This is Tariq Ayoub. He was the Jordanian al-Jazeera journalist killed in a US missile strike on al-Jazeera's Baghdad office on 8 April 2003. That was the same day that two other journalists were killed in the city's Palestine hotel, which was shelled by a US tank.
It didn't seem exactly coincidental then. Particularly as al-Jazeera's offices in Kabul, Afghanistan, were destroyed by a US missile in November 2001.
This is put here to remind you that journalists die. Killed by politicians. Deliberately.
That was then, this is now
Matthew Rycroft CBE ,39 is now (appt 31st March 2005) Her Majesty's Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo. He was at one time (from 2002 - 2004) Mr Blair's private secretary on foreign affairs, and it was in this capacity he took notes of a conversation that took place over 2 hours in the White House Oval Office between Prime Minister Tony Blair and President George W Bush in April 2004. The meeting was also attended, on the British side, by Sir Nigel Sheinwald, the Prime Minister’s foreign policy adviser, and Jonathan Powell, his chief of staff. Bush was accompanied by Colin Powell, then US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, (also the name of a Chevron oil tanker) then his National Security Adviser, and Dan Freed, special assistant to the President.
Rycroft prepared a series of memos focusing on the different areas they covered during their conversation , including Iraq. He had stipulated at the top of his letter from Washington (a letter from Rycroft to Geoffrey Adams, then private secretary to Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary at that time, and "close" friend of the lady named after the oil tanker)) that it was only supposed to be circulated to those "dealing directly with British policy in Iraq".
He designated the letter as "personal" and "secret", adding a comment at the top of the memo that it was "extremely sensitive" and should only be seen by those "with a really need to know". When asked in court on Friday why he described the letter in these precise terms Rycroft said: "To make the same point but even more so and to make it absolutely clear to each of the people that I was sending the letter to, the sensitivity of this particular discussion and the subject matter that the Prime Minister discussed with President Bush." You bet.
He added "Parts of it had a direct bearing on the British military presence in Iraq and the overall policy context of Iraq."
The court was told that there were 33 named recipients of the memo and 87 who eventually saw it. 2 of the recipients were Mr Blair's director of communications David Hill and his official spokesman, Tom Kelly.
Rycroft was asked why a copy was sent to MI6. He paused. "It was relevant to their function in and about Iraq." ***
Mr Farmer (on behalf of defendant Leo O'Connor) asked Rycroft : "Was it in your contemplation in April 2004 for any part of this document to be made public?"
"Absolutely not," Mr Rycroft replied and added that he did not believe that the Prime Minister intended the document to be made public.
David Keogh, 50, a civil servant who worked in a Cabinet Office communications centre and Leo O'Connor, 44, a political reasearcher are accused of leaking Rycroft's memo and deny three charges under the Official Secrets Act 1989. The prosecution accuses Keogh of making an unlawful copy of the document, which had been faxed to the communications centre where he was on duty, and passing it to O’Connor in the hope that it would end up in the public domain. O’Connor slipped the document into a pile of papers belonging to Anthony Clarke, Labour MP for Northampton South (he voted against the illegal Iraqi invasion) . The MP handed it to Special Branch.
The court was earlier told civil servant Mr Keogh gave the memo to political researcher Mr O'Connor at a dining club in Northampton. It was subsequently passed to Northampton South MP Anthony Clarke, amongst other documents , who then called the police.
The amusing paradox is that the world and his wife know now that the memo referred to the suggestion by President Bush to bomb Al Jazeera's office in Qatar - which seeing the US had a successful missile strike on al-Jazeera's Baghdad office on 8 April 2003 which killed Tariq Ayoub (having smashed the Kabul office in 2001) and on the same day a US tank had hit journalists in their hotel in Baghdad.
Some of the court proceedings are being held in camera
**** Matthew Rycroft was also the author of a secret memo to British Ambassador to the United States David Manning, summarizing a July 23, 2002 meeting with Blair and other government officials "to discuss Iraq". The memo was leaked to The Sunday Times, who printed it on May 1, 2005. (Cached copy by Al Jazeera of the Memo here) and here and is also available here
He has also been named in a list available at Cryptome as an MI6 officer - he also won't have to walk far in Srajevo to meet another MI6 asset Jeremy John Durham Ashdown (Paddy Ashdown - or Paddy Pantsdown (c) The Sun -also Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon GCMG KBE PC - He took up his duties as High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina on 27 May 2002.). If Cryptome's list is correct there has been an MI6 asset in the Sarajevo Embassy since at least 1994.
See also here. He was also involved in preparing the "dodgy dossier" see here