The Two Memos - A Beginners Guide
1) 23/05/04: Times publish leaked document "Iraq in the Medium Term".
2) 17/11/05: News of the Keogh and O'Connor trial breaks.
Amongst much press speculation,some we now know to be correct, some incorrect, one story stands out: The BBC report that a government source has told them that Keogh and O'Connor are being charged with the leak of the document that appeared in the Times May 2004.
3) 22/11/05: The Mirror run their story, that Bush and Blair talked about Bush's plans to bomb al-Jazeera,
But the Mirror say that Keogh and O'Connor are being charged with the leak of the document that was quoted in the Mirror.
-It becomes clear that the Mirror and the Times refer to different documents
-Speculation and confusion about how Keogh and O'Connor can be charged with two documents
5) 26/11/05: We learn that there is one charge over one document (confirmed the following day).
4) 25-27/11/05: Blair and his spokesman start refering to the Mirror allegations as sub-judice. Assuming that despite being proven liars, they are not so stupid to be caught out in such an obvious lie and knowing there are only one set of charges relating to one document, we can deduce that:
- Keogh and O'Connor are being charged with leaking the Mirror Document.
- Keogh and O'Connor are not being charged over the leaking of the Times Document, and to the best of our knowlege never had anything to do with the Times Document.
What we Tried to do in our post:
- Clear up the confusion that was developing over what Keogh and O'Connor were being charged with ie that it was the leaking of the document that the Mirror quoted and only that.
- Demonstrate that the Keogh and O'Connor charges apparently had nothing whatsoever to do with the leak to the Times.
- To to question how the story about them being linked to the Times ever emerged in the first place, and to work our who stood to benefit from this misinformation.
- To suggest that the reason the story got out was because someone in government close enough to the case to be credible, and therefore to know the truth, falsely briefed the BBC about the link between Keogh and O'Connor and the Times story.
- To suggest this careful briefing to the BBC, prior to the Mirror story was done to 'park' the story in the news agenda.
Because of the nature of the charges, and the nature of the OSA, there would never be public disclosure of what the two men were charged with. This means the press speculate about what the real source of the charges is.
In the absence of any official disclosure or public statements, a government briefing that links the prosecution to the Times document in a BBC news article becomes much more significant.
We suggest that because the BBC article predates the Mirror scoop, the government were trying make sure we didn't get a sniff of what the real documents were, because they were terrified of the consequences of us learing the contents. We suggest they thought that giving the BBC a false story, to dampen down the press speculation, and by taking advantage of the OSA, they could hide the fact that the memo ever existed, and give us a non story.
What went wrong?
The mirror story, as well as exposing some of the content of the memo and the panicked over reaction of the attourney general, exposed the fact that the government source was lying to the BBC from the word go.
Why Does it Matter?
Because if the governmet took advantage of the powers of the OSA, and did falsely brief the BBC as a face saving exercise and to protect Blair's bud Dubya, then that shows us how significant the content of the memo is, and how far they are prepared to go to keep us from leaning what that content is.
It also makes a mockery of the fact that Blair has dismissed it as a conspiracy, and Bush as a joke, their public statements.
Was Bush Joking?
The Mirror memo is an official record of the meeting. Now, we've all attended meeting where minutes have been taken. Do minutes include jokes or throw away comments? No. Does anyone seriously think that, at the Presidential and Prime Ministerial level, jokes are included in the official minutes? Of course not.