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[casi] Re: Another shock - spools at UN

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DECEMBER 17 , 2003
1:02 PM
 CONTACT:   Institute for Public Accuracy
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020
David Zupan, (541) 484-9167
New Developments in Case of U.S. Spying on U.N. Security Council: Former
British Cabinet Minister Decries Prosecution of Whistleblower
WASHINGTON - December 17 - Former British cabinet minister Tony Benn has
criticized the prosecution of a woman charged with violating his country¹s
Official Secrets Act in connection with the leaking of a secret memorandum
from the U.S. National Security Agency. The memo described wiretaps of home
and office telephones along with surveillance of emails of six ³swing vote²
delegations from nations with votes on the U.N. Security Council early this
year as the U.S. and British governments unsuccessfully sought a resolution
authorizing war on Iraq.
Referring to Katharine Gun, who worked as a translator at Britain¹s
super-secret Government Communications Headquarters and now faces up to two
years in prison, Benn said Tuesday in a live interview: ³When somebody on
the basis of moral principle puts their conscience before official secrets,
they do society a -- well, they perform an essential function. And I think
it does raise the question as to whether if that woman is imprisoned it
doesn¹t throw doubt on the whole idea of the law being concerned with
Benn was appearing on a broadcast of the national U.S. radio and TV program
³Democracy Now.² Also on the program was Norman Solomon, executive director
of the Institute for Public Accuracy, whose piece in The Baltimore Sun on
Sunday was the first substantive article about Katharine Gun to appear in
the U.S. press.
The op-ed piece, distributed today by the LA Times - Washington Post wire
service, includes these observations:
* ³The case raises profound questions about democracy and the public's right
to know on both sides of the Atlantic.²
* The targets of the U.S. spying at the United Nations were ³delegations
from six countries considered to be pivotal -- Mexico, Chile, Angola,
Cameroon, Guinea and Pakistan -- for the war resolution being promoted by
the United States and Britain.²
* ³Some analysts cite the uproar from the leaked memo as a key factor in the
U.S.-British failure to get Security Council approval of a pro-war
resolution before the invasion began in late March.²
* "In this case, Ms. Gun's conscience fully intersected with the needs of
democracy and a free press. The British and American people had every right
to know that their governments were involved in a high-stakes dirty tricks
campaign at the United Nations. For democratic societies, a timely flow of
information is the lifeblood of the body politic. As it happened, the
illegal bugging of diplomats from three continents in Manhattan foreshadowed
the illegality of the war that was to come.²
Letters of support for Katharine Gun can now be sent to:
Audio of the interview with Benn and Solomon is posted at:
The Baltimore Sun article is posted at:,0,1102755.story?coll=bal
-oped-headlines and

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