February 27, 2004

Blix, Butler 'bugged'. 27/02/2004. ABC News Online:

Former UN Weapons Inspector Richard Butler on ABC Radio's The World Today:

"'I was well aware [of being bugged].'

'Those who did it would come to me and show me the recordings that they'd made on others to try to help me do my job in disarming Iraq. They would say 'we're just here to help you' and they'd never show me any recordings that they'd made of me.

'I knew it from other sources. I was utterly confident that I was bugged by at least four permanent members of the Security Council. I don't know what the Chinese were doing.

'I was utterly confident that in my attempts to have private diplomatic conversations trying to solve the problem of the disarmament of Iraq that I was being listened to by the Americans, the British, the French and the Russians.

'They also had people on my staff who were reporting what I was trying to do privately.'

Mr Butler says that if Mr Annan was bugged, it would be illegal.
'There is a headquarters agreement with the United Nations that says that those places, those premises, those persons will be inviolable,' he said.

'It's not true to say that this activity if it occurred was within the law.'

He says he believes the activity could be 'very damaging'.

'What if Kofi Annan had been bringing people together last February in a genuine attempt to prevent the invasion of Iraq ... and one of these people bugging him didn't want that to happen, what do you think they would do with that information?' he said.

Mr Butler says he had tactics to get around being bugged when he
was with the UN.

'If I really truly wanted to have a sensitive conversation with somebody where I was asking them to be honest with me ... 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 in the hope that we wouldn't be overheard.

"Or I'd literally take a walk in Central Park. I'd take a walk with a person in a park and speak in a low voice and keep moving so that we could avoid directional microphones and maybe, maybe just have a private conversation."


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