Speaking the unspeakable: Craig Murray on University speaking tour in the US 3

Following his appearance at the Europena Parliament enquiry (see previous posts), Craig is now on a speaking tour in the US.

On the April 26 he spoke at Harvard University Law School as part of a program endorsed by Harvard Law Students for Peace & HLS NLG Student Chapter and then moved on to to Massachusetts Institute of Technology on the 27th.

On May 3rd he is due to speak at UC Berkeley, followed by Stanford University on the 4th, UCSC on the 5th, Sonoma State University of California on the 6th and University of Chicago/Northwestern University on the 9th.

For further details of the National Campus Speaking Tour and other speakers see Speaking the Unspeakable

More on the event at UCSC is given below.

From UC Santa Cruz Currents

Former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, will speak on U.S. and British sanctioned torture in Uzbekistan prisons on Friday, May 5, from noon to 2 p.m. at the Stevenson College Fireside Lounge. Admission is free and open to the public.

Craig Murray served as British ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004.

Murray was fired after he released classified documents affirming the existence of torture and U.S. and British complicity in it. Last fall, he was a key witness at the International Commission of Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity by the Bush Administration held in New York City.

UCSC psychology professor Craig Haney, an authority on U.S. prisons, the death penalty, and torture, will comment on Ambassador Murray’s presentation. An open discussion will follow. The event will be moderated by feminist studies professor Bettina Aptheker.

For more information on Murray, go to www.democracynow.org for the text of an interview with Amy Goodman on January 16, 2006. This event is sponsored by Faculty Against War, Cultural Studies, the Institute for Advanced Feminist Research, and the Santa Cruz County Chapter of the ACLU.

And for another view on this forthcoming event go here

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3 thoughts on “Speaking the unspeakable: Craig Murray on University speaking tour in the US

  • Richard II

    In a speech given by Craig Murray in 2004, Mr Murray says:

    "British American Tobacco [BAT] is the largest foreign investor in Uzbekistan. They deserve congratulation on their efforts to improve the lot of the farmers who supplied them and to encourage real private enterprise. But they face continual difficulties.

    "They were allowed to pay only 40 per cent of the price of the tobacco to the farmers; sixty per cent had to go to the local authority and the collective farm in theory in return for services to the farmer, in fact largely for peculation. They were trying hard to increase the farmers' share to 50%."

    It bothers me when people congratulate corporations. First, did the CEO of BAT sit down one day and say, "How can we improve the lot of those poor Uzbek farmers? I know! BAT can set up shop in Uzbekistan. And, then – because no one else will! – we'll pay those wretched farmers a decent income"?

    No; of course, he or she didn't.

    Second, by praising corporations, it just bolsters their illegitimate position of power and authority over the rest of us. Us little people should be ever so grateful to those benevolent corporations; they give us jobs and feed us plenty well. We had better not speak ill of them!

    Why aren't workers praised for turning up every day at work, labouring the hours corporations specify?

    Corporations make goods, but who makes corporations? Workers!

    In his speech, Craig doesn't say how much Uzbek farmers are paid, only that they receive 40% of the price of the tobacco.

    BAT might have wanted to give them 50%, but 50% of a pittance is still a pittance.

    "How the East Was Won – BAT and Big Tobacco's Conquest of the Former Soviet Union":


    "'[T]he dramatic increase in the proportion of the world's cigarette market now open to free enterprise [make these] the most exciting times I have seen in the tobacco industry in the last 40 years,' stated Patrick Sheehy, chairman of BAT Industries between 1982 and 1995, in October 1990.

    "'The emerging markets of Central Asia and the former Soviet Union in particular have immense potential and are of crucial significance to BAT,' explained Johnson. 'As the long-established markets of North America and Europe mature and contract ? and they will continue to do so over the next five to ten years ? it is vital that we find new markets to grow and expand our business. ? [T]he real opportunities for growth lie in the former Soviet Union and this is where we will be focusing much of our attention over the next few years.'"

    And Uzbekistan is?

    Part of the former Soviet Union!

    Another extract:

    "This article draws on internal BAT documents, made public as part of the tobacco industry's settlement of litigation brought by the U.S. states. It shows how the company created demand in the former Soviet Union for legally imported and smuggled products, and then worked to ensconce itself in the region. Its investments, in turn, created a bigger marketing and political presence for BAT that ultimately resulted in elevated cigarette consumption and a powerful domestic lobby against anti-smoking regulations."

    The article goes on to say that BAT exploits the desire of young people in former communist countries to live a comfortable Western lifestyle by plying them with cigarettes, a product associated with affluence and status.

    "In Uzbekistan, BAT noted, 'Historically, local products have been too strong to attract large numbers of female smokers. Female smoking is now more socially acceptable and females can be drawn into the market via menthol offers or lighter brands.'"

    BAT's designs on Uzbekistan are obvious: to get more Uzbeks smoking, particularly females, and to get them hooked at a young age.

    "BAT gained a dominant position in Uzbekistan, with reports suggesting it spent more than $300 million on the country's tobacco industry. By 1999, BAT had achieved a market share of over 70 percent in Uzbekistan, and as the country's largest foreign investor, has been able to secure favorable treatment from the government, including a five-year extension of its preferential tax-exempt status."

    BAT, being the world's second largest tobacco company, naturally needs preferential tax-exempt status.

    "The core of BAT's argument for privatization was that privatization and BAT investment would financially benefit governments. Notes on Patrick Sheehy's visit to Uzbekistan and meeting with President Karimov, for example, outline how Sheehy emphasized that increased quality and exports of tobacco leaf plus import substitution could increase government revenues: 'SPS [Sir Patrick Sheehy] mentioned to President benefit that would accrue to state viz: $20-25 mn value of leaf (improved quality and exports) $20-25 mn import substitution + others i.e. at least $50 mn p.a.' A hand written note next to this memo also indicates that Sheehy stressed the macro-economic benefit of investment."

    BAT wants to help the world by spreading cancer and illness in developing countries, and garnering preferential tax-exempt status from as many "Third World" governments as possible, the basis for real private enterprise.

  • Richard II

    I forgot to include the part of the article after BAT stressed the "advantages" of privatization to Karimov:

    "The reality was, however, far different. BAT's actions undermined the various FSU [former Soviet Union] governments' ability to reap economic benefits from their tobacco industries.

    "BAT avoided competitive tenders wherever possible, acknowledging that tenders would increase the prices they would have to pay for assets in the region.

    "BAT redesigned tobacco taxation systems to its advantage, in one instance halving the rate of excise tax, thereby undermining public health efforts to curb tobacco use while simultaneously reducing government revenue.

    "Much needed revenues were further reduced through BAT's extensive involvement in smuggling cigarettes to the region. In Belarus, for example, BAT continues to market its brands heavily despite having little official market share, a practice that can only be explained by a substantial presence in the illegal market thought to represent 40 percent of the total."

  • Richard II

    Short article, written in 2002, and related to Uzbekistan only in the sense that British and American interest in the Middle East has, for decades, been kindled and re-kindled by the presence oil:

    "Cheap oil is a RIGHT! Conservation is just letting the terrorists WIN!":

    It's just a refresher article!

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