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Publish and be...?

The BlairWatch website has copies of letters by Craig Murray, ex ambassador to Uzbekistan. He's been told not to publish them because they reference the UK/ US getting information from people being tortured in Uzbekistan.

From Craig Murray's site, which has been going up and down like a yoyo all morning:

With Tony Blair and Jack Straw cornered on extraordinary rendition, the UK government is particularly anxious to suppress all evidence of our complicity in obtaining intelligence extracted by foreign torturers. The British Foreign Office is now seeking to block publication of Craig Murray's forthcoming book, which documents his time as Ambassador to Uzbekistan. The Foreign Office has demanded that Craig Murray remove all references to two especially damning British government documents, indicating that our government was knowingly receiving information extracted by the Uzbeks through torture, and return every copy that he has in his possession.

Craig Murray is refusing to do this. Instead, the documents are today being published simultaneously on blogs all around the world.

The first document contains the text of several telegrams that Craig Murray sent back to London from 2002 to 2004, warning that the information being passed on by the Uzbek security services was torture-tainted, and challenging MI6 claims that the information was nonetheless "useful". The second document is the text of a legal opinion from the Foreign Office's Michael Wood, arguing that the use by intelligence services of information extracted through torture does not constitute a violation of the UN Convention Against Torture.

Interesting for a bunch of reasons. First and foremost, torture bad, and this connects in with all the extraordinary rendition stuff coming out in America at the moment. Secondly, the government blatantly lied to us...again. Third, free speech! Er, dude. Fourth, it's a direct appeal to bloggers to get stuff published which the government is trying to suppress. This sort of thing is what the net should be good at. It's already up in a bunch of places, a lot of them linked from here on the BlairWatch thread. Some of them: MeFi, Crooks And Liars, and (impressively) Daily Kos.

The Register says, regarding the blog publishing:
Murray's breakthrough, essentially, is to have harnessed blogging networks to make the dissemination of the documents faster still, and far more horribly public. Conventional news media (among which, for the purposes of this article, we choose to count ourselves) are conscious that they present a clear target that Government lawyers can shoot at; they therefore circle the documents warily, but do not usually publish them. Bloggers, au contraire, have strength in numbers, jurisdictional opacity and lack of visible assets. The Government now therefore has to figure out how it can extricate itself from this without looking too ridiculous, while being all too aware that trying to make an example of Murray or half a dozen sample bloggers would simply make it look more ridiculous still. Full article here

And you can watch the spread of the story on the internet here, which is really cool.

Other major links as I find them:
The Independent
Al Jazeera
Scoop (NZ)
The Register

(For the sake of even-handedness, I did find one website that thinks it's a hoax to garner more book sales...)


bad wolf
Notes from extinction

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