Friday, December 30, 2005

The UK was complicit in torture in Uzbekistan

Craig Murray is the UK's former ambassador to Uzbekistan, who was removed from his post after complaining too loudly about human rights abuses and torture in a country that was, at the time, considered a vital ally in the "war on terror". He's since written a book about those abuses, and the UK and US's complicity in and toleration of them; unfortunately the British government is trying to use their draconian Official Secrets Act to prevent the revelation of embarrassing information, demanding that he

remove all references to two especially damning British government documents, indicating that our government was knowingly receiving information extracted by the Uzbeks through torture, and return every copy that he has in his possession.

So, he's gone around them. The Blairwatch blog has coordinated a massive leak of the documents to the internet, publishing them themselves and urging other blogs to do the same. As they said in their email, it's not the Al-Jazera memo, but these documents need publishing.

The first document [PDF] is a series of telegrams sent by Murray to the Foreign Office, detailing the Uzbek regime's use of torture and protesting the British government's decision to ignore it and continue using (and treating as reliable) information from the Uzbek security services.

1. We receive intelligence obtained under torture from the Uzbek intelligence services, via the US. We should stop. It is bad information anyway. Tortured dupes are forced to sign up to confessions showing what the Uzbek government wants the US and UK to believe, that they and we are fighting the same war against terror.

2. I gather a recent London interdepartmental meeting considered the question and decided to continue to receive the material. This is morally, legally and practically wrong. It exposes as hypocritical our post Abu Ghraib pronouncements and fatally undermines our moral standing. It obviates my efforts to get the Uzbek government to stop torture they are fully aware our intelligence community laps up the results.

3. We should cease all co-operation with the Uzbek Security Services they are beyond the pale. We indeed need to establish an SIS presence here, but not as in a friendly state.

And as an example:

15. At the Khuderbegainov trial I met an old man from Andizhan. Two of his children had been tortured in front of him until he signed a confession on the family's links with Bin Laden. Tears were streaming down his face. I have no doubt they had as much connection with Bin Laden as I do. This is the standard of the Uzbek intelligence services.

The second document [JPG] is a scan of a short memo from Michael Wood, the Foreign Office's chief legal advisor, giving the UK government's position on information derived from torture: that it's OK, provided it doesn't make it into court. This makes a lovely contrast with Tony Blair's public position that the UK does not condone torture and "would not be involved in any process" which resulted in its use. It also shows exactly why the British government is attempting to censor these documents: to prevent the embarrassment of being publicly shown to have been lying to the British public (again).

There are HTML versions of both documents here (thanks to Kos).

If you are outside the UK, I urge you to republish these documents, and help show the UK government that this sort of censorship simply does not work.


I'm hoping I'm far enough away to get away with reposting them.

Posted by elendil : 12/30/2005 03:56:00 PM

The EU knew about the 'black' prisions being run by the CIA in Europe.

No government would not know about this when they are receiving then intelligence gained from these places.

It was so funny to hear their moral outrage when the story broke in the press and denials about thier knowledge.

It seems this had been happening since Clinton was in office, where captured terroist suspects were handed over to the local authorities? for questioning.

Posted by Anonymous : 12/30/2005 06:46:00 PM