|Documents of Craig Murray, former UK ambassador in Uzbekistan|
Documents of Craig Murray, former UK ambassador in Uzbekistan
Par admin :: 09/07/2006 à 17:43
Mirrored from http://nether-world.blogspot.com/
The former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, has finally managed to publish his book Murder in Samarkand in which he describes the appalling human rights abuses by the US-funded regime of President Islam Karimov, and what happened when Craig tried to expose those abuses and the British and US complicity with the Karimov regime over torture.
The UK Government has tried to prevent the book being published and in order to get around the censorship Craig has put the supporting documents on his website.
In publishing "Murder in Samarkand" I had wanted to publish the supporting documentation in the book to cooroborate my story, especially as the FCO is claiming that the story is essentially untrue. In that sense, perhaps the most interesting link in the documents below is the very first document, which is a table of detailed amendments the FCO insisted be made to the text. This is fascinating if you consider just how much it confirms was true, particularly in the conversations it refers to between officials. - More and suppporting documents
The Government is now trying to silence Craig using the Crown Copyright Laws because he is not contravening the Official Secret's Act by publishing the documents on-line. They are threatening legal action and it is uncertain how much longer the documents will be available on his site.
Blairwatch is mirroring the site here in the UK and several sites in the USA are also mirroring the documents and they should be unreachable by the UK Government. However the more bloggers who publish these documents, the less likely it is that the Government can succeed in stopping them spreading, so I am publishing them here. If this site does get shut down, then Dahr Jamail in the USA has a torrent file to share, and a zip to download of all the documents directly. You can also download a zip file from Polizeros.
(download pdf here)
An introduction to the documents, by Craig Murray:
In publishing "Murder in Samarkand" I had wanted to publish the supporting Documentation in the book to cooroborate my story, especially as the FCO is claiming that the story is essentially untrue. In that sense, perhaps the most interesting link in the Documents below is the very first Document, which is a table of detailed amendments the FCO insisted be made to the text. This is fascinating if you consider just how much it confirms was true, particularly in the conversations it refers to between officials.
Many of the other Documents I managed to have released under the Freedom of Information Act or Data Protection Act. I was astonished when the FCO announced that they would still take legal action against me if I published them. They argue that, and this astonished me, even if a Document is released under the DPA or FoIA, it is still copyright of the Crown and so cannot be published. I was even more amazed when the lawyers of the publisher said that this was probably true, and certainly could not be fought without potentially a million pound legal case.
It appears that, among so many attacks on civil liberties in recent years, the Blair government has managed to administratively negate its own Freedom of Information Act. Robin Cook must be spinning in his grave.
So we have made Murder in Samarkand an interactive bookthe Documents are published here, and referenced by URL in the text. Net posting is not breaching copyright because there is no charge to access the Documents. This site may, of course, be subject to technical attack, so I would be grateful if those who can mirror these documents on their own sites, do so.
These are contemporary Documents from my time as Ambassador in Uzbekistan. They do I believe include the real smoking gun on Britain's, and the CIA's, use of intelligence obtained by torture abroad. They also show the FCO getting increasingly angry with me over my being "over-focussed on human rights", rahter than building good relationships with Karimov, our ally in the War on Terror.
They do not give a smoking gun that proves that the allegations brought against me, of which I was eventually cleared, were trumped-up and motivated by a desire to get rid of me for policy reasons. Being internal FCO Documents, they are written to maintain the facade of a proper disciplinary investigation. You need to be prepared to read between the lines - and read the book!
Here are the Documents:
Par admin :: 09/07/2006 à 12:45
I am sorry to trouble you, but believe that we now face a threat both to the Web and to Freedom of Information in the UK which must be challenged. The British government is arguing that government documents, even if released under the Freedom of InformAtion Act or Data Protection Act, cannot be published, on the web or elsewhere, as they remain Crown Copyright. They have required me to remove documents from my website on that basis, under threat of legal action - see the attached letter from the Treasury solicitors.
If you think about it for a moment, the government could thus cancel out almost the whole purpose of the Freedom of Information Act; information released would be just for the private use of an individual. Newspapers - or bloggers - could not publish it in any detail.
If accepted, this extraordinary use of copyright could keep literally everything - everything - produced by government a secret.
The documents in question are the supporting evidence for my book, Murder in Samarkand, which has just been released. The government continues to claim my story is untrue. There is one important advance in all this. Up until now the government refused to acknowledge the documents were authentic. Now Buttrill's letter specifically acknowledges all of the documents and claims copyright over them.
Some of these documents have already been published widely on the web (not least due to the efforts of many of you on this list), particularly the "Tashkent telegrams" on CIA and MI6 use of intelligence obtained under torture in Uzbekistan. Those are now admitted as authentic.
Some are new to the web. Perhaps the most important is the chart of the changes the British Government insisted be made to the book. These are extremey revealing for what they admit to be true - for example, only minor changes are requested in the key meeting between senior officials on the legality of using intelligence from torture, at which it was confirmed that this is US and UK policy.
Perhaps still more revealing is the insistence on removal of the assertion that "Colin Powell knowingly lied" when he claimed that bombs in Tashkent were the work of al-Qaida. The British government insisted on removal not because it was untrue - as detailed in the book, they know full well it is true - but because it would "Damage UK-US relations".
The changes requested were made in the book, because my publisher would not publish without. That is why the truth needs to be out there on the web.
It is on the face of it very strange that the British Government is going after me over the Copyright Act and not the Official Secrets Act. The answer is simple - under the Copyright Act there is no jury. A jury would never convict for campaigning against torture, and be most unlikely to accept that documents released cannot be published. The table of changes requested by the government is not even a classified document in the first place. But a single judge may be more malleable - John Reid had put a huge effort lately into browbeating judges over anything connected to the so-called War on Terror. As the government know very well I have no money to pay a small, or even large fine, they can get the book and documents banned and me in jail without having to convince any jury of pesky citizens.
How to fight back?
Well, we must not let the documents disappear from the web. There is as yet no legal ruling on these matters, Mr Buttrill's claims are only highly controversial legal contentions. So if you post the documents pending a court ruling, there is a danger you may be contravening the - civil, not criminal - law, but then again you may not. You would quite likely receive a threatening letter from Mr Buttrill. Now you have this email from me, NSA and GCHQ are almost certainly tracking you, (they can, incidentally, reciprocally spy in the other country for each other and then swap the info, because neither needs a warrant to spy abroad), but then they probably were already.
The publisher had firm and very expensive legal advice that it was
not contravening any civil or criminal law to publish in the book links
to web pages containing the documents. So you are almost certainly on
safe legal ground in publishing this link to the Dahr Jamail site if
you do not wish to mirror the docs yourself.
Feel free to publish this email and the letter from Mr Buttrill [attached].
It might also be helpful if we urged people to contact him, by phone, email or letter, and ask him complex questions about the fascinating and difficult legal and ethical questions thrown up by the government's position. As a government servant he's obliged to reply.
Finally, the government made plain to parliament that it would act against the book itself if it was published. As it only came out on Friday, no injunction yet but it could happen any time. So if you are interested in getting it, buy now and beat the injunctions! It is available from most online booksellers, though bookshops seem very reluctant to stock it.
Many Thanks,Craig Murray
Par admin :: 09/07/2006 à 11:48
Here is the text of the letter claiming the infrigement :
INFRINGEMENT OF CROWN COPYRIGHT
The Treasury Solicitor acts for the Foreign Secretary in this
matter. This letter should be treated as a letter before claim in
accordance with the Civil Procedure Rules 1998.
"163(1) Where a work is made by Her Majesty or by an officer or servant of the Crown in the course of his duties - (a) the work qualifies for copyright protection notwithstanding section 153(1) (ordinary requirement as to qualification for copyright protection), and (b) Her Majesty is the first owner of any copyright in the work".
We take the position that all of the documents (save for 12 and the majority of 13) were produced by an officer or servant of the Crown in the course of their duties. As you do not have permission or a licence to reproduce the documents we consider that Crown copyright has been infringed. In particular, you should note that the statement on your website that "Net posting is not breaching copyright because there is no charge to access the documents" is wrong as a matter of law. Whether or not a charge is made is wholly irrelevant to the issue of copyright infringement. Further, even if a document is released under the Data Protection Act or Freedom of Information Act that does not entitle you to make further reproductions of that document by, for example, putting them on your website or making further copies to be provided to third parties. The copyright remains enforceable.
As you are infringing Crown copyright, you are required to remove the documents from your website immediately and to provide an undertaking that you will not further infringe Crown copyright by reproducing these documents, or any other document or documents in which Crown copyright subsists and which relate to Foreign and Commonwealth Office matters, without permission or licence. If you do not do this by 4pm on Monday 10 July 2006 my client will issue a claim in the High Court for an injunction requiring you to remove the documents. The claim will be issued without further notice to you. An application for an interim injunction will also be made.
If my client is forced by your actions to issue proceedings, she will seek to recover from you the legal costs incurred as a result. Such costs are likely to be substantial. You are strongly advised to seek legal advice.
We are copying this letter to your publishers Mainstream Publishing. We consider this to be necessary as you state on your website that 'Murder in Samarkand' will be an "interactive book' containing URL links to the Crown documents. In the circumstances we consider that your publishers should be aware of my client's proposed course of action in view of your infringement of the Crown's rights.
I look forward to receiving your response.
For the Treasury Solicitor
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