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The Uzbekistan torture documents

Background

The British Government has been quick to deny that it practices, or tolerates the practice of, torture. So it is perhaps not suprising that it is determined that you should not see the following documents:

http://users.pandora.be/quarsan/craig/telegrams.pdf
(download from PNN)
http://users.pandora.be/quarsan/craig/npaper.jpg
(see below)

Craig Murray was the UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, until his complaints and protest at the use of intelligence gained by torture got too much for Jack Straw and the Foreign Office, who set about attempting to unsuccessfully smear him, and to successfully remove him from office.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3750370.stm
http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2005/04/timeline_of_cra.html

The Foreign Office has had the draft of Craig Murray's book for clearance for over 3 months now, and they are doing everything they can to try and prevent him from publishing his side of the story. Their latest attempt to cover their own backs was to inform him, the night before Christmas Eve, that these two documents cannot be published, and that he was to return or destroy all copies immediately.

What are these documents?

The first document is a series of telegrams that Craig sent to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), outlining his growing concern and disgust at British use of intelligence passed to the UK by the Uzbek security services.

The second document is a copy of legal advice the Foreign Office sought, to see if they were operating within the law in accepting torture intelligence, and according to Michael Wood the FCO legal adviser; it is fine, as long as it is not used as evidence.

Faced with this heavy-handed censorship by the FCO, in an attempt to cover up Britain's use of and complicity in torture, Craig Murray has decided to fight back, and has asked bloggers and independent web sites worldwide to publish this information, so it cannot be suppressed.

Craig Murray writes:

I am in discussion with the FCO over what I am and am not allowed to publish in my book. The FCO is seeking to gut the book of all evidence of complicity with the Uzbek regime.

With Bliar cornered on extraordinary rendition, they are particularly anxious to suppress all evidence of our complicity in obtaining intelligence from Uzbek torture.

In particular, they have demanded I do not publish the attached documents, and that I hand over all copies of them.

The obvious answer to this is to post these documents as widely on the web as possible. This is also potentially very valuable in establishing that I am not attempting to make money from these documents – you don't have to buy my book to see them, they are freely available. If you buy the book, you are only paying for the added value of my thoughts.

This will only work if we can get the [documents] very widely posted, including on sites in the US and elsewhere outside the UK … there is a chance that those who … post this stuff will get threatened under the Official Secrets Act.

In March 2003 I was summoned back to London from Tashkent specifically for a meeting at which I was told to stop protesting. I was told specifically that it was perfectly legal for us to obtain and to use intelligence from the Uzbek torture chambers.

After this meeting Sir Michael Wood, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's legal adviser, wrote to confirm this position. This minute from Michael Wood is perhaps the most important document that has become public about extraordinary rendition. It is irrefutable evidence of the government's use of torture material, and that I was attempting to stop it. It is no wonder that the government is trying to suppress this.

Compare and contrast the British government's public position on torture, with the information they were recieving at the time from their own ambassador, and the legal advice they were seeking.

A selection of British government spin and lies on the use of torture in these 4 pages:

http://www.blairwatch.co.uk/node/708
http://www.blairwatch.co.uk/node/709
http://www.blairwatch.co.uk/node/710
http://www.blairwatch.co.uk/node/711

And you can listen to Jack Straw and Tony Blair deny what you read in these hitherto 'secret' documents here.

http://www.blairwatch.co.uk/down/strawhust.mp3
http://www.blairwatch.co.uk/down/blairrend.mp3

What you can do

The documents are published in full here:

http://www.blairwatch.co.uk/node/715
http://www.blairwatch.co.uk/node/714

If you could publish, host and link to these documents on your own webspace, then it will be harder for anybody to be prosecuted in the UK, and it will ensure that they get maximum coverage.

Craig Murray stood up for what many of us believe, and it cost him his job, his health, and his professional reputation. The least we can do his stand by him as he defies the UK government's attempts at censorship, and possible prosecution.

Craig Murray's own post on the subject can be found here:

http://www.craigmurray.co.uk/archives/2005/12/damning_documen.html