By RichardK (webmaster)
The UK government has been quick to deny that they practice, or tolerate the practice of torture. So it is perhaps not surprising that they are determined that you should not see the following documents that were leaked to Empire Burlesque soon after they were leaked in the UK.
Craig Murray was the UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, until his complaints and protest at the use of intelligence gained by torture got too much for Jack Straw and the Foreign Office, who set about attempting to unsuccessfully smear him, and to boot him from office. He retaliated by digitally unleashing telegrams and memorandums that he was told to 'burn' and were not to be unveiled under the draconian Secrecy Act. This has turned out to be somewhat of a circus event for the blogosphere. The realisation that whistleblowing may have a future online has arrived and there is little officials can do when sensitive data is propogated to ten of thousands of people via blogs in a matter of hours.
The Wiretap story story I've been covering behind the scenes has suddenly taken on a whole new colour since this unveiling and subsequent data burst by Murray. It's possible that the Bush administration has been targeting dissidents and those who don't fit into the 'With Us" slice of George's ridiculously dogmatic and stark view of the world because we are a threat to his war mongering family dynasty when it's possible that the real truth can be unveiled to many.
Over the last couple of days, bloggers and forumists have proven that they truly do represent a force in the war of ideas. Now - underlying layers - which have been blanketed from the masses by corporate and government enslaved media can be disseminated by hundreds of thousands of online social networks that are only a few bytes removed from one another.
Media guru and electronical anthropologist Marshall McLuhan brilliantly predicted this in his 1967 work - "The Medium is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects". It's close to 40 year ago that McLuhan coined the term "the global village."
"...Ours is a brand-new world of allatonceness. 'Time' has ceased, 'space' has vanished. We now live in a global village...a simultaneous happening."... "Electric circuitry profoundly involves men with one another. Information pours upon us, instantaneously and continuously. As soon as information is acquired, it is very rapidly replaced by still newer information. Our electrically-configured world has forced us to move from the habit of data classification to the mode of pattern recognition. We can no longer build serially, block-by-block, step-by-step, because instant communication insures that all factors of the environment and of experience co-exist in a state of active interplay."
...Societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media by which men communicate than by the content of the communication.... The alphabet and print technology fostered and encouraged a fragmenting process, a process of specialism and of detachment. Electric technology fosters and encourages unification and involvement. It is impossible to understand social and cultural changes without a knowledge of the workings of media. Anxiety is, in great part, a result of trying to do do today's jobs with yesterday's tools, with yesterday's concepts.
from McLuhan's The Medium is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects (1967)
As a member of "I'll Publish the al Jazzera memo" group at Blair Watch, we were one of the first to get the memo outside of the UK - and have had some time to develop the idea of how to build a blogswarming monitor. With Technorati and Google it is truly possible to view how this story unfolds in close to real time due to their intense data gathering and the Open Source software we used for RSS scraping. It's pretty geeky I know. But the page has been attracting swarms of blogophiles as this story gets mapped out in virtual real time on the page. And it provided mewith a way to approach the story from a different angle.
Empire Burlesque also has the fresh Channel 4 interview stream with Murray on it's podcaster to help take some of the stress of Blair Watch. You can stream it on the page or download it.
There's also a 'must see' Channel 4 video below by Andrew Gilligan that we uploaded last week in flash.
Dispatches: Kidnap and Torture American Style (pops in new window) follows the stories of terror suspects. Some of them are British residents, who have been snatched from streets and airports throughout the world before being flown to the Middle-East and Africa. In countries such as Syria and Egypt, they undergo agonising ordeals before being incarcerated, without ever facing an open trial.
Testimonies from those suspects allege that Britain has a key role in these shady operations from supplying intelligence information on which interrogations are based, to ordering their arrest and detention.
Andrew Gilligan : Megan - we should stop calling it a war for one thing. You can't wage war on an abstraction and this isn't a problem that's solvable through military means because terrorists have no fixed assets which you can attack. Terrorism is an idea and the only way we can defeat it is intellectually and by causing those extremists to cast out those ideas. Terrorism thrives from repression. Terrorists can argue that we are no better than they are (falsely).