Your Help Needed – Reveal Torture to Stop It 57


On Tuesday 10 March the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights will discuss whether or not to hear my evidence on the UK government’s policy of using intelligence from torture. They discussed whether to hear my evidence on 3 March but failed to reach a conclusion.

The government is lobbying hard for my exclusion. I need everybody to send an email to [email protected] to urge that I should be allowed to give evidence. Just a one-liner would be fine. If you are able to add some comment on the import of my evidence, or indicate that you have heard me speak or read my work, that may help. Please copy your email to [email protected]

Please also pass on this plea to anyone you can and urge them to act. Help from other bloggers in posting this appeal would be much appreciated.

The evidence I am trying to give the parliamentary committee is this:

I wish to offer myself 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 appeared as a witness in person before both the European Parliament and European Council’s enquiries into extraordinary rendition. My evidence was described by the European Council’s Rapporteur, Senator Dick Marty, as “Compelling and valuable”.

The key points I wish to make are these:

– I was British Ambassador in Uzbekistan from 2002 to 2004.

– I learned and confirmed that I was regularly seeing intelligence from detainees in the Uzbek torture chambers, sent me by the CIA via MI6.

– British Ministers and officials were seeing the same torture material.

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

– I 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.

– This meeting was minuted. I have seen the record, which is classified Top Secret and was sent to Jack Straw. On the top copy are extensive hand-written marginalia giving Jack Straw’s views.

– I was told at this meeting that it is not illegal for us to obtain intelligence gained by torture, provided that we did not do the torture ourselves. I 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. I 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’s legal advice that it was not illegal to receive intelligence got by torture was sent on to me in Tashkent (copy attached).

http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/documents/Wood.pdf– On 22 July 2004

I sent one further telegram on intelligence got by torture, with a lower classification, following FCO communications on the subject. Copy attached.

http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/documents/Telegram.pdf

It was my final communication before being dismissed as Ambassador.

In conclusion, I can testify that beyond any doubt the British government has for at least six years a considered but secret policy of cooperation with torture abroad. This policy legally cleared by government legal advisers and approved by Jack Straw as Secretary of State.

Craig Murray

2 March 2009


57 thoughts on “Your Help Needed – Reveal Torture to Stop It

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  • Sarah Cox

    I’ve circulated your email to the Brent Stop the War list – we were all most impressed by your evidence when you spoke at our AGM two years ago. I’ve also forwarded it to the Stop the War Coalition and Lenin’s Tomb and sent the following to the jchr:

    I am contacting you to urge you to agree to hearing evidence from Craig Murray, former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan. I have heard Mr. Murray speak more than once and have been very impressed by his seriousness and the depth of his knowledge. He risked and indeed lost his career in order to expose human rights abuses and campaign for justice.

    He 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”. I believe his evidence would be equally compelling and valuable to your committee. Please hear him.

    I’ll contact more people later when I have more time. Failing to listen to you owuld be outrageous and further strong evidence of our government’s collusion in torture.

  • Sarah Cox

    I’ve circulated your email to the Brent Stop the War list – we were all most impressed by your evidence when you spoke at our AGM two years ago. I’ve also forwarded it to the Stop the War Coalition and Lenin’s Tomb and sent the following to the jchr:

    I am contacting you to urge you to agree to hearing evidence from Craig Murray, former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan. I have heard Mr. Murray speak more than once and have been very impressed by his seriousness and the depth of his knowledge. He risked and indeed lost his career in order to expose human rights abuses and campaign for justice.

    He 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”. I believe his evidence would be equally compelling and valuable to your committee. Please hear him.

    I’ll contact more people later when I have more time. Failing to listen to you owuld be outrageous and further strong evidence of our government’s collusion in torture.

  • lwtc247

    Craig.

    Letter composed and sent. cc’ed to the ‘ru’ email mentioned on you blog.

    Asked for help on your behalf on my blog too.

    I really hope it helps. The No. of Signatures for the Blair War Crimes Foundation (http://blairfoundation.wordpress.com/signatories/) has SHAMEFULLY only 2083 signatures as of today 🙁

    Still. Even if we are destined to lose, we MUST fight on until the end – for it’s the moral thing to do.

    I applaud all the people here who are taking a stand.

  • Khalila

    Whoops… I sent a nice little email, but I forgot to put a subject! DOH!! I hope they still read it :S

  • english prole

    Sent. Basically same content of those above. Hope they listen…would be a fine thing.

    Maybe one day we will see a true democracy; and a free, and just society at that. Most likely in film.

  • Jon

    Penned a little something and sent. I will also post it over at the Media Lens forums, which I expect will generate further emails to the JCHR.

  • anticant

    “Maybe one day we will see a true democracy; and a free, and just society at that.”

    My good and wise friend Jose says from his Canary Islands lookout in a recent comment on Merkin’s blog: “I no longer sustain the idea that Democracy exists. It’s only in the books, in the Media, but not a tinge in the hearts of our politicians. On reflection it may exist in our homes, not all of them I’d add.”

    I think he has a point.

  • paul

    Having just read up a little on the JCHR it doesnt seem they have any power to do anything other than write a report to the House? Which they can then ignore anyway no matter what it says? Or am I missing something?

    Shouldnt you be sending your evidence to the CPS instead?

  • Other John

    >Good Luck This government stinks

    Lest we forget, the reason Labour – or “New” Labour, or whatever you want to call it – acquired power was because of how bad the Tories were.

    This country is in a crisis now.

    Eighteen years of Tory rule transformed Britain, and the “opposition”. Also, Blair wouldn’t have got elected had he been a genuine “socialist”.

    If the British keep on refusing to assert themselves, there’s no hope. Once the Tories get back in, we’ll see plenty more homelessness, poverty, and crime. The Tories are itching to make life extremely hard for the least protected members of society. Such policies have an impact on all of us. But the British, like before, will naively believe they’ll be better off by this “get tough” approach, and lap it up. That’s how the government distracts everyone – by pinning the blame on others!

    For example, in the early 1990s, the Conservatives claimed there was no extra money to invest in the railways – they needed to be privatized! After privatization, the government TRIPLED the subsidies, only now the subsidies – our taxes – went to private firms, and their overpaid CEOs.

    These criminals will keep on pushing until something gives – and something will give, eventually.

  • Ed Davies

    Paul: “Shouldnt you be sending your evidence to the CPS instead?”

    Isn’t the point, though, that the FO believes that currently the law does not prohibit the acceptance and use of intelligence originally obtained by torture? Either they’re wrong and the law does prohibit it, in which case it needs clarification which, it seems to me, is just the sort of thing this committee might help with or they’re right and the law doesn’t prohibit it in which case some consideration should be given to changing the law: exactly the sort of thing this committee was formed to consider.

    “Having just read up a little on the JCHR it doesnt seem they have any power to do anything other than write a report to the House? Which they can then ignore anyway no matter what it says? Or am I missing something?”

    I don’t think you’re missing anything other than that any change to legislation has to start somewhere. Bills don’t appear fully formed ready to be voted on by Parliament but, until the stage where they’re actually voted through and become Acts, yes, of course they can be ignored.

  • Other John

    I should add – to my post above the one above – that after receiving more than three times the original amount in subsidies, the CEOs of the newly privatized railway firms returned the favour by laying off staff and raising prices.

    The wonders of privatisation brought to you courtesy of huge taxpayer subsidies!

    When I was coming home from London, I used to be able to avoid hanging around Charing Cross by catching a train to a nearby station to the one where I lived. After privatisation, and after the private firms gladly accepted three times more money from the taxpayer, I was unable to do this. Arriving at the nearby station, I was told that this is a different line owned by a different company, and I must pay for using THEIR line. I had to fork over almost as much again. I was furious!

    And, of course, now we have ticket barriers to navigate – dare the companies that take taxpayer money provide someone with a job.

    It’s not our country anymore. Britain is now corporate property.

    The British have got what they deserved for being so selfish. It’s every man, woman, and child for him- or herself now.

    Everyone can talk until their heart’s content on this – and other – forums – it’s not going to make a blind bit of difference. The British people are weak, and the politicians know it.

  • Phil Vellender

    Craig I hope this helps!!

    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 the 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 the British parliament’s standing in the world as the mother of all parliaments, as well as to protect the sanctity of our reputation for being tireless champions of international justice, liberty and fair play, is presently one of greatest possible public concern and, therefore, of utmost concern to your Committee too.

    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. Mr Murray is someone who has made an invaluable contribution in helping to 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 with the electorate. I am certain Mr Murray’s experience, candour and unrivalled knowledge, on the other hand, will be truly refreshing.

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

    Yours sincerely

    Phil Vellender

  • Roderick Russell

    As a victim of a serious human rights abuse myself, I certainly support your attendance before the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights. However, my own experience suggests that when powerful forces are involved MPs are scared to act.

    My case involves abuses from the UK Government and the MI*s and is summarized on the international Indymedia site on the URL above.

    A press article on me was recently published in the UK-based Lobster Magazine. The article is headlined ?” The Persecution of Roderick Russell.

    In January I spoke at McMaster University to the 30th International Congress on Economic Crime Prevention. The subject of my speech: Corporate Terrorism and Government Cover-up.

    I have emailed the committee and am sending this on to you on your comments page since your email rejected it.

    Roderick Russell

    304, 2204 – 1 St SW

    Calgary AB T2S 1P4

    Canada

    (403) 229 – 0864

  • Mark King

    Me too – the email address, [email protected] doesn’t work or exist

    Under the heading, ‘government suppression of evidence’, I wrote:

    If the Joint Committee on Human Rights refuses to hear the testimony of ex-Ambassador Craig Murray on the issue of the use of torture to extract ‘intelligence’, it will be further evidence of the government’s depravity and collusion with its Washington masters, and in the face of overwhelming opposition from its own citizens… beg pardon, subjects.

    For once, show some integrity and respect for democracy and allow Mr. Murray and other ‘controversial’ witnesses to give the evidence that we all know full well exists.

  • Craig

    Many thanks – so far over three hundred emails have found their way copied to my inbox, and a very large number have inexplicably failed to get through to me.

  • lwtc247

    It’s happy hour at the BS Saloon…

    “…Home Secretary Jacqui Smith insisted that the Government did not condone or use torture.

    Ms Smith told Sky News: “We absolutely oppose torture in this country. We don’t condone it, we don’t use it. Our international partners know that is our position and if allegations are made we will always investigate them and that will involve, if necessary, police investigations.”

    Source: http://uk.news.yahoo.com/21/20090308/tuk-government-facing-torture-row-calls-6323e80.html

    Typical grubbyment. Preemptive war, now preenptive comic relief / red nose day japes.

    Don’t seem so goon on preemptrion when it comes to stopping MASSIVE financial fraud a.k.a. credit crisis however.

    who’d have thought, ay?

  • Liz Sippy

    I am appalled by the evidence emerging

    showing the British government in collusion with CIA-lead torture in Uzbekistan.

    It is essential for you to hear what Craig Murray has to say. Is this not a matter of Human Rights?

  • Mary Wollitz-Dooley

    Craig,

    best wishes to you. Since you’re having email difficulties here is a copy of what I sent:

    Dear Members of Parliament,

    I understand that tomorrow (Mar. 10) your Joint Committee on Human Rights will discuss whether or not to hear Craig Murray’s evidence on the UK government’s policy of using intelligence from torture.

    We in America face turmoil over the same kind of investigations and issues. Obviously, the US has much to acknowledge and correct of its own, but you should know that the majority here do NOT condone torture and disavow the Bush Administration’s policies and practices.

    I believe that it is in the face of such anxiety arousing issues however that we develop strength and new insights for moving forward and doing right. Former Ambassador Murray has shown courage and integrity in serving as a witness before the European Parliament and European Council’s inquiries into extraordinary rendition. Surely the UK Parliament is willing to seek truth in the service of Human Rights, are you not?

    I urge you to hear his testimony.

    Mary Wollitz-Dooley, Ph.D.

  • George Dutton

    I think that while the UK parliament joint committee on human rights is preparing it’s final report on the use of torture it should recommend a VERY substantial compensation package for Craig Murray for what he and his family have had to endure exposing the illegal activities of the UK government.

  • George Dutton

    “very large number have inexplicably failed to get through to me.”

    Craig

    It maybe that the dot on the end of your e-mail address is stopping the e-mails getting through? if people have done a copy and paste?.

  • frank verismo

    “Lest we forget, the reason Labour – or “New” Labour, or whatever you want to call it – acquired power was because of how bad the Tories were.”

    Quite, Other John. Having been almost drowned, we are offered the ‘change’ of being throttled instead. Just as the throttling reaches blackout point we are again offered drowning. Repeat until tyranny.

    Continuing to be the poker game sucker by voting either Labour or Tory is not an option.

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