A commenter has left this about Andrew Dismore, the Chair of the Parliamentary Joint Commission on Human Rights. The email address and ISP connected to the comment (which I shall not reveal) appear to confirm this was from an Uzbek source, It is worth noting that there are a number of good disaffected young people inside the Uzbek foreign ministry.
Mr Dismore is a friend of Uzbeki regime. He has been in our Embassy in London on several occasions for treatment with plov and shashlik (famous uzbek national dish). In 2003-2004 he promoted Uzbekistani interests, and like many other, he played great role in putting Uzbeki pressure on British FCO to sack their Ambassador Murray from his office in Tashkent.
I have been trying to check up on this. The comment was made on my posting which included reference to Dismore’s efforts from the chair to minimise the impact of my evidence on UK complicity in torture. It goes without saying that if Dismore had indeed had any role in prompting my dismissal, he should have declared this at the Select Committee. A friend of mine with very strong Labour Party connections, told me recently that she had been talking to one of Jack Straw’s former New Labour Special Advisers in the FCO. She mentioned she knew me, and he said he had last heard of me when he approved my letter of dismissal. For a Special Adviser to be involved in any way in the dismissal of a civil servant is of course in complete contravention of the Civil Service Code.
It is also true, and appalling, that the Uzbek government was told I had been dismissed, before I was told myself. All of which does fit with the idea that New Labour were discussing it with the Uzbek government.
In looking for further evidence to support or refute my informant, I bear in mind that Andrew Dismore is the Vice Chair of the Labour Friends of Israel. The Karimov regime is of course a long term supporter and strategic partner of Israel – one of the very small group of countries which always supports Israel at the UN General Assembly. The Israel link could be what led Dismore into support for the Uzbek regime.
There is substantial evidence for this. In the middle of a long speech in Parliament against Palestinian terrorism, Andrew Dismore suddenly switched to describing an alleged terrorist attack on Uzbekistan, and then switched back to the Palestinians again:
…there was an attempted attack on the Maccabiah games in Jerusalem. Salem Taleb Al-Darawi, of the PFLP, was one of those involved. It was described as a Xjoint operation” and a PFLP militia group was involved. Perhaps most chilling of all was the attempt to bring down the Israeli equivalent of the twin towers when, on 7 May this year, Israeli soldiers intercepted a truck filled with more than half a tonne of high explosives, the target being the 50-storey Azrieli towers. Again, two of those involved were senior PFLP leaders, Ra’ad Nazel, the area commander for the PFLP, who was killed in the operation, and another PFLP commander who was arrested. Let us contrast that record with that of the JI organisation, which was accused only of planning attacks. I think that the PFLP attacks were much more serious.
The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan is being proscribed because it is supposed to have launched a sophisticated bombing campaign in Tashkent, which was directed against the Uzbekistan regime. We should note that it was not directed against UK interests. However, in the past few months the PFLP has organised more bomb attacks. On 3 September, a car bomb and three other bombs exploded in Jerusalem and nine civilians were injured. On 17 October 2001, there was a car bombing in the Gaza strip at Nahal Oz. On 16 February 2002, two children were killed and 27 wounded when a PFLP suicide bomber exploded himself at a crowded shopping mall in Karnei Shomron. On 19 May 2002, the PFLP carried out a suicide bombing in the coastal city of Netanya, in which three people were killed and 59 wounded, which was apparently planned from prison by Ahmed Saadat, the leader of the PFLP, according to telephone taps, while he was supposed to have been guarded by UK and American prison guards as part of the agreement with the Palestinians and the Israelis.
The “bombings” to which Dismore refers form a key part of the propaganda of the Karimov regime, but are a total fiction. I was in Tashkent that day and I went right to the site of each of the four alleged bombs, in one case arriving less that an hour after the alleged explosion. It was very obvious from the physical evidence that there had in fact been no explosions. My investigations at the time are described in great detail in Murder in Samarkand. So why did Dismore in the middle of a speech about Israel big up a Karimov propaganda big lie?
His speech was about only two situations: Israel and Uzbekistan. That is at least circumstantial support that our Uzbek informant is indeed telling the truth about Dismore.
In April 2004 Dismore asked a parliamentary questions also promoting the Uzbek propaganda account of the non-existent bombings:
Mr. Dismore To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Allairs what assessment he has made of the statement by the authorities in Uzbekistan that terrorist attacks in late March were linked to Hizb-ut-Tahrir; and if he will make a statement
Next we have Dismore actually admitting that he is raising an issue at the behest of the Uzbek government:
I certainly do not hold up Uzbekistan as a example of liberal democracy?”far from it; it has a pretty nasty regime?”but it believes quite strongly that it faces a serious terrorist threat organised by Hizb ut-Tahrir. I have no way of knowing whether that it right, but it has certainly raised that issue with me.
The fact that the Uzbek regime is “pretty nasty” is of course so blatantly obvious that no politician in the UK could speak on its behalf without a false disclaimer, before going on to put the Karimov regime’s viewpoint. Again, as explained at length in Murder in Samarkand, there were plenty of examples of the Uzbek government concocting evidence of Hizb Ut Tehrir involvement in violence, (Like the H-u-T activist dragged out of bed in his underpants, and found to be concealing ammunition when searched at the police station). But in two years careful study of dissidence and terrorism, looking at facts and interviewing people all over Uzbekistan, I concluded H-u-T were indeed an organisation with some aims I certainly do not share, but committed to non-violence.
But the important point here is that Dismore admits in Parliament that the Karimov regime is “raising concerns” with Dismore. Why does Dismore have a line to the Karimov regime, and by precisely what mechanism? Does it work as my commenter alleges through hospitality and contacts at the Uzbek Embassy? Dismore then undeniably passes on those entirely faked Karimov concerns in our parliament. This strongly inclines me to believe that my commenter has genuine inside knowledge of Dismore’s contacts with the Uzbek Embassy; it indeed seems probable that he lobbied on their behalf for me to be sacked.
I may get more detail from my Uzbek informant, or others may know more. If indeed Dismore did discuss my dismissal with the Uzbek government or Embassy as alleged, then it is a disgrace he was chairing my evidence session, and he should resign as Chairman of the Parliamentary Joint Human Rights Committee. How anyone in that Chair can even attend functions at the Uzbek Embassy is beyond me.