Foreign Affairs Committee to call British government documents on use of torture evidence

In a very welcome decision, the Foreign Affairs Committee has decided to respond to Craig Murray’s request and call for key documents from the UK Foreign Office. These documents will facilitate a much more adequate assessment of the role of the British governent in the use of evidence gained under torture, and help cut through the obfuscation of the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw. November 23rd should be interesting…

From: PRIESTLEY, Steve

Sent: 17 November 2005 15:54

To: Craig Murray

Subject: RE: extraordinary rendition

Dear Mr Murray,

This is to inform you that the Committee considered your e-mail of 30 October at its meeting yesterday, 16 November, and that it has instructed me to request the FCO to provide it with access to the documents mentioned therein.

Please note that the Committee has the power to publish these exchanges and any further communications it may receive from you in due course. If you wish anything sent to the Committee to be treated in confidence, please state so and the Committee will consider your request.

The Committee will be hearing oral evidence on the FCO Annual Human Rights Report 2005 from Ian Pearson MP, Minister of State at the FCO, on Wednesday 23 November at half-past Two.

Steve Priestley

Clerk of FAC

—–Original Message—–

From: Craig Murray

Sent: 31 October 2005 11:17


Subject: RE: extraordinary rendition

Dear Mr Priestley,

Thank you. I have seen the draft transcript of Mr Straw’s evidence in his recent appearance before the Committee, and his references to me.

I would strongly urge that the Committee obtain a number of FCO documents which provide essential support my assertions on the use of intelligence got under torture, which were questioned by Mr Straw. I believe this documentary evidence is much more compelling than Mr Straw’s perfectly accurate assertion to the committee that I am a bad electoral campaigner. It seems to me in poor taste for Mr Straw to rejoice to the committee that the BNP should beat anybody, and of dubious relevance to the case.

Chief among the essential documents are Tashkent telegram number 63 of 22 July 2004, and the FCO’s reply to it, plus the further response from Tashkent. The FCO reply contains reference to ‘a series of meetings’. The Committee might wish to see the minutes of that series of meetings.

I believe that for the Committee to reach the truth of the question of British use of torture material, it is essential to see the minute of the meeting held on the specific subject of torture intelligence in the office of Linda Duffield, Director Wider Europe. I was summoned back to London for this meeting. I believe the date was 7 March 2003, but I might be a little out. It was the only meeting ever held between these four people. Present were Linda Duffield, Director Wider Europe, Matthew Kydd, Head of Whitehall Liaison Department, Sir Michael Wood, Legal Adviser and I, Ambassador to Tashkent. That meeting was minuted, and I have seen the minute which is held by Whitehall Liaison Department.

On 13 March 2003 Sir Michael Wood wrote a minute to Linda Duffield, copied to me, about part of the discussion at the meeting. I believe that this minute would also much interest the Committee.

I quite understand that the Committee cannot simply take my word when it is called into question by the Secretary of State. That is why I believe it is essential that the documentary evidence is made available to the committee.

I should be very grateful if you could pass copies of this email to all members of the committee. If you are precluded from doing this, I should be most grateful if you could tell me, so I may send copies directly. If a more formal means of communication is required, I should also be happy to oblige.

Craig Murray