Having been a member of the Senior Civil Service for six years, I can assure you of two things:
a) The logging and tracking system for MPs' - let alone shadow cabinet members' - letters arriving into No 10 is very tight. It is not possible David Davis' letter was lost and unrecorded. Nor do I see any reason to doubt that Mr Davis sent it.
b) There are some very right wing people in the security services. It is essential for our democracy that they are not allowed to interfere with our lawmakers.
Jack Straw has gone for the usual government whitewash ploy of choosing a safe conservative judge to mount a long inquiry. In fact, if Straw had any interest in the truth he could find out in a couple of hours if Sadiq Khan MP was bugged, particularly as the individual who allegedly did the bugging has come forward. It looks like this may well lead back to the appalling Sir Ian Blair yet again.
But one thing that nobody seems to be commenting on is the position of poor Babar Ahmad, whose wife and father I have had the privilege to meet. Ahmad has been in jail for many years, without a single shred of evidence against him being produced to any judge, ever. It is unclear what exactly he is supposed to have done. It relates apparently to websites supporting the Taliban and Chechen separatists, though supporting in what sense has never been spelt out.
Babar Ahmad denies any connection to any such websites anyway, and I repeat again that no evidence of any kind has ever been produced, nor do the police have any. That is why they have been bugging him for years. The bugging has produced no result either.
Ahmad is being held under the appalling 2002 extradition agreement with the US, which places the UK in the position of a vassal state. Provided the forms are filled in properly, the UK has to extradite its nationals to the US without any evidence being produced by the US that there is even a prima facie case to answer. Astonishingly, our lackey government signed up to this with no reciprocity - we have to extradite our citizens to the US, but the US will not extradite its citizens here without a hearing of evidence by a US court. This is one of the more startling proofs of the abandonment of UK autonomy by Blair that morphed the "Special relationship" into one of master and servant.
The other interesting angle being ignored is, of course, that the results of bugging could not have been used in court here either. Commentators are generally puzzled by the government's refusal to make bugging material admissible as evidence in court, and tend to take the view that this is a last vestige of liberalism.
In fact this is the opposite. Bugging material is in fact used in court, sanitised as "intelligence", and given in tiny out of context clips to judges in camera to justify continued detention without trial or control orders. It is also used at the Special Immigration Appeals Tribunal, a de facto terrorism court. Brian Barder's account of his resignation from that little known body is interesting.
The defence and the "suspect" are not shown the "intelligence" or even given any hint what they are supposed to have done.
So the government's objection to the use of bugging material in court is that it would, 99 times out of 100, help the defence. Rather than giving one or two apparently damning sentences out of context as "intelligence", they would have to make full disclosure of all the transcripts to defence lawyers. As in the case of Babar Ahmad, the fact that years of covert surveillance revealed no bomb or terrorist plots, (which I know for sure) and may have revealed anti-terrorist views (which is speculation), would help the defence.
The same is true, incidentally, of the so-called liquid bomb plotters, some of whom were also bugged for over a year, revealing no plot to bomb up airplanes. Not helpful to have all that in court if you are trying to hype the terrorist threat.
This is not speculation. Remember I was on the inside of this "War on Terror". I know.
Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:58 pm Post subject: Craig Murray - How condemning torture killed my career
Editor’s Note: In this modern age – and especially since George W. Bush declared the “war on terror” eight years ago – the price for truth-telling has been high, especially for individuals whose consciences led them to protest the torture of alleged terrorists.
One of the most remarkable cases is that of Craig Murray, a 20-year veteran of the British Foreign Service whose career was destroyed after he was posted to Uzbekistan in August 2002 and began to complain about Western complicity in torture committed by the country’s totalitarian regime, which was valued for its brutal interrogation methods and its vast supplies of natural gas.
Murray soon faced misconduct charges that were leaked to London’s tabloid press before he was replaced as ambassador in October 2004, marking the end of what had been a promising career. Murray later spoke publicly about how the Bush administration and Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government collaborated with Uzbek dictator Islam Karimov and his torturers. [See, for instance, Murray's statement to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Torture.]
But Murray kept quiet about his personal ordeal as the victim of the smear campaign that followed his impassioned protests to the Foreign Office about torture. Finally, on Oct. 22 at a small conference in Washington, Murray addressed the personal pain and his sense of betrayal over his treatment at the hands of former colleagues.
While Murray’s account is a personal one, it echoes the experiences of many honest government officials and even mainstream journalists who have revealed inconvenient truths about wrongdoing by powerful Establishment figures and paid a high price.
Below is a partial transcript of Murray’s remarks:
I was just having dinner in a restaurant that was only a block from the White House. It must have been a good dinner because it cost me $120. Actually it was a good dinner. …
I’ve never, ever spoken in public about the pain of being a whistleblower. Partly because of the British stiff-upper lip thing and partly as well because if you wish to try eventually to get on and reestablish yourself then it doesn’t do to show weakness. …
I was sitting in this place on my own and feeling rather lonely. And there were a whole bunch of people in dark suits coming from government offices, in many cases in groups, and there they were with the men’s suits sleek and the ladies, the whole office, power-politics thing going on, having after-dinner champagne in the posh bar.
And I was remembering how many times I’d been the center of such groups and of how successful my life used to be. I was a British ambassador at the age of 42. The average age for such a post is 57.
I was successful in worldly terms. And I think I almost never sat alone at such a place. Normally if I had been alone in such a place, I would have ended up probably in the company of a beautiful young lady of some kind.
I tell you that partly because this whole question of personal morality is a complicated one. I would never, ever, no one would have ever pointed at me as someone likely to become or to be a person of conscience. And yet eventually I found myself on the outside and treated in a way that challenged my whole view of the world.
Mission to Tashkent
Let me start to tell you something about how that happened. I was a British ambassador in Uzbekistan and I was told before I went that Uzbekistan was an important ally in the war on terror, had given the United States a very important airbase which was a forward mounting post for Afghanistan, and was a bulwark against Islamic extremism in Central Asia.
When I got there I found it was a dreadful regime, absolutely totalitarian. And there’s a difference between dictatorship of which there are many and a totalitarian dictatorship which unless you’ve actually been in one is hard to comprehend.
There’s absolutely no free media whatsoever. News on every single channel, the news programs start with 12 items about what the president did today. And that’s it. That is the news. There are no other news channels and international news channels are blocked.
There are about 12,000 political prisoners. Any sign of religious enthusiasm for any religion will get you put into jail. The majority of people are predominantly Muslim. But if you are to carry out the rituals of the Muslim religion, particularly if you were to pray five times a day, you’d be in jail very quickly. Young men are put in jail for growing beards.
It’s not the only religion which is outlawed. The jails are actually quite full of Baptists. Being Baptist is illegal in Uzbekistan. I’m sure that Methodists and Quakers would be illegal, too, It’s just that they haven’t got any so they haven’t gotten around to making them illegal.
And it’s really not a joke. If you are put into prison in Uzbekistan the chances of coming out again alive are less than even. And most of the prisons are still the old Soviet gulags in the most literal sense. They are physically the same places. The biggest one being the Jaslyk gulag in the deserts of the Kizyl Kum.
I had only been there for a week or two when I went to a show trial of an al-Qaeda terrorist they had caught. It was a big event put on partly for the benefit of the American embassy to demonstrate the strength of the U.S.-Uzbek alliance against terrorism.
When I got there, to call the trial unconvincing would be an underestimate. There was one moment when this old man [who] had given evidence that his nephew was a member of al-Qaeda and had personally met Osama bin Laden. And like everybody else in that court he was absolutely terrified.
But suddenly as he was giving his evidence, he seemed from somewhere to find an inner strength. He was a very old man but he stood taller and said in a stronger voice, he said, “This is not true. This is not true. They tortured my children in front of me until I signed this. I had never heard of al-Qaeda or Osama bin Laden.”
He was then hustled out of the court and we never did find out what had happened to him. He was almost certainly killed. But as it happens I was within touching distance of him when he said that and I can’t explain it. It’s not entirely rational. But you could just feel it was true. You could tell he was speaking the truth when he said that.
And that made me start to call into doubt the whole question of the narrative about al-Qaeda in Uzbekistan and the alliance in the war on terror.
Boiled to Death
Something which took that doubt over the top happened about a week later. The West -- because Uzbekistan was our great ally in the war on terror – had shown no interest in the human rights situation at all. In fact, the opposite, going out of its way to support the dictatorship.
So the fact that I seemed to be interested and seemed to be sympathetic came as something of a shock and people [in Uzbekistan] started to come to me.
One of the people who came to me was an old lady, a widow in her 60s whose son had been killed in Jaslyk prison and she brought me photos of the corpse of her son. It had been given back to her in a sealed casket and she’d been ordered not to open the casket but to bury it the next morning, which actually Muslims would do anyway. They always bury a body immediately.
But she disobeyed the instructions not to open the casket. She was a very old lady but very determined. She got the casket open and the body out onto the table and took detailed photos of the body before resealing the casket and burying it. These photos she now brought to me.
I sent them on to the chief pathologist at the University of Glasgow, who actually now by coincidence is the chief pathologist for the United Kingdom. There were a number of photos and he did a detailed report on the body. He said from the photographs the man’s fingernails had been pulled out while he was still alive. Then he had been boiled alive. That was the cause of death, immersion in boiling liquid.
Certainly it wasn’t the only occasion when we came across evidence of people being boiled alive. That was the most extreme form of torture, I suppose, but immersion in boiling liquid of a limb was quite common.
Mutilation of the genitals was common. Suffocation was common, usually by putting a gas mask on people and blocking the air vents until they suffocated. Rape was common, rape with objects, rape with bottles, anal rape, homosexual rape, heterosexual rape, and mutilation of children in front of their parents.
It began with that and became a kind of personal mission for me, I suppose, to do what I could to try to stop this. I spent a great deal of time with my staff gathering evidence on it.
Being a very capricious government, occasionally a victim [of the Uzbek regime] would be released and we’d be able to see them and get medical evidence. More often you’d get letters smuggled out of the gulags and detention centers, evidence from relatives who managed to visit prisoners.
We built up an overwhelming dossier of evidence, and I complained to London about the conduct of our ally in rather strong terms including the photos of the boy being boiled alive.
‘Over-Focused on Human Rights’
I received a reply from the British Foreign Office. It said, this is a direct quote, “Dear Ambassador, we are concerned that you are perhaps over-focused on human rights to the detriment of commercial interests.”
I was taken aback. I found that extraordinary. But things had gotten much worse because while we were gathering the information about torture, we were also learning what people were forced to confess to under torture.
People aren’t tortured for no reason. They’re tortured in order to extract some information or to get them to admit to things, and normally the reason you torture people is to get them to admit to things that aren’t actually true. They were having to confess to membership in al-Qaeda, to being at training camps in Afghanistan, personally meeting Osama bin Laden.
At the same time, we were receiving CIA intelligence. MI-6 and the CIA share all their intelligence. So I was getting all the CIA intelligence on Uzbekistan and it was saying that detainees had confessed to membership in al-Qaeda and being in training camps in Afghanistan and to meeting Osama bin Laden.
One way and another I was piecing together the fact that the CIA material came from the Uzbek torture sessions.
I didn’t want to make a fool of myself so I sent my deputy, a lady called Karen Moran, to see the CIA head of station and say to him, “My ambassador is worried your intelligence might be coming from torture. Is there anything he’s missing?”
She reported back to me that the CIA head of station said, “Yes, it probably is coming from torture, but we don’t see that as a problem in the context of the war on terror.”
In addition to which I learned that CIA were actually flying people to Uzbekistan in order to be tortured. I should be quite clear that I knew for certain and reported back to London that people were being handed over by the CIA to the Uzbek intelligence services and were being subjected to the most horrible tortures.
I didn’t realize that they weren’t Uzbek. I presumed simply that these were Uzbek people who had been captured elsewhere and were being sent in.
I now know from things I’ve learned subsequently, including the facts that the Council of Europe parliamentary inquiry into extraordinary rendition found that 90 percent of all the flights that called at the secret prison in Poland run by the CIA as a torture center for extraordinary rendition, 90 percent of those flights next went straight on to Tashkent [the capital of Uzbekistan].
There was an overwhelming body of evidence that actually people from all over the world were being taken by the CIA to Uzbekistan specifically in order to be tortured. I didn’t know that. I thought it was only Uzbeks, but nonetheless, I was complaining internally as hard as I could.
The result of which was that even when I was only complaining internally, I was subjected to the most dreadful pattern of things which I still find it hard to believe happened.
I was suddenly accused of issuing visas in return for sex, stealing money from the post account, of being an alcoholic, of driving an embassy vehicle down a flight of stairs, which is extraordinary because I can’t drive. I’ve never driven in my life. I don’t have a driving license. My eyesight is terrible. …
But I was accused of all these unbelievable accusations, which were leaked to the tabloid media, and I spent a whole year of tabloid stories about sex-mad ambassador, blah-blah-blah. And I hadn’t even gone public. What I had done was write a couple of memos saying that this collusion with torture is illegal under a number of international conventions including the UN Convention Against Torture.
I couldn’t believe [what was happening], I’d been a very successful foreign service officer for over 20 years. The British Foreign Service is small. Actual diplomats, as opposed to [support] staff, are only about 2,000 people,
I worked there for over 20 years. I knew most of them by name. All the people involved in smearing me, trying to taint me on false charges, were people I thought were my friends. It’s really hard when people you think are your friends [lie about you].
I’m writing memos saying it’s illegal to torture people, children are being tortured in front of their parents. And they’re writing memos back saying it depends on the definition of complicity under Article Four of the UN Convention.
I’m thinking what’s happening to their moral sense, and I never, ever considered myself a good person, at all. Yet I couldn’t see where they were coming from and I still don’t; I still don’t understand it to this day.
And then these people – and I’m absolutely certain quite knowingly – tried to negate what they saw as these unpatriotic things. I was told I was viewed now as unpatriotic, by trying to land me with false allegations.
I went through a five-month fight and formal charges. I was found eventually not guilty on all charges, but my reputation was ruined forever because the tabloid media all carried the allegations against me in 25-point headlines and the fact I was acquitted in two sentences on page 19. It’s extraordinary.
The thing that came out of it most strongly for me is how in a bureaucratic structure, if the government can convince people that there is a serious threat to the nation, ordinary people who are not bad people will go along with things that they know are bad, like torture, like trying to stain an innocent man.
And it’s circular, because the extraordinary thing about it was that the whole point of the intelligence being obtained under torture was to actually exaggerate the terrorist threats and to exaggerate the strength of al-Qaeda.
That was the whole point of why people were being tortured, to confess that they were members of al-Qaeda when they weren’t members of al-Qaeda and to denounce long lists of names of people as members of al-Qaeda who weren’t members of al-Qaeda.
I always tell my favorite example which is they gave me a long list of names of people whom people were forced to denounce and I often saw names of people I knew.
One day, I got this list from the CIA of names of a couple dozen al-Qaeda members and I knew one really quite well, an old dissident professor, a very distinguished man who was actually a Jehovah’s Witness, and there aren’t many Jehovah’s Witnesses in al-Qaeda. I’d even bet that al-Qaeda don’t even try to recruit Jehovah’s Witnesses. I’m quite sure that Jehovah’s Witnesses would try to recruit al-Qaeda.
So much of this intelligence was nonsense. It was untrue and it was designed to paint a false picture. The purpose of the false picture was to make people feel afraid. What was it really about. …
I want to mention this book, which is the greatest book that I’ve ever written. It’s called Murder in Samarkand and recounts in detail what I have just told you together with the documentary evidence behind it.
But the most interesting bit of the entire book comes before the page numbers start, which is a facsimile of a letter from Enron, from Kenneth Lay, chairman of Enron, to the honorable George W. Bush, governor of the state of Texas. It was written on April 3, 1997, sometime before Bush became president.
It reads, I’ll just read you two or three sentences, “Dear George, you will be meeting with Ambassador Sadyq Safaev, Uzbekistan’s Ambassador to the United States on April 8th. … Enron has established an office in Tashkent and we are negotiating a $2 billion joint venture with Neftegas of Uzbekistan … to develop Uzbekistan’s natural gas and transport it to markets in Europe … This project can bring significant economic opportunities to Texas.”
Not everyone in Texas, of course. George Bush and Ken Lay, in particular.
That’s actually what it was about. All this stuff about al-Qaeda that they were inventing, extreme Islamists in Central Asia that they were inventing.
I have hundreds and hundreds of Uzbek friends now. Every single one of them drinks vodka. It is not a good place for al-Qaeda. They were inventing the threat in order to cover up the fact that their real motive was Enron’s gas contract and that was the plain and honest truth of the matter.
Just as almost everything you see about Afghanistan is a cover for the fact that the actual motive is the pipeline they wish to build over Afghanistan to bring out Uzbek and Turkmen natural gas which together is valued at up to $10 trillion, which they want to bring over Afghanistan and down to the Arabian Sea to make it available for export.
And we are living in a world where people, a small number of people, with incredible political clout and huge amounts of money, are prepared to see millions die for their personal economic gain and where, even worse, most people in bureaucracies are prepared to go along with it for their own much smaller economic gain, all within this psychological mirage which is so much of the war on terror.
It’s hard to stand against it. I do think things are a little more sane now than they were a year or two ago. I do think there’s a greater understanding, but you’ll never hear what I just told you in the mainstream media. It’s impossible to get it there.
[For an early Consortiumnews.com article about President Bush’s Uzbek alliance, see “The More Things Change.”]
Lifting Uzbekistan arms embargo ‘unconscionable’
Thursday, October 29, 2009
* Activists say EU lifted sanctions to win Tashkent’s support for military operations in Afghanistan
ALMATY: Activists expressed horror on Wednesday over the lifting of an EU arms embargo on Uzbekistan, saying Tashkent had been rewarded despite making virtually no progress on its dismal rights record.
The decision was “an unconscionable abdication of responsibility toward Uzbek victims of abuse”, Human Rights Watch (HRW), Reporters Without Borders and the International Crisis Group said in a joint statement.
EU foreign ministers on Tuesday voted to lift the four-year-old arms embargo, put in place after Tashkent refused a demand for an international probe into the reported killing of unarmed civilians during a 2005 uprising.
Afghan operations: Rights groups accused the bloc of pandering to the Central Asian state in order to obtain its cooperation in supporting military operations in neighbouring Afghanistan.
The European Union “has effectively abandoned the cause of human rights in Uzbekistan”, said Holly Cartner, Europe and Central Asia director at HRW.
“The EU keeps reiterating its demands for human rights but then never actually holds Uzbekistan to those standards, making these demands ring hollow.”
Uzbekistan, an isolated state bordering increasingly-unstable Afghanistan, has been ruled with an iron fist for two decades by 71-year-old former Uzbek Communist Party boss Islam Karimov.
Under Karimov, Uzbekistan has been accused of employing torture against political prisoners and cracking down on religious freedoms among the country’s majority-Muslim population.
The government denies using torture, but defends its tough policing measures as necessary to combat militant groups. In 2005, EU and US criticism over the Uzbek government’s handling of an armed uprising in the city of Andijan led to a rift that saw Tashkent expel a US airbase that helped support operations in Afghanistan.
Uzbek authorities say that 187 people were killed in Andijan, all due to the actions of insurgents, while international rights groups say hundreds of mainly unarmed protesters were killed. Prominent Russian rights organisation Memorial said that Uzbekistan was being rewarded for its behaviour, despite having stonewalled attempts to investigate the incident.
“Uzbek authorities have not only ignored demands for an independent investigation of the Andijan tragedy, during which the actions of government forces led to the deaths of hundreds of civilians,” the group said. It “also continues mass repressions inside the country. Thousands of Uzbek Muslims are exposed to torture and are in prisons on forged political charges”. afp
Joined: 30 Nov 2006 Posts: 575 Location: the eyevolution
Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 6:18 pm Post subject: Former UK ambassador on CIA torture
Former UK ambassador: CIA sent people to be ‘raped with broken bottles’
By Daniel Tencer
Wednesday, November 4th, 2009 -- 3:31 pm
Craig Murray Former UK ambassador: CIA sent people to be raped with broken bottlesThe CIA relied on intelligence based on torture in prisons in Uzbekistan, a place where widespread torture practices include raping suspects with broken bottles and boiling them alive, says a former British ambassador to the central Asian country.
Craig Murray, the rector of the University of Dundee in Scotland and until 2004 the UK's ambassador to Uzbekistan, said the CIA not only relied on confessions gleaned through extreme torture, it sent terror war suspects to Uzbekistan as part of its extraordinary rendition program.
"I'm talking of people being raped with broken bottles," he said at a lecture late last month that was re-broadcast by the Real News Network. "I'm talking of people having their children tortured in front of them until they sign a confession. I'm talking of people being boiled alive. And the intelligence from these torture sessions was being received by the CIA, and was being passed on."
Human rights groups have long been raising the alarm about the legal system in Uzbekistan. In 2007, Human Rights Watch declared that torture is "endemic" to the country's justice system.
Murray said he only realized after his stint as ambassador that the CIA was sending people to be tortured in Uzbekistan, country he describes as a "totalitarian" state that has never moved on from its communist era, when it was a part of the Soviet Union.
Police used cones to establish a cordon around Mr Campbell as fire engines carrying psychiatric cutting equipment struggled to reach him through the gridlock.
Taxi driver Roy Hobbs said: "I didn't see any fire engines when I was stuck on Fleet Street. But even if they did exist, it would have taken them much longer than 45 minutes to get there."
And motorist Joanna Kramer insisted: "I don't think they could have done anything anyway. He was wedged really, really far inside this huge, twisted pile of demented bs."
Pedestrian Martin Bishop, who was forced to make his way home along Birdcage Walk, added: "The emergency services had arrived by the time I was walking past. I think I saw a psychiatrist standing over the wreckage, shaking his head and telling a fireman to cover it with a sheet of tarpaulin."
Eyewitness Tom Logan, a lawyer from Finsbury Park, said: "It was like it was in slow motion. All these words came tumbling out of the middle of his face and just went crashing headlong into this huge truck full of truth and sanity that was coming the other way.
"I hope no one was killed apart from 4000 troops and 100,000 Iraqi civilians."
Joined: 25 Jul 2005 Posts: 16227 Location: St. Pauls, Bristol, England
Posted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 10:18 pm Post subject:
Craig Murray's blog appears to have been removed from the internet again.
This man is a potential future leader of this country.
Some UK based Nazi like force wants to silence him.
This appears to be his final and as usual excellent post
January 6, 2011
The Laws of Physics Disproven
The passing of wood through glass is a remarkable feat. There are those who believe that royalty can perform miracles - there is a well developed cult around the vain and vicious Charles I, for example. It now appears that the presence of the future Charles III also has the ability to suspend the laws of physics.
The police have now issued extensive CCTV footage of the attack on the vehicle of Charles and Camilla on the fringes of the anti-tuition fee demonstrations, and the media have been replete with more nonsense about Camilla being poked with a stick. Yet of all the CCTV footage and numerous photographs, there is no evidence at all of this attack and all the images show the car windows to be closed - as they would be. One gets cracked but not holed.
There is in fact no evidence at all of any intent to harm the persons of the expensive royal layabouts, as opposed to discomfiting them and damaging their vehicle. It is fascinating that the media continually repeats the "Camilla attacked with a stick" line when it is so blatantly untrue. There appears to be a closing of ranks by the whole Establishment to perpetuate the myth - both the Home Office and St James Palace have deliberately fostered the myth by refusing to confirm or deny.
Personally I would not touch Camilla with a bargepole. I dislike violence at demonstrations. Demonstrations, good, riots, bad is my basic mantra. Attacks on people in a civil demonstration are always wrong, including attacks on the police unless in self defence. I did not join in the outrage at the prosecutions of violent demonstrators after the big Lebanon demonstration in London, because I personally witnessed the group hurling dangerous missiles at police who were neither attacking, threatening nor kettling them. That is absolutely unacceptable.
But a policy as appalling as the withdrawal of state funding from university teaching, carried out by Nick Clegg by one of the most blatant political breaches of fatih with the public in history, , is bound to provoke huge anger. The government reaps what it sows. Demonstrators should not set out to hurt people. But all the evidence shows they had no intention of hurting Charles and Camilla.
I have personally worked closely with the royal family's close protection officers in organising two state visits abroad, and plainly they too could see there was no intent to injure - that is why weapons were not drawn. They deserve commendation rather than the nonsense spouted out by Sky News, who seem to think they should have gunned down the odd student.
All of which serves to take the focus off vicious police attacks on students and the use of kettling to detain people who were seeking peacefully to express their views. Kettling people in extreme cold and with no access to toilet facilities raises questions on illegal detention which genuine liberals in government would wish to address. What is it? Is it a form of arrest? What is the status of the fenced pens into which people are herded? Should they not be formalised as places of police detention, and individuals booked in and given access to lawyers? If that is not possible, this detention - which can be for many hours - is not lawful.
The Obama administration had two years ago stopped all US funds to human rights defenders and civil society groups in Egypt, stipulating that all aid must go through the Mubarak regime
President Karimov of Uzbekistan killed more peaceful demonstrators in a single day in May 2005 than Colonel Gadaffi has done in the Libyan uprising so far. Yet Karimov in the fast three months had a visit from Hillary Clinton, a new military supply agreement with the United States and new partnership agreement with NATO, an official visit to the EU in Brussels, and new tarriff preferences for slave picked Uzbek cotton entering the EU. Most people in Uzbekistan have not a clue the arab revolutions are happening, such is state control of meida and internet and blocking of airwaves
In 1991, when the allies embarked on the First Gulf War to retake Kuwait from Iraq, John Major and George Bush sr declared that, rather than simply put the absolute Kuwaiti monarchy back on its throne (which it had unheroically run away from), the price of western soldiers being asked to risk their lives was the democratisation of Kuwait. That was immediately forgotten after the war. Ordinary British, US and other taxpayers paid out billions to put one of the richest families in the world back in sole charge of massive oil reserves. The Kuwaiti royal family still has a total monopoly of executive power, with a talking shop parliament and very limited electorate.
I could go on. If you want to go to the absolute font of western hypocrisy, take this from David Cameron:
It is not for me, or for governments outside the region, to pontificate about how each country meets the aspirations of its people. It is not for us to tell you how to do it, or precisely what shape your future should take. There is no single formula for success, and there are many ways to ensure greater, popular participation in Government
This was spoken in Dubai as Cameron travelled the region with a gang of millionaire arms dealers trying to flog weapons to any Emir wanting to buy. In other words, we feel free to insist on democracy in Libya. If we don’t do so in Saudi Arabia, it is not because we are hypocrites, it is because there is no single formula. Democracy would be quite wrong for Uzbekistan and Bahrain, and until two months ago it was quite wrong for Egypt too. It might hurt our allies. But it is absolutely essential yesterday in Libya and Zimbabwe.
Words scarcely suffice to condemn this cant. In Bahrain the majority are struggling for more freedom from their minority rulers, to a deafening silence from the West. In Yemen, a gross dictator hangs on with every kind of US support. In Egypt, the US policy of propping up Mubarak, then their replacement policy of a managed transition to Suleyman, have failed one by one and now we have a military dictatorship which is every day abducting and torturing pro-democracy campaigners. Over fifty Tahrir Square demonstrators have been sentenced to at least three years jail each by military tribunals in the last week, to total western silence. The US aim of securing an entrenched pro-Israeli government continues to be pushed forward by every available means.
That odious charlatan Niall Ferguson, producer for the right wing US market of popular history devoid of original research , informs us that democracy is not something arabs can do. For him to cite the invasion of Iraq, which he supported, as evidence that you cannot succeed with democracy in Arab countries, is sickening on so many levels. That democracy might be better implanted without killing hundreds of thousands of intended recipients, like so much else, does not occur to him.
Ferguson’s ludicrous assertion – inaccurate even for a generalisation – about lack of property rights in the Islamic world making democracy impossible there, needs to be challenged.
Firstly, it is by no means clear that democracy can only exist in a society with entrenched property rights. Ghana, for example, is widely viewed as the model African democracy, yet it is virtually impossible to own land there other than leasehold from the “stool”, or local chieftaincy. The vast majority of Ghanaians are not property owning in the Ferguson sense, but democracy and human rights function very well, thank you.
Secondly, there is a wide variety of property models throughout the Islamic world, and Islam has little or nothing to do with why the model is so different in Turkey, Morocco, Uzbekistan and Pakistan.
The notions that arabs and/or muslims are incapable of democracy is of course the staple of neo-conservative thinking. For there to be a “Clash of civilisations”, Islamic civilisation must be portrayed as incompatible with all modernity, as retrograde, autocratic and violent. Again, that is far from the truth.
That Islam and democracy are incompatible (and Turkey therefore presumably a mirage) has been the excuse for the Western backing of Mubarak, Karimov and endless other “hard men”. We really back them because they serve western interests over oil and gas, over Israel, or over Afghanistan. But we pretend that we back them because the only alternative to them is radical Islam.
That false dichotomy was given a seeming substance by our complicity with the torturers of Egypt, Uzbekistan, Tunisia and Morocco. The regime torturers happily made dissidents twisting in unimaginable agony admit that they wanted an al-Qaida state. The regime passed this on to the CIA and MI6, and they and western political leaders happily swallowed this claptrap because it united their interests with those of their client regime in a grubby circle of lying self-justification. I hope that puts Murder in Samarkand in context for you.
As for Gadaffi, we should not make the mistake of presuming he is not bad, because he is hypocritically denounced by those who support other dictators as bad or worse. Gadaffi is bad, and he is barking mad (you can read of my personal experience of him in The Catholic Orangemen of Togo). I hope that the Libyan people manage to oust him and bring democracy, though I fear this curiously low level civil war could drag on for a long while.
But the West should stay out. That the powers which are still trying, in the interests of Israel, to limit the democratic reform in Egypt, which still occupy Afghanistan, and are still propping up their puppet Gulf autocracies, should interfere with air or ground intervention, would be deeply unhelpful and the consequences are unreckonable. I can see an argument for shipping food and medical supplies to Benghazi and Tobruk, but that is the limit of western interference which might be helpful.
The Arab people have shown they are more than capable of seizing their own destiny. This must be for the Libyan people and other Arab states to sort out. For years, Western commentators spoke of “the Arab street” as a coherent public opinion, but as though it were natural that such opinion was at complete odds with the views of autocratic leaders, and the arab voice had no potential for translation to action. That has changed and the Arab voice must reverberate loudly enough to shake down more autocratic leaders – Gadaffi included.
The undeniable fact of the existence of the articulate young protestors of Tunisia, Tahrir Square, Bahrain, Muscat and elsewhere should have killed forever the figleaf behind which Western viciousness sought to skulk, that there are only two Arab political options: dictatorship or theocracy. In fact the Arab peoples are teeming with possibility and vast untapped human potential, waiting to form dynamically into new political and social organisation. We should leave them alone, stop arming their repressors and give them that chance.
Craig Murray on CIA False Flag terminator Raymond Davis
Raymond Davis Does Not Have Diplomatic Immunity
Take this as definitive - from a former Ambassador.
There are five circumstances in which Raymond Davis, the American killer caught in Pakistan, might have diplomatic immunity. They are these.
1) He was notified in writing to the government of Pakistan as a member of diplomatic staff of a US diplomatic mission in Pakistan, and the government of Pakistan had accepted him as such in writing.
2) He was part of an official delegation engaged in diplomatic negotiations notified to the government of Pakistan and accepted by them.
3) He was a member of staff of an international organisation recognised by Pakistan and was resident in Pakistan as a member of diplomatic staff working for that organisation, or was in Pakistan undertaking work for that organisation with the knowledge and approval of the Pakistani authorities.
4) He was an accredited diplomat elsewhere and was in direct tranist through Pakistan to his diplomatic posting.
5) He was an accredited courier carrying US diplomatic dispatches in transit through Pakistan.
2) to 5) plainly do not apply. The Obama administration is going for 1). My information, from senior Pakistani ex-military sources that I trust, is firmly that the necessary diplomatic exchange of notes does not exist that would make Davis an accredited US diplomat in Pakistan, but that the State Department is putting huge pressure on the government of Pakistan to overlook that fact. This passes a commonsense test - if the documents did exist. La Clinton would have waved them at us by now.
URGENT ALERT: Support Karl Watkins’ Private Prosecution of Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan
FREE BABAR AHMAD
11 September 2012
Time is running out. This could be the very last opportunity you have to help Babar Ahmad.
On 6 September 2012, the BBC reported that a British businessman Karl Watkins had instructed solicitors to commence a private prosecution against Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan.
Mr Watkins has stated that he has taken this action because of the public interest in trying British citizens, accused of crimes committed in the UK, in British courts. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) led by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has until now refused to prosecute either man.
Anyone can bring a private prosecution if they can prove that it is in the public interest to do so. The DPP has the power to intervene to take on the case or to stop it. It all depends on whether prosecution can be shown to be in the public interest or not. He is likely to make this decision this week.
Over 149,000 members of the British public signed an e-petition last year calling for Babar Ahmad to be tried in the UK. It is essential that we once again demonstrate that this is a matter of deep public concern – there is public interest in domestic prosecutions for British citizens accused of conduct that took place in the UK.
To this end, we urge all supporters to
(i) write to the DPP asking him to take on the private prosecution
(ii) request your MP to make similar representations to the DPP
Personalised letters always carry more weight but templates are below for your convenience.
Re: Karl Watkins’ Prosecution of Babar Ahmad & Talha Ahsan
I am one of the 149,441 members of the British public who signed the e-petition last year to put Babar Ahmad on trial in the UK. I have read a report on BBC that a businessman Karl Watkins has now initiated a private prosecution of Mr Ahmad and another British citizen, Syed Talha Ahsan. Mr Watkins has said that he is bringing these proceedings because of the failure of the CPS to take appropriate action.
The BBC reported that Mr Watkins had secured admissions from Mr Ahmad and Mr Ahsan of their involvement with the websites that form the basis of the allegations against them, and that these had been sent to you in addition to all of the other evidence against them.
It is neither correct nor just that two British citizens have been imprisoned without trial for over 14 years between them, irrespective of the nature of the crimes they are accused of. Given the enormous public interest in securing British justice for British citizens where the conduct took place in the UK, and the new evidence provided to you by Mr Watkins, I request that you take on his private prosecution.
In 2005, Judge Timothy Workman said he found Mr Ahmad’s case “troubling” because he is “a British Citizen who is alleged to have committed offences which if the evidence were available, could have been prosecuted in this country.”
I urge you to act in the interests of justice and the public interest and put these men on trial.
3. Select the hyperlink under “Your Member of Parliament”.
4. Enter your full name, address and email.
5. Copy and paste our template letter below. You can personalise your letter whilst keeping the main points.
6. Preview and send your message.
7. Ensure you check your email to confirm your message, or it will not be sent to your MP.
8. If you experience any technical difficulties whilst sending your message please visit www.theyworkforyou.com to obtain your MP’s contact details, by entering your postcode and following the link to their personal website.
Re: Karl Watkins’ Prosecution of Babar Ahmad & Talha Ahsan
I am a constituent of yours and one of the 149,441 members of the British public who signed the e-petition last year to put Babar Ahmad on trial in the UK.
I read on BBC that a private prosecution of Mr Ahmad and another British citizen, Syed Talha Ahsan, has been initiated by a businessman, Karl Watkins. Mr Watkins has said that he is bringing these proceedings because of the failure of the CPS to take appropriate action. The BBC reported that Mr Watkins’ has secured admissions from Mr Ahmad and Mr Ahsan of their involvement with the websites that form the basis of the allegations against them, and sent it to the DPP in addition to other evidence against them.
It is neither correct nor just that two British citizens have been imprisoned without trial for over 14 years between them. Rather, they should be tried in a British court of law. Both justice and the British public demand it. There is public interest in domestic prosecutions for British citizens accused of conduct that took place in the UK.
I request that you, as my MP, write to the DPP and ask him to take on and continue Mr Watkins’ prosecution of these two men.
Please send me a copy of any correspondence you send to or receive from the DPP.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
[INSERT FULL ADDESS AND POSTCODE]
_________________ 'Come and see the violence inherent in the system.
Help, help, I'm being repressed!'
“The more you tighten your grip, the more Star Systems will slip through your fingers.”
I am a guest speaker tomorrow at the NUJ Conference in Newcastle, on the subject of blogging. Never one to appease an audience, I shall give them it straight on my opinions of the collusion between mainstream media and power, and thus those who work within it. I expect to hear a lot about how bloggers are irresponsible, do not check sources etc.
I shall be drawing on some of the content of this talk:
I post this again because nowadays this website has far more readers than when I first posted it, and because it encapsulates my thoughts rather well.
I shall tell the NUJ that the mainstream media remains very constrained in what they publish. The Jimmy Saville affair broke on the internet in a big way a year ago, and yet the mainstream media is only now catching up and still not making key links, like to Haut de la Garenne.
I receive, constantly, emails from people wishing me to take up various cases on my blog and furnishing information. 95% of the time I do not publish because I am not able to investigate fully (there is just one of me) and I do not know the source: the exclusives on this blog come mostly from my access to well-placed sources I have known for years through my past diplomatic career, and trust.
A notable proportion of the cases brought to me by those I do not know involve alleged paedophile rings. I was sent information about Haut de la Garenne for years, which named a string of senior people alleged to take advantage of organised paedophilia in the care home. Among the judges, politicians and aristocracy, there was indeed the name of Jimmy Saville. I have to admit it was not just that I could not prove any of it, I was actively sceptical about what seemed a random list of names of the famous. We now know for certain that Saville visited the place several times. The whole Haut De La Garenne investigation always seemed to obscure more than it revealed; I do hope it is mow re-opened, and taken away from the local Jersey police.
Another case which caused me great concern was that of Hollie Greig, where the jailing of Robert Green seemed to me vicious and unjustified. But I had earlier refused a request on behalf of the Greig family to involve myself in the case because the allegations made seemed to me incapable of proof without investigative powers and resources of the kind the police have. That the police do not properly deploy those resources where allegations involve the powerful appears to me too often to be too likely. Where the accusation is that the judicial establishment is involved in a paedophile ring, for the same judicial establishment to start jailing campaigners is extraordinary.
But the Alisher Usmanov and Adam Werritty cases will be the main thrust of my talk to the NUJ. In the first, the mainstream media still to this day persist in covering up the criminal past of the convicted blackmailer and Putin cohort who purchased 10% of Facebook and 35% of Arsenal Football Club.
The Werritty case is much more sinister because it goes to the media collusion in burying evidence of the influence of Israel on British politics. The public were told that Werritty was at a small number of meetings where he should not have been. The mainstream media refused to discuss why he was at those meetings or what his participation was actually about leaving the public to infer he was merely Fox’s lover or in some way they were making money.
Even when I was able to produce undeniable evidence that Fox and Werritty held eight meetings with Matthew Gould, now and during six of those meetings British Ambassador to Israel (and Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary for the first two meetings) the mainstream media refused point blank to publish it. Mossad were present for at least two of those eight meetings. Gus O’Donnell’s report, whcih led to Fox’s resignation, had revealed only two of these eight meetings. This should have been a massive story. The media buried it (with the sole and belated exception of the Independent on Sunday).
No media were prepared to put any investigative resources into what Gould, Werritty and Mossad were doing. I had an impeccable senior source who told me that they were discussing preparing the political ground for an attack on Iran. You would think that, given the Werritty affair caused Fox to resign, that was worth investigating. The media completely blanked it. To this day the fact that Werritty and Fox met Gould eight times has been reported nowhere but one column in the Independent on Sunday.
Joined: 30 Jul 2006 Posts: 5824 Location: East London
Posted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 11:42 pm Post subject:
I haven't got time at the moment to check this video out, but I am pretty confident it is the one where Craig says a Diplomat friend in New York told him that the US had struck a deal with the Organisation of African States; the OAS wanted the US to back Saudi Arabian intervention in Bahrein if it was needede; the US agreed if the OAS would call for a 'No-Fly Zone' over Libya in the UN (obviously, it was a win-win situation for the US, who had it's own interest in the Bahrein Royal Clique being supported, but wanted the OAS to forward their agenda for overthrowing the Quaddafi Regime, an extremely Nationalistic and benevolent Dictatorship, with huge benefits for man7y of it's citizens (and a serious threat, with it's switch to the Gold Dinar, to the Yankee Dollar). _________________ 'And he (the devil) said to him: To thee will I give all this power, and the glory of them; for to me they are delivered, and to whom I will, I give them'. Luke IV 5-7.
Joined: 25 Jul 2005 Posts: 16227 Location: St. Pauls, Bristol, England
Posted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 8:42 pm Post subject:
Please FIND the time.
Utterly riveting perspective on the inner workings of our criminal Western NATO Israeli diplomatic service. Secret torture advocate & war criminal David Miliband is the antithesis of Craig Murray
I haven't got time at the moment to check this video out, but I am pretty confident it is the one where Craig says a Diplomat friend in New York told him that the US had struck a deal with the Organisation of African States; the OAS wanted the US to back Saudi Arabian intervention in Bahrein if it was needede; the US agreed if the OAS would call for a 'No-Fly Zone' over Libya in the UN (obviously, it was a win-win situation for the US, who had it's own interest in the Bahrein Royal Clique being supported, but wanted the OAS to forward their agenda for overthrowing the Quaddafi Regime, an extremely Nationalistic and benevolent Dictatorship, with huge benefits for man7y of it's citizens (and a serious threat, with it's switch to the Gold Dinar, to the Yankee Dollar).
Joined: 25 Jul 2005 Posts: 16227 Location: St. Pauls, Bristol, England
Posted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 10:36 pm Post subject:
Here are Craig's diplomatic cables re British government's use of torture
Confidential letters from Ambassador Craig Murray...
in craig murray, rendition, torture, jack straw, uzbekistan
TO FCO, Cabinet Office, DFID, MODUK, OSCE Posts, Security Council Posts
16 September 02
SUBJECT: US/Uzbekistan: Promoting Terrorism
US plays down human rights situation in Uzbekistan. A dangerous policy:
increasing repression combined with poverty will promote Islamic terrorism.
Support to Karimov regime a bankrupt and cynical policy.
The Economist of 7 September states: "Uzbekistan, in particular, has jailed many
thousands of moderate Islamists, an excellent way of converting their families
and friends to extremism." The Economist also spoke of "the growing despotism
of Mr Karimov" and judged that "the past year has seen a further deterioration of
an already grim human rights record". I agree.
Between 7,000 and 10,000 political and religious prisoners are currently detained,
many after trials before kangaroo courts with no representation. Terrible torture
is commonplace: the EU is currently considering a demarche over the terrible
case of two Muslims tortured to death in jail apparently with boiling water. Two
leading dissidents, Elena Urlaeva and Larissa Vdovna, were two weeks ago
committed to a lunatic asylum, where they are being drugged, for demonstrating
on human rights. Opposition political parties remain banned. There is no doubt
that September 11 gave the pretext to crack down still harder on dissent under
the guise of counter-terrorism.
Yet on 8 September the US State Department certified that Uzbekistan was
improving in both human rights and democracy, thus fulfilling a constitutional
requirement and allowing the continuing disbursement of $140 million of US aid
to Uzbekistan this year. Human Rights Watch immediately published a
commendably sober and balanced rebuttal of the State Department claim.
Again we are back in the area of the US accepting sham reform [a reference to
my previous telegram on the economy]. In August media censorship was
abolished, and theoretically there are independent media outlets, but in practice
there is absolutely no criticism of President Karimov or the central government in
any Uzbek media. State Department call this self-censorship: I am not sure that
is a fair way to describe an unwillingness to experience the brutal methods of the
Similarly, following US pressure when Karimov visited Washington, a human
rights NGO has been permitted to register. This is an advance, but they have little
impact given that no media are prepared to cover any of their activities or carry
any of their statements.
The final improvement State quote is that in one case of murder of a prisoner the
police involved have been prosecuted. That is an improvement, but again related
to the Karimov visit and does not appear to presage a general change of policy.
On the latest cases of torture deaths the Uzbeks have given the OSCE an
incredible explanation, given the nature of the injuries, that the victims died in a
fight between prisoners.
But allowing a single NGO, a token prosecution of police officers and a fake press
freedom cannot possibly outweigh the huge scale of detentions, the torture and
the secret executions. President Karimov has admitted to 100 executions a year
but human rights groups believe there are more. Added to this, all opposition
parties remain banned (the President got a 98% vote) and the Internet is strictly
controlled. All Internet providers must go through a single government server and
access is barred to many sites including all dissident and opposition sites and
much international media (including, ironically, waronterrorism.com). This is in
essence still a totalitarian state: there is far less freedom than still prevails, for
example, in Mugabe's Zimbabwe. A Movement for Democratic Change or any
judicial independence would be impossible here.
Karimov is a dictator who is committed to neither political nor economic reform.
The purpose of his regime is not the development of his country but the diversion
of economic rent to his oligarchic supporters through government controls. As a
senior Uzbek academic told me privately, there is more repression here now than
in Brezhnev's time. The US are trying to prop up Karimov economically and to
justify this support they need to claim that a process of economic and political
reform is underway. That they do so claim is either cynicism or self-delusion.
This policy is doomed to failure. Karimov is driving this resource-rich country
towards economic ruin like an Abacha. And the policy of increasing repression
aimed indiscriminately at pious Muslims, combined with a deepening poverty, is
the most certain way to ensure continuing support for the Islamic Movement of
Uzbekistan. They have certainly been decimated and disorganised in Afghanistan,
and Karimov's repression may keep the lid on for years Ă˘â‚¬â€œ but pressure is building
and could ultimately explode.
I quite understand the interest of the US in strategic airbases and why they back
Karimov, but I believe US policy is misconceived. In the short term it may help
fight terrorism but in the medium term it will promote it, as the Economist points
out. And it can never be right to lower our standards on human rights. There is a
complex situation in Central Asia and it is wrong to look at it only through a prism
picked up on September 12. Worst of all is what appears to be the philosophy
underlying the current US view of Uzbekistan: that September 11 divided the
World into two camps in the "War against Terrorism" and that Karimov is on "our"
If Karimov is on "our" side, then this war cannot be simply between the forces of
good and evil. It must be about more complex things, like securing the long-term
US military presence in Uzbekistan. I silently wept at the 11 September
commemoration here. The right words on New York have all been said. But last
week was also another anniversary Ă˘â‚¬â€œ the US-led overthrow of Salvador Allende in
Chile. The subsequent dictatorship killed, dare I say it, rather more people than
died on September 11. Should we not remember then also, and learn from that
too? I fear that we are heading down the same path of US-sponsored dictatorship
here. It is ironic that the beneficiary is perhaps the most unreformed of the
World's old communist leaders.
We need to think much more deeply about Central Asia. It is easy to place
Uzbekistan in the "too difficult" tray and let the US run with it, but I think they
are running in the wrong direction. We should tell them of the dangers we see.
Our policy is theoretically one of engagement, but in practice this has not meant
much. Engagement makes sense, but it must mean grappling with the problems,
not mute collaboration. We need to start actively to state a distinctive position on
democracy and human rights, and press for a realistic view to be taken in the
IMF. We should continue to resist pressures to start a bilateral DFID programme,
unless channelled non-governmentally, and not restore ECGD cover despite the
constant lobbying. We should not invite Karimov to the UK. We should step up
our public diplomacy effort, stressing democratic values, including more resources
from the British Council. We should increase support to human rights activists,
and strive for contact with non-official Islamic groups.
Above all we need to care about the 22 million Uzbek people, suffering from
poverty and lack of freedom. They are not just pawns in the new Great Game.
18 March 2003
SUBJECT: US FOREIGN POLICY
1. As seen from Tashkent, US policy is not much focussed on democracy or
freedom. It is about oil, gas and hegemony. In Uzbekistan the US pursues those
ends through supporting a ruthless dictatorship. We must not close our eyes to
2. Last year the US gave half a billion dollars in aid to Uzbekistan, about a
quarter of it military aid. Bush and Powell repeatedly hail Karimov as a friend and
ally. Yet this regime has at least seven thousand prisoners of conscience; it is a
one party state without freedom of speech, without freedom of media, without
freedom of movement, without freedom of assembly, without freedom of religion.
It practices, systematically, the most hideous tortures on thousands. Most of the
population live in conditions precisely analogous with medieval serfdom.
3. Uzbekistan's geo-strategic position is crucial. It has half the population of the
whole of Central Asia. It alone borders all the other states in a region which is
important to future Western oil and gas supplies. It is the regional military power.
That is why the US is here, and here to stay. Contractors at the US military bases
are extending the design life of the buildings from ten to twenty five years.
4. Democracy and human rights are, despite their protestations to the contrary,
in practice a long way down the US agenda here. Aid this year will be slightly
less, but there is no intention to introduce any meaningful conditionality. Nobody
can believe this level of aid Ă˘â‚¬â€œ more than US aid to all of West Africa Ă˘â‚¬â€œ is related to
comparative developmental need as opposed to political support for Karimov.
While the US makes token and low-level references to human rights to appease
domestic opinion, they view Karimov's vicious regime as a bastion against
fundamentalism. He Ă˘â‚¬â€œ and they Ă˘â‚¬â€œ are in fact creating fundamentalism. When the
US gives this much support to a regime that tortures people to death for having a
beard or praying five times a day, is it any surprise that Muslims come to hate
5. I was stunned to hear that the US had pressured the EU to withdraw a motion
on Human Rights in Uzbekistan which the EU was tabling at the UN Commission
for Human Rights in Geneva. I was most unhappy to find that we are helping the
US in what I can only call this cover-up. I am saddened when the US constantly
quote fake improvements in human rights in Uzbekistan, such as the abolition of
censorship and Internet freedom, which quite simply have not happened (I see
these are quoted in the draft EBRD strategy for Uzbekistan, again I understand at
6. From Tashkent it is difficult to agree that we and the US are activated by
shared values. Here we have a brutal US sponsored dictatorship reminiscent of
Central and South American policy under previous US Republican administrations.
I watched George Bush talk today of Iraq and "dismantling the apparatus of
terrorĂ˘â‚¬Â¦ removing the torture chambers and the rape rooms". Yet when it comes
to the Karimov regime, systematic torture and rape appear to be treated as
peccadilloes, not to affect the relationship and to be downplayed in international
fora. Double standards? Yes.
7. I hope that once the present crisis is over we will make plain to the US, at
senior level, our serious concern over their policy in Uzbekistan.
TO IMMEDIATE FCO
OF 220939 JULY 04
INFO IMMEDIATE DFID, ISLAMIC POSTS, MOD, OSCE POSTS UKDEL EBRD
LONDON, UKMIS GENEVA, UKMIS MEW YORK
SUBJECT: RECEIPT OF INTELLIGENCE OBTAINED UNDER TORTURE
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
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.
4. In the period December 2002 to March 2003 I raised several times the issue of
intelligence material from the Uzbek security services which was obtained under
torture and passed to us via the CIA. I queried the legality, efficacy and morality
of the practice.
5. I was summoned to the UK for a meeting on 8 March 2003. Michael Wood gave
his legal opinion that it was not illegal to obtain and to use intelligence acquired
by torture. He said the only legal limitation on its use was that it could not be
used in legal proceedings, under Article 15 of the UN Convention on Torture.
6. On behalf of the intelligence services, Matthew Kydd said that they found some
of the material very useful indeed with a direct bearing on the war on terror.
Linda Duffield said that she had been asked to assure me that my qualms of
conscience were respected and understood.
7. Sir Michael Jay's circular of 26 May stated that there was a reporting obligation
on us to report torture by allies (and I have been instructed to refer to Uzbekistan
as such in the context of the war on terror). You, Sir, have made a number of
striking, and I believe heartfelt, condemnations of torture in the last few weeks. I
had in the light of this decided to return to this question and to highlight an
apparent contradiction in our policy. I had intimated as much to the Head of
8. I was therefore somewhat surprised to hear that without informing me of the
meeting, or since informing me of the result of the meeting, a meeting was
convened in the FCO at the level of Heads of Department and above, precisely to
consider the question of the receipt of Uzbek intelligence material obtained under
torture. As the office knew, I was in London at the time and perfectly able to
attend the meeting. I still have only gleaned that it happened.
9. I understand that the meeting decided to continue to obtain the Uzbek torture
material. I understand that the principal argument deployed was that the
intelligence material disguises the precise source, ie it does not ordinarily reveal
the name of the individual who is tortured. Indeed this is true Ă˘â‚¬â€œ the material is
marked with a euphemism such as "From detainee debriefing." The argument
runs that if the individual is not named, we cannot prove that he was tortured.
10. I will not attempt to hide my utter contempt for such casuistry, nor my
shame that I work in and organisation where colleagues would resort to it to
justify torture. I have dealt with hundreds of individual cases of political or
religious prisoners in Uzbekistan, and I have met with very few where torture, as
defined in the UN convention, was not employed. When my then DHM raised the
question with the CIA head of station 15 months ago, he readily acknowledged
torture was deployed in obtaining intelligence. I do not think there is any doubt
as to the fact.
11. The torture record of the Uzbek security services could hardly be more widely
known. Plainly there are, at the very least, reasonable grounds for believing the
material is obtained under torture. There is helpful guidance at Article 3 of the UN
"The competent authorities shall take into account all relevant considerations
including, where applicable, the existence in the state concerned of a consistent
pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights."
While this article forbids extradition or deportation to Uzbekistan, it is the right
test for the present
12. On the usefulness of the material obtained, this is irrelevant. Article 2 of the
Convention, to which we are a party, could not be plainer:
"No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of
war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked
as a justification of torture."
13. Nonetheless, I repeat that this material is useless Ă˘â‚¬â€œ we are selling our souls
for dross. It is in fact positively harmful. It is designed to give the message the
Uzbeks want the West to hear. It exaggerates the role, size, organisation and
activity of the IMU and its links with Al Qaida. The aim is to convince the West
that the Uzbeks are a vital cog against a common foe, that they should keep the
assistance, especially military assistance, coming, and that they should mute the
international criticism on human rights and economic reform.
14. I was taken aback when Matthew Kydd said this stuff was valuable. Sixteen
months ago it was difficult to argue with SIS in the area of intelligence
assessment. But post Butler we know, not only that they can get it wrong on
even the most vital and high profile issues, but that they have a particular yen for
highly coloured material which exaggerates the threat. That is precisely what the
Uzbeks give them. Furthermore MI6 have no operative within a thousand miles of
me and certainly no expertise that can come close to my own in making this
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.
16. I have been considering Michael Wood's legal view, which he kindly gave in
writing. I cannot understand why Michael concentrated only on Article 15 of the
Convention. This certainly bans the use of material obtained under torture as
evidence in proceedings, but it does not state that this is the sole exclusion of the
use of such material.
17. The relevant article seems to me Article 4, which talks of complicity in
torture. Knowingly to receive its results appears to be at least arguable as
complicity. It does not appear that being in a different country to the actual
torture would preclude complicity. I talked this over in a hypothetical sense with
my old friend Prof Francois Hampson, I believe an acknowledged World authority
on the Convention, who said that the complicity argument and the spirit of the
Convention would be likely to be winning points. I should be grateful to hear
Michael's views on this.
18. It seems to me that there are degrees of complicity and guilt, but being at
one or two removes does not make us blameless. There are other factors. Plainly
it was a breach of Article 3 of the Convention for the coalition to deport detainees
back here from Baghram, but it has been done. That seems plainly complicit.
19. This is a difficult and dangerous part of the World. Dire and increasing
poverty and harsh repression are undoubtedly turning young people here towards
radical Islam. The Uzbek government are thus creating this threat, and perceived
US support for Karimov strengthens anti-Western feeling. SIS ought to establish
a presence here, but not as partners of the Uzbek Security Services, whose sheer
brutality puts them beyond the pale.
Absolutely de-rigor listening about UK's Torture culture from WW2, Kenya, NI and post-9/11 described by
Ian Cobain is a journalist author of "Cruel Britannia: A Secret History of Torture"
David Anderson QC is a barrister and the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation - didn't know there was one!
Clare Bayley is a playwright. "Blue Sky" (about Rendition) is on at the Hampstead Theatre in London until 10 November. She says she's amazed that so many supposedly knowledgeable people know nothing about Rendition or think it is fiction.
M R Hall. M R Hall is an author and screenwriter: "The Chosen Dead"
The programme can be caught here (and presumably on iPlayer)
David Anderson points to coincidence-number-1001 regarding the appointment of the previous incumbent of his job...
On 11 September 2001, a few hours before the attacks on the World Trade Centre, Lord Carlile of Berriew QC agreed to accept appointment as the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation. As terrorist offences and counter-terrorism powers proliferated over the ensuing decade, the profile of the role increased. It was first put on a statutory basis in relation to control orders under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005, and is now referred to in a number of different statutes. Lord Carlile held the position for more than nine years, until he was replaced by David Anderson QC on 21 February 2011.
Lord Carlile's 'credibility' as terror watchdog questioned by MP
Chair of human rights committee suggests term of office should come to end for peer who recently endorsed control orders
More on "Blue Sky" - introduction by Clare Bayley
When I started to write Blue Sky two years ago, there was plenty in the media about the still-unfolding story. By then it was no secret that US agents had been kidnapping people they considered terror suspects, bundling them into planes and transporting them to third countries to be tortured – and calling it “extraordinary rendition”. But oddly many people remained ignorant.
All the vocabulary around this practice was extraordinary – from “enhanced interrogation techniques” to “black sites”, it was chilling in its perversity. But even though it was written about in the press, many people didn’t really understand what had been going on, and others thought the whole thing so far-fetched that it couldn’t be true. At that point nobody dreamed that a secret document, blowing around in the bombed out ministry building in Tripoli, would reveal Jack Straw’s role in facilitating the rendition of Abdel Hakim Belhadj, an opponent of Gadaffi, back into the hands of the regime. Or that that document would lead to legal action being brought against Jack Straw personally.
One of the reasons people couldn’t grasp it was because of the deliberately misleading language being used. We weren’t supposed to understand it. And the whole thing was unimaginable. It conjured up a world of terrorists and CIA agents that was like fiction, not like real life. You can’t imagine US government lawyers sitting around discussing the level of pain that you could subject a person to before it’s officially torture (pain equivalent to organ failure was one of the cut-off points discussed). You don’t think that when the US president says, “Torture is never acceptable, nor do we hand over people to countries that do torture,” he is actually lying.
The story of extraordinary rendition was so bizarre that it took a great deal of tenacity, skill and painstaking slog for journalists to uncover. One of them was Stephen Grey... He vividly described the bewildering feeling of realising that things he had suspected had been there all along, he just hadn’t been able to perceive them because they had been so cleverly, and deliberately hidden.
We have all seen reports about rendition on TV, in the newspapers, on live feeds. The information is there, in so many formats, but somehow it ceases to mean anything at all. Theatre is a way of making it real again. It’s a way of making you imagine yourself in relation to these big, impossible stories...
It’s enjoyable – though often depressing – having your suspicions confirmed about the people who are supposed to be running governments and countries. But I didn’t want to set Blue Sky in among the Bush administration, I didn’t want to put Donald Rumsfeld or Tony Blair on stage, nor set it in Guantanamo. I wanted to bring it all right back down to us, the ordinary people, to make it personal and intimate again.
More on "Cruel Britannia: A Secret History of Torture"
In one of the most shocking and persuasive books of the year, Cobain details not just British complicity in torture, but the longstanding practice of the thing itself, and the lies British politicians have always told, and are still telling, to cover it up.
Since TB seem to have advance knowledge of 9/11 attacks, (allowing him to avoid his speech to the TUC etc), the implication of his change of personnel for "Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation" on Sept 11th to someone more torture-friendly is that he had planned for torture in the UK. (although they've dressed up the terminology as "enhanced interrogation" of course).
Joined: 25 Jul 2005 Posts: 16227 Location: St. Pauls, Bristol, England
Posted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 6:33 pm Post subject:
by craig on July 4, 2013 8:49 am in Uncategorized
What we are seeing in Egypt is counter-revolution pure and simple, military hardliners who are going to be friendly with Israel and the US, and are committing gross human rights abuse.
Western backed counter-revolution is going to be sweeping back across the Middle East; do not be distracted by the words of the West, watch the deeds. It will of course be in the name of secularism. There is an important correlation between what is happening in Turkey and Egypt. I made myself unpopular when I pointed out what the media did not tell you, that behind the tiny minority of doe-eyed greens in the vanguard of the Istanbul movement, stood the massed phalanxes of kemalist nationalism, a very ugly beast. “Secularism” was the cry there too.
... the Telegraph source added that “the understanding at SIS [Secret Intelligence Service] was it was acting in the 'national interest’ and with clear political approval.”
In 2009, former ambassador to Uzbekistan and former Rector of the University of Dundee, Craig Murray, gave evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights that:
“When in early March 2003, at the meeting in London, I was told that it was now policy to accept intelligence that may have been obtained from torture I was very surprised. I was told directly that that had been agreed, that it had the authority of the secretary of state and had come from Jack Straw. I was told that he had discussed it at a meeting with Sir Richard Dearlove.”
"Blair... calls the Queen at Balmoral and recommends three strong measures to regain public confidence of the monarchy: attend a public funeral for Diana at Westminster Abbey, fly a Union flag at half-mast over Buckingham Palace, and speak to the nation about Diana's life and legacy in a televised address." All apparently TB's ideas (in the movie)... (and mirrors advice given to Kazakh Tyrant).
Joined: 25 Jul 2005 Posts: 16227 Location: St. Pauls, Bristol, England
Posted: Sat Oct 25, 2014 11:22 am Post subject:
Craig Murray Vauntie Cybernat, Former Ambassador, Human Rights Activist
Decade of Dissent
by craig on October 23, 2014
It is ten years since I ended my FCO career by going on the Today programme and blowing the whistle on CIA/MI6 complicity in torture. It was on my 46th birthday, and I was in my second year as an Ambassador and my seventh as a top Whitehall civil servant, a member of the Senior Civil Service.
Looking back now, what is most striking are the blatant lies by the FCO that they were not obtaining intelligence from torture. As the BBC reported:
In one he claimed MI6 had used information passed on to it by the CIA but originally obtained in Uzbek torture cells – something strongly denied by the Foreign Office.
I do not think there is a single person in public life or social media nowadays who would not accept that the FCO were simply lying. Jack Straw was blatantly to lie about it to parliament. But ten years ago the public and media knew much less than they know now. Nobody outside secret circles had ever heard the words extraordinary rendition. It was a year later – May 2005 – before the New York Times revealed the CIA was sending people to Uzbekistan to be tortured, precisely as I had stated.
It sounds incredible, but in October 2004 many people believed it was Craig Murray who was a liar, not Jack Straw. Again I do not think there is a single individual today who does not understand that Jack Straw was lying through his teeth. But back in 2004 life was hard for me.
After going on the Today programme I went on the run, in fear for my life. I am not paranoid, remember David Kelly. I first stayed with my old friend Andy Myles in Edinburgh, then I think Chief Executive of the Scottish Liberal Democrats. He was phoned the next morning by the FCO. When he denied knowledge of my whereabouts, they not only said they knew I was staying with him, they said which bedroom I was sleeping in. Ten years ago today I was hiding in Aviemore in the house of my old friend Dominic.
That was the start of a decade as a dissident where I have devoted my life to exposing, and trying to counter, the evil of the neo-conservative policy pursued by our political class at the behest of the corporations who fund them. I have suffered a huge loss in money, status and most of the other normal aspirations. But what I have gained is invaluable. I have respect and love, while Blair and Straw will forever be despised.
Can I just say how pleasant it is to be vindicated ten years after being sacked by Jack Straw for opposing the torture and extraordinary rendition programme – which Blair and Straw claimed I was inventing.
So the Bliar and MP Jack (Man? of) Straw called Craig Murray a liar (I'm sure with Parliamentary Privilege - they wouldn't have the guts to say it outside Parliament).
He exposed the Bliar's and Donald Dewar's collusion stealing the theft of a large, pprofitable chunk of Scottish Seas: 'He also exposed Tony Blair and Donald Dewar of handing 6000 sq mls of Scottish Seas and 7 of our oil fields over to the English behind our backs. No doubt he'll be made out to be the 'bad guy' for doing that too.
Get commenting on newspaper reports of Poland's admission to knowing about US 'Black Sites' for torture in Poland, and the general US Torture Report reporting. _________________ 'And he (the devil) said to him: To thee will I give all this power, and the glory of them; for to me they are delivered, and to whom I will, I give them'. Luke IV 5-7.
Joined: 30 Jul 2006 Posts: 5824 Location: East London
Posted: Fri Dec 12, 2014 2:21 am Post subject:
Security services will have lied to him
Just like they did to Robin Cook over the Gaddafi plot
So the Bliar and MP Jack (Man? of) Straw called Craig Murray a liar (I'm sure with Parliamentary Privilege - they wouldn't have the guts to say it outside Parliament).
Leave me out! You mean that Bliar and Straw didn't know? Of course they knew; and that is why they continue with the lie, EVEN NOW, and Craig is blocked from the MSM from putting the record straight (and he HAS tried, time and time again).
I don't know if you can use Skype or similar on your TV stuff, or just on your radio programme, but I am sure Craig will happily give you an interview (I'm pretty sure he's now living in Scotland). I was thinking of suggesting it before this post, but thought you probably wouldn't be 'bovvered'.
You really surprise me, thinking Bliar and Straw must have been 'ill informed', rather than out-and-out Luciferian apparatchiks.
I actually tried to question Straw, on 'it's' way to 'it's' transport, in Blackburn. 'It' just brushed passed me, ignoring me (and I was alone, not in a mob). _________________ 'And he (the devil) said to him: To thee will I give all this power, and the glory of them; for to me they are delivered, and to whom I will, I give them'. Luke IV 5-7.
My world view changed forever when, after 20 years in the Foreign Office, I saw colleagues I knew and liked go along with Britain’s complicity in the most terrible tortures, as detailed stunningly in the recent Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee Report. They also went along with keeping the policy secret, deliberately disregarding all normal record taking procedures, to the extent that the Committee noted:
131. We note that we have not seen the minutes of these meetings either: this causes us great concern. Policy discussions on such an important issue should have been minuted. We support Mr Murray’s own conclusion that were it not for his actions these matters may never have come to light.
The people doing these things were not ordinarily bad people; they were just trying to keep their jobs, comforting themselves with the thought that they were only civil servants obeying orders. Many were also actuated by the nasty “patriotism” that grips in time of war, as we invaded Iraq and Afghanistan. Almost nobody in the FCO stood up against the torture or against the illegal war – Elizabeth Wilmshurst, Carne Ross and I were the only ones to leave over it.
I then had the still more mortifying experience of the Foreign Office seeking to punish my dissent by bringing a series of accusations of gross misconduct – some of them criminal – against me. The people bringing the accusations knew full well they were false. The people investigating them knew they were false from about day 2. But I was put through a hellish six months of trial by media before being acquitted on all the original counts (found guilty of revealing the charges, whose existence was an official secret!). The people who did this to me were people I knew.
I had served as First Secretary in the British Embassy in Poland, and bumped up startlingly against the history of the Holocaust in that time, including through involvement with organising the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. What had struck me most forcibly was the sheer scale of the Holocaust operation, the tens of thousands of people who had been complicit in administering it. I could never understand how that could happen – until I saw ordinary, decent people in the FCO facilitate extraordinary rendition and torture. Then I understood, for the first time, the banality of evil or, perhaps more precisely, the ubiquity of evil. Of course, I am not comparing the scale of what happened to the Holocaust – but evil can operate on different scales.
I believe I see it again today. I do not believe that the majority of journalists in the BBC, who pump out a continual stream of “Corbyn is an anti-semite” propaganda, believe in their hearts that Corbyn is a racist at all. They are just doing their job, which is to help the BBC avert the prospect of a radical government in the UK threatening the massive wealth share of the global elite. They would argue that they are just reporting what others say; but it is of course the selection of what they report and how they report it which reflect their agenda.
The truth, of which I am certain, is this. If there genuinely was the claimed existential threat to Jews in Britain, of the type which engulfed Europe’s Jews in the 1930’s, Jeremy Corbyn, Billy Bragg, Roger Waters and I may humbly add myself would be among the few who would die alongside them on the barricades, resisting. Yet these are today loudly called “anti-semites” for supporting the right to oppose the oppression of the Palestinians. The journalists currently promoting those accusations, if it came to the crunch, would be polishing state propaganda and the civil servants writing railway dockets. That is how it works. I have seen it. Close up. _________________ --
'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
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