Yesterday Blairwatch reported on the upcoming trial of David Keogh and Leo O’Connor, the two men charged (under the Official Secrets Act) with leaking a memo about George W. Bush’s desire to bomb al-Jazeera’s headquarters in downtown Doha, Qatar. The memo was leaked to former MP Tony Clarke.

On the eve of the trial, Peter Kilfoyle, former UK defence minister who has been leading the calls for disclosure of the conversation went public with the revelation that back in 2004 he and Tony Clarke MP had leaked the contents of the Memo to an American contact, John Latham, a “contributing member” to the Democrat National Committee in the hope he would release it in the States, beyond the reach of the OSA.
Unfortunately Mr Latham declined to do anything with this information, and we remained blissfully unaware of this story untill somebody passed details to the Daily Mirror.

Blairwatch was understandably confused about why Mr. Keogh and Mr. O’Connor were facing charges but Mr. Clarke and Mr. Kilfoyle were not:

This raises futher questions about who his being charged with what, and more significantly, who isn’t being charged.

What we already know about the charges:

Mr Keogh, 49, a former communications officer at the Cabinet Office, is charged with making a “damaging disclosure of a document relating to international relations without lawful authority”.

Mr O’Connor, 42, a former researcher for the former Labour MP for Northampton South, Tony Clarke, is charged with having received a document “through its disclosure without lawful authority by a Crown servant”.

It is alleged that Mr Keogh passed a memo to Mr O’Connor between April 16 and May 28 2004. The charge against Mr O’Connor is that he knew, or had reasonable cause to believe, the document was protected against disclosure by the Official Secrets Act.

Mr Keogh is alleged to have passed the memo to Mr O’Connor who then allegedly passed it on to Mr Clarke, his then employer. Mr Clarke has said he returned the document to the government.

Leo O’Connor has said he handed the document to his boss, Tony Clarke MP in good faith, for return to the government. But Tony Clarke MP received the document in the same way that Leo O’Connor did.
There are no charges against Tony Clarke MP for receiving the document.

We also know that before he returned the documents to the government, Tony Clarke also disclosed the document to Peter Kilfoyle MP, in his capacity as a friend and as an ex defense Minister. In much the same way as David Keogh did to Leo O’Connor.
There are no charges against Tony Clarke MP for disclosing the document.

There are no charges against Peter Kilfoyle MP for receiving the document.

However, this morning the icLiverpool reports:

LIVERPOOL MP Peter Kilfoyle could be jailed for two years after admitting passing on secret details of George Bush’s threat to bomb al-Jaazeera TV station.

The offence appears to be a clear breach of the Official Secrets Act, which forbids a person from revealing any information “disclosed to them by a Crown servant without lawful authority”.

Mr. Kilfoyle seems to relish the opportunity to face charges:

…yesterday, a defiant Mr Kilfoyle, the MP for Liverpool Walton, said he had no regrets for trying to reveal “just what George Bush stands for”.

And he confidently predicted the government would be forced to drop all the prosecutions rather than face the embarrassment of the document being discussed in open court.

Mr Kilfoyle said: “I believed the document should be made public because it is a matter of national interest. It does not imperil anybody and it reveals the kind of person we are dealing with.

“I don’t think I will be prosecuted. The government will be very foolish if it proceeds with these charges – or brings new ones against me.”

Now, another interesting fact emerged in the last few days. It appears that Colin Powell was present at the meeting where Blair and Bush argued over the wisdom of bombing the capital of Qatar (which is one of our closest allies in the region).

In San Diego, Mr Latham, 71, a retired electrical engineer and a “contributing member” to the Democrat National Committee, told the Guardian that the MPs also wanted him to send letters with the information to newspapers in Los Angeles and New York. At a meeting at the House of Commons, he had been introduced to Mr Clarke by Mr Kilfoyle. Mr Latham, a British expatriate, and Mr Kilfoyle had attended the same school.

Mr Latham said he had never met Mr Clarke before. He added: “He mentioned that the document was a transcript of a meeting in Washington DC between Bush and Blair. There had been a proposal to take military action against al-Jazeera at their headquarters in Qatar. This was defused by Colin Powell, US secretary of state, and Tony Blair.”

Armed with this allegation, a Mirror reporter approached Colin Powell this Sunday, outside his church:

The Daily Mirror’s reporter, Ryan Parry, asked him a question that contained the date and subject of the meeting, and was successively told:

“I can’t remember every meeting,”
“I don’t know, you’ll have to forgive me,”
“I don’t recall this,”
“I don’t remember the Al Jazeera thing, frankly,”
along with several more brushoffs of the same “nondenial denial” sort.

As for the memo, its contents are still secret, but the defense attorneys were allowed to view it yesterday. They went as far as they could, without violating the OSA, to confirm the basic outlines:

O’Connor’s lawyer, Neil Clark, said he was finally shown the document at the heart of the case on Tuesday morning but he, too, would be breaking the law if he disclosed its contents.

“It is what I expected having read the reports in the media,” Clark said. “I didn’t think there was anything in the document that would embarrass the British government. I will be seeking the disclosure of the document in court.”

Our President is stone crazy.

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