Official secret or cover-up?

Would you care to tell us more about the Ministry of Defence police - the chaps who dawn-raided Gillian Linscott ("Dawn raids: a guide to the etiquette", 11 December)? The article treated the raid as This England farce, but the incident was oppressive and one wonders how the raid would have been conducted on a household with fewer connections.

This week's Big Issue reports MoD police as questioning their reporter David Batty, raiding the homes of two Gulf veterans (pursuing information on anti-nerve gas tablets and depleted uranium), confiscating computers and files and arresting one of the veterans. Who are these people? Who directs them? If they want to suggest to the world that official secrets are not matters which should be kept hidden from hostile states but accounts of official malpractice, dishonesty or ineptitude, then they are excellent propagandists.

Bob Ardler
London N4

This article first appeared in the 18 December 1998 issue of the New Statesman, A time for unadulterated tradition