t r u t h o u t | 04.07
Tuesday 07 April 2009
Katharine Gun worked at the British intelligence agency when she discovered an NSA memo that she used in an attempt to stop the invasion of
Pigeons are coming home to roost in the prestigious halls of the
On March 19, Katharine Gun testified before British lawmakers, asking them to commit to a full public inquiry into the decision to invade
"What we were being asked to do was to politicize intelligence, and we subsequently found out ... that policy was being fixed around intelligence," Gun said in her testimony last week.
The plot she revealed was conceived in
If Gun and others seeking a new and full
Five years ago, on the day following its collapse at the Old Bailey, members of Parliament hotly debated issues surrounding the Katharine Gun case. Especially troubling, and certain to be troubling again, was this question of whether the Americans led the British not only into spying against the UN, but also into an unpopular - and perhaps illegal - war.
The words of MP Colin Challen, spoken during that earlier, historic debate, will come back to haunt this time around:
"The substantive issue is whether or not we acted at the behest of the American government."
The possibility of having been so seriously flummoxed by politicians across the pond was, and continues to be, painfully disturbing. The illegal spy operation and the preemptive strike against
Earlier investigations into pre-war intelligence issues, such as those reported by Lord Butler and Lord Hutton in the UK and by the Iraq Intelligence Commission in the US, have not answered the most compelling questions about how and why the US and the UK went to war without a clear UN mandate and with reliance upon egregiously flawed intelligence. Neither have they addressed the issue raised in the Gun case from the beginning - the legality of the war.
Hopefully, a new investigation into the how and why of it all will remind the world that "getting rid of Saddam Hussein," so often touted as the justification for war, ignores the existence of international accords prohibiting a preemptive invasion for the purpose of regime change. Thus far, few have taken notice of this inconvenient truth, especially in the mainstream
What the commission lacked, according to its own report, was the power "to investigate how policy makers used the intelligence they received."
And there's the rub.
It's going to take investigating decisions of the policy makers and intelligence manipulators, not the intelligence collectors - if the truth is to be revealed. Investigators need to knock on doors on
Katharine Gun agrees. Standing strong at the time, the young intelligence officer challenged the decision to go to war based on its legality and risked years in prison for doing so. She has outraged many by saying, "I have no regrets. I would do it again." This was her mantra even as the government was preparing to try her for high crime. It is her mantra today.
Testifying with Carne Ross and others, she told Members of Parliament - who, as noted, remember her well, that "Working on the inside, there are people whose views are similar to my own, but they dare not speak their mind."
If there is a significant paradigm switch, if truth becomes the essence of hope and the recorder of history, others, in both the
Gun has a platform in the
Marcia Mitchell is co-author with Thomas Mitchell of "The Spy Who Tried to Stop a War: Katharine Gun and the Secret Plot to Sanction the Iraq War" and "The Spy Who Seduced America: Lies and Betrayal in the Heat of the Cold War."
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