After the Hutton Report: free Katharine Gun!

Submitted by martin on 31 January, 2004 - 6:02

Going to press on 21 January, we do not know what the Hutton Report will say about whether the Blair government culpably exposed government scientist David Kelly to the pressures which led him to suicide.
We know about Katharine Gun, though. And Baha Mousa, Kifa Taha, and Abd al-Jabbar Mossa.
Katharine Gun, a translator at the government spy centre GCHQ, leaked information to the press about moves by the USA to manipulate governments represented on the UN Security Council into voting for the Iraq war.

She was arrested within days, last March, and sacked straight away. She will come for trial at the Old Bailey in the autumn, and could be jailed for two years under the Official Secrets Act. She has also been banned from talking to her defence lawyers about her work at GCHQ.

She says, straightforwardly: "Any disclosures that may have been made were justified because they exposed serious illegality and wrongdoing on the part of the US government... They could have helped prevent widescale death and injuries amongst ordinary Iraqi people and UK forces in the course of an illegal war".

Baha Mousa was a hotel receptionist in Basra. British troops seized him and seven other hotel staff on 14 September last year, and beat him to death. Kifah Taha was one of the other seven. He survived the beating but suffered acute kidney failure.

Baha Mousa's father, an Iraqi police colonel, had persuaded the British officer leading the raid on the hotel to arrest some British soldiers who were stealing money from a hotel safe. He thinks that is why the British troops killed his son.

Abd al-Jabbar Mossa was a headmaster. He died after British troops took him in for questioning last May. His family say they repeatedly hit him on the head with a rifle butt.
The Ministry of Defence is investigating those two deaths, and eight others of Iraqi civilians at the hands of British troops since last May, but refuses demands from the families and Amnesty International for independent inquiries.

About ten thousand Iraqi civilians have been killed since Bush and Blair started their war in Iraq. Some of them have been killed by the anti-US resistance, and the Saddam regime killed even larger numbers. But the occupation authorities do not even keep a count of the civilians they kill, let alone allow any independent investigation.

Whatever about Kelly, there is blood not only on Blair's hands but splashed right up to his shoulders. From a war which he justified publicly by a lie, the claim that he had clear evidence of immediate danger from a stock of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

The unions which opposed the war should mobilise themselves to demand that Katharine Gun is released, the deaths of Iraqi civilians at the hands of British troops are independently investigated, the peoples of Iraq get freedom - and Tony Blair is removed as Labour leader.

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