The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report needs to be converted to HTML, pronto

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has release a shocking report into the CIA use of torture during America’s post-9/11 panic.  The New York Times has a handy 7 point summary, pointing out that the torture was more brutal and extensive than previously supposed, that it was ineffective, and that CIA officials lied to Congress and made exaggerated claims to journalists about the effectiveness of the programme.

Its truly sickening and should not have happened.  The USA is supposed to be better.  It has set a terrible example to brutal human rights abusing regimes like Iran.  Ayatollah Khameni has been pointing out America’s hypocrisy.

It looks like the United Kingdom might have been complicit in the torture programme too.

For those of us who want to read the full report, a 525-page PDF version is available on the webspace of Senator Diane Feinstein.

Plenty of journalists have been writing about the report.  Andrew Sullivan has ‘live-blogged’ his reading of it.  When they do cite a paragraph, they can’t link directly to it.  It strikes me that far more people would be able to read an engae with the report if it were in HTML format.  This is a ‘live’ example of the principle behind my Leveson Report (As It Should Be) project.

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report should be converted to HTML as soon as possible, preferably hosted by a civil liberties NGO or a newspaper.  It took me a while to convert the Leveson Report into HTML but a crowdsourced effort could convert this torture report in a matter of days, if not hours.

The Deposed Prime Minister

So it seems Pakistan’s elections will be postponed after all. On the surface, this is another depressing development following the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. However, after watching the TV footage of burnt out vehicles littering the streets, I wonder if a short period to restore calm could make for ‘better’ elections in the long run. Clearly Pervez Musharraf will remain under pressure to deliver order, and elections, very soon.

One bug-bear of mine is the way Nawaz Sharif is referred to by the media. He is typically referred to as “opposition leader” or “former Prime Minister”. He is both those things, but he is also the deposed Prime Minister of Pakistan, the last person to win a democratic election. An incumbent of sorts!

The circumstances of President Musharraf’s rise to power, while never forgotten, have been given the sheen of legitimacy after his assistance with the War On Terror. However, the primary issue in Pakistani politics is now the restoration of democracy. I am no fan of Sharif’s political record and I hope he loses the elections when they are held. But it is well worth emphasising just who is the deposer, and who is the deposee in this dynamic.

Afterthought

Interestingly, Nawaz Sharif’s statement today called for a restoration of the constitution to its 1973 version. This despite his attempts, some successful, to amend that constitution!