Daily archives: February 24, 2006

A Celluloid Headache: more on the Craig Murray movie

The cinema face of Craig Murray? Click for more on Steve Coogan

From Times Online

A celluloid headache awaits the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The controversial memoirs of Craig Murray (former Ambassador to Uzbekistan) are to be made into a movie.

Slightly weirdly, Michael Winterbottom, the director (24 Hour Party People, The Road to Guant’namo), has optioned Murder in Samarkand, which ‘ court battles permitting ‘ is due to be published in June.

Very weirdly, he plans to cast Steve Coogan in the lead role. Can it be true? ‘Actually, yes,’ says Murray. ‘It’s extremely good news. I’ve met with Michael, and with Steve Coogan, and with a, well, a very well-known screenwriter, whose name I’m not going to divulge.’

Murray’s book lifts the lid on torture and corruption in the former Soviet state and alleges lazy complicity on the part of Downing Street and the FCO. It doesn’t, in short, sound like typical Alan Partridge fare.

‘There are elements of dark comedy in the story,’ shrugs Murray, ‘and Steve Coogan has shown that he has quite a dramatic range.’

And who should play Jack Straw, the man whom Murray evidently considers to be his nemesis? The former ambassador lets out a dark laugh. ‘I think it is a role tailor-made for Alan Rickman,’ he says.

See also Cinematical and TimeOut

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MPs recall Straw as air traffic controllers confirm 200 CIA flights

From The Guardian (23.02.2006)

MPs will today chastise ministers over their stance on the US practice of “extraordinary rendition” amid the first official admission that 200 suspect CIA flights had used British airspace.

In a report highly critical of the government’s attitude towards human rights abuses, the Commons foreign affairs committee accuses ministers of failing in their duty to find out whether Britain has been complicit in the US policy of secretly transferring detainees to places where they risked being tortured.

Members of the committee say they have not been told the full story despite months of trying. They are to summon the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, to give evidence again on an issue which has serious political and legal implications. The move was agreed after Mr Straw suggested he would be questioned in private only by the parliamentary intelligence and security committee, Paul Keetch, a Liberal Democrat member of the Commons foreign affairs group, said yesterday.


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Human rights “a broken promise in the UK”

Click to visit the AI site

Amnesty International have released a damning 83-page report exposing the damaging effect of the UK’s anti-terrorism policies on human rights.

Irene Khan, Amnesty International’s Secretary General emphasised the extent of the organisation’s concern:

“There is now a dangerous imbalance between draconian actions the UK is taking in the name of security and its obligation to protect human rights. These measures tarnish the UK’s image and its ability to promote human rights abroad.”

The new report presents a comprehensive analysis of the impact of the UK’s anti-terrorism measures on human rights, and follows meetings with senior government ministers. The report also documents how the UK has tried to circumvent its obligations in relation to human rights abuses committed by UK armed forces in Iraq.

“The UK government has introduced sweeping and ill conceived measures that seriously undermine the rule of law,” said Ms Khan.

A summary of the report can be read here

A PDF of the full report can be downloaded here

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