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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More relevant today than when published in 1985
Recent high profile disclosures of Western intelligence programmes and military behaviour make this book more pertinent now than even in the immediate aftermath of Ponting's trial. The moral, ethical and legal issues addressed by the case - to whom does a civil servant's ultimate allegiance lie?, is it ever right for them to disclose "secret" information against the will...
Published 15 months ago by GoddersUK

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3.0 out of 5 stars Thatcher exposed
An interesting book which confirms what many suspected about how the Thatcher government operated. Nevertheless it was not the duty of a civil servant to expose the actions of his political masters. The book is spoiled by his efforts to justify these actions.
Published 15 months ago by George Macdonald


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More relevant today than when published in 1985, 8 Sep 2013
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This review is from: The Right to Know: The Inside Story of the Belgrano Affair (Hardcover)
Recent high profile disclosures of Western intelligence programmes and military behaviour make this book more pertinent now than even in the immediate aftermath of Ponting's trial. The moral, ethical and legal issues addressed by the case - to whom does a civil servant's ultimate allegiance lie?, is it ever right for them to disclose "secret" information against the will of their political masters?, should they be afforded legal protection to make such disclosures? - can be carried directly over to cases such as Snowden's and Manning's (the legal niceties of the US will vary from the UK, but the broad principles are surely not dissimilar).

Ponting begins his book with an overview of the history of official secrets legislation in the UK, its use and misuse. He then covers the relevant events in the Falklands war. These first few chapters may seem dry and superfluous, but stick with them because the understanding they impart will be more than worth it when reading the trial section; they also contain enlightening discussion of the issues and the arguments in justification of Ponting's actions. The trial section itself seem short and I read through it very quickly - but this is probably for the best, it prevents Ponting losing the readers attention and allows him to convey the drama of the situation, not just the facts. Finally he finishes with some short thoughts on the implications of his case and the future of official secrecy and freedom of information (sadly we now know that shortly after this case the government removed the public interested defence Ponting used from the statute books - as a direct result).
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3.0 out of 5 stars Thatcher exposed, 31 Aug 2013
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This review is from: The Right to Know: The Inside Story of the Belgrano Affair (Hardcover)
An interesting book which confirms what many suspected about how the Thatcher government operated. Nevertheless it was not the duty of a civil servant to expose the actions of his political masters. The book is spoiled by his efforts to justify these actions.
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The Right to Know: The Inside Story of the Belgrano Affair
The Right to Know: The Inside Story of the Belgrano Affair by Clive Ponting (Hardcover - Mar 1985)
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