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Tags Boris Johnson , Kim Darroch , uk politics

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Old 13th July 2019, 04:20 PM   #1
Vixen
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Trump / UK Diplomat Row Escalates

Boris Johnson has come out all guns blazing over Met Officer Basu warning that newspapers publishing politically sensitive 'leaks' such as the Darroch one could be prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act. Cabinet minsters Matt Hancock and Jeremy Hunt have joined in in condemning Basu's words.

This might be a hint as to who might have leaked it?

The matter has now escalated with a new 'leak' in which Darroch called Trump's tearing up the Iran Policy 'an act of diplomatic vandalism' and that he was only doing it to spite Obama.

Quote:
After Mr Johnson returned to London, Sir Kim told No 10 in a ‘diptel’ (diplomatic telegram) that Mr Trump’s Administration was ‘set upon an act of diplomatic vandalism’. The Ambassador wrote that Mr Trump appeared to be abandoning the deal for ‘personality reasons’ because it had been agreed by his predecessor Barack Obama.
Should the press be subject to the Official Secrets Act?

Or should it publish and be damned?
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Old 13th July 2019, 07:00 PM   #2
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Prior restraint is what we call it on our side of the pond. Action by the government in restricting publishing make other publishers worry about potential punishment and thus are interfering in all publishing.

That said, we have long since moved into a time where the sources themselves are tracked down, vigorously prosecuted as if they'd given state secrets to a hostile foreign power (in a trial with such limited defendant rights nobody would recognize), and publication can be suppressed by National Security Letter.
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Old 14th July 2019, 07:35 AM   #3
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Our press has the view it is entitled. It used to merrily hack people's phones until there was a public outcry about the phone of a murdered schoolgirl being hacked by Piers Morgan's reporters in the DAILY MIRROR.

NEWS OF THE WORLD systematically encouraged famous people to take drugs, have sex with prostitutes, succumb to blackmail, take backhanders (Fergie), etc., so that their 'undercover' reporters and fake sheikhs could run headline stories. It all came unstuck when a rock star's trial revolving around her bodyguard procuring cocaine, as set up by the NOTW collapsed and the reporter ending up in jail.

So now it thinks it has the right to publish leaks - the more sensitive and scandalous the better! - but what if these leaks compromise national security, contain secret intelligence or could be a casus belli? It is said that if one repeats a libel, then you, too, can be done for it. So if it is a breach of the Official Secrets Act to leak this information - assuming it is a civil servant working in the FO doing so - then it surely follows the press is also, by repeating it?

Of course, the press oppose any ban and the opposition are loving the doggy-doos the government is knee deep in as a result of the mole.
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Old 14th July 2019, 10:53 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
Our press has the view it is entitled. It used to merrily hack people's phones until there was a public outcry about the phone of a murdered schoolgirl being hacked by Piers Morgan's reporters in the DAILY MIRROR.

NEWS OF THE WORLD systematically encouraged famous people to take drugs, have sex with prostitutes, succumb to blackmail, take backhanders (Fergie), etc., so that their 'undercover' reporters and fake sheikhs could run headline stories. It all came unstuck when a rock star's trial revolving around her bodyguard procuring cocaine, as set up by the NOTW collapsed and the reporter ending up in jail.

So now it thinks it has the right to publish leaks - the more sensitive and scandalous the better! - but what if these leaks compromise national security, contain secret intelligence or could be a casus belli? It is said that if one repeats a libel, then you, too, can be done for it. So if it is a breach of the Official Secrets Act to leak this information - assuming it is a civil servant working in the FO doing so - then it surely follows the press is also, by repeating it?

Of course, the press oppose any ban and the opposition are loving the doggy-doos the government is knee deep in as a result of the mole.
Crimes committed acquiring data <-----> publishing data

Also,

Recklessly publishing data <-----> carefully curating data before publishing
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Old 14th July 2019, 11:44 AM   #5
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If you've signed the official secrets act and give secret information to someone not entitled to it, such as a newspaper, then that's a slam dunk; you're clearly in breach of the act.

Publishing official secrets is a dick move and possibly criminal but surely not a breach of the official secrets act, in much the same way handling stolen goods is not theft.
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Old 14th July 2019, 01:10 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Jack by the hedge View Post
If you've signed the official secrets act and give secret information to someone not entitled to it, such as a newspaper, then that's a slam dunk; you're clearly in breach of the act.

Publishing official secrets is a dick move and possibly criminal but surely not a breach of the official secrets act, in much the same way handling stolen goods is not theft.
True, but knowingly handling stolen goods is a crime, I believe.
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Old 14th July 2019, 01:40 PM   #7
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Papers shouldn't publish stuff obtained illegally.

I would argue that publishing leaked secrets is borderline and probably unethical, but the person leaking is clearly the one to be held primarily responsible.

Most of the papers are only media wings of the establishment political parties anyway though.
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Old 14th July 2019, 01:45 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Archie Gemmill Goal View Post
Papers shouldn't publish stuff obtained illegally.

I would argue that publishing leaked secrets is borderline and probably unethical, but the person leaking is clearly the one to be held primarily responsible.

Most of the papers are only media wings of the establishment political parties anyway though.
Follow that and whistle blowers are silenced and corruption reigns.
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Old 14th July 2019, 02:20 PM   #9
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Okay, but how many egregious violations of public trust would have gone unnoticed if state secrets were suppressed from publication?

Then there's a whole other can of worms to go through with what is and isn't a state secret. Because a lot of times it seems like the definition of "state secrets" is "information that would embarrass a public official and outrage the electorate."
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Old 14th July 2019, 04:45 PM   #10
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I don't know that telling the public Trump is an incompetent bumbling fool, that his administration is a bunch of utterly incompetent and entirely untrained Nazi clowns, and that all this was just Trump trying to spite Obama, is actually revealing "state secrets". This is common knowledge across the globe and has been for some time. The ambassador was simply one of billions reporting this stuff. It's not like he gave away the nuclear codes or where the Ark of the Covenant is stored. It's hurtful only in that it confirms to the US at large that the UK PM has been given the popular view of the general population plus that of the UK diplomatic corps about Trump and his goon-squad. Other than that, the expected response to such missives would probably be "Well, duh!"
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Old 14th July 2019, 05:11 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Norman Alexander View Post
I don't know that telling the public Trump is an incompetent bumbling fool, that his administration is a bunch of utterly incompetent and entirely untrained Nazi clowns, and that all this was just Trump trying to spite Obama, is actually revealing "state secrets". This is common knowledge across the globe and has been for some time. The ambassador was simply one of billions reporting this stuff. It's not like he gave away the nuclear codes or where the Ark of the Covenant is stored. It's hurtful only in that it confirms to the US at large that the UK PM has been given the popular view of the general population plus that of the UK diplomatic corps about Trump and his goon-squad. Other than that, the expected response to such missives would probably be "Well, duh!"
Add to that the simple fact that as a senior diplomat, it's his job to report reality.
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Old 14th July 2019, 05:22 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Delphic Oracle View Post
Crimes committed acquiring data <-----> publishing data

Also,

Recklessly publishing data <-----> carefully curating data before publishing
Definitely representative of my view. Although the 'carefully' part sometimes comes up short unfortunately. This specific instance though does not seem like the type of information which would create much backlash except the search for who shared it.
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Old 15th July 2019, 05:12 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Jack by the hedge View Post
If you've signed the official secrets act and give secret information to someone not entitled to it, such as a newspaper, then that's a slam dunk; you're clearly in breach of the act.

Publishing official secrets is a dick move and possibly criminal but surely not a breach of the official secrets act, in much the same way handling stolen goods is not theft.
Everyone is bound by the OSA. Those who are required to sign it are merely being specifically reminded of that fact, when they are in a better position than non-civil servants, military, etc. to break it. Information governance training is also a mandatory annual requirement in the civil service.

Last edited by Information Analyst; 15th July 2019 at 05:15 AM.
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Old 15th July 2019, 10:16 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Sideroxylon View Post
Follow that and whistle blowers are silenced and corruption reigns.
I don't think it's illegal to be a whistleblower.

It may break some contract terms if you are employed by the company in question but that's a civil rather than criminal matter.
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Old 15th July 2019, 10:35 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Archie Gemmill Goal View Post
I don't think it's illegal to be a whistleblower.

It may break some contract terms if you are employed by the company in question but that's a civil rather than criminal matter.
AIUI the law on 'whistleblowing' (Public Disclosures Act) and based on case law deems that no private contract can supersede or override the law of the land. The aforesaid law says that one can 'whistleblow' as an employee if 'it is in the public interest'. For example, health and safety, environmental, ethics, etc. This is based on an ancient edict going back to the nineteenth century that a misdeed cannot be veiled by a cloak (the 'cloak' being a threat of negative action, e.g., a moderrn day non-disclosure agreement, or threat of punishment [= a legal 'detriment']).

If I were a lawyer, I could argue that the civil servant in question cannot fall back under that protection in law (that is, as a bona fide whistleblower). This is on the grounds the 'leak' was to do with politics and not one of the approved categories of the act. I submit m'Lud, that the leak was purely mischievous and that the reprobate appearing before you should be duly cast in chains and irons...















... even if he is the new prime minister.
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Last edited by Vixen; 15th July 2019 at 10:37 AM.
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Old 15th July 2019, 11:36 AM   #16
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I'm surprised how bland the statements made by the ambassador were. From what's been leaked so far, he didn't say anything that wasn't common knowledge and printed in many newspapers. I hope he did say some more interesting things - otherwise he wasn't worth his very generous salary and benefits.
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Old 15th July 2019, 12:54 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Archie Gemmill Goal View Post
I don't think it's illegal to be a whistleblower.



It may break some contract terms if you are employed by the company in question but that's a civil rather than criminal matter.
We use the WWII era Espionage Act on our conscientious objectors (after they tried 'proper channels' in many cases).
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Old 16th July 2019, 04:09 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by ceptimus View Post
I'm surprised how bland the statements made by the ambassador were. From what's been leaked so far, he didn't say anything that wasn't common knowledge and printed in many newspapers. I hope he did say some more interesting things - otherwise he wasn't worth his very generous salary and benefits.
There is a big difference between someone tweeting all of that and the UK Ambassador writing it up in his official confidential notes back to the Foreign Office.

Imagine the free for all scrummage if it was revealed what he officially has to say about the Saudis, the Iranians and the Chinese. It would all 'kick off' for sure and undermine world peace.
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Old 16th July 2019, 05:39 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Archie Gemmill Goal View Post
I don't think it's illegal to be a whistleblower.

It may break some contract terms if you are employed by the company in question but that's a civil rather than criminal matter.
Sure when one is blowing the whistle on government actions. The thing here is that this wasn't something remotely inappropriate being brought to light, it was a petty internal Torry struggle hurting career diplomats and the UK's credibility.
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Old 16th July 2019, 08:48 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
There is a big difference between someone tweeting all of that and the UK Ambassador writing it up in his official confidential notes back to the Foreign Office.

Imagine the free for all scrummage if it was revealed what he officially has to say about the Saudis, the Iranians and the Chinese. It would all 'kick off' for sure and undermine world peace.
What's really fun is when something is both awful and true, it's the person who was "caught" saying so that is expected to be ashamed and embarrassed over it.
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Old 22nd July 2019, 02:23 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by ceptimus View Post
I'm surprised how bland the statements made by the ambassador were. From what's been leaked so far, he didn't say anything that wasn't common knowledge and printed in many newspapers. I hope he did say some more interesting things - otherwise he wasn't worth his very generous salary and benefits.
It's not the Ambassador's fault that Trump hangs his dirty washing out for all to see. It's like blaming a Detective because his last case was a man standing over a corpse, covered in blood, holding the murder weapons saying "I did it, I killed her, here's the video and notarized witness statements.
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Old 22nd July 2019, 02:42 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Delphic Oracle View Post
Okay, but how many egregious violations of public trust would have gone unnoticed if state secrets were suppressed from publication?

Then there's a whole other can of worms to go through with what is and isn't a state secret. Because a lot of times it seems like the definition of "state secrets" is "information that would embarrass a public official and outrage the electorate."
Any breaking of the OSA should only be acceptable if there is a public interest defence, there was nothing here that the public needed to know, and needed to know now. This was political vandalism at best.

There are now two 'journalists' involved, one is a notable right wing, pro-Brexit commentator and media personality who happens to also be the alleged mistress of a major Brexit Party figure, the other works for the Brexit Party (having previously worked for anti public service lobbyists "Tax Payers Alliance" and Leave.eu) and has supposedly managed to cultivate senior civil service sources willing to hand over classified material despite only being 19 years old. Nothing dodgy here at all....
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Old 22nd July 2019, 06:42 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by P.J. Denyer View Post
Any breaking of the OSA should only be acceptable if there is a public interest defence, there was nothing here that the public needed to know, and needed to know now. This was political vandalism at best.



There are now two 'journalists' involved, one is a notable right wing, pro-Brexit commentator and media personality who happens to also be the alleged mistress of a major Brexit Party figure, the other works for the Brexit Party (having previously worked for anti public service lobbyists "Tax Payers Alliance" and Leave.eu) and has supposedly managed to cultivate senior civil service sources willing to hand over classified material despite only being 19 years old. Nothing dodgy here at all....
Well now that you've told me their political leanings, I'll go ahead and abandon my principles.
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Old 22nd July 2019, 07:38 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Delphic Oracle View Post
What's really fun is when something is both awful and true, it's the person who was "caught" saying so that is expected to be ashamed and embarrassed over it.
Who ever undermined UK foreign service for political advantage with in a political party gets your full support I see.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices...-a8996196.html

I guess the only solution is to stop trying to report facts to your superiors and tell them what Trump wants them to hear.
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Old 22nd July 2019, 07:58 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by ponderingturtle View Post
Who ever undermined UK foreign service for political advantage with in a political party gets your full support I see.



https://www.independent.co.uk/voices...-a8996196.html



I guess the only solution is to stop trying to report facts to your superiors and tell them what Trump wants them to hear.
I'm pretty sure I referenced being rebuffed by superiors as part of my calculus, but they may have been in a different thread.

In any case, I really tire of this "let me turn something you didn't specifically refute in this last comment into your entire worldview" tactic lately.

A simpler way to have a discussion is to maybe ask for clarification. Although that too has a tendency to turn into "let me ask about these 713 edge cases."
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Old 22nd July 2019, 01:26 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Delphic Oracle View Post
Well now that you've told me their political leanings, I'll go ahead and abandon my principles.
My principal is that breaking the OSA should only be considered if it is necessary in the public interest and not for political advantage. I would have assumed that was an uncontroversial position but maybe I'm wrong.
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Old 22nd July 2019, 02:34 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by P.J. Denyer View Post
My principal is that breaking the OSA should only be considered if it is necessary in the public interest and not for political advantage. I would have assumed that was an uncontroversial position but maybe I'm wrong.
Sorry, replied to the wrong post. That rebuttal was meant for ponderingturtle's first line.

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Old 23rd July 2019, 12:41 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by P.J. Denyer View Post
Any breaking of the OSA should only be acceptable if there is a public interest defence, there was nothing here that the public needed to know, and needed to know now. This was political vandalism at best.

There are now two 'journalists' involved, one is a notable right wing, pro-Brexit commentator and media personality who happens to also be the alleged mistress of a major Brexit Party figure, the other works for the Brexit Party (having previously worked for anti public service lobbyists "Tax Payers Alliance" and Leave.eu) and has supposedly managed to cultivate senior civil service sources willing to hand over classified material despite only being 19 years old. Nothing dodgy here at all....
It's so obvious that 19-year old journalist is offering to take the fall to protect the leaker.
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Old 23rd July 2019, 05:02 PM   #29
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The plot thickens. So now Trump is hinting Farage may be the next UK Ambassador to Washington.

Quote:
And Trump raised the idea he will become UK's next ambassador to the US.

"I think Nigel is some place in this audience. Where is Nigel? Nigel Farage," Trump told the crowd.

"He's here some place. I saw him. I said what is he doing here, he's a little older than most of you

"I tell you what, he got 32 per cent of the vote from nowhere over in the UK.

"He did a great job, and I know he's going to work well with Boris, they are going to do some tremendous things."
That answers the question, 'cui bene? from the leak.
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