Wednesday, January 21, 2004
Katherine Gun just made appearances in court and, for the first time, in the New York Times. (For those who don't know the facts of this story, here's my account.) The New York Times appearance was in an op-ed column by Bob Herbert:
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.
Nice as this piece is, the paper of record still has not reported on this story outside of its opinion pages which is pretty ridiculous.
Gun's court appearance was on Monday. Haven't found anything about it online ... but, last weekend, the Observer ran a big story focusing on celebrities getting behind her cause. The following analysis of the case is of particular interest:
Legal experts believe that her case is potentially more explosive for the Government than the Hutton inquiry because it could allow her defence team to raise questions about the legality of military intervention in Iraq. The Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, is likely to come under pressure to disclose the legal advice he gave on military intervention - something he has so far refused to do.
The Institute For Public Accuracy gives the following email address where letters of support and encouragemnet can be sent to Ms. Gun: firstname.lastname@example.org