Outrage grows over US support for Uzbek government


The Observer – Anger as US backs brutal regime: Heated criticism was growing last night over ‘double standards’ by Washington over human rights, democracy and ‘freedom’ as fresh evidence emerged of just how brutally Uzbekistan, a US ally in the ‘war on terror’, put down Friday’s unrest in the east of the country.

Outrage among human rights groups followed claims by the White House on Friday that appeared designed to justify the violence of the regime of President Islam Karimov, claiming – as Karimov has – that ‘terrorist groups’ may have been involved in the uprising.

Critics said the US was prepared to support pro-democracy unrest in some states, but condemn it in others where such policies were inconvenient…

The aid paradox was highlighted by the former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, who criticised coalition support for Uzbekistan when they were planning invading Iraq, using similar abuses as justification.

Murray said yesterday: ‘The US will claim that they are teaching the Uzbeks less repressive interrogation techniques, but that is basically not true. They help fund the budget of the Uzbek security services and give tens of millions of dollars in military support. It is a sweetener in the agreement over which they get their air base.’

Murray said that during a series of suicide bombings in Tashkent in March 2004, before he was sacked as UK ambassador, he was shown transcripts of telephone intercepts in which known al-Qaeda representatives were asking each other ‘what the hell was going on. But then Colin Powell came out and said that al-Qaeda were behind the blasts. I don’t think the US even believe their own propaganda…

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