Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The al-Jazeera Memo: New FOIA request as reported on Newsnight

The al-Jazeera Memo: New FOIA request as reported on Newsnight

BBC Newsnight are reporting a new Freedom of Information Request concerning the memo detailing the plan to bomb al-Jazeera. This request is being filed by al-Jazeera on behalf of two British Citizens living in Doha, based on the fact that they could have been killed had the attack taken place. The point behind this, according to Newsnight, is that under British Law, "the duty to disclose any possible crime would override any duty of confidence to an ally." They also discuss the previous FOIA request, and make the point that the denial of that request officially confirms the existence and subject of the al-Jazeera memo. Something the mainstream media and deadwood press have resolutely ignored to date... -------------- Thank you for your email of 24 November in which you request a copy of any memos or notes that record President Bush's discussions with the Prime Minister about the bombing of the al-Jazeera television station in Qatar. Your request has been handled under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. I can confirm that the cabinet Office holds information which is relevant to your request -------------- More detail, including an audio grab of the newsnight segment and a transcript can be found here: http://www.blairwatch.co.uk/node/783 Details of the first FOIA request and it's implications are here: http://www.blairwatch.co.uk/node/701 With one week to go before the trial of Keogh and O'Connor, the two men being charged under the Official Secrets Act for leaking the document in the first place, the more we can shout about this, the better. Cheers Dan [ringverse] -- www.blairwatch.co.uk

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Justice Unserved - By Dima Tareq Tahboub

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Justice Unserved - By Dima Tareq Tahboub, widow of Tareq Ayyoub, Aljazeera correspondent killed in Baghdad on the 8th of April 2003
Somewhere in a dusty drawer in the deserted bedroom that used to belong to me and my husband Tareq before his killing, lies the statement issued by the American army apologizing for what it described then as the “accident” of bombing Aljazeera office in Baghdad, which resulted in the killing of my 33 year old husband, Tareq Ayyoub,who was reporting for Aljazeera from Baghdad during the war.Three years next April will have passed since the killing of my husband. We spent the same number of years together, three years of happy and blessed marital and paternal life that were cut short by the dark forces of American democracy.Three years of non-stop efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice, each endeavour took us from one big disappointment to another, from one dead end to another cul-de-sac.Fascinated by Cervantes DonQuixote, I never dreamt of taking up his role in tilting the windmills of American justice which until now have proved a lost battle. Starting in Belgium, two months after the killing, I tried to sue the generals of the American Army and the Secretary of Defence, benefiting from a law on war crimes and criminals. My family and I had such hopes that time has come for our Tareq’s soul to rest in peace and for our hearts to come to terms with grief and loss. To our amazement, a month later, the law was amended to exclude leaders of state and high ranking army officers from accountability for war crimes.Fuelled by a one and a half year old little baby girl, my daughter Fatima, I had to look for other options to pursue the case. The majority of lawyers I consulted in my country, Jordan, believed that a law suit before Jordanian courts is likely to be turned down, as Jordanian courts aren’t authorized to file cases against the United States and even if it did, the American Embassy in Jordan, the diplomatic representative of the US in Jordan, may reject to comply with any court orders or attend trials.Foggy as the horizon was, I decided to pin the remnants of my will and hope on the greatest and oldest democracy in the world, England. Not being a British subject deprived me from attaining my human right in demanding justice for my killed husband, for me and our daughter before British law.The journey of pain didn’t stop there, I had the opportunity of meeting with Mr. Clive Stafford Smith, who earnestly took on the case and promised to look into it. After months of studying, he levelled with me that our chances of obtaining justice or any form of indictment against the US Army are close to nothing, not because we lacked grounds, right or credibility, but because it was impossible to bring the army to justice. Still, he made a last attempt to resurrect the case and handed the documents to the Centre of Constitutional Rights in New York.Months passed before the same old story was told to me again and again which simply summarized that I should forget the matter and suffice with the word of apology I received.Three years and with each day passing by, our prospects in gaining justice grow less and less as such rights fall with the procession of time.Three days passed, never a day without us declaring in everyway and place that the US bombing of Aljazeera office in Baghdad was intentional and premeditated, since Aljazeera has supplied the Pentagon with the coordinates of its office in Baghdad months before the war, but the world turned a deaf ear towards us since the voice of the victims is always low and unheard.Three years passed and my daughter Fatima grew older with endless questions about that man in the picture frame called father.Three years passed and not one organization took the initiative to thoroughly investigate the crime which leaves me puzzled as to the double standards of the UN which recruited a number of its highest personnel to investigate the killing of Samir Qasir, the Lebanese journalist killed in a car bomb in Beirut and done nothing on the behalf of my husband Tareq and his fellow journalists killed by the American Army on April 8th 2003.The report published by the British Daily Mirror is an eye opener on the secret world of American political deception and the American agenda to silence all eye witnesses and opposing voices to its policies.There is nothing new in the report except that it revealed the ugly face of the so called American freedom and democracy preached to the world by the American president.To me, it all boils down into the killing of a promising young man, faithful husband, and loving father, the widowing of a 27 year old wife left after three years of marriage to face the world alone with growing pains, the orphaning of a one and a half year old girl who will grow with no father to read her a bed time story, to celebrate her happy occasions, to attend her graduation and party in her wedding.This the real story behind the story, this is the true report behind the report, this our tragedy unabridged.As years pass, I grow more convinced in what Martin Luther King once wrote: “ Law doesn’t change the heart nor restrain the heartless.”Dima Tareq TahboubWidow of Tareq Ayyoub, Aljazeera correspondent killed in Baghdad on the 8th of April 2003

al Jazeera memo

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Saturday, December 31, 2005

More on Torture

October 27, 2005
The reality of Britain's reliance on torture
Craig Murray writes today in The Independent on the reality of Britain's reliance on torture
"Torture means the woman who was raped with a broken bottle, and died after 10 days of agony"
The Government has been arguing before the House of Lords for the right to act on intelligence obtained by torture abroad. It wants to be able to use such material to detain people without trial in the UK, and as evidence in the courts. Key to its case is a statement to the Law Lords by the head of MI5, Eliza Manningham-Buller. In effect she argues that torture works. It foiled the famous ricin plot.
She omits to mention that no more ricin was found than is the naturally occurring base level in your house or mine - or indeed that no poison of any kind was found. But let us leave that for now. She argues, in effect, that we need to get intelligence from foreign security services, to fight terrorism. And if they torture, so what? Her chief falsehood is our pretence that we don't know what happens in their dungeons. We do. And it is a dreadful story. Manningham-Buller is so fastidious she even avoids using the word "torture" in her evidence. Let alone the reality to which she turns such a carefully blind eye.
Manningham Buller also fails to mention that a large number of people have been tortured abroad to provide us with intelligence - because we sent them there to be tortured. The CIA's "extraordinary rendition" programme has become notorious. Under it, detainees have been sent around the world to key torture destinations. There is evidence of British complicity - not only do these CIA flights regularly operate from UK airbases, but detainees have spoken of British intelligence personnel working with their tormentors.
So the UK receives this intelligence material not occasionally, not fortuitously, but in connection with a regular programme of torture with which we are intimately associated. Uzbekistan is one of those security services from whose "friendly liaison" services we obtained information. And I will tell you what torture means.
It means the woman who was raped with a broken bottle in both vagina and anus, and who died after ten days of agony. It means the old man suspended by wrist shackles from the ceiling while his children were beaten to a pulp before his eyes. It means the man whose fingernails were pulled before his face was beaten and he was immersed to his armpits in boiling liquid.

It means the 18-year-old whose knees and elbows were smashed, his hand immersed in boiling liquid until the skin came away and the flesh started to peel from the bone, before the back of his skull was stove in.
These are all real cases from the Uzbek security services which we viewed as friendly liaison, and from which we obtained regular intelligence, in the Uzbek case via the CIA.
A month ago, that liaison relationship was stopped - not by us, but by the Uzbeks. But as Manningham-Buller sets out, we continue to maintain our position as customer to torturers in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Algeria, Jordan, Morocco and many other places. The key point is that none of the these Uzbek victims were terrorists at all.
The great majority of those who suffer torture at the hands of these regimes are not terrorists, but political opponents. And the scale of this torture is vast. In Uzbekistan alone thousands, not hundreds, of innocent men, women and children suffer torture every year.
Across Manningham-Buller's web of friendly intelligence agencies, the number may reach tens of thousands. Can our security really be based on such widespread inhumanity, or is that not part of the grievance that feeds terrorism?
These other governments know that our security services lap up information from their torture chambers. This practical condoning more than cancels out any weasel words on human rights which the Foreign Office may issue. In fact, the case for the efficacy of torture intelligence is not nearly as clear-cut as Manningham-Buller makes out. Much dross comes out of the torture chambers. History should tell us that under torture people would choke out an admission that they had joined their neighbours in flying on broomsticks with cats.

We do not receive torture intelligence from foreign liaison security services sometimes, or by chance. We receive it on a regular basis, through established channels. That plainly makes us complicit. It is worth considering, in this regard, Article 4 of the UN Convention Against Torture, which requires signatories to make complicity with torture a criminal offence.
When I protested about these practices within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, I was told bluntly that Jack Straw and the head of MI6 had considered my objections, but had come to the conclusion that torture intelligence was important to the War on Terror, and the practice should continue. One day, the law must bring them to account.
A final thought. Manningham-Buller is arguing about the efficiency of torture in preventing a terrorist plot. If that argument is accepted, then in logic there is no reason to rely on foreign intermediaries. Why don't we do our own torturing at home? James VI and I abolished torture - New Labour is making the first attempt in English courts to justify government use of torture information. Why stop there? Why can't the agencies work over terrorist suspects?

The Security Services want us to be able to use information from torture. That should come as no surprise. From Sir Thomas Walsingham on, the profession attracts people not squeamish about the smell of seared flesh from the branding iron. That is why we have a judiciary to protect us. I pray the Law Lords do.
1 Interviews (27) 2 Speeches (8) 3 FAQs (3) 4 Uzbekistan (115) 5 ExtraRendition (96) 6 War in Iraq (35) 7 UK Policy (77) 8 The StrawMan (26) 9 Blackburn 05 (26) Links (13) Other (20)

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« Another blow to the UK government's ban on free speech - Catholics commemorate the dead inside the exclusion zone. No arrests made. Main More old news »
December 29, 2005
Damning documentary evidence unveiled. Dissident bloggers in coordinated exposé of UK government lies over torture.
Help us beat the British government's gagging order by mirroring this information on your own site or blog!
Constituent: "This question is for Mr Straw; Have you ever read any documents where the intelligence has been procured through torturous means?"
Jack Straw: "Not to the best of my knowledge... let me make this clear... the British government does not support torture in any circumstances. Full stop. We do not support the obtaining of intelligence by torture, or its use." - Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, election hustings, Blackburn, April 2005
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... 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. - Ambassador Craig Murray, memo to the Foreign Office, July 2004
With Tony Blair and Jack Straw cornered on extraordinary rendition, the UK government is particularly anxious to suppress all evidence of our complicity in obtaining intelligence extracted by foreign torturers.
The British Foreign Office is now seeking to block publication of Craig Murray's forthcoming book, which documents his time as Ambassador to Uzbekistan. The Foreign Office has demanded that Craig Murray remove all references to two especially damning British government documents, indicating that our government was knowingly receiving information extracted by the Uzbeks through torture, and return every copy that he has in his possession.Craig Murray is refusing to do this. Instead, the documents are today being published simultaneously on blogs all around the world.
The first document contains the text of several telegrams that Craig Murray sent back 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 legal opinion from the Foreign Office's Michael Wood, arguing that the use by intelligence services of information extracted through torture does not constitute a violation of the UN Convention Against Torture.
Craig Murray says:
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.
First document: Confidential letters from Uzbekistan
Letter #1ConfidentialFM TashkentTO FCO, Cabinet Office, DFID, MODUK, OSCE Posts, Security Council Posts
16 September 02
SUBJECT: US/Uzbekistan: Promoting TerrorismSUMMARY
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 security 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 of Uzbekistan. 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 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.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------Letter #2 ConfidentialFm TashkentTo FCO
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 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 – 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 appease domestic opinion, they view Karimov's vicious regime as a bastion against fundamentalism. 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 hate the 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. MURRAY
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------Letter #3
TELNO 63OF 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
Second Document - summary of legal opinion from Michael Wood arguing that it is legal to use information extracted under torture:
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 WoodLegal Adviser
Posted by richard on December 29, 2005 02:22 PM in the category 7 UK Policy
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Tracked on December 30, 2005 10:23 AM
» Blair's torture lies.... Level 1 completed from BloggerheadsCraig Murray's damning data release has now featured on DailyKos and dozens of other sites here and abroad. Every post on the subject (and there's a wide variety of them by now) urges readers to save a copy for themselves.... [Read More]
Tracked on December 30, 2005 11:13 AM
» British Torture Memos from Outside The BeltwayCraig Murray, formerly the UK’s ambassador to Uzbekistan, has copies of two documents showing that the Blair Government knowingly allowed “extraordinary rendition” and willingly used intelligence gathered through torture by the Uzbek... [Read More]
Tracked on December 30, 2005 12:11 PM
» Documents the government doesn't want you to see from perfect.co.ukIt’s not often you get an email from a former British Ambassador asking you to contravene the official secrets act: I am in discussion with the FCO over what I am and am not allowed to publish in my book.... [Read More]
Tracked on December 30, 2005 12:29 PM
» The Moral Clarity of The Bush Administration from democracycellprojectDuring the 2004 election season, we heard much from the extreme right side of the Republican Party about how homosexuality was immoral, and a stain on the soul, and gay marriage will end with box turtles and people getting married... [Read More]
Tracked on December 30, 2005 01:53 PM
» Torture? What Torture? from AGITPROP: Version 3.0, Featuring BlogenfreudeIt's Not the al Jazeera Memo But It's Not Bad! BlairWatch asks, we publish! Here are a couple documents The Poodle doesn't want you to read. Of course we don't torture! (says Tony). Background: The UK government has been quick [Read More]
Tracked on December 30, 2005 02:15 PM
» Supporting Torture from An InsomniacAmbassador, with this evidence of UK/US acceptance of information gained through torture in Uzbekistan, you are really spoiling us... [Read More]
Tracked on December 30, 2005 02:38 PM
» Blair on torture: ‘La la la, I’m not listening’ from The Matazone blogTony Blair has made a statement about British complicity with the US policy of ‘extraordinary rendition’ (which basically means sending people off to countries that can torture people to gain ‘evidence’). In this he states: ... [Read More]
Tracked on December 30, 2005 03:12 PM
» Are we encouraging the torture of children? from FatMixxToo often discussions about extraordinary renditions and torture end up being completely theoretical. You know the arguments: the ticking bombs, “they’re terrorists, screw ‘em”, or that torture may be the only/best way to get... [Read More]
Tracked on December 30, 2005 04:23 PM
» Calling All Bloggers: These Documents need publishing from BlairwatchBackground: 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: http://users.pandora.be/quarsan/craig/te [Read More]
Tracked on December 30, 2005 06:36 PM
» CIA used torture after all from Homeland Security or Homeland StupidityBoth the U.S. and U.K. governments strongly deny that they use torture against terrorism suspects captured overseas, but documents recently released in the U.K. show that the Central Intelligence Agency does use torture. ... [Read More]
Tracked on December 30, 2005 07:51 PM
» Bloggers Strikeout On UK Torture Memos from Wizbang[Note: Check the updates for links to prior publication of these "exclusives," and follow the listed trackbacks and this followup piece for more backstory.] Lefty UK bloggers, Blair watchers, and now Daily Kos are trumpeting their coordinated release (... [Read More]
Tracked on December 30, 2005 08:44 PM
» Damning documentary evidence unveiled. Dissident bloggers in coordinated exposé of UK government lies over torture. from Brokekid.netI am posting the entire article as is, I don’t want you to miss anything. Help us beat the British government’s gagging order by mirroring this information on your own site or blog! Constituent: “This question is for Mr Straw; Have... [Read More]
Tracked on December 30, 2005 09:18 PM
» Not DC, Not Confidential - and not vapid from in no particular orderCraig Murray - Damning documentary evidence unveiled. Dissident bloggers in coordinated expos� of UK government lies over torture. How interesting. In the week that Vicky's reading the vapid, preening tosh that passes for insight in DC Confidential (... [Read More]
Tracked on December 30, 2005 09:33 PM
» Complicity from Talk PoliticsI don't know. You take a few days off to redesign your blog template into something altogether more spiffy and all hell breaks loose as former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, releases a number of documents, including two that the Foreign ... [Read More]
Tracked on December 31, 2005 01:43 AM
» The UK / Uzbekistan Torture Documents from Progressive LyceumWe are joining an effort by bloggers all over the world to mirror and disseminate Craig Murray’s damning memos that prove that the United Kingdom knowingly received information from the Uzbeks that was extracted by torture. Craig is risking imp... [Read More]
Tracked on December 31, 2005 03:30 AM
» Murray Publishes UK Torture Documents from Registan.net :: Central Asia NewsAccording toThe Scotsman, former British ambassador Craig Murray may have violated Britain’s Official Secrets Act when he published documents relating to charges that the UK has used evidence obtained under torture: The Foreign Office can take ... [Read More]
Tracked on December 31, 2005 05:10 AM
» Bush's Legacy: The Torture State from Pacific ViewsThe worst legacy of Bush is the creation of a torture state. Obviously, the United States has been travelling down this road for a while (see School of the Americas and the use of torture in the dirty wars), but... [Read More]
Tracked on December 31, 2005 06:15 AM
» Eavesdropping and Shadow Projection from Bad AttitudesI don’t know how to sum up this post. It starts with John Dean finally weighing in on the current eavesdropping story, and ends with some Jungian analysis of the tendency to project our shadows onto the rest of the world, with a bit of British a... [Read More]
Tracked on December 31, 2005 06:25 AM
» Torture, Craig Murray & the Lying Liars' Lies from Anything that defies my sense of reason....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 kno... [Read More]
Tracked on December 31, 2005 08:48 AM
The misdirected Bush policy is breaching every border of Iraq, just as the water breached New Orleans. Both are extremely dangerous for the US and the world. Your bravery, to stand out of the crowd and attempt to shine the light of justice here, is commendable. Hopefully, the newly empowered blogoshphere will assist you in your efforts. I hope this initial effort to get your story out continues.
Posted by: CliffButter at December 30, 2005 05:44 PM
Excerpt from Disreputable Lazy Aliens:
"Craig, DLA's everywhere salute you as that rarest of examples in these cynical times: a principled man. You rock and more power to your elbow!"
I've published the documents. Should Craig Murray find himself prosecuted for this, please do not hesitate in contacting me for (literally) a few quid towards the cost of his defence.
Posted by: edjog at December 30, 2005 09:32 PM
Done. Thank YOU for publishing it and good luck.
Posted by: scarapeya at December 31, 2005 01:50 AM
Breaking News: Ex-Ambassador publishes documents.
Mentions your name, done a search on Google and found your website. Best of Luck Craig, don't let them do a Dr. Kelly.
Posted by: LodestarX at December 31, 2005 03:55 AM
I have published the article on my blog and on my website based in India (http://www.duniya.in/uzbektorture.html) which is outside the ambit of the Official Secrets Act and any government gagging order.
Posted by: Daniel at December 31, 2005 03:00 PM
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