[QODLink]
Archive
Butler: I was bugged too
Former United Nations chief weapons inspector Richard Butler has said four countries bugged his conversations as he held negotiations attempting to disarm Iraq.
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2004 08:05 GMT
Butler says he was bugged by the US, UK, France and Russia
Former United Nations chief weapons inspector Richard Butler has said four countries bugged his conversations as he held negotiations attempting to disarm Iraq.

Responding to former British minister Clare Short's allegation that listening devices had been planted in the offices of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Butler said he was certain he was bugged in his time at the United Nations.

"Of course I was, I was well aware of it," he told ABC radio on Friday.

"How did I know? Because those who did it would come to me and show me the recordings that they had made on others to help me do my job disarming Iraq.

"They would say 'we're just here to help you' and they would never show me any recordings they had made on me."

Butler, executive chairman of the UN Special Commission to Disarm Iraq from 1997 to 1999, told of diplomats going to great lengths to keep conversations under wraps because they believed the UN headquarters in New York was full of spies.

"If I really wanted to have a sensitive conversation with somebody... I was reduced to having to go either to a noisy cafeteria in the basement of the UN where there was so much noise around and then whisper, or literally take a walk in Central Park," he said.

Butler said he was bugged by the Americans, British, French and Russians.

"I knew it from other sources, I was utterly confident that I was bugged by at least four permanent members of the Security Council," he said.

'Dirty game'

"If I really wanted to have a sensitive conversation with somebody... I was reduced to having to go either to a noisy cafeteria in the basement of the UN where there was so much noise around and then whisper, or literally take a walk in Central Park"

Richard Butler
Ex-UN chief weapons inspector

Butler said the allegations of bugging in Annan's office showed international relations could be a dirty game.

"If ordinary people knew how dishonest the game is they would mightily object," he said.

Meanwhile, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that the country's intelligence officials had seen transcripts of mobile phone conversations involving Hans Blix, another former UN chief weapons inspector, that were supplied by either British or US intelligence services.

"Each time he entered Iraq his phone was targeted and recorded and the transcripts were then made available to the United States, Australia, Canada, the UK and also New Zealand," ABC journalist Andrew Fowler said, citing unnamed sources.

Prime Minister John Howard refused to comment, saying it was his policy to neither confirm nor deny intelligence matters.

The United Nations has said it would be "disappointed" if Short's allegations about Annan's office being bugged in the lead up to the Iraq war were true.

Source:
AFP
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.