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A historical snapshot

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Our front page story today sheds a little more light on one of the most difficult and controversial periods of Gibraltar’s modern political history.

It is a story that can be told only because of the Chronicle’s persistence and, in particular, the dogged work carried out by Tommy Norton.

In themselves, the revelations are not earth shattering.

Much of what is contained in the Top Secret file was already common knowledge, although people who lived through those times may now be able to expand on some of the new details revealed today.

Either way, the documents add colour to our understanding of that period and, in particular, to the mindset of British officials dealing with Gibraltar at the time.

Some of the documents are still heavily redacted. The Foreign Office said this was to protect diplomatic relations, police methods and, in particular, personal information.

There are no doubt legitimate reasons for censoring sections of these documents.

But as anyone concerned with the recording of Gibraltar’s past will argue, there are also legitimate reasons, wherever feasible, to release as much information as possible.

The British Government was right to finally hand over the file, albeit with some delay and only after pressure from this newspaper.

The first of our two stories on these documents is published today and focuses on the Doves episode.

In tomorrow’s edition, we report on rumours of a Spanish plot to influence a Gibraltarian newspaper, an episode cheerfully described by one British official as “good Mediterranean intrigue and mischief-making”.


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