Friday, March 6, 2009

Let Craig Murray Tell Parliament What He Knows of UK Torture Involvement

Uncle $cam left this as a comment in a recent post, but I thought it worthy of an upgrade to a full posting:
Your Help Needed - Reveal Torture to Stop It

A lot of you know who who Craig Murray is. At the moment he has an appeal on his site - he's asking people to email the UK's Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights to ask that he be heard next Tuesday, on the subject of the UK government's policy on intelligence cooperation with torture abroad. The executive is putting pressure on the committee to exclude him.

In Craig's words:

I need everybody to send an email to: to urge that I should be allowed to give evidence. Just a one-liner would be fine. If you are able to add some comment on the import of my evidence, or indicate that you have heard me speak or read my work, that may help. Please copy your email to

Please also pass on this plea to anyone you can and urge them to act. Help from other bloggers in posting this appeal would be much appreciated
Briefly, his background is that he was UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan. The government there was (still is) torturing people and giving intelligence thus obtained to the CIA, which sent it to MI6 and the Foreign Office. Craig sent a series of telegrams to the FO objecting to this policy. The policy ended up being approved by Jack Straw and Craig was fired.

Send an email - even if the only effect is to embarrass that fucker Straw, it's at least that.
From the site publishing the appeal, Mr. Murray further states his case:

The evidence I am trying to give the parliamentary committee is this:

I wish to offer myself as a witness before the Joint Commission on Human Rights on the subject of the UK government's policy on intelligence cooperation with torture abroad.

I appeared as a witness in person before both the European Parliament and European Council's enquiries into extraordinary rendition. My evidence was described by the European Council's Rapporteur, Senator Dick Marty, as "Compelling and valuable".

The key points I wish to make are these:

- I was British Ambassador in Uzbekistan from 2002 to 2004.

- I learned and confirmed that I was regularly seeing intelligence from detainees in the Uzbek torture chambers, sent me by the CIA via MI6.

- British Ministers and officials were seeing the same torture material.

- In October/November 2002 and January/February 2003 I sent two Top Secret telegrams to London specifically on the subject of our receipt of intelligence gained under torture. I argued this was illegal, immoral and impractical. The telegrams were specifically marked for the Secretary of State.

- I was formally summoned back to the FCO for a meeting held on 7 or 8 March 2003 specifically and solely on the subject of intelligence gained under torture. Present were Linda Duffield, Director Wider Europe, FCO, Sir Michael Wood, Chief Legal Adviser, FCO, and Matthew Kydd, Head of Permanent Under-Secretary's Department, FCO.

- This meeting was minuted. I have seen the record, which is classified Top Secret and was sent to Jack Straw. On the top copy are extensive hand-written marginalia giving Jack Straw's views.

- I was told at this meeting that it is not illegal for us to obtain intelligence gained by torture, provided that we did not do the torture ourselves. I was told that it had been decided that as a matter of War on Terror policy we should now obtain intelligence from torture, following discussion between Jack Straw and Richard Dearlove. I was told that we could not exclude receipt of specific material from the CIA without driving a coach and horses through the universality principle of the UK/US intelligence sharing agreement, which would be detrimental to UK interests.

- Sir Michael Wood's legal advice that it was not illegal to receive intelligence got by torture was sent on to me in Tashkent (copy attached). On 22 July 2004

I sent one further telegram on intelligence got by torture, with a lower classification, following FCO communications on the subject. Copy attached.
It was my final communication before being dismissed as Ambassador.

In conclusion, I can testify that beyond any doubt the British government has for at least six years a considered but secret policy of cooperation with torture abroad. This policy legally cleared by government legal advisers and approved by Jack Straw as Secretary of State.

Craig Murray
2 March 2009

Like other whistleblowers, Craig Murray put his career and livelihood, if not his life, on the line. He deserves an email of support.

Truth Commission or Prosecutions of Bush Officials?

In both the UK and the USA, the fight against government secrecy, which is used to cover-up crimes by which the state commits aggressive war, torture, and other acts against the civil rights and liberties of their own and foreign citizenry, is being conducted at a high pitch. With the demise of the hated Bush regime, those who pushed the US state to the brink of out and out dictatorship are intent on keeping their reputations and power intact, and their bodies out of jail.

Today, in chat rooms, on phone calls, on email listservs and over cocktails and bedroom pillows, a debate is going on about what to do to ensure the terror apparatus of the Bush years is fully disassembled, and the perpetrators exposed and held accountable. Should their be a truth commission? Should there be prosecutions? Should we look forward and not backward (as if we will know where we are going if we don't know where we have come from)?

As I wrote in yesterday's posting:
I recommend my readers go to CCR's webpage on Prosecutions and Accountability and follow the action steps there. They include a letter that can be signed to Sen. Leahy:
We are also calling upon Sen. Patrick Leahy, who... [held] a hearing on March 4 of the Senate Judiciary Committee to discuss a “truth commission” to investigate the crimes of the Bush administration, to support prosecutions for those government officials who violated the law. Sign a letter to Sen. Leahy and the Judiciary Committee calling for them to support prosecutions, and to oppose any immunity for the architects of these torture programs.


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