Sunday, February 12, 2006
Have a look at these (click to see larger images):
It reminds one of the Spycatcher affair. Peter Wright, the author of the book which documented - among other things - joint CIA and MI5 efforts to destabilise Harold Wilson's government, was living in Tasmania when it was published in 1985. The book was banned in the UK but sold overseas. The British press were prevented from reporting on the contents of the book and those that attempted to do so were tried for contempt of court. In 1988, the Law Lords had to allow it to be published because the fact that it was already available overseas meant it no longer contained secrets.
Of course, Murray doesn't have the advantage of residing in Tasmania, and the damaging documents that the government tried to excise from the book have already been seen. However, the documents make clear that there are more damning passages in the book (which, of course, are described as defamation, misleading, untrue etc) which the government doesn't want Mr Murray to get out into the public.
It is just as well that this government, after forcing a woman to be jailed for the mere offense of protesting the war in the wrong place at the wrong time, has not tried to babble about 'free speech' of late. In a climate where the police have been allowed to smash up the Iqra Learning Centre bookshop in Leeds and purloin antiwar material, and where 80 year old John Catt was arrested under the Terrorism Act and handcuffed on the grounds that his t-shirt and placard contained "anti-Blair info", this government is least well-placed to mouth such vocables. The obsequies of that notion in the UK have already been paraded through parliament to several harumphs and amens. (Isn't it just telling, by the way, that the only infringement on free speech that liberals and their corresponding luvvies have really been worked up about is one that was supposed to protect Muslims from abuse in the same way that other groups are already protected?). The "rules of the game are changing" was Blair's fatuous flourish after the attacks in London, and as part of the rule change he tried to invent a wonderful new crime of "condoning, glorifying or justification" of terrorism, so nebulous in its formulation as to be worthy of any police state. No - this government dare not prate of free speech. If it did, who knows what might be said and published?
Here is Craig Murray's final rejoinder to the FCO.