Talk:Further details about Bush-Blair memo stopped

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You may also want to also read the twin article to this on Wikipedia for further details.

Is it good enough to publish? Perhaps some copyedit first... International 01:54, 24 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

I will be away for half a day, fell free to publish when its ready International 03:01, 24 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

sources and info[edit]

Here is a choice quote from the Post article you might want to add:

In Washington, a senior diplomat said the Bush remark as recounted in the newspaper "sounds like one of the president's one-liners that is meant as a joke." But, the diplomat said, "it was foolish for someone to write it down, and now it will be a story for days."

Also, the guardian has a nice source on the "gag order", you can find the link in the other article.

Eventually, it might be best to merge the two articles, but as of right now that is simply not possible. :-( --vonbergm 02:12, 24 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]


Just some info. The Mirror is not just deemed unreliable because of the pictures, but has in general a history of blowing up stories. The picture episode was quite problematic though. And by the way, the Mirror did not fake the pictures, the pictures were provided to the Mirror by an outside source and portrayed as authentic. The Mirror failed to do the required research to determine whether or not the pictures were originals (it turned out to be a stages picture, staging soldiers in uniforms different from the ones troops in Iraq wear depicting weapons that were not used in Iraq, so it should not have been very difficult to catch this). --vonbergm 02:26, 24 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

Ok, I clarified the disclaimer in the article accordingly. Thanks for the info. StuRat 02:50, 24 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

Which memo is this?[edit]

Is this the Downing Street Memo? If so, would the title be better to include that rather than Bush/Blair memo ?--Chiacomo (talk) 04:19, 24 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

Backgound information[edit]

The following Guardian article has some interesting background information. This fits right into the main thrust of this article and should be incorporated. I am still too busy with the other article. --vonbergm 04:30, 24 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

Develop more.[edit]

This article is still quite incomplete, and needs to describe things a little more. For instance:


The attorney general Lord Goldsmith intervened and stopped all further reporting of details on an allegedly leaked memo about a dispute between Tony Blair and George Bush. Publishing the alleged document would be a breach under section five of the Official Secrets Act.
Where did he do this?
When did he do this?
Any remarks from him?
What document?

The Mirror is a tabloid scandal sheet, considered to be an unreliable source for many reasons, most recently having printed faked pictures of British soldiers torturing Iraqi detainees.
I reworded a similar statement on the other article, it's really not our place to accuse it of being a "scandal sheet".
I changed that part, but I don't believe the other part about it being at Abu Ghraib was correct, as those pics involved British soldiers, and Abu Ghraib is in the American zone. StuRat 04:47, 24 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]
  • You're correct. I've corrected myself on the other article, included a link to the Daily Mirror's apology of a situation that was similar to Abu Ghraib. But still, it's not really NPOVish to accuse a source of being a "scandal sheet". If someone did accuse it of being, though - it'd be a great quote to include. --MrMiscellanious (talk) (contribs) 04:49, 24 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

In Washington, a senior diplomat said the Bush remark as recounted in the newspaper "sounds like one of the president's one-liners that is meant as a joke." But, the diplomat said, "it was foolish for someone to write it down, and now it will be a story for days."
I think this can be eliminated from the article, really doesn't have much to do with this specific event.

Mr Dear continued "These sort of attempts to stifle uncomfortable revelations printed in a newspaper, which is only carrying out its proper duty to inform the British public, does the government of what is supposed to be a democracy no credit whatsoever. What we need in this country is free and open debate and a proper political dialogue over important issues of this sort, not a knee-jerk panic reaction."
I think his point was already made with the preceding quote, and feel it is stronger and more straight to the point without this here, seems to be more lecturing on freedom of press.

Just a few more items before it should be published. No flags this time, but please take these concerns seriously. --MrMiscellanious (talk) (contribs) 04:40, 24 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

cooperation mrM[edit]

As there was no reason for bringing the article to develop I republish it. MrM, please edit the article or argue on talk befor you tag it developing. Your agressive way to act here is annoying. You really have to communicate your issus before dictate with flags and locks. Please understand that you ar one in a collective, not a chosen leader of wikinews. Be considerate to us and cooperate.International 05:42, 24 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

I won't return the article to develop, but it appears (above) that he's listed his reasons for returning to develop which seem reasonable. I think MrM's simply trying to help produce quality articles and at least in this case, several of his concerns are valid. --Chiacomo (talk) 05:49, 24 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]
Agree with International's comments and respectfully disagree with Chiacomo. There is nothing in policy allowing for 1 or 2 editors to consistently block/impede articles about particular subject matter as MrM does. This is a collaborative project and to act as a "teacher" forcing "students" back to work on their essays(with a few suggestions for how to maybe satisfy the teacher) until they get it to read the way the teachers want is not a sensible model for a collaborative project and no, Chiacomo, this is not "the" downing street memo. Neutralizer 13:58, 24 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]
  • What are your problems with my requests, Neutralizer and International? If you ignore a user, it is disruptive behavior. And I will call you on it. Stop ignoring actionable objections. Back to develop until the concerns above are dealt with. --MrMiscellanious (talk) (contribs) 23:41, 24 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]
  • I dont think your objections call for taking the article to develop. I dont agree with you, simple said. Further, You are the disruptiv element in this case. You prevent the article from being publiched by concerns that might seen petty or diligent. By the way, you are free to contribute youreself by edit. If you just put 10% of your "talk-energy" in editing things might be much better. And not to forget, your acting seem baised to disrupt the publishing of articles that are negative to US. A smell of hypocrisy might i find in bad hidden threats ("And I will call you on it") in relation of your strange interpretation of my outspoken critic regarding your missusing of our adminpowers earlier. I now motivated my will to republishing, so please contemlate some time of you as a constructiv force here and not a censor, a policeman or just whatever that implement your idea of order here. Maby its time for arbitration if this continue because I dont like your agressiv attitude that might lead to fullfront conflict. As a sign of good will I wait with the republishing or let some other wikinewsie do it.International 02:28, 25 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]
  • If an article isn't as complete as its going to be (if you need to greatly edit it), it will go back to develop. Publish means the only edits made on it will be small spelling or gramattical/punctuation fixes - it should be as "publishable" as possible. This article doesn't reflect that. If you continue to ignore my actionable objections above, you will be considered disruptive. Community means that everyone works together to get it done, although all you've done is dismissed all of my claims, with no reasoning. If you tell me one more time to "put 10% of your 'talk energy' in editing things", I will personally ask for your case to be the first on ArbCom. I will not follow you around and fix every article that isn't up to Wikinews' standards, and I offer these suggestions to help you in the future. If you refuse my requests, the article will stay in developing because there are actionable objections that are to be dealt with. Stop ignoring users. --MrMiscellanious (talk) (contribs) 15:19, 25 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

Some responses to the questions raised that may not have been addressed yet: Based on the two sentences from the "Law chief gags the Mirror on Bush Leak" reference that are "The Daily Mirror was yesterday told not to publish further details from a top secret memo, which revealed that President Bush wanted to bomb an Arab TV station," and "The gag by the Attorney General Lord Goldsmith came nearly 24 hours after the Mirror informed Downing Street of its intention to reveal how Tony Blair talked Bush out of attacking satellite station al-Jazeera's HQ in friendly Qatar," that are in an article dated 23 November, the unspecified communication by Lord Goldsmith was on 22 November. As to the rest of aspects questioned, the method of its communication has not yet been listed in any source, nor am I able to locate a source specifying it as yet. The implication in the quote is of course that the document mentioned has not changed from the mentioned alleged memo. So, some proposals and questions.

It is necessary to locate a source with more information about the nature of this message by Lord Goldsmith to include information about its method of communication (the where aspect questioned), to locate a more certain timing for the occurrence of the communication (my interpretation of it being 22 November is not beyond question). So far as the question, what sort of remarks from him, direct quote of his statement regarding violations of the Official Secrets Act and printing the content of the alleged transcript? The only information I have yet found is the mention of only that (,2763,1648590,00.html), though it still does not have any direct quotes from Lord Goldsmith. I have, however, located a source that provides a possible explanation of why Lord Goldsmith made such comment (,12956,1649351,00.html), but it also does not have any direct quotes from him.

The quote from the diplomat on the possible joking nature of the alleged transcript seems appropriate as it provides a distinct interpretation of it. The continuing quote by Mr Dear should perhaps be summarised and combined with the first part of the quote from him, by such as "..." was said by Mr Dear and was further extended to include <summary of questioned quote>; this should reduce the importance implied by the extended length of the quote relative to the length of the article. --Opalus 00:56, 25 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

Reliability of Mirror[edit]

"considered to be an unreliable source for many reasons"

I think this is too strong to be npov. This is a major British newspaper you are talking about here, not a fringe magazine.

Considered by whom?

I think it's best to stick to the facts - i.e. "The Mirror has published material in the past which have later been found to be inaccurate, including faxed photographs of prisoner abuse by British soldiers in Iraq." AndrewRT 13:46, 24 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

Either this caveat should be introduced for every newspaper quote on Wikinews (unless someone can point to a paper which has never printed "innacurate material") or it should be removed from this article. In the interests of simplicity, I have removed it.--Slainty 14:29, 24 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]
No ! From all comments I have seen here this is a much less reliable newspaper than all others used (read the discussions above) and the readers should know that, especially since the Mirror is the original source for this story. If you have a recent example of a comparable scandal caused by other used sources, then we should include those, too. StuRat 14:48, 24 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]
Those who don't:
StuRat 15:00, 24 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]
No need to shout. The only evidence produced to show that the Mirror is an unreliable paper is one bad story. In the context of newspaper publishing this is clearly not exceptional. Should all those newspapers which printed misinformation about Iraq prior to the war be treated in a similar fashion? If not (and it is clear from reading Wikipedia that they are not), then neither should the Mirror. If, on the other hand this claim of 'unreliability' is based simply on a vote on the discussion page, then at least have the honesty to state as much in the story. --Slainty 15:28, 24 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]
The difference is the things those papers reported they had no way to verify, like the presence of WMD in Iraq. The Mirror could easily have established those weren't the proper uniforms or weapons for British soldiers in Iraq, they just don't bother to verify their stories. You may not agree, but you should respect the consensus which has been developed here. StuRat 16:15, 24 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]
The substantial point, which you have ignored, is that there are no established newspapers which can honestly claim that they have have never printed 'innacurate material'. Knowing this to be true (but not wanting to concede the point), you have switched your argument to one of 'consensus'. Since this is now the preferred justification, I repeat my request that the bogus rationale (the 'bad story' argument) is removed from the main article. --Slainty 18:08, 24 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

Also, the Mirror actually has a good reputation for breaking war on terror stories, like the British Camp Delta detainee story: It just also has a reputation for blowing things out of proportion, being a tabloid and all. In my view, the Mirror should be described as "tabloid" or "sensationalist", but honestly interested in breaking real war stories, although showing a "mixed track record of accuracy". I don't think the photos need to be mentioned directly, but one could provide inline links to the photo & British Camp Delta detainee story as examples of their mixed bag nature. OTOH, lots of people hate inline links.  :) Whatever. - Nyarlathotep 19:11, 24 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

Yes, that means I also support removing any specific mention of the photos story; although an unexplained link to that story is fine, i.e. related news or ideally an inline offsite link.

Is this article up to Wikinews' standards?[edit]

MrM says no, I says yes. Obviously we need some input from the rest of you wikinewsies. I like to publish but MrM will probably put it in develop. Am I wrong? I cant fix this article better so then it stay in develop if nobody make it better. Some kind of referendum to avoid a unnecesary "war"...International 17:40, 25 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

The easiest thing to to allow the consensus building process to work and for editors to attempt to address MrM's concerns. Voting is evil. --Chiacomo (talk) 17:42, 25 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

NPOVing thoughts:

  • Any responses to Kilfoyle & Johnson by Lord Goldsmith should be included, it is an article about Lord Goldsmith's statment after all. I've seen no such responce todate.
  • Daily Mirror photos issue should not be rehashed, but its first mention could read "..., the Daily Mirror, a British tabloid, ..."
  • Shouldn't the Daily Mirror also be given credit for breaking the story?
  • Consider mentioning that the U.S. bombing of the Chinese embassy is now generally believed to be intentional, and in responce to the embassy relaying intelligence for the opposition. It is plausible this bombing was similarly "well intentioned".

Flow thoughts:

  • Boris Johnson's paragraph might be moved to after the Guardian's, unless there is a chronological issue.

I see nothing else. - Nyarlathotep 18:23, 25 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

I've published the article. Incompleteness, except for extreme stubs, should generally only be a reason to delay publication, not to halt it entirely.--Eloquence 16:43, 26 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

MrM, calm down please. republishInternational 02:44, 27 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

Don't Bomb Us - A blog by Al Jazeera Staffers[edit]

Nice blog:

The sedateness of Al Jazeera's reaction is clearly overstated in the past article. Anyone feel like writing an article about the various protests by Al Jazeera staffers, and other people in the arab world, to correct for it. Nyarlathotep 18:44, 26 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

MrM's points[edit]

So, I looked through the discussion above, and can see really no compelling reason not to publish this article. MrM enumerates

  • missing details - a reason to give the article more time to develop, which it has received, but not a reason to prevent publication
  • paragraphs which he does feel are unnecessary. I disagree, they add relevant background to the article, and facts alone, when neutrally presented, should not be used as a justification to delay publication. The "one-liner" quote is certainly pertinent since we mention the al-Jazeera claim itself. It's a relevant NPOV addition.

The article could use a good copyedit, but that can be done at any time. I really see no compelling reason not to publish. Voicing your objections is fine, but Wikinews is a cooperative enterprise, and that goes both ways. Users who put effort into writing an article should not be punished by having their work delayed from publication for days, simply because another user is not quite happy with the wording or the inclusion of details. It's a wiki - everyone has had ample opportunity to edit this piece. Now it's time to send it out to the world. If publication is endlessly delayed and procrastinated, the incentive for newbies to contribute to Wikinews is significantly decreased.--Eloquence 02:40, 27 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

I'm unsure MrMiscellanious's points should be so lightly dismissed, but I did have one concern: Nowhere in this article do I see any statement of the government's position regarding this memo, or why they might have chosen to suggest (Lord Goldsmith's opinion of his statement) newspapers might "need to take legal advice." This seems, to me, to be rather biased without at least some coverage? - Amgine | talk 02:50, 27 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]
The only statement I can find from Downing Street is from the Guardian article, where it says: "Downing Street stressed that the decision to take action was 'entirely up to the attorney general' and was intended to 'draw a line in the sand' on further leaks." This might be worth adding.
I think the main reason there are no further statements in this article is that none were available at the time it was written. This may have changed now. But we cannot keep moving the goalposts as new information becomes available. This article is already days out of date and there has been ample opportunity to edit it. If we want to be a news site, we must be willing to publish news when it matters, instead of pulling articles back into development for days. MrM has made exactly three edits to the article: the repeated restoration of {{develop}}. Pointing out flaws is all well and good, but if no effort is made by all participants to actively work towards publication, it tends to leave a bad taste in the mouth.--Eloquence 02:59, 27 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]
  • I'm really not impressed about your unilateral decision on this article, especially not being present in discussions of the development of this article. Your early dismissal of all my claims, which albeit are briefly documented, really does not help in the development of this or any future articles on the wiki. A user, with valid claims, wants other users to understand what issues they see with the article. All users dismiss these without even a detailed message proving they even contemplated half of the proposals. Instead of tagging this with the various tags I could've chosen, I gave users time to improve it with suggestions. As they have failed to even respond to any of them, and ignored my claims (just as you have done), I am appalled that you or anyone else would just up and say "it's fine," without even the smallest indication that you even knew what the hell I was talking about. So please, a little explanation here. --MrMiscellanious (talk) (contribs) 03:03, 27 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]
The U.K. attorney general Lord Goldsmith has imposed a gag order on British media on November 22 to stop further reporting of details from an allegedly leaked memo about a dispute between Tony Blair and George Bush.
The above sentence is untrue. In fact Lord Goldsmith said papers publishing the leaked memo might be prosecuted - a clear threat, but not an order, and relevant only to publication of the actual memo and not reporting *about* the leak.
But by all means, if you feel it is ready for publication, publish it. - Amgine | talk 03:06, 27 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

MrM, I have responded to your concerns. I think they are not sufficient grounds to halt publication, particularly when you have made no effort to actually improve the article yourself.

Amgine, you're right, it's not a gag order in the legal sense. Several media reports used the term, but it's incorrect in this case. Fixed.

On a more constructive note, I would appreciate it if someone could look over the quotation marks, I think the punctuation is incorrect, but German, English and American rules are all different, so being German, I'm not going to touch that one.--Eloquence 03:15, 27 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

  • Well, I don't find your responses to be sufficient for bringing it back to publish, especially when not responding to the development notes throughout the case of this article. Obviously, it's in heavey development still. All the more reason to make sure it is in developing before the article is as "complete" as it can be. --MrMiscellanious (talk) (contribs) 03:18, 27 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]
You have not provided any compelling argument why the information you want removed should be removed. I have added information and some background to the into paragraph.--Eloquence 03:25, 27 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

NPOV Issues[edit]

This article has been tagged with {{npov}} for the following reasons (in chronological order):


The U.K. attorney general Lord Goldsmith has threatened British media with legal action on November 22 to stop further reporting of details from an allegedly leaked memo about a dispute between Tony Blair and George Bush.
  • Gives no examples to specific cases of ever happening; "threatening" is too strong of a word to use to remain neutral.
    • Reworded paragraph to quote Goldsmith directly, changed to "warned".--Eloquence 05:56, 27 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]
    • This sanitization of langauge is incorrect MrM, the British gov. has never before threatened to prosecute a paper, it usually just gets an injunction barring publication. That would be a warning, this is a threat. Nyarlathotep 12:32, 27 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

Mr Dear continued "These sort of attempts to stifle uncomfortable revelations printed in a newspaper, which is only carrying out its proper duty to inform the British public, does the government of what is supposed to be a democracy no credit whatsoever. What we need in this country is free and open debate and a proper political dialogue over important issues of this sort, not a knee-jerk panic reaction."
  • Highly irrelevant to the topic at hand, is questionable of leaving such a large quote (considered a rant) to be adhering to NPOV standards.
    • Relevant, but I agree that it can be shortened a bit. I removed one sentence.--Eloquence 05:56, 27 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

According to The Guardian this "is believed to be the first time the Blair government has threatened newspapers in this way".
  • Not sure this quote is very important, is redundant with the similar statement in the article (see above).
    • Two different statements: prosecution vs. threatening to prosecute. I have switched the sentences to make this clearer.--Eloquence 05:56, 27 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

Tuesday, the Daily Mirror, a British tabloid, ran a front page story under the headline "Bush plot to bomb his ally".
  • Not noteable, especially if you do not attribute them with the "discovery" of the "memo".
    • Added attribution and link to previous article.--Eloquence 05:56, 27 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

Boris Johnson, MP for Henley and editor of 'The Spectator' magazine, claims the UK Attorney General's ban is "ridiculous, untenable, and redolent of guilt". Johnson has offered to risk jail by printing the memo if he receives it within the next few days.
  • Not sure of the magnitude of this quote, the numerous quotes that are similar in this context and lack of those that aren't in support of this also hinders on the neutrality of the article.
    • Removed quote, the pertinent fact is his offer.--Eloquence 05:56, 27 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]
    • No, the quote is quite relevant; he is an MP for crying out loud. It should be reintroduced. Nyarlathotep 12:29, 27 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

In Washington, a senior diplomat said the Bush remark as recounted in the newspaper "sounds like one of the president's one-liners that is meant as a joke." But, the diplomat said, "it was foolish for someone to write it down, and now it will be a story for days."
  • Who is the "senior diplomat"? Be specific on quotes. Not NPOV, but still an issue.
    • Unnamed (which is common), now attributed to Washington Post.--Eloquence 05:56, 27 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

At the time, al-Jazeera was the only major news organisation providing eyewitness reports and video footage from within the city.
  • Can't find this statement in the sources. Not NPOV, but still - issue.
    • Rephrased and added source (Sydney Morning Herald).--Eloquence 06:08, 27 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

There is a history of enmity between senior U.S. officials and al-Jazeera. Vice President Dick Cheney and Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld have accused the Arab network of aiding terrorists. Al-Jazeera's bureau in Kabul was destroyed by a U.S. missile during the aerial assault on the Taliban. The Pentagon later claimed it did not know that the network's offices were in the building. U.S. forces also destroyed al-Jazeera's Baghdad bureau and killed an al-Jazeera journalist during the April 2003 assault on Bagdhad. The Pentagon claimed U.S. troops were responding to enemy fire from the building.
  • Use specific quotes instead of paraphrazing to remain neutral. Furthermore, this history can be kicked back a bit.
    • Added quotes and sources. Historical facts can be attributed to Wikipedia, which is cited; that is common practice on Wikinews. I don't know what you mean by "kicked back".--Eloquence 05:56, 27 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

All in all, these are all issues I have with this article as of timestamp. I'm also wondering why some users have sent this to publish, when the article doesn't even summarize the memo in question throughout the whole article. Discussion on these items is requested to be done as detailed as possible. --MrMiscellanious (talk) (contribs) 04:48, 27 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

I assume you mean a short summery, no? We do have one article on the memo itself. Nyarlathotep
Yes, a shorter summary on the last paragraph. Thank you all for addressing my concerns. --MrMiscellanious (talk) (contribs) 20:24, 27 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

Anyway, my major issue with the article now is that Boris Johnson's quote should be reintroduced, as he is an MP. We generally cover the comments of government officials who bother to state an opinion about such things, and we generally include their soundbyte if they formulate one. So it is POV to surpress this one. Nyarlathotep 12:29, 27 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

New Article?[edit]

I propose we make a new article when things develop in this story. The memo will probably leak soon and people will go crazy...International 12:45, 27 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]