It is exactly three years since the United States and Great Britain invaded Iraq, and a little over three years since Martin Bright and his colleagues at the London Observer quietly tested the veracity of an e-mail passed to them anonymously, whilst I nervously waited to see if the e-mail I leaked would appear in a newspaper. All this for the purpose of slowing down, if not derailing, a war that many felt was being rushed into by gung-ho politicians Bush and Blair.
Looking back, we have an ever-clearer picture of what was going on behind the scenes. Since my leak, there have been more; all because civil servants are disgusted by the manipulation of truth, even outright lies. Yet, here we are, three years on, with all the knowledge we have about the lack of WMD in Iraq, about the intent on regime change all along, about the lives destroyed, the untold misery of thousands, the renditions, torture, secret prisons and beatings—and still we remain silent about U.S. intentions toward Iran. Do we believe that the Bush administration is too bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan to dare go anywhere near Iran? Or do we just not care about the mini-nukes, so called low-yield, ground-penetrating nuclear bombs that Bush and his advisers are ready to unleash on its next Middle East target? Even if Bush does not declare all-out war on Iran, the bombing of key installations, with or without a nuclear payload, is an act of aggression and threatens to plunge an already angered and turbulent Middle East into further chaos.
Iran may be saber-rattling, it may even have an extremist government, but so does North Korea, yet we choose the diplomatic route with them always. Of course, North Korea doesn’t have that precious commodity, oil. Iran is surrounded by nuclear powers, no wonder she twitches nervously. Little mention is made of India, Pakistan, China or Israel; these countries can arm themselves to the hilt, but it is absolutely out of the question for Iran to possess sources of nuclear energy, let alone means to defend herself.
We must face facts; nuclear nonproliferation as a practical solution is defunct and useless. A blind eye is turned to those we call friends, whilst our foes face the threat of war. A true solution would be gradual decommissioning of all nuclear weapons globally, so why is that never advocated by the leaders of our ‘peace-loving’ nations? How ironic is it that the solution to Iran’s nuclear ambition is the threat of nuclear weapons? Since when did two wrongs make a right?
Truth telling and whistle blowing are crucial after a war as ill advised as Iraq—at least it allows us to piece together the facts—but it’s too late to save lives. Where are the memos and emails about Iran now?
I urge those in a position to do so to disclose information which relates to this planned aggression; legal advice, meetings between the White House and other intelligence agencies, assessments of Iran’s threat level (or better yet, evidence that assessments have been altered), troop deployments and army notifications. Don’t let ‘the intelligence and the facts be fixed around the policy ’ this time.
Such government activities are not paper-free endeavors. It is not unreasonable speculation to assume that documents are being drafted now or already exist. As the political momentum builds towards a military ‘solution’, it would be wrong to wait until bombs have fallen on Iran and families destroyed before finally informing the public.
I was asked recently about how I chose between the public interest and the national interest when I made my disclosure. I believe there was no choice, because in essence, the two are the same. The Iraq war has cost the United States and Great Britain dearly, in both financial and human terms. It has cost us credibility around the world. Not only does the majority of world opinion believe the invasion of Iraq was illegal; it also sees us, through the medium of video footage, acting aggressively and cruelly during the occupation of Iraq. Surely, avoiding all of the above would have been in the public and national interest. As Vietnam War whistleblower Dan Ellsberg said, “Like so many others, I put personal loyalty to the president above all else—above loyalty to the Constitution and above obligation to the law, to truth, to Americans, and to humankind. I was wrong.” Don’t put your loyalty above truth and the law; help us avoid this unnecessary evil.
Five years into the 21st century and there has been little but conflict and destruction. Is this how we envisaged the new millennium? Is this the future we want for our children, one of fear and conflict? It is time to turn the course of events and start building a new consensus, a consensus of peace and dialogue, of truth and understanding. We cannot and must not rely on others to speak truth to power. There are many brave and honest individuals working for the U.S. and U.K. governments. This message is directed to you. Look at the enormous deficit your government has created, the billions of dollars used to dominate countries in the Middle East, would this money not have been better spent on education, health, communities and the environment? I urge you to contact the National Security Whistleblowers Association in the United States or other alternative media organizations such as TomPaine.com. Know that you are not alone.
Katherine Gun was a translator at the Britain's communications spy agency, General Communications Headquarters. In 2002, she leaked a top-secret memo to a British newspaper, revealing the U.S. was spying on U.N. Security Council members before their vote on the Iraq war.
© 2006 Tom Paine.com