Ex-ambassador skewers CIA 5

By Monica Eng in the Chigaco Tribune

Six weeks after Craig Murray started his job as British ambassador to Uzbekistan in 2002, a packet of photos landed on his desk. Inside were pictures a mother had taken of her son’s mutilated corpse. The young man, a political prisoner accused of having ties to radical Islam, had been tortured, beaten and immersed in boiling water.

“And,” Murray recently told an audience at the University of Chicago, “when that guy was boiled to death, you paid to heat the water.” He was referring to the $500 million in U.S. aid given to the Uzbeks in 2002.

Murray, 47, visited Chicago during a recent college speaking tour with other members of the Bush Crimes Commission, a group that seeks to document, through outside experts, what it believes are crimes committed by the Bush administration.

The veteran diplomat left the foreign service in 2004 and has written an as-yet unpublished memoir he titles “Murder in Samarkand” about his time as ambassador to the Central Asian nation. During his tumultuous tenure, he openly criticized the human rights practices of his host country, met with government critics and was charged by his own government with trading sex for visas and 17 other infractions. (All were dismissed except for two minor charges.)

British film director Michael Winterbottom (“24 Hour Party People”) has announced that he will make a movie based on Murray’s memoir. The following is an edited transcript of two interviews.

Q. You talk about the CIA intelligence reports you received being “full of lies” that “came from the [Uzbek] torture chamber.” How do you know?

A. We had a report back that there was an Al Qaeda training camp in the hills of Samarkand from which they were going to swoop down and take the city. Ridiculous. We went, and there was nothing there. And if I could find that out, the CIA could, because they had a much bigger staff.

These agencies were routinely getting the information through sadistic torture, by which I mean the smashing of knees and elbows, electrocution, pulling of fingernails and toenails, the mutilation of genitals and very commonly the rape of family members in front of the person [whom] they wanted to sign. If you torture people, they will sign anything.

Q. You talk about the cold response to your concerns over torture evidence from our own government. How did the Americans react?

A. When I challenged the American officials about the intelligence being false, they told me that it was “operationally useful,” but at no point did anyone ever say to me that the information didn’t come from torture or that the information was true.

Q. The U.S. stopped supporting the Uzbek government in 2005 after it massacred hundreds of civilians in Andijan. In response, our air base was forced out. Isn’t that progress?

A. U.S. criticism of Andijan wasn’t really the reason the Uzbeks kicked out the air base. That decision was made the previous November as part of a deal Uzbekistan made with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Gazprom [the Russian gas company].

Q. “Murder in Samarkand” refers to an actual event, right?

A. Yes. I was having a talk over dinner with this professor and dissident in Samarkand one night, and while we were having dinner, his grandson was abducted off the street, tortured and, at about 4 o’clock in the morning, dumped on the doorstep. I was subsequently told by the Russian ambassador that it had been done by the Uzbek authorities as a message for me to stop meeting with dissidents.

Q. Do you think transporting suspects to countries where other nationals can interrogate them using torture is still going on?

A. I have no reason at all to think the policy has changed. But [the CIA is] being much more careful about touching down in Europe with prisoners onboard, because of all the fuss in Europe and the investigations going on.

Q. Do you think other diplomats are disillusioned by this policy but are afraid to speak out?

A. I think there is a great deal of fear.

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5 thoughts on “Ex-ambassador skewers CIA

  • Richard II

    Complain as much as you want about this post, Chuck – I'm not interested!

    This should be right up your street, however.

    I'm posting this so as many people as possible know about this:

    Everyone must watch this video. It proves that Blair is a liar, a mass murderer, and deserves to hang:

    Jessie Macbeth, a Former Army Ranger and Iraq War Veteran speaks about his time in Iraq:

    "When we were doing the night raids in the houses, we would pull people out and have them all on their knees and zip-tied. We would ask the man of the house questions. If he didn't answer the way we liked, we would shoot his youngest kid in the head. We would keep going, this was our interrogation. He could be innocent. He could be just an average Joe trying to support his family. If he didn't give us a satisfactory answer, we'd start killing off his family until he told us something. If he didn't know anything, I guess he was SOL.

    "For not speaking out, I feel like I'm betraying my battle-buddies that


    "When we were in Kuwait, we got debriefed about our mission. Our job over there is to strike fear in the hearts of Iraqis. That's what they told us. They said, you can do whatever it takes. We're not going to hold anything against you. You're not going to get charged for anything. Do whatever it takes to make them fear you, to be brutal, to not feel.

    "They said, we're not their for them. We got our own purpose. We're not their for them. There's the Geneva Convention that doesn't mean crap. The Geneva Convention is just some political crap.

    "Once I heard that, I'm like, what happened to, uh, what happen to, you know, the army values, you know, the stuff you pumped us up for. What happened to, just going away to liberate the people. Operation Iraqi Freedom is more like Operation Iraqi slaughter.

    "They had us go out and clear out the bunkers, after the air force had bombed the crap out of them. So, we had to go in there, and make sure everything in there was dead still. If there was women, children, whatever, if they weren't dead, we had to finish them off, and drag their bodies out."

    Much more shocking stuff in the interview.

    And because I'm British, an article to show that British values mean nothing – we are as bad as the Americans!

    Bloodshed and whitewash:

    Britain and the Rwanda genocide

    by Mark Curtis, historian

    March 2004

    The invasion of Iraq and the Hutton report are two sides of the same coin: the former shows that policies are made by a tiny cabal of people around the prime minister, impervious to public influence; the latter shows that this cabal is protected from serious accountability.

    Britain's political system, clearly more totalitarian than democratic, can enable policy-makers to get away with murder, as the events of ten years ago show.

    Next month is the tenth anniversary of the Rwanda genocide that killed a million people. There has been astounding silence on one aspect of this slaughter – the culpability of British policy-makers.

    Check other articles by Mark Curtis here: http://www.markcurtis.info

  • Richard II

    "Everyone must watch this video. It proves that Blair is a liar, a mass murderer, and deserves to hang:"

    As do the rest of Labour's ministers.

  • Richard II

    I've made a small transcipt of a couple of more things Jessie Macbeth said:

    8 mins 38s in the interview:

    "…we'd do that to like maybe several houses. Multiple houses, slaughtering 30 or 40 people a night sometimes, women and children. I didn't sign up to kill women and children, you know…I wanted to fight other elite soliders, go out and be, you know, but I had to go and fight kids and women and innocent people who don't know how to fight. I really got disappointed in my country. I got disappointed in my government, but I didn't say anything because I would have been locked up, got court marshaled, if I spoke out about what I had to do.

    13 mins 55s into the interview:

    "Iraq is horrible. A lot of people are dying, and a lot of stuff happening. I lost a lot of buddies myself.

    "A lot of people are coming home messed up in the head and not able to deal with stuff they had to do over there, and our government doesn't care, and most of the people don't care. There's a lot of people that do care, but most of the Americans doesn't care because there are homeless Iraqi veterans, there homeless Vietnam veterans out there, there homeless Desert Storm veterans out there, and people who really care as much as they say they did, they'd get out…and make a difference, they'll stop the killing, because everybody that's for the war, they're supporting all the dying over there, all the loss of life.

    "The death toll of Iraqis, it's not what they say in the news – it's like hundreds of thousands of people. I didn't know that many people could die, you know, and be hidden from the world, you know, until I was in Iraq. I've seen huge ground pits filled with bodies that are being burned or buried or covered up, and how can you hide that from the rest of the world, you know, how can you hide all the deaths, all the innocent people. It's like mass genocide on us.

    "Our country has become terrorists, that's why people hate us.

    "I love my country. I would die for my country any day, but I won't die for our president, for our government.

  • Richard II

    Apologies for any spelling errors. I forgot to spell check what I wrote.

  • Richard II




    This is what happens when I don't investigate first.

    Jessie Macbeth made be a fraud!

    IVAW Statement on MacBeth Video

    "Iraq Veterans Against the War recently learned of a video interview with Jesse MacBeth that directs viewers to IVAW's website and phone number. IVAW was not made aware of the creation of this video program and our input on it was never sought by its producers. Jesse MacBeth is not a spokesperson for IVAW and any claims made by MacBeth about his service have not been verified. We are currently investigating these claims and will have a full statement pending its resolution."

    Looks like propaganda to make critics of the war look foolish.

    What's true; what's not. Getting hard to tell! Propaganda everywhere you look.

    Iran Target of Apparent Disinformation Ploy:

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