News Release

With Charges Dropped in U.N. Spying Case, Bush and Blair Governments Face Scrutiny

“I have no regrets, and I would do it again,” former British intelligence employee Katharine Gun said on Wednesday in London, just after the government dropped charges against her for violating the Official Secrets Act.

In early March 2003, the Observer newspaper in Britain published a U.S. National Security Agency memo describing a “surge” in U.N. spying aimed at winning authorization for war on Iraq — targeted “against” delegations from swing countries on the Security Council. Katharine Gun, who leaked the memo, faced two years in prison.

In Washington, the Institute for Public Accuracy issued a statement Wednesday praising Gun as “a genuine heroine.” The statement added: “She courageously exposed what the Blair and Bush governments sought to keep from the light of day — the spying on U.N. diplomats at a crucial time when the Security Council was considering a resolution for war on Iraq. Now, top officials in London and Washington hope that the U.N. spying scandal will quickly subside — but it should not, and it will not. New revelations in recent weeks present a challenge — and an opportunity — for governments around the world to assert themselves on behalf of U.N. integrity.”

The IPA statement noted: “The NSA memo about spying on U.N. diplomats was dated Jan. 31, 2003 — shortly before Colin Powell made his mendacious Feb. 5 presentation about Iraq to the Security Council.”

Background information is posted at: www.accuracy.org/gun

News about today’s developments is posted at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/3485072.stm

DANIEL ELLSBERG
Author of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers, Ellsberg did a commentary about Katharine Gun that aired Wednesday on NPR’s “Morning Edition.” [See: www.npr.org/display_pages/features/feature_1698989.html]

NORMAN SOLOMON
Solomon is the executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. He wrote “For Telling the Truth” in the Baltimore Sun (Dec. 14), the first substantive article in the U.S. press about the Katharine Gun case. Solomon said Wednesday: “The legal case against Katharine Gun ended today, but the political case against the governments of Tony Blair and George W. Bush has just begun. The illegal spying at the United Nations on behalf of an illegal war is further indication of their responsibility for a heinous war of aggression.”

PHYLLIS BENNIS
A fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and author of Calling the Shots: How Washington Dominates Today’s U.N., Bennis said today: “As far back as the months leading up to the 1945 San Francisco conference that founded the United Nations, as well as during the conference itself, U.S. intelligence agencies were bugging the offices and rooms of the other delegations, and intercepting and breaking coded diplomatic messages — including those of Washington’s closest allies — in an operation known as ‘Ultra.’ The U.S. used the knowledge obtained from the illegal bugs to craft the U.N.’s agenda, draft the U.N. Charter, and pressure other countries to accept Washington’s positions on such issues as the veto and permanent Security Council seats for itself and its allies.”

For further information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Jeff Cohen, jeffco@ulster.net; Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, sam@accuracy.org