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30 December 2005

Uzbekistan, Torture, Craig Murray & the Lying Liars' Lies

The lying liars who lie and lie and lie, who cannot do anything other than lie, who have been proven time and time again to have lied again and again and again, who know they lie, who know we know they lie, who know we know they know we know they know they're lying and who still continue to lie, are, perhaps unsurprisingly, lying again.

The lying liars who cannot do anything other than lie to the people they reportedly serve said they do not practice, or tolerate, the practice of torture. The lying liars who cannot do anything other than lie have, once again, lied.

This time it's about suspect British intelligence resulting from Uzbek torture and, once more, the growing force to be reckoned with that is the word of mouth of the blog world has leapt to the defence of truth with a call to publish the documents that reveal the truth and again expose the lying liars for what they are.

Leninology sums the whole thing up nicely:
So, the Foreign Office does not want anyone to understand that it has taken decisions, in collaboration with MI6, to continue to use information obtained by the use of torture despite the fact that it is, as Craig Murray points out "highly coloured material which exaggerates the threat" or, more prosaically, "dross". At the very least, that serves as yet another introduction to the morally bankrupt universe of the British State.

Readers are advised to consider for themselves how the final sentence of the Leninology quote would read if it were to begin with the words, "At the very most....".

Those resourceful folk over at Blairwatch have, once again, put together all the information you need to know that fills in the background about the ongoing lies in relation to torture that the lying liars who cannot do anything other than lie have told. From the Blairwatch summary:
The UK government has been quick to deny that we practice, or tolerate the practice of Torture. So it is perhaps not suprising that they are determined that you should not see the following documents:


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.


The Foreign Office has had the draft of Craig'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 Office, outlining his growing concern and disgust at our 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.

Craig Murray himself wrote:
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.


Blairwatch have also archived a selection of spin and lies on the use of torture from the lying liars who cannot do anything other than lie in a vain bid to save themselves here, here, here and here. Also courtesy of Blairwatch, you can again listen to Jack Straw and Tony Blair lie and lie and lie to try and save themselves deny what you read in these secret but truthful documents: Straw lies and Blair lies.

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

The Documents

In the event that the lying liars who cannot do anything other than lie might allow the people they are alleged to serve to see any of the documents that expose the lying liars who cannot do anything other than lie, ever, for the lying liars that they are and have always been, one of the documents would look a little like this:

From: Michael Wood, Legal Advisor
Date: 13 March 2003
CC: PS/PUS; Matthew Kidd, WLD

Linda Duffield


1. Your record of our meeting with HMA Tashkent recorded that Craig had said that his understanding was that it was also an offence under the UN Convention on Torture to receive or possess information under torture. I said that I did not believe that this was the case, but undertook to re-read the Convention.

2. I have done so. There is nothing in the Convention to this effect. The nearest thing is article 15 which provides:

"Each State Party shall ensure that any statement which is established to have been made as a result of torture shall not be invoked as evidence in any proceedings, except against a person accused of torture as evidence that the statement was made."

3. This does not create any offence. I would expect that under UK law any statement established to have been made as a result of torture would not be admissible as evidence.


M C Wood
Legal Adviser

In the event that the lying liars who cannot do anything other than lie might allow the people they are alleged to serve to see any of the documents that expose the lying liars who cannot do anything other than lie, ever, for the lying liars that they are and have always been, another of the documents would look a little like this:
Letter #1
FM Tashkent
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 inany Uzbek media. State Department call this self-censorship: I am not sure thatis a fair way to describe an unwillingness to experience the brutal methods of thesecurity services.

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 ofUzbekistan. They have certainly been decimated and disorganised in Afghanistan, and Karimov's repression may keep the lid on for years – 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"side.

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 – 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 theIMF. 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 upour 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 frompoverty and lack of freedom. They are not just pawns in the new Great Game.

Letter #2
Fm Tashkent

18 March 2003


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 uncomfortable truth.

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 thepopulation 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 – more than US aid to all of West Africa – 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 appeasedomestic opinion, they view Karimov's vicious regime as a bastion againstfundamentalism. He – and they – 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 hatethe West?

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 American urging).

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 terror… 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.


Letter #3


OF 220939 JULY 04


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

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

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

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 moralityof 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 Eastern Department.

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 – 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 thequestion 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 Convention;

"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 question also.

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 – we are selling our soulsfor 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 assessment.

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 intorture. 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 a tone 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.


24 December 2005

Independent Television Rolling News RIP

Farewell ITV News Channel, thou who didst break the story of how overseers most regal didst execute the moor:

The ITV News Channel is to close down in the New Year after months of speculation about its future.

The service, which launched in 2000 as the ITN News Channel, has struggled for viewers against competition from BBC News 24 and Sky News.

Leaving just news from the government and news from the myopic Murdoch media empire. Oh, and the News of the Americas.

It's not dark yet, but it's getting there.

22 December 2005

It's not paranoia if....

.... they're really out to get you.

A few weeks ago all but two of The Antagonist's Haloscan comments, most of which were reactionary comments left on the July 7th liveblog entry, disappeared by virtue of nothing. Then, yesterday, the server on which The Forum of the Antagonised was recently set-up and which contained a July 7th investigation forum into which a few good people have put some considerable time and effort, went offline and has stayed offline for considerably longer than your average unscheduled maintenance period.

The latter of these is apparently the result of a temperamental server that hasn't come back to life yet. Maybe such things could have been known about a server named 'S13', maybe not.

The former, however, is still unexplained.


Omnia mutantur; nihil interit.

14 December 2005

London 7/7: Clarke says No Public Inquiry

Tony Blair, the lying mass-murderer who should be tried for ongoing crimes against humanity both abroad and in this country, denied the British people a public inquiry just three days after 7 July.

It was ordinary members of the British public who died in the attacks and the state's continued refusal to hold a public inquiry is entirely against the public interest. If you are a member of the British public, that means Clarke's statement is against your own personal best interest and you have every right to be angry.

If you were directly affected and suffered any injury or distress as a result of the attacks you have every right to be asbsolutely livid, no matter what your assigned 7/7 counsellor tells you about what you think you might have seen, heard or experienced that day.

The Slow Creep of Consciousness

The British people aren't stupid. At least not as stupid as the British government likes to think they are.

The British people aren't stupid and nor are the survivors, their familes and friends, or the families and friends of those who died or were otherwise directly affected by the events of 7 July. Those members of the blue-light services who have been silenced by their 'superiors' and who still fear disciplinary action - and perhaps worse - if they dare to speak about what happened aren't stupid either. Scared, perhaps, but definitely not stupid.

The British people know the government has for some time been unceremoniously hacking away at the civil liberties of 100% of the British population with laws drawn up by those who seek only to preserve their artificially maintained positions of power, wealth and authority at any cost to the public. They know also that the government has lied many times before.

On two separate occasions the state has denied repeated calls for a public inquiry and on two separate occasions the British people have been fobbed off by the same whiter-than-white government that told us Iraq was 45 minutes away from destroying us all.

Neither the British people, the survivors and the families and friends of those affected by 7/7, or those blue-light workers with stories to tell are going away any time soon and nor will the demands for an inquiry into 7/7.

If the state won't conduct a public inquiry, then the British people are left with no option but to conduct a people's inquiry.

The Call for a 7 July Truth Commission

The British government doesn't want an inquiry. They have stated that quite categorically. Twice.

Why might this be? Cui bono? The dead? The injured? Or those who fear the truth?

Truth is a wonderful thing and will stand the most rigorous of questioning. It is perfectly reasonable to assume that those who call for questions not to be asked, especially into such horrific events, might have something to hide.

Stand up Tony Blair. Stand up Charles Clarke. Stand up also Sir Ian Blair who called for questions not to be asked in relation to the cold-blooded execution of Jean Charles de Menezes that can only have been intended as a warning to us all that the state will happilly execute us - and lie about the reasons for so doing - even if we're innocent.

With the government's confirmation that there will be no public inquiry into 7 July comes the overpowering message to the British people, clearer than ever before - if you want any sort of inquiry, any semblance of truth and, ultimately, any justice for what happened in London on 7 July, you're going to have to do it yourself.

Furthermore, the long history of public inquiry whitewashes and the precious few facts that exist about the train times on 7 July are both sufficient cause to suggest that, even if a government sponsored public inquiry were to be held, nothing but a full and public people's inquiry is going to establish anything close to the truth about what happened the day the bombs came to London.

Even former government intelligence officer, Lt. Col. Crispin Black agrees.

In his book entitled '7-7 The London Bombs - What went wrong?' he wrote:
"We need an official inquiry - now. Not a whitewash inquiry like Lord Hutton's. Or a punch-pulling inquiry like Lord Butler's. But an inquiry run by plain Mr or Mrs somebody."

The Antagonist is a plain old Mr or Mrs somebody and fully supports Lt. Col Crispin Black's call for an official, non-punch-pulling inquiry. So should we all.

If you not you, who? If not now, when?