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FRINFORMSUM: 10/13/2010

October 13, 2010


The work of MI6?


The UK has traditionally been a more reluctant proponent of information freedom than the United States. Until 2005, the British government refused to even acknowledge the existence of Mi6. Now, an independent, professional historian –Keith Jeffery– has been commissioned to write an all-access history for the first four decades of Mi6 (1909-1949).

This “official history“sparked an immediate historiographic controversy and has been parried by an “unofficial history” of almost the same period, authored by journalist Michael Smith.

The most commonly cited divergence relates to the death of the Russian monk, Rasputin. Smith’s account alleges British complicity (Rasputin opposed WWI), while Jeffery’s account does not.

The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s correspondences (published in an upcoming book) reveal that the United States provided substantial monetary support for India’s Congress Party during the tenure of Indira Gandhi.

Former President Jimmy Carter has published previously secret portions of his private diary, revealing his highly strained relationship with German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt. It’s noteworthy since publicly the two appeared to have an excellent relationship.

The trial of Major Nidal Malik Hasan who allegedly shot 13 servicemen at Fort Hood, TX, is underway.  Hasan had been an e-mail correspondent and follower of Anwar al-Awlaki (terrorism experts call the e-mails “innocuous”), the US-born cleric recently added to President Obama’s controversial “Kill List.”

More than 800 pages of email correspondence obtained under the Freedom of Information Act present the Shirley Sherrod-Department of Agriculture “scandal”  in “real time.”

The Department of Labor  refused to return phone calls to The Office of Government Information Services –which mediates FOIA disputes– about a mine safety FOIA request. OGIS had no recourse but to drop its efforts at mediation.  A new era of open government?

And a nice writeup about Masterpieces of History in Newsweek.  Russian and German dox about the end of the Cold War have been released— it’s the American ones that are still languishing at the George H.W. Bush Library.

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