8 July 2006
This provides a mirror of documents which the British government is attempting to suppress:
The following is from Craig Murray: ======================================== 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 the UK. 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. http://dahrjamailiraq.com/murray/ [See links to Cryptome mirrors below.] 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 LetterMurray070706.pdf
Murder In Samarkand - Documents:
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 milliom 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 book - the 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!
[Links to Cryptome mirrors.]
Document 1 - FCO
Document 2 - IMF Telegram
Document 3 - Declaration
Document 4 - Speech
Document 5 - Hill Negotiation
Document 6 - Michael Wood memo of 13 March
Document 7 - Telegram of 18 March 2003 headed US Foreign Policy
Document 8 - Letter from Simon Butt dated 16 April 2003
Document 9 - Exchange of emails with Linda Duffield
Document 10 - Colin Reynolds' report of 26 June 2003
Document 11 - Minute of my meeting with Howard Drake
Document 12 - Letter from British Businessmen in Tashkent
Document 13 - Email to Kate Smith
Document 14 - Minute of 26 September 2003
Document 15 - Telegram