In every society there is a need for openness and a need for secrecy.

Fundamentalists have planned and are planning terrorist attacks on our way of life. They plot and connive with as much secrecy as they can muster.

The prime function of government should be to protect its people, and the executive arm of that prime function is generally the police force.

British bobbies haven’t been covering themselves with glory recently. Running over a 16 year old schoolgirl at 94mph, batonning down a non-protesting passer-by (from the back) who died 5 minutes later, and yesterday Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick, our top counter-terrorism officer, arrives at 10 Downing Street with The Secret Plan to catch these vile fundies tucked underneath his arm.

Not in his briefcase, note, but tucked underneath his arm. In full view of the world’s press. With their expensive cameras with hi-res lenses.

Getty Images, a picture library a little larger than fotoLibra, had a photographer or two on site. The images were on the wire and syndicated around the world in minutes. Then someone noticed you could actually read The Secret Plan to trap the fundies. It was there in plain view, tucked underneath  Assistant Commissioner Quick’s arm, a clean sheet of A4 headed “Security Service-led investigation into suspected AQ (al-Qaeda) driven attack planning within the UK”.

Oops.

The Government issued a D-Notice, which bans British media from publishing sensitive material. It has no validity in Calais, Cincinatti or Cairo. Getty Images withdrew the images from their site.

But it had already been syndicated around the world, and they had no power to order its removal from other publishers. I bet servers in Pakistan were overloaded last night. The police had no option but to carry out the plan immediately, and eleven Pakistanis and one Brit (perhaps of Pakistani origin — we don’t know) were arrested yesterday.

This morning Quick quite rightly resigned. It was a monumental blunder.

I think with true British phlegm the situation can best be summed up in England’s noblest native verse form, the clerihew:

Bob Quick
Is a bit of a dick
For revealing his terrorist investigation
To photographers with worldwide syndication.

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One Response to “The perils of publishing”

  1. Mick Sargent says:

    The government still maintains that it will go ahead with an intrusive database that will collect every scrap of data on us, in the form of texts, emails, photos of us in a march or peaceful protest. You name it, they will find a way of knowing our most intimate secrets. IF WE LET THEM.
    I’ve already informed my MP, Michael Foster, that if the ID Card system goes ahead, they had better reserve a cell at Lewes Prison for me. A cell between ‘Cut Throat’ Perkins and ‘Razor’ Hargreaves no doubt. I’m not having one. Full stop.
    Does anyone really think our details are safe with either the government or the police?. Bob Quick, laptops left on trains, files left lying about and computers nicked from government offices( and still missing). The crooks and insurance companies(same thing?), will know more about us than we do. We will be in more danger than we are at the present. ‘Intelligence’, when applied to governments and police is a contradiction in terms methinks.
    We are the country with the heaviest surveillance in the world, but turn a camera on a copper and you can be arrested. A good job that the people at the G20 protests disobeyed that ill-thought out law. The truth about police brutality cannot now be brushed under the carpet, as it undoubtedly would have been.
    Lastly, two weeks on, all of the suspects in the aforementioned police raid have been released without charge. Obviously not a scrap of evidence against them, as I suspected from the moment they were arrested. Scapegoats for the government’s own purpose, making it look tough. The suspects are being lined up for deportation though, so they must be guilty of something. Possibly having a beard, or being called Mohamed ?.

    Mick