Trying to tell the truth

September 12th, 2008 § 0 comments

Craig Murray:

I am trying to write a memoir giving a first hand account of what I did and what I personally witnessed. It has the same honesty and shows my own warts as Murder in Samarkand did. I also give some opinions based on my experience.

That may sound straightforward, but under this country’s crazy libel laws you cannot even retell things you did yourself unless you have other objective evidence that you did it. And you may not express opinions that are not mainstream, or which may upset the government or the rich and powerful.

That is not exaggerated. What follows is yesterday’s correspondence with lawyers on the text of the Catholic Orangemen. This is a lot to plough through, but to give some nuggets:
– I must refer to Sandline as a “Private Military Company” and portray their activities in Africa as supporting legitimate government against rebels
– I must portray Western action in Iraq as “peace-keeping”
– I must say Shell were involved in corruption in Nigeria “inadvertently”

When you read through the following dialogue, it is astonishing to realise that these are the lawyers of my publishers who are supposed to be on my side. Yesterday my publisher told me I should view their censorship as enabling me to get at least some of the truth published. That reminded me so strongly of Uzbekistan, where journalists would tell me they had to shove out state propaganda but could get in little anti-government nuances here and there. When it comes to publishing, we do not really have that much more freedom in the UK.

For example:

[Excerpt] 26: The defence industry is full of newly retired military personnel, and we provide military training to governments all around the world. I should confess that I didn’t yet on 6 January 1998 mentally attach the word ‘mercenary’ to Sandline, and I did not connect Sandline with Executive Outcomes during that initial telephone conversation with Spicer.
[Lawyer 1] Spicer is objecting to the description of himself as a mercenary – but surely this is a matter of fact, so nothing to worry about here?
[lawyer 2] Agree, there has always been talk about Sandline being a company employing mercenaries, although they objected to the term as you suggest which they view as pejorative. Certainly should not use it in its adjective form but here bearing in mind the context is OK. Just also spell out private military company also to appease (see above and later edits).
[Craig Murray] I reject the euphemism Private Military Company, for reasons explained in the book. Again it is not my purpose to project Sandline’s image of itself. Spicer did that in his book – which Mainstream published with apparently none of these concerns about where he was libeling others (including me).


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