30 Nov 2010

Wikileaks: Gordon Brown pleaded the case for Gary McKinnon

Interesting stuff in a memo from 6 October 2009 from US Ambassador in London, Louis Susman, writing back to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. It talks about Gordon Brown pleading the case for Gary McKinnon, in person, in a one on one chat with the US Ambassador. You can read it here.

David Cameron was doing something similar on his trip to Washington this summer. The PM talked on BBC Radio 5 about discussions that the government had held with the US Ambassador to have Gary McKinnon tried in a US Court and then to serve “some” of the sentence “in a British prison”.

“That is one potential outcome and I’ll be working very hard to make sure that these things are discussed between the two governments,” David Cameron said.

You’re bound to think that the Wikileaks anger in parts of the US political establishment wo”t improve the chances of crunching such a deal. As I’ve mentioned before, the White House was very unhappy that Mr Cameron talked about the private talks in the US Embassy.


Elsewhere in the cable a couple of other things stick out:

– the US Ambassador says that Gordon Brown and then Foreign Secretary David Miliband want the US to “emphasize US support for a ‘strong Europe’ as a way to highlight Conservative schisms”.
– Gordon Brown told President Obama in face to face talks July 2009 that Britain “lacks the capacity to commit additional troops” to Afghanistan, “however, UK military officials claim that 1,000 – 2,000 additional troops are available for deployment.”

The first one is a glimpse of the political favours people try to call on and bank up respectively. The second one reveals certain officials in the UK military saying different things to the US from the government.

Given certain military figures were complaining about overstretch you might think it’s quite surprising. Maybe not as surprising when you consider how the UK military were acutely aware that Britain was diminished in US eyes after our involvement in Iraq and many were keen to restore its reputation.

By the way, the Wikileaks website says they have, as of mid-day, released only 281 of the 251,287 US embassy cables they now possess!

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