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Friday, December 30, 2005

More on the Craig Murray and Uzbekistan Affair

I've mentioned events in Uzbekistan at various times on this blog. The US and UK, just like their support from Saddam, have funded and supported Uzbek training for dealing with opponents. The Uzbek leader Karimov even appeared to have boiled certain opponents to death. Torture is regular in this Stalinist police state (presumably this is a 'good' dictatorship like certain figures in the US administration once described the Ceau┼čescu dictatorship in the 1980s). And then there was the violence a short while ago. The British ambassador Craig Murray spoke out against such practices and was promptly told to shut up (just as a certain journalist was in the 1980s for uncovering the extent of US and UK backed Saddam's crimes) followed by a disgraceful smear campaign. Anyway, here's the latest in the ongoing saga from The Independent:

Britain's former ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, has defied the Foreign Office by publishing on the internet documents providing evidence that the British Government knowingly received information extracted by torture in the "war on terror".

Mr Murray, who publicly raised the issue of the usefulness of information obtained under torture before he was forced to leave his job last year, submitted his forthcoming book, Murder in Samarkand, to the Foreign Office for clearance. But the Foreign Office demanded that he remove references to two sensitive government documents, which undermine official denials, to show that Britain had been aware it was receiving information obtained by the Uzbek authorities through torture. Rather than submit to the gagging order Mr Murray decided to publish the material on the internet.

The first document published by Mr Murray contains the text of several telegrams that he sent to London from 2002 to 2004, warning that the information being passed on by the Uzbek security services was torture-tainted, and challenging MI6 claims that the information was nonetheless "useful". The second document is the text of a Foreign Office legal opinion which argues that the use by intelligence services of information extracted through torture is not a violation of the UN Convention Against Torture.

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