Socialist Worker

Whistleblowers and the right to the truth

Issue No. 2130

A group of heavily armed anti-terrorist police raid a house and, for a change, it is met with criticism in the media. The reason is that the raid targeted a Tory MP, Damian Green, who was arrested for conspiring to get government leaks from a civil servant.

But the Tories have no right to stand as the defenders of the rights of whistleblowers. When in office they vigorously pursued civil servant Clive Ponting, who leaked the truth about the brutal sinking of the Argentine ship The Belgrano during the 1982 Falklands War.

Sarah Tisdall, another civil servant, ended up in jail for leaking information over the arrival of nuclear missiles at Greenham Common airbase.

These attacks on the public’s right to know the truth have continued under New Labour.

It attempted to cover up the lies over the war on Iraq. When George Bush threatened to bomb the Al Jazeera TV station it used the courts and the Official Secrets Act to try and keep the story hidden.

The problem is that governments lie.

This case is not about defending the so-called sanctity of an MP’s parliamentary privilege. Rather we need as much information out in the open as possible.

That means ending the Official Secrets Act.

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What We Think
Tue 2 Dec 2008, 18:43 GMT
Issue No. 2130
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