So You Think This Is A Democracy? 71


Emails sent by members of the public to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights were deleted by the committee without even being read. Two people who happened to have enabled tracking sent me the following two automated repllies they received:

Your message

To: Joint Committee On Human Rights

Subject: Craig Murray:

Sent: Fri, 6 Mar 2009 20:51:41 -0000

was deleted without being read on Fri, 13 Mar 2009 10:46:42 -0000

and

Your message

To: Joint Committee On Human Rights

Cc: craig murray

Subject: Torture evidence on 10 March

Sent: Thu, 5 Mar 2009 14:47:36 -0000

was deleted without being read on Fri, 13 Mar 2009 10:46:42 -0000

Note the identical time of deletion. Evidently people’s emails were not even deleted individually but selected as a group and deleted en masse.

This is a shame because there was no template and people made some very telling individual points. Plainly people put time and thought into attempting to participate actively in a key part of a supposedly democratic process. It is a disgrace that these emails were deleted unread. Is the UK really a democracy now?

Here is a selection of some 500 which were copied to me. As people sent them to the committee over their names, I presume they would not mind the names being published here, but I do not give email addresses. Remember, if you even glance at them, that is more than the parliamentary committee on human rights did.

Dear Sirs/Mesdames

I have heard Craig Murray speak on the issue of torture in Uzbekistan and read his book Murder in Samarkand. I consider it of the utmost importance that a committee dealing with human rights should hear his testimony and display the openness which one would expect in a truly democratic country which claims to pride itself in transparency in all aspects of public life.

Yours faithfully

I Roberts-Parry

Dear Member of Joint Committee on Human Rights,

I am very concerned about the degree to which evidence appears to be stacking up to confirm that the UK Government may have been complicit in the rendition and torture of foreign nationals for the purposes of obtaining intelligence related to counter terrorism operations.

The latest reports which disturb me greatly relate to the report by UN Special Raporteur Martin Scheinin, together with the testimony of Binyam Mohammed, recently released from US custody at Guantanamo Bay, as reported in the Independent newspaper.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/un-condemns-britains-role–in-torture-cases-1641147.html

However, I have also followed the earlier reports about the claimed use of UK airports by CIA civil flights alleged to have been engaged in rendition of terrorism suspects, and am aware of the compelling evidence placed in the public domain by Mr Craig Murray, former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan. Having read Mr Murray’s book ‘Murder in Samarkand’ about the circumstances surrounding his claimed efforts to prevent the UK government from continuing to knowingly use intelligence information obtained through torture, and his subsequent dismissal from office I have to say that I regard Mr Murray’s accounts of his experiences as entirely credible and worthy of scrutiny by your committee.

I understand that Mr Murray has offered to appear before the Joint Committee on Human Rights and that your will meet shortly to consider whether to hear his evidence. I believe that Mr Murray by his actions at the time – as recorded in his book – and subsequently bears all the hallmarks of an honourable ‘whistleblower’ who should be heard, if there is any chance of the truth being uncovered.

In the interests of democracy and the reputation of Parliament I urge you to hear and assess Mr Murray’s evidence.

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Thompson

Dear Members of the Joint Committee on Human Rights,

I hope you will be hearing evidence from Craig Murray about the use of

evidence/intelligence gained by torture. He has had first hand experience of

this in Uzbekistan as many of us know who have heard him speak. It would

be extraordinary if you were to deliberately exclude him and not transparent

at all.

It would be to Britain’s shame if his evidence had to be routed through the

Human Rights Committee of the UN the next time they meet to review the

United Kingdom’s record on Human Rights.

Yours in peace, Robin Brookes

Devizes Peace & Justice Group

Dear JCHR,

It is my understanding that Craig Murray may not be allowed to give evidence to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights.

Unles there is an agenda which seeks other than the whole truth this makes no sense.

Leslie Dalton

Hi,

I have heard and read works by Craig Murray and believe you should hear his evidence related to whether or not the UK government used evidence as the result of torture.

It is important there is not cover up in this case.

Regards,

Martin

I would like to register my concern that the Government is trying to block Craig Murray’s valuable testimony to the human rights committee. I heard him speak in Caernarfon last year and his evidence is compelling. The validity and integrity of the committee’s discussion and conclusions depend on it hearing every side of the case.

Thank you

Anna Jane Evans

Dear Sir/Madam

I am writing to urge you to listen to Craig Murray’s evidence on torture claims. I have followed Mr Murray’s work and believe he is raising issues that the government are conveniently ignoring,often those who speak the truth are labelled madmen as the unthinkable become normalised.

I have followed Mr Murray’s work from his days in Uzbekistan and still cannot believe the British government’s complicity with that nation

I hope that he is given a chance to present his evidence

thank you

Dr N Haque

I hope I am in time to add my voice to those urging the Joint Committee on Human Rights to hear Craig Murray’s evidence on the government’s use of intelligence obtained through torture. His evidence may be unpalatable, but this issue must be dealt with comprehensively in order that the government never again resorts to such tactics. As a long time member of Amnesty, I spend a fair bit of time asking governments around the world to observe international law and the conventions they have ratified. Prohibition on the use of torture is absolute; we need to be setting an example, not sitting in the dock ourselves.

Liza Lishman

Swindon

We heard Craig Murray speak and read his book, Murder in

Samarkhand, in Caernarfon recently. We believe that a committee dealing

with human rights would

be derelict in its duty not to hear his evidence. Only when the

evidence is heard can its validity be determined. Your committee needs

to know all that it can learn about the use of evidence gained by torture.

Diolch yn fawr

Val Williams

Brian Thirsk

I strongly urge your committee to hear out Craig Murray’s evidence, which he is eager to give, as he has first-hand knowledge, as an ex-Ambassador to Uzbekistan, of this government’s skullduggery with regard to evidence gained from torture abroad.

I have heard Craig speak many times in public, and have the highest regard for his honesty and integrity in the face of a government with a track record of lies, deception, spin and secrecy.

The fact that the government is lobbying hard for his exclusion shows that it has something to hide. And, if you are in earnest at uncovering the truth and thereby stopping the evil practice of torture and restoring Britain’s battered reputation abroad, you cannot allow yourselves to capitulate to government pressure.

Nor can you take the risk of your inquiry becoming a white-wash if you fail to discharge the solemn duty entrusted to you.

Best wishes

Zahir Mecci

Dear Sir/Madam

I urge you to allow Craig Murray to stand as witness at the meeting on Tuesday 10 March of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights.

I heard him speak a few years ago, he has valuable information concerning UK complicity with torture which must be heard and acknowledged. He was a witness recently during the European Council’s enquiries into extraordinary rendition and his contribution was described by the European Council’s Rapporteur, Senator Dick Marty, as “Compelling and valuable”.

It would implicate the government still further in allegations of complicity in torture not to call this man as a witness, since he was British Ambassador in Uzbekistan from 2002 to 2004 where he

was regularly seeing intelligence from detainees in the Uzbek torture chambers, sent him by the CIA via MI6. He can confirm that British Ministers and officials were seeing the same torture material.

In October/November 2002 and January/Februray 2003 he sent two Top Secret telegrams to London specifically on the subject of UK receipt of intelligence gained under torture. He argued this was illegal, immoral and impractical. The telegrams were speciifically marked for the Secretary of State.

He was formally summoned back to the FCO for a meeting held on 7 or 8 March 2003 specifically and solely on the subject of intelligence gained under torture. Present were Linda Duffield, Director Wider Europe, FCO, Sir Michael Wood, Chief Legal Adviser, FCO, and Matthew Kydd, Head of Permanent Under-Secretary’s Department, FCO.

He was told at this meeting that it is not illegal for the UK to obtain intelligence gained by torture, provided that we did not do the torture ourselves. He was told that it had been decided that as a matter of War on Terror policy we should now obtain intelligence from torture, following discussion between Jack Straw and Richard Dearlove. He was told that we could not exclude receipt of specific material from the CIA without driving a coach and horses through the universality principle of the UK/US intelligence sharing agreement, which would be detrimental to UK interests.

Sir Michael Wood gave legal advice that it was not illegal to receive intelligence got by torture.

This would seem to go the heart of the issue.

I repeat there can be no excuse for excluding this evidence from your enquiry.

Yours faithfully

Roslyn Cook

Dear Chair

My name is Mair Jones and i’m writing to you and your Committe to request that you take evidence from Mr Craig Murray on the intelligence gathered from torture. It is unclear to me why your Committe has not come to a clear conclusion on whether to hear evidence from Mr Murray.

I had the honour to meet Mr Murray about 18 months ago on a visit to North Wales.

He attracted two large audiences on his visit to North Wales and was very well received.

I have been in the unfortunate position of being a whistleblower myself and regard Craig Murray’s actions as very honourable.

His uncomfortable testimony is crucial and needs to be heard.

You as a Committe need to set an example here by your actions and invite Mr Murray to give his evidence.

If we are to rebuild true democratic processes once again at some point in Britain, testimonies like Mr Murray’s need to be heard openly and with respect.

Yours sincerely

Mair Jones

Peace activist and carer

Dear Sirs, I am writing to urge the Joint Committee on Human Rights to hear Mr Craig Murray’s evidence in relation to your investigations into the UK’s compliance with the UN Convention against Torture. Clearly, Mr Murray has invaluable information for the Committee as a result of his experiences as Ambassador to Uzbekistan and his communications with the UK Government during that time. It seems to me that were it not for Mr Murray, the question of the UK’s compliance with UNCAT might not be in the public eye at all. I note that the Committee has already heard evidence from Mr Ian Cobain of The Guardian and from Human Rights Watch. Surely Mr Murray’s evidence will be at least as valuable as theirs. Yours faithfully,

Jane Ballard

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing to urge that the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights receive Craig Murray’s testimony with regard to torture. Neither the credibility of the committee, not that of the country is served by neglecting critical sources.

As an expatriate British citizen, I am deeply concerned with the loss of even the perception of honour, adherence to law, human dignity, or even handedness in our foreign relations. I do not believe that our government should consider itself above such petty considerations. When it does, far more than the mere perception of honour is lost.

Sincerely,

Stephen P. Abbott

I think it is imperative for Craig Murray to give evidence before the Joint Committee on Human Rights on the subject of the UK government’s policy on intelligence cooperation with torture abroad. I believe torture is morally repugnant and I think that it is an outrage that Britain is supporting torture in the 21st century.

I feel is rather worrying that a Committee specifically gathered to debate HUMAN RIGHTS should fight to silence one side of the debate.

Government Officials would do well to remember that they are elected representatives of the British public to be involved in atrocities in our name is totally unacceptable.

Miss Allen

To whom it may concern.

It is of the utmost importance that Craig Murray, (human rights activist and former British Ambassador) is able to give crucial evidence to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights on Tuesday 10th March. At a time when there is real concern over the issue of the awareness of the British Government to the issue of torture of detainees prior to their rendition to Guantanamo and elsewhere, evidence must be tested, and if necessary contested. It is inappropriate for any attempt to be made to prevent such evidence being given.

In my letter to the Foreign Secretary of 6 July 2006 concerning Benyam Mohammed Al Hasbashi I questioned whether the Government accepted evidence obtained by torture, and was assured in a reply from David Triesman, that the ‘British Government including the intelligence and security agencies, never uses torture for any purpose, including to obtain information. Nor does the British Government or its Security and Intelligence agencies ever instigate, condone, or otherwise support others in the use of torture for any purpose.’

The nature of democracy depends upon truthful responses from government, particularly in the area of Human Rights. I received this answer from the minister in good faith. If there is reason to question its veracity, the evidence must be able to be presented to ensure the integrity of democracy and the people’s trust in their elected representatives.

+Peter

The Rt Revd Peter B Price

Bishop of Bath & Wells

Dear members of the JCHR,

I met Mr. Craig Murray in Stockholm 2007 where he gave a talk about the situation in Uzbekistan, during a seminar on human rights, organized by Amnesty International. I have also read his book “Murder in Samarkand”, with great interest.

I believe his evidence to be a matter of grave importance and of high standard, and therefore kindly ask you to include his statement as a witness before the Joint Commission on human Rights.

Yours sincerely,

Fredrik W Engberg

Dear Sir/Madam

Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights: Hearing Evidence from Craig Murray.

I would like the committee to take the opportunity to hear the evidence that Craig Murray is willing to put forward. You will be aware of the range of experience that Mr Murray has, including his interest in human rights. I am sure that the evidence he can provide would be of interest to the committee.

Aefauldlie

Dr Bill Wilson MSP

Dear Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights,

On hearing that it was being ‘considered’ that Craig’s valuable evidence be withheld from a hearing where no less that the core ethical underpinnings of our society will be discussed, I was morally outraged. Such censoring is more akin to a totalitarian state than a self-proclaimed liberal democracy. This brief message is being sent in wholehearted support of Craig’s case and I am certain that my belief in his right to have his voice heard would be shadowed by the majority to the peoples of Great Britain.

Yours faithfully,

Adam Rolfe

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am very disturbed that Craig Murray is being denied the chance to speak to the JCHR. The UK government is involving itself in actions that are shaming it across the world, of which this is yet another example. Freedom of information and human rights must be aspects of life that Britain begins officially to respect. I have heard Craig Murray speak and his testimony to our disregard for fundamental aspects of democracy demands official action.

Yours sincerely,

Louis Bayman

To the Parliamentary Joint Human Rights Commission

I am very concerned about the reports that are coming to light regarding the British Government’s involvement in human rghts abuses outside the UK. It is of grave concern that our government are being implicated in such atrocities abroad.

I find it deeply worrying that David Milliband and Jacqui Smith have refused to appear before the human rights committee to answer questions regarding these allegations. I believe that these questions need to be answered and the truth revealed to the public.

I believe it is your duty to investigate the matter fully and consider all evidence available and to this end I would like to advocate that you listen to the evidence of Craig Murray, as I believe he has compelling evidence relating to this matter.

Yours sincerely

Cheryl MacDonald

Dear Sirs

I understand the Joint Committee on Human Rights has not yet decided to hear

the evidence of HM former Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray.

I am writing to respectfully ask that the committee hear Mr Murray’s

evidence.

I have followed Mr Murray’s writings closely since he was dismissed

from the FO for speaking out against British Government policy on torture.

He is clearly in a unique position to provide evidence pertinent to the

committees enquiries and is I believe in possession of documentary evidence

to substantiate his claims.

Were the committee to decline to hear his evidence it might be construed as a

Government ‘cover up’.

I can also highly recommend his latest book. “The Catholic Orangemen of Togo”.

It is very illuminating about the ‘Arms for Africa’ affair and a good read

too.

Yours

Derek Jennings

I’m writing to urge that Craig Murray be given an opportunity to

present evidence on rendition and torture to the parliamentary

enquiry.I have read and listened to some of Craig Murray’s compelling

evidence on this matter and it would be a travesty if an ex ambassador

with his insight was denied an opportunity to present evidence.

Yours sincerely,

Selwyn Wiliams

Senior Lecturer

Education Department

Bangor University

Dear Craig ‘

Have sent an email tp the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights as follows:

Dear Committee members,

I think it is most important that your committee hears Craig Murray, a former ambassador to Uzbekistan, on the subject of evidence of use of torture there used to produce evidence justifying them being held as terrorist suspects against the western powers, and possibly transported out of the country.

I heard him speak, and believe him to be a creditable witness, and I also have read his book, Murder in Samarkand.

Elaine Miles

Dear Sirs,

I consider it of crucial importance that Craig Murray be allowed to give evidence on the UK government’s secret collusion with the criminal Bush administration policy condoning the use of intelligence gained by torture. Only a rigorous process of investigation and prosecution can save Britain from being permanently stained by this vile, archaic foolishness. You are fortunate that Mr. Murray is willing and able to assist.

Yours faithfully,

A. Strenger Hodson

As someone who as read Craig Murray’s books and as a result gained an amount of respect for what he has to say, I feel for you to listen to what he as to say about UK government involvement in torture will serve multiple purposes.

Firstly it will likely open an avenue of enquiry which others with more to lose would not want to go down. Secondly it will likely furnish your enquriy with more depth and presumably lead to a more satisfactory outcome. And thirdly, it will help convince people like me that government equiries actually have real value, and are not just excuses to hide unpleasant truths.

Your faithfully,

Julian Coombes

Skelmersdale

Lancashire.

Dear Sirs,

Like many others, I am profoundly concerned to learn, while on

research leave abroad, that the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human

Rights decided not to come to an immediate decision on March 3 on

whether to hear the evidence of our former ambassador in Uzbekistan,

Craig Murray, on the UK government’s policy on intelligence obtained

through torture. Given his diplomatic experience, Mr Murray is an

extremely credible witness and a person who has clearly suffered

considerable defamation as a result of his following the dictates of

his conscience. Any evidence on British government collaboration with,

or acquiescence in the routine use of, torture by foreign governments

should be properly and exhaustively scrutinised by parliament. Having

read (and been shocked by) both the concerns that he reported to the

government and the government’s responses to them, I feel that it

would be particularly disturbing if he was not heard. I would

therefore like to add my voice to those urging that the Committee

determine on March 11 that it will hear Craig Murray’s evidence.

Yours sincerely,

John Gledhill

Max Gluckman Professor of Social Anthropology

Co-Director, Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies

The University of Manchester

I would like to urge the Joint Committee on Human Rights to give Craig

Murray the opportunity to give evidence to the Committee on what he

knows about the use of information obtained with the use of torture.

Unless his evidence is heard and evaluated any conclusions reached by

the Committee will always be suspect.

Frank Land

Emeritus Professor, Information Systems and Innovation Group London

School of Economics

I hear with disquiet about the likelihood that Craig Murray will be refused

the opportunity to present his evidence on torture to the Parliamentary

Joint Committee on Human Rights.

The present course of government and parliament, ready to sacrifice all in

the interests of some imagined perfect world of ‘security’, is extremely

worrying, and is remarked on around the world. Failure to follow President

Obama’s lead and embrace the possibilities for making a better world are

being closed at every turn for reasons inconceivable to all but an obsessed

few.

I have heard Craig Murray talk, and am myself somewhat acquainted with the

situation he confronted when he was in Uzbekistan. I can only hope that good

sense will prevail, and that this witness to inhumanity will be allowed to

speak where it matters. Whatever his evidence, the reports of all who have

seen torture at first hand must be brought out into the open if it is ever

to end. And any British government complicity in torture, wherever it took

place, needs to be uncovered so that British subjects do not suffer the

eternal shame of what might have been done in their name.

I urge you to hear Murray’s evidence.

Dr Caroline Finkel

It is very important that the evidence of Craig Murray be heard by the committee. Please do ensure that it forms part of the presentations to the committee.

Thank you,

Martha Mundy

Professor of Anthropology

LSE

re Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights.

Craig Murray wishes to offer himself as a witness before the Joint Commission on Human Rights on the subject of the UK government’s policy on intelligence cooperation with torture abroad. Any attempt to ‘blacklist’ him is an affront to so-called democracy in the UK,

J B Robinson

Dear Sir

Having read Craig Murry’s case I urge that you allow him to act as a witness before the Joint Commission on Human Rights on the subject of the UK government’s policy on intelligence cooperation with torture abroad.

I have seen the letter sent by Sir Michael Wood’s describing his legal advice that it was not illegal to receive intelligence got by torture was sent on to Mr Murry in Tashkent and I find it utterly disgusting and inappropriate that the British government has co-opperated with individuals or other state forces to gain evidence and/or intelligence from detainees under torture.

As a British film maker, I have fought against and followed the case of British resident Guantanamo Bay Prison detainee Binyam Mohammed (as supported by British lawyer Clive Stafford Smith). I fully understand the case and position that Mr Murry wishes to give evidence for and how this has implicated the British government as acting in an illegal and immoral manner.

I urge that Craig Murry, British Ambassador in Uzbekistan from 2002 to 2004, be allowed to give evidence before the Parliamentary Joint Commission on Human Rights on the above on the 10th March 2009./

Yours sincerely,

Anthony Bairstow

I am writing in support of Craig Murray’s appeal to be heard by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights.

I have often heard Craig Murray interviewed. I can quite understand the governments desire to exclude him, but I am distressed and confused by the apparent reluctance of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights to hear and to question him.

Regards,

Miles Stuart.

The Chairman and Members of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights

I strongly urge you to accept the offer of Craig Murray, former Ambassador to Uzbekistan, to submit evidence before the Joint Commission on Human Rights concerning the UK government’s policy on intelligence cooperation with torture abroad.

Given his first-hand account and documentary evidence on the subject, to conduct the hearing without him as witness would surely result in the serious undermining of the credibility of the commission.

Whilst reservations may be held by some within the FCO and parliamentary circles about his breaching of the Official Secrets Act, much of the body of his evidence is already documented through his website and two published books, and it therefore deserves the scrutiny of the commission if the matter is to be taken seriously. The importance of understanding our government’s behaviour on the issue of using intelligence from torture and flouting of basic human rights should supersede this and all other concerns.

Yours faithfully,

Gareth Williams,

I am writing to express my abhorence and total disagreement with the view currently held by our government that the use of torture to obtain intelligence is acceptable provided othe people do our dirty work for us. Apart from strong moral objections the practice doesn’t even work!!!.Evidence obtained under torture is totally unreliable and I am appalled that my government condones these medieval practices.

I write to urge the jchr to hear evidence from Craig Murray on March 10. It is essential that such an important witness be allowed to speak. This very grave matter should not be hushed up and swept away . What will future generations think of us?

Yours sincerely

Mary Weston (Mrs)

I am writing to urge that Craig Murray should be allowed to give

evidence to the JCHR session on March 10th.

I followed Craig’s work for several years, in particular since my time

as Acting Programme Director at Amnesty International, and feel I can

vouch for his integrity, consistency and relevance.

The points he wishes to submit with respect to his posting in

Uzbekistan are clearly substantial and relevant to your committee’s

current investigations.

I would be grateful if you would inform me of the committee’s position

on this matter.

Yours sincerely

Dr. Dan McQuillan FRSA

Having served as a member of HM Diplomatic Service in the 1970s and having heard him speak at Chatham House, of which I am a member, I would urge the committee to hear what Craig Murray has to say.

Lawrence F T Smith OBE

Sir/Ms

I understand that on Tuesday 10 March the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights will discuss whether or not to hear the evidence of Craig Murray on the UK government’s policy of using intelligence from torture, having discussed whether to hear his evidence on 3 March but failed to reach a conclusion.

I have read Murray’s book, attended a number of speaking engagements by him and discussed his knowledge with him on two occasions. His knowledge of British Government attitudes and actions in respect of the use of torture for intelligence are both of critical importance and as yet unimpeached but legitimate objection. This is the view of many scholars up and down the country who have reviewed it, and his own narrative and correspondence and compelling. Murray appeared as a witness in person before both the European Parliament and European Council’s enquiries into extraordinary rendition. His evidence was described by the European Council’s Rapporteur, Senator Dick Marty, as “Compelling and valuable”.

That the JCHR is considering whether to hear the evidence is disappointing to all who think that the best way to come to some resolution of some of the worst excesses perpetrated in the name of, but ineffectively for, security is to have a proper and legitimate enquiry. Failure by the appropriate Parliamentary Committee will only strengthen views that it is ineffective and at the behest of a Government and establishment anxious to cover up its lapses in judgement and ethical conduct. It will also strengthen calls for a full public enquiry. The question is not whether the JCHR should hear Murray’s evidence, it is whether it can afford not to. Either the JCHR is interested in Human Rights as fundamental to a civilised society and willing to accept that involves hearing unpalatable truths, or it is a product of lip service to legislation with no credibility to its enquiries. I dearly hope it is the former.

Regards

Paul Reynolds

Centre Director

Centre for Research Ethics and Ethical Deliberation

To the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights:

As a psychologist who has worked with victims of torture from around the world, I ask that you Mr. Craig Murray be allowed to testify at your upcoming hearing. I have followed Mr. Murray’s work from afar, and his courage in speaking out against government collusion in torture is both honorable and heroic. A number of my colleagues found inspiration and hope for the future by the example of Mr. Murray’s public stand against torture.

Our two societies — the United States and the United Kingdom — are struggling to emancipate themselves from the most barbaric of all practices by which a government can exercise its power. Terrible crimes have been and are being done in our names. I look to the the great traditions of the English Parliament, which historically stood against tyranny and executive absolute rule, to make once again a historic stand against the brutality embraced by supposedly democratic governments.

Mr. Murray has a great deal of first hand evidence to offer. He should be called as an important material witness, and all efforts by the executive to exclude him should be rebuffed.

I speak as a clinician to many whose lives were ruined by torture. I am also a scholar, having given a paper at the 2007 meeting of the American Psychological Association on the history of U.S. government-funded research into sensory deprivation during the 1950s-1960s, and the results of that research, which was later used to help shape the abusive detention and interrogation policies of the modern day.

I thank the good members of the Joint Committee for your time.

Yours respectfully,

Jeffrey S. Kaye, Ph.D.

Dear Sir/Madam,

I urge the Joint Committee on Human Rights to call the former British Ambassador Craig Murray to give evidence regarding the British Government’s policy on the torture of terrorist suspects, at your meeting on 10 March. Not to do so would deprive the Committee of the opportunity to hear important evidence calling into question the truth of the Government’s stated public position on this crucial matter, offered by someone with direct experience of the issue in his capacity as the senior British representative in Uzbekistan from 2002 – 04. It is difficult to see how the JCHR can properly carry out its function of scrutinising the Government’s track record with respect to fundamental human rights, or retain any credibility as an independent Parliamentary watchdog, if it closes its ears to critical voices and refuses to consider relevant evidence.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Graham Dawson

Reader in Cultural History

Dear Sir or Madam Chair

I would like to urge you in the strongest possible terms that Mr Craig Murray be allowed to give evidence before your Committee next week. I have heard Mr Murray speak most movingly and with both unalloyed clarity and utmost authority on the issue of torture, extraordinary rendition and the wholesale abuses of human rights that have proliferated since the inception of so-called ‘War on Terror’, launched after that terrorist outrage more popularly, if improperly, known as ‘9/11’.

I have read Murray’s work on Uzbekistan and I would suggest that given the recently publicised, yet long denied, cases of torture having been meted out on UK residents in various locations abroad, apparently with the alleged connivance of the British security services, his voice should most definitely be heard.

I am convinced he has a series of evidentially based observations that will most definitely illumine your Committee’s deliberations on this subject, which, given your undoubted desire to maintain Britain’s standing in the world as the mother of parliaments, as well as to protect the sanctity of our reputation for being inveterate champions of international justice, liberty and fair play, is presently one of greatest possible public concern.

Therefore, I can think of no one more qualified to speak to you at this most critical period in the struggle for the preservation of our human rights and civil liberties, someone who has helped ensure that our long cherished, democratic values are unequivocally upheld at a time when the current UK government has seen fit to drastically curtail our hard won freedoms and to control/ structure the debate around our security by donning the dubious, and by now it must be said, rather tattered cloak of the ‘national interest’, which, in my long experience, is most invariably invoked whenever governments are being less than candid.

Thanking you in anticipation of your most careful consideration of this matter

Yours sincerely

Phil Vellender

To Whom it May Concern,

I am writing to urge the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights to hear evidence from Craig Murray. His evidence and opinions have a provenance in the current public debate that make it imperative that he be heard in this important forum.

Sincerely,

Dr Richard Jackson

Editor, Critical Studies on Terrorism

Department of International Politics, Aberystwyth University

Dear Sir/Madam

I understand the Joint Committee on Human Rights is due to take

evidence on the question of using security intelligence obtained via

torture abroad, and that Mr. Craig Murray, former British Ambassador,

has offered to take part.

It would seem to me that if the UK has accepted intelligence obtained

through torture, or has encouraged torture abroad in order to procure

specific items of evidence, that any session on this topic would be a

waste of time unless these questions can be considered. Since Mr.

Murray would like to give evidence, and since he maintains with good

reason that he can prove that the UK had/has a policy of co-operating

with torturers, I cannot think of a single reason why you may not want

to see him.

I believe that your committee discussed the question of accepting Mr.

Murray as a witness, on 3 March, but were unable to come to a

decision. I am perplexed as to why this could be the case, and would

hope that if you choose not to call him as a witness, that the

official record of the session includes a clear statement as to the

reason why.

Meanwhile, I have read Mr Murray’s written work, and in my view he is

a man of principle and great courage. Whilst there are some people who

clearly would prefer Mr Murray to be excluded from your process, I am

confident that you can overcome those obstacles and I look forward to

reading what comes out of your sessions.

Needless to say, should it come to the attention of the committee that

Members of the Cabinet have actively colluded in torturing people, it

can only be right that those Members are also required to give

evidence, so that justice can be done, can be seen to be done, and can

be seen to apply to everybody equally.

Yours sincerely,

Jonathan Hinks

Birmingham

To whom it may concern,

I would like strongly support the right of Craig Murray to give evidence on the UK government’s policy of

using intelligence from torture at the upcoming meeting of the Joint Committee on Human Rights. This is important evidence that needs to be heard,

yours

Professor Mark McGovern

Edge Hill University

Not to allow Craig Murray’s evidence to inform your considerations would be

like discussing space exploration without listening to the leading space

scientist – and to give in to pressure that it’s part of your responsibility

to resist.

Bob Brecher

Reader in Moral Philosophy

University of Brighton


71 thoughts on “So You Think This Is A Democracy?

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  • Ruth

    Interestingly the topic changed after I posted the following comment:

    Re Mary’s comment regarding Soames and Aegis.

    It’s odd that an MP is vice-chairman of Spicer’s mercenary company in Iraq. May be this mercenary army is in fact owned by the ‘deep government’ or the Privy Council and that Spicer is the front man.

    An interesting question would be where Spicer got his start up money for his previous company, Sandline.

    Perhaps there’s more than a little truth in what I wrote.

  • A Muslim speaks

    I am certainly not an establishment spook trying to stop Craig giving formal evidence to the committee, and I’m very sure the same is true of anticant and researcher. Discussions do wander! But your point is acknowledged.

    Ruth, your bringing up Spicer and Soames was itself a topic deviator (worthy of discussion though it may be) and speaking for myself, there was no intent to get off the Soames/Aegis connection. Given that Spicer is likely to be passed secret information for various operations in Iraq (and perhaps elsewhere), he and his company of killers should be fully and independently investigated outside the inquiries act, as well as the Soames connection including any issues of graft that may be involved. The findings should be results be made public. I think almost here would agree.

    And anticant, it as actually you who specifically brought up the Islam/Britain issue in your 12:21 PM post. You were not simply reacting as the “Islamic content” was about Muslims in Muslim countries living under the jack boot of despotic Muslim Leaders. But it’s no big deal.

    Back to JCHR, it would be a(nother) gross violation of British democratic tradition (and probably I would guess legal procedure) if he (or the of the committee) saw any supposed justification in amongst what is discussed here as authorisation to reject any communication to them to call Craig to formally present his evidence.

    I agree, if Dismore or the committee do as you suggested, then we should take greater steps to petition them not to ignore Craig.

  • anticant

    I brought up the Muslim issue in the context of stifling criticism. I am entirely in accord with your views about the Middle East. Western – and especially British – policy has been disastrous there ever since the 1914-18 war.

    Alas, I am not an establishment spook.I don’t think they would have me, although I could do with the money…..

  • mary

    Forwarded Alert: UK/USA ?” A Public Independent Inquiry must be Held into the Full Extent of British Involvement in Extraordinary Rendition

    16 March 2009

    Demand an end to British involvement in extraordinary rendition and firm assurances, backed by evidence, that the UK is no longer involved in any way.

    16 March 2009

    Forwarded Alert: UK/USA ?” A Public Independent Inquiry must be Held into the Full Extent of British Involvement in Extraordinary Rendition

    Background to “Extraordinary Rendition”:

    “Extraordinary rendition” is the illegal CIA programme of kidnapping individuals in one country and flying them to another country or countries to be tortured. The CIA alleges that it is an intelligence-gathering exercise, yet the use of evidence obtained through torture is banned in most countries. Torture is banned completely under international law and is not allowed under any circumstance anywhere in the world.

    The CIA has admitted to “rendering” over 30,000 men, women and children who just “disappear” off the face of the Earth. The actual number may be far higher. Countries all over the world, in all continents, have been involved in the programme, either through sharing intelligence used in the programme, allowing “rendition” flights to stop over, refuel on or fly over their territories, assisting in torture directly or handing over individuals to be “rendered”. The UK is involved too.

    continues on http://www.ihrc.org.uk/show.php?id=4038

  • Anas Taunton

    In short, Israel needs the whole world to use its banking system which it can clean out from time to time AND to scare the wits out of any civilian population that opts out of this racket

    by the use of extraordinary rendition.

    Rome got fed up with them in 30 A.D. How long is it going to take today’s

    superpowers to come to the same conclusion?

  • Anas Taunton

    Sorry, in 30ish A.D. Jesus peace be upon him, prophecied the destruction of the newly reconstructed temple. Mark 13, Luke 21. Jerusalem was broken up by Rome after 70 A.D.

    If you think I am being anti-semitic, why not read what he said about his own people.

    ‘ Alas for you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackloth and ashes ‘.

    Since the holocaust we have forgotten who and what these people are and nobody can say one thing against them. They are the instigators of the U.S. policy of torture and genocide.

    Allah says of them in the Qur’an, quoting what He revealed in the Torah, Qur’an Surah 17, 4 – 8, after speaking of the destruction of the temple by Rome. ‘In udtum, udna’

    If you return to ( wrong ), We will return ( to punishment likewise ).

    It is a infallible promise from Allah that the financial crimes and crimes against humanity of torture generally and genocide in Iraq, which the Jews have instigated and to which we are witnesses today, will be punished, and all their accomplices with them.

  • craig

    Anas

    I am no more tolerant of rants against Jews than I am of rants against Muslims. People are people. The State of Israel is a bad construct and causes much harm in the World. To generalise from that to Jews in general is plain wrong. And as for anathematising a people based on some supposedly divine piece of ancient writing, that is not acceptable either.

  • Anas Taunton

    Yes , Craig. But the reason why I knew Mrs Thatcher was wrong to do what she did and others did not, and Mr Blair was wrong to do what he did and others did not, was because of those ancient, divine texts and therefore I stick with them even if it’s not acceptable to my more naive, non-political anglo-saxon personality.

  • john alsford

    Dear Craig Murray

    In regard of religious excesses in my own locale I think it worth reminiscing on a film in which the American aactor Gig Young played Adolf Hitler…”mistakes and all that kinda thing”. If such a film axists and considering some excesses use American influence in a way that is spoilt.

    I don’t mean the film would be spoilt. far from it.I live in Lancaster England

  • john alsford

    Dear Craig Murray

    In regard of religious excesses in my own locale I think it worth reminiscing on a film in which the American aactor Gig Young played Adolf Hitler…”mistakes and all that kinda thing”. If such a film axists and considering some excesses use American influence in a way that is spoilt.

    I don’t mean the film would be spoilt. far from it.I live in Lancaster England

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