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Urgent: government takes legal action against Craig Murray.


The government has decided to mount a legal action against Craig Murray for having published supporting documents for his book on his website. These documents clarify and support many of the claims in the book about the government's use of intelligence gained through torture, and also reveal the extent to which the Foreign Office sought to censor the book. The government maintains that even if these documents were released under the Freedom of Information Act, they remain the copyright of the Crown and may not be published. Consequently (it has been pointed out to me), there will be no jury trial. What is most likely, it seems, is a fine for infringement of copyright and imprisonment for non-payment...

[24486]



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Urgent: government takes legal action against Craig Murray.

Lenin's Tomb

July 8, 2006

The government has decided to mount a legal action against Craig Murray for having published supporting documents for his book on his website. These documents clarify and support many of the claims in the book about the government's use of intelligence gained through torture, and also reveal the extent to which the Foreign Office sought to censor the book. The government maintains that even if these documents were released under the Freedom of Information Act, they remain the copyright of the Crown and may not be published. Consequently (it has been pointed out to me), there will be no jury trial. What is most likely, it seems, is a fine for infringement of copyright and imprisonment for non-payment. Look at the following e-mail exchange:

Dear Mr Murray

The Treasury Solicitor acts for the Foreign Secretary in respect of the above matter which relates to the placing by you of a number of Crown documents on your website on 4 July 2006.

I attach a letter before claim, which is being delivered to you personally by courier this afternoon. A response from you is required by 4pm on Monday 10 July 2006.

Yours sincerely

Gareth Buttrill
Treasury Solicitor
Floor 10.03, One Kemble Street
London WC2B 4TS
Tel: 020 7210 3393
Fax: 020 7210 3410

Many thanks for your letter of 7 July.

I am of course in agreement with your advice that I must take legal advice. Your letter has arrived on a Friday afternoon when I am just off to collect my daughter from boarding school in Ramsgate. It is in practice impossible for me to get advice and reply before 4pm on Monday 10 July. I would ask you to give a more practical deadline - if you will not, I am sure that is somethig a talk would take into consideration in considering where costs lie. I am not sure what precedents there are for government action for copyright over documents posted on the website, so it might tke a day or two to know if you are right. If I am advised you are right, of course I will remove the documents as requested. On that basis, perhaps you could be kind enough to give me a few more days.

Craig

Mr Murray

I have asked my clients for instructions. However, you must proceed on the basis that the deadline set out in my letter stands.

Gareth Buttrill
Treasury Solicitor
Floor 10.03, One Kemble Street
London WC2B 4TS
Tel: 020 7210 3393
Fax: 020 7210 3410

Mr Buttrill,

As no court has ruled on anything, I would like to know by what power you, acting for the government, can tell me what I "must" do in this respect. I am putting that question formally to you as a government servant and it is not rhetorical; I require an answer.

I find the increasing authoritatianism of government in this country deeply disturbing. I will consider carefully your points once I can get proper legal advice, and not before. It should not take too long.

I am now late for collecting my daughter.


The letter from the solicitors is as follows (click each picture to enlarge):











For anyone who doesn't want to mess around with screenshots, the text of the letter is here (thanks to the commenter who converted it to a Word document). Now, the danger is that the government is going to try and prevent these documents from being widely seen following the Monday deadline. I suppose some of you could think of your own ways of getting round that, but I should explain that mirroring all the documents that are still on Mr Murray's site and ensuring they are published all over the place would be very very naughty.


Update: Politics in the Zeros has mirrored the documents, as has Many Angry Gerbils. They are also available at Dahr Jamail's site as zip files and a bit.torrent.


:: Article nr. 24486 sent on 09-jul-2006 06:33 ECT

www.uruknet.info?p=24486

Link: leninology.blogspot.com/2006/07/urgent-government-takes-legal-action.html



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