Publish and be damned 1

Many of you will have followed the saga of my efforts to publish my book, now called Murder in Samarkand, describing some of the dirty truth of the so-called War on Terror. I have been perhaps too accommodating to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), but they still insist on dragging out the process forever. Anyway, my patience with their games is finally exhausted, and I have sent notice to the FCO that I intend to go ahead and publish anyway. They will have to go to court to try to enforce a ban.

I have found an excellent publisher in Mainstream Books of Edinburgh, but it takes a lot of guts for a publisher to take on the government in these circumstances.

It would help my cause greatly in getting these truths published if you could help show there is a real demand for this book by pre-ordering it. You can do this now at If you are not able to pay up front, then you could have the same impact by printing off the amazon page and taking the details to your local bookstore to order it.

I won’t pretend that I don’t need the money from the book, as I have spent the last year campaigning against torture, the abuse of intelligence, and support of tyranny, with almost no income. But this is not just a sell – if you can act on this now, it really will help to get the book published. As you will gather from the contents of this website, it is a fascinating story, and it needs to be told.


From Craig Murray

To Richard Stagg


There is now an extensive correspondence over many months on my efforts to clear my book with the FCO for publication. You have had many months to deliberate.

In the ensuing discussions, I have made, as requested, the following very extensive amendments.

*I have removed two accusations that Colin Powell was lying

*I have edited out those parts of my conversation with the US Ambassador which had the quality of confidence, were indiscreet, or differed from public US policy on Uzbekistan

*I have removed the detail of two SIS intelligence reports

*I have removed the reference to GCHQ telephone intercepts

*I have removed completely references to the role of Research Analysts in intelligence anaysis

*I have made plain that Duncan does not support my recollection that he said Research Analysts were in tears over pressure brought over claims of Iraqi WMD

*I have changed the attributions of several comments made by Uzbek LE staff

*I have given false names to several Uzbek LE staff

*I have removed several references to my contention that the Embassy did not function well before my arrival

*I have removed the reference to an early hiccough in Andrew Patrick’s career

*I have changed statements made by Matthew Kydd and Linda Duffield (frankly, I believe my original account was more accurate)

*I have reduced the gruesome detail of the aircraft crash body identification, and particularly taken out physical detail personal to Richard Conroy

*I have removed or toned down a number of personal observations on FCO staff

*I have taken out the reference to Frank Berman being appointed over David Anderson

I believe the above, which is not exhaustive, is proof of a genuine willingness on my part to compromise to reach agreement. I am deeply disappointed that, throughout this process, I have felt no urge on the part of the FCO to actually conclude this matter. Past correspondence sets out the timescale and the FCO’s continued invention of new points to prevent the process concluding.

I therefore give you notice that, should I not receive a definitive response from you by Friday 10 February, I shall be going ahead with publication. In that event I will not feel obliged to retain all the above amendments, some of which I believe detract from the truth of the book and which I offered in response to your various requests, in the belief that we were seeking agreement.

Craig Murray

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One thought on “Publish and be damned

  • Chuck Unsworth

    Most of the changes detailed above are changes to legitimately held opinions.

    It's disturbing to understand that FCO sees its role as censoring such views – although one can support the concept of protecting state secrets under the terms of current legislation. Equally it's worrying that FCO officials seem preoccupied with obscuring the internal workings (or failures!) of their department.

    After all, there are many laws which both the State and individuals may invoke to pursue authors or publishers if they so wish.

    The Official Secrets Acts are there to be used as necessary and I think authors who are former public servants, such as Craig, should abide by those rules only and not by a gamut of arbitrary defensive decisions made by other (current) public servants. Almost certainly none of the requests for changes have any real value or legal validity. Thus the demands are for – at best – a finessing of the realities.

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