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WikiLeaks releases suppressed Turks and Caicos report

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July 19, 2009

Caribbean Net News[1]

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos islands -- Controversial website has released online an unredacted version of the final report of Commission of Inquiry established in the Turks and Caicos Islands to inquire into allegations of government corruption and serious dishonesty.

In a press release on Sunday, WikiLeaks said it had obtained the full report and restored the redacted text. Included in the redactions are the findings relating to former Premier Michael Misick, former Deputy Premier Floyd Hall and former Minister McAllister Hanchell, the release said.

The press release went on to say, “Based on the report there does appear to be genuine grounds for the corruption allegations. Yet it is not clear that the Turks & Caicos Islands is an exceptional case. Many British protectorates have corrupt leadership, which means that the FCO can pick and choose its interventions at whim, something that corrupt but assertive leadership in British protectorates such as Bermuda must be noting with alarm.

“Whether the leaders of such former colonies choose to stop looting their countries or choose to placate the UK government in other ways remains to be seen, but it is clear which way the incentives lay.”

According to an opening note in the Commission’s report, the redactions to the report were made on the authority of the Turks and Caicos Governor pursuant to: (a) directions given by the Chief Justice in proceedings brought by Dr Cem Kinay and others, and Mario Hoffmann; and (b) an assurance given by the Attorney General in proceedings brought by Jak Civre.

As previously reported, the redacted report was released on Saturday by TCI Governor Gordon Wetherell, but the document made available online was itself withdrawn late on Saturday, when it was discovered that it was a very simple matter for anyone with a working knowledge of the software used to create it to view the text supposedly redacted.

Wikileaks is a website that publishes anonymous submissions and leaks of sensitive governmental, corporate, or religious documents, while attempting to preserve the anonymity and untraceability of its contributors.

The website achieved some public prominence in February 2008, when the domain name was taken offline after the Swiss Bank Julius Baer sued Wikileaks and the domain registrar in a court in California and obtained a permanent injunction ordering the shutdown.

At that time, Wikileaks had hosted allegations of illegal activities at the bank's Cayman Islands branch.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a motion protesting the censorship of Wikileaks. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press assembled a coalition of media and press that filed an amicus curiae brief on Wikileaks' behalf. The coalition included major US newspaper publishers and press organisations.

The same judge that issued the injunction vacated it on 29 February 2008, citing First Amendment concerns and questions about legal jurisdiction.

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