"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Secret State - how and why it leaks

Dr David Lowry's comments on a tedious article in the Guradian today by Marcel Berlins about the Damian Green affaire ..it is worthy of wider publication.

"In the 1990s I worked as a researcher for a Labour backbencher, Llew Smith, then MP for Blaenau Gwent, and who, like his predecessor as MP for the constituency, Michael Foot, was an inveterate and high profile peace campaigner.

It was probably because of his well known public stance towards the first war with Iraq in 1991, that Mr Smith was anonymously sent in 1993 what were apparently private papers from the Ministry of Defence outlining health concerns over the use of organophosphates (OPs) - known to be toxic chemicals - to line tents pitched by the British armed forces, to keep way dangerous desert insects.

Mr Smith submitted a series of parliamentary questions to defence ministers seeking to clarify the knowledge the MOD had of the potential health hazards, at a time when serious concerns were being raised by returning soldiers and medical auxilaries over a debilitating illness dubbed 'Gulf War Syndrome.'

In a series of subsequent written answers, defence ministers denied MOD knowledge of OP use in the Gulf conflict. Cross-bench peer, The Countess of Mar, meanwhile, had been pursuing a similar line of enquiry in the Lords. (see House of Lords debates, 4 December 1996, columns 663-666,

Mr Smith persisted for 18 months Parliament in pressing ministers, and eventually, in December 1996, the then Conservative Minister of State for the Armed Forces, (now Sir) Nicholas Soames, told Parliament in an oral statement :

"The House will recall that I made it public on 4 October that there had been wider use of organophosphate chemicals in the Gulf than had previously been thought, or than we had previously been advised. I have already apologised to the House for that, and expressed my profound regret and anger that that ran counter to earlier information given in utmost good faith by Ministers in answer to parliamentary questions. I unreservedly do so again. I subsequently told the House that a comprehensive investigation had been commissioned to discover the facts, and I promised to report the outcome as soon as it was known."
(Hansard, 10 December 1996, columns 119-23)

see also 22nd November 2008 Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Afghanistan. Why the RAF are calling in the Tornado GR4's and replacing the Harriers .... or maybe not which provides details of how Mark Lancaster (Con. Milton Keynes TD) harried the Minister over the replacement of Harriers by Tornado's in Afghanistan .

It was evident that he was quoting from very detailed information (it appears supplied by serving militiary and probably a constituent) not supplied by the MOD .. but not questioned by the Minister. eg :-

"I will not go into the details of ground abort rates, but suffice to say that at the moment the Harrier is operating at a 0.34 per cent. ground abort rate. That means that only about four in every 1,000 times that we call on a Harrier to go on a mission in Afghanistan it cannot take off, because of some technical problem. By comparison, the Tornado GR4 is operating at a ground abort rate of 11.6 per cent. That means that more than one in 10 times that a Tornado is scrambled on operations, it simply fails to get off the ground."

Leaking is, in Plod talk, the MO of MP's. Was, is and forever will be.

UPDATE : Dr Lowry also provided an identical comment on an article in the Times Blogs on 28th November providing a list of famous leaks which included :- The Times Jan 4th 1988

"Sources did confirm, however, that the memorandum from Mr Anthony Kesten, a senior official in the department's official Research and Technology Policy Unit, was genuine. They also indicated that a high-level internal inquiry is likely to begin today into how the document came to be passed to Mr Gordon Brown, opposition Treasury spokesman."

UPDATE : BBC Sir Paul Stephenson of the Met tells a Press Conference that Green's office and home were searched under a warrant (presumably issued by Magistrates) and that the Seargeant at Arms provided written permission to search the HOC. Why has it taken so long to reveal this - surely the person arrested should eb informed if no one else.

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(C) Very Seriously Disorganised Criminals 2002/3/4/5/6/7/8/9 - copy anything you wish