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  • Friday, December 24, 2004

    Arms companies seek get out clause from Freedom of Information act

    First the government tell its various departments to delete emails, then we hear about the shredding of hundreds of thousands of documents, now it appears that arms manufacturers want a get out clause from the Freedom of Information act.

    They plan to write legally enforceable confidentiality agreements into their dealings with Whitehall and are preparing "injunction packages" with which to threaten officials. This will have the effect of bypassing the legislative machinery, and knocking a large hole in the act. The Ministry of Defence wrote to arms firms this month, promising them a virtual veto and "the opportunity to seek a legal remedy" before files are disclosed. The government has also bowed to commercial pressures by deleting guidance to officials.

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