There are various reports about The Guardian newspaper's censorship of their online archives with respect to Duncan Campbell's article "The ricin ring that never was" in The Register, and IndyMedia (a comment on which also reveals that the Guardian's printable version of the article was online for much longer than the normal version)
This all leaves us feeling confused and bemused, especially as we originally reported the story published on the GlobalSecurity.org website in the USA which named one of the Porton Down scientists, on Monday 11th April
i.e. two days before the secret trial was catapulted into a UK media spin and disinformation frenzy on the Wednesday.
If the names of the scientists had been considered to have been a national security risk, then the correct procedure would have been to have them testify anonymously, just as with the testimony of any other "secret agents". Since the trial Judge obviously did not do this, presumably because there really is no national security risk involved, it seems ridiculous that Duncan Campbell's already published article should be censored from The Guardian online archives in this manner.
According The Insider:
"Update: The Insider asked The Guardian why they removed the above article from their website but they provided no explanation until we offered to publicise the fact. On 20 April 2005 we received a vague statement from The Guardian by email stating that the article was removed for "legal reasons":-
"I can tell you that the article The Ricin Ring That Never Was was removed from the archive for legal reasons."
This was the response from the newspaper when The Insider asked for further clarification:-
"The article was not removed because of any inaccuracy. It was to do with a PII certicate [sic] protecting the identity of Porton Down [government weapons laboratory] experts who appeared as witnesses in the trial."
Source: Emails from Ian Mayes (Ian.Mayes@guardian.co.uk) on behalf of Barbara Harper/Readers' Editor's office (20 April 2005)"
Howver according to the official Guidance published on the Crown Prosecution Service website, a Public Interest Immunity certificate has got nothing whatsover to do with online newspaper archives, it relates to Judges making decisions about what Government or other Prosecution evidence is disclosed or not, to the Defence during a trial.
Similarly, the Defence Advisory Notice scheme, is voluntary, and does not constitute "legal reasons" for censorship of newspaper archives, after an article has already appeared in print, despite what some other commentators allege.
The only person who has been threatening such retroactive online censorship has been the Attorney General Lord Goldsmith, perhaps journalists and bloggers should be asking for a clarification of his legal advice.