr Keogh, from Northampton, faces two counts relating to unauthorised disclosure of a document in his possession as a Crown servant between April 15 and May 29, 2004. Mr O’Connor, 44, also from Northampton, is charged with one count of making a damaging disclosure of a document while knowing that it was protected against disclosure by the Official Secrets Act.
Both defendants have pleaded not guilty.
Mr Perry described how the police tracked down the source of the leak. The meeting between Mr Blair and Mr Bush took place in Washington on April 16, 2004, when Iraq was under the control of the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority. The record of the meeting, drawn up by Matthew Rycroft, Mr Blair’s private secretary for foreign affairs, was sent by letter to Geoffrey Adams, private secretary to Jack Straw, then the Foreign Secretary.
The letter was faxed through to the Pindar communications centre, a Cabinet Office facility, where Mr Keogh was on duty when it arrived.
The letter was to be given limited circulation because of its sensitivity. Those on the need-to-know list included Sir David Manning, Ambassador to Washington; Sir Nigel Sheinwald, the Prime Minister’s foreign policy adviser at No 10; John Scarlett, chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee (now head of MI6); Jonathan Powell, Mr Blair’s chief of staff; and David Hill, Downing Street’s director of communications. It was also sent to the British representative to the UN and to David Richmond, Ambassador to Iraq.
Mr Perry said that the police were alerted to a possible leak when a copy of the secret document turned up in a pile of papers belonging to Anthony Clarke, then the Labour MP for Northampton South.
Mr O’Connor, who worked for the MP, had “slipped” the document into the other papers. Mr Perry said that the document was passed to Mr Clarke in the hope that it would be given wider circulation. The Labour backbencher had voted in 2003 against invading Iraq. The document was passed to the Special Branch.
All copies of the document were traced and retrieved, and scientific examination proved that the copy that ended up in Mr Clarke’s constituency office in Northampton was a copy of the fax that originated at the Pindar communications centre. Further tests revealed Mr O’Connor’s fingerprints and a trace of his handwriting, which had come through as “dents” on the document after it had been placed in an envelope with Mr Clarke’s name written on it.
Contact between Mr Keogh, who was said to be “bored to tears with Iraq”, and Mr O’Connor, who claimed to police that he was “95 per cent behind the military action against Saddam Hussein”, was uncovered when the police examined mobile phone calls and text messages between the two.
From the Times - April 21, 2007
Secret Memo On Iraq Talks Seen By 87 People
Michael Evans, Defence Editor
A document recording a conversation between Tony Blair and President Bush about Iraq was so sensitive that an order was made banning copies being made except to a select few,
the Old Bailey was told yesterday.
The document was written by Matthew Rycroft, who was the Prime Minister’s private secretary on foreign affairs on April 16, 2004, when the meeting took place and the Oval Office of the White House. He is now Ambassador in Bosnia.
He was giving evidence for the prosecution in the trial of David Keogh, a civil servant who worked in a Cabinet Office communications centre, and Leo O’Connor, a political researcher working for a Labour MP, both of whom have pleaded not guilty to charges under the Official Secrets Act 1989 in relation to the unauthorised disclosure of the document. They face a maximum of two years in prison if found guilty.
Mr Rycroft, the first of several Downing Street witnesses expected to give evidence at the trial, said that he had stipulated at the top of his letter from Washington that “the document must only go to those who really need to see it”, and should not be copied to anyone else.
He said that he was surprised to discover that it had been given much wider circulation and had ended up on the desks of a number of officials at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Ministry of Defence, the Cabinet Office, MI6 and the Joint Intelligence Committee. A number of duty clerks and communications specialists had also seen it as part of their role to distribute it around Whitehall. All were in a position to have read the contents, Mr Rycroft said.
The prosecution accuses Mr Keogh of making an unlawful copy of the document, which had been faxed to the communications centre where he was on duty, and passing it to Mr O’Connor in the hope that it would end up in the public domain. Mr O’Connor slipped the document into a pile of papers belonging to Anthony Clarke, Labour MP for Northampton South. The MP handed it to Special Branch.
The contents of the document, which was in the form of a letter from Mr Rycroft to Geoffrey Adams, then private secretary to Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary at that time, had a “direct bearing” on British military action in Iraq, and was also relevant to what MI6 was doing in Iraq, Mr Rycroft said.
John Farmer, counsel for Mr O’Connor, asked Mr Rycroft why, given its sensitivity, a copy of the letter was also sent to David Hill, Mr Blair’s director of communications, and to Tom Kelly, his spokesman.
They were among 33 recipients of the “secret, personal” letter and a total of 87 who eventually saw it, the court was told.
Mr Farmer asked: “Was it in your contemplation in April 2004 for any part of this document to be made public?”
“Absolutely not,” Mr Rycroft replied.
Mr Farmer asked: “Was it your understanding that the Prime Minister himself, contrary perhaps to your view, intended that some or any part of it be disseminated to the public?”
Mr Rycroft denied that and explained that Mr Hill and Mr Kelly were given copies not to use the information in their work briefing the press, but so that they had a more complete knowledge of the policies the Prime Minister was putting forward to Mr Bush.
Mr Rycroft told the court that the meeting lasted about two hours and was also attended, on the British side, by Sir Nigel Sheinwald, the Prime Minister’s foreign policy adviser, and Jonathan Powell, his chief of staff. Mr Bush was accompanied by Colin Powell, then US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, then his National Security Adviser, and Dan Freed, special assistant to the President.
Mr Keogh, 50, is charged on two counts with disclosing the document without authorisation, having acquired it in the course of his job as a Crown servant. Mr O’Connor, 44, is charged with making a damaging disclosure, knowing that it was in breach of the Official Secrets Act.
And here we go one more time, with a May 10th article
to get us right back up to speed. You may have already heard some croakings about this nasty business of Bush suggesting the bombing of Al Jazeera, which evidently leaked out some time ago from the Daily Mirror -
From The Times - May 10, 2007
Two Found Guilty Over Leak of Secret Blair-Bush Memo
Michael Evans, Defence Editor
A civil servant and a political researcher were found guilty yesterday of breaching the Official Secrets Act after disclosing a government document that detailed a confidential discussion on Iraq between Tony Blair and George Bush.
The contents of the document were so explosive that they were revealed only in closed session during the two-week trial at the Old Bailey. David Keogh, 50, a civil servant for 25 years who worked as a communications and cipher officer at the Cabinet Office, and Leo O’Connor, 44, employed as a political researcher for a Labour MP, were found guilty of making an unauthorised disclosure that could have damaged Britain’s defence and international relations.
Keogh, convicted of two charges, and O’Connor, of one, will be sentenced today. Each charge could attract a maximum of two years in prison. In February The Sunday Times reported that Peter Kilfoyle, a former Labour Defence Minister, and Anthony Clarke, former Labour MP for Northampton South, had been questioned under caution by Scotland Yard over the document. This was said to be a recorded minute of a two-hour meeting on April 16 at the White House between Mr Blair and President Bush during which Mr Bush raised the prospect of bombing the al-Jazeera television station in Qatar, which was perceived to be broadcasting anti-American propaganda.
Keogh’s defence was that he was so concerned at what he read when a faxed version of the minute was sent to the Cabinet Office communications centre where he worked that he decided to make a copy of it and handed it to O’Connor, who worked for Anthony Clarke, at the Labour Club in Northampton. A copy of the document was slipped into Mr Clarke’s parliamentary papers. When the MP saw it, he rang No 10, and Special Branch was sent to Northampton to retrieve it. The copy was traced to Keogh’s office.
In 2005 an alleged leak of part of the document appeared in the Daily Mirror , and Lord Goldsmith, QC, the Attorney-General, said that newspapers could be prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act if they made reference to the document.
Yesterday the Crown Prosecution Service said that Mr Clarke and Mr Kilfoyle were interviewed by police in connection with the Keogh/O’Connor case. A spokeswoman said that Mr Clarke and Mr Kilfoyle had been told on April 17 that they would not be prosecuted.
Keogh, who has been suspended from his job since his arrest in 2005, said that he had considered whether his action in handing a copy of the document to O’Connor might damage British interests or risk the lives of troops in Iraq and had judged that, while it might cause embarrassment, particularly for Mr Bush,
it would not cause damage. Matthew Rycroft, Mr. Blair’s
private secretary, who wrote the minute, marked “secret, personal”, said it contained matters that were related to Britain’s military strategy in Iraq.
( another shot of a somewhat younger Tony at 10 Downing St., from 1999, with an Olmert predecessor who is now clamoring for his resignation. The Iraq plans must have still been somewhat in a formative stage at this sterling summit, but past is prologue )