Newsnight Investigation of Uzbek Defector 22

BBC 2 Newsnight have been working for three months now on the claims of Uzbek security service defector Ikram Yakubov.

I think finally the piece will be broadcast tonight, although there have been several postponements already. For me Yakubov’s most interesting evidence is that he accompanied a CIA man to an interrogation, and the CIA man was actually in the room during the torture of a detainee, rather than just handing over questions to the Uzbeks.

But I think the Newsnight piece may be focusing on the probable murder by Karimov of Richard Conroy, the British acting Head of the UN mission in Uzbekistan. I cover this at length in Murder in Samarkand, but could not prove what informants were telling me. Yakubov claims to have knowledge from inside the security services.

I was interviewed by Newsnight for the piece, over a month ago. I presume some of this will be included. It remains a remarkable fact that Yakubov has not been debriefed by MI6, because the Uzbek security services are regarded as allies by the UK. The last thing the government wants is any official record of CIA involvement in torture (the intelligence from which will have been shared with MI6), or of Karimov’s ivolvement in the Andijan massacre, or in the death of Richard Conroy.

Yakubov has been granted political asylum in the UK, but last week he telephoned me to say he was being turfed out of his government provided accommodation and is now homeless.

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22 thoughts on “Newsnight Investigation of Uzbek Defector

  • ingo

    would that be another first for the Government? i.e. first homeless defector that gets on Newsnight?

  • VamanosBandidos

    In line with the correct modes of defection and asylum seeking, this Yakubov chap has been dealt with instantly, and rewarded for his speaking out and incriminating CIA, and by long shot proxy our own SIS. These proving to be an unjustified attacks on “our Values”, and “our way of life” as per the latest directive published in the Daily Mail et al.

    Therefore homeless, and out in the open , who knows what could happen to him? “When, and where could he, be set on fire by some Concerned Citizens of BNP persuasion, sporting their 88 and skin heads, which of course would be far too convenient for the Uzbek Democrat, and human rights activist none other than our own ought to be noble prize nominated Karimov!

    This turfing out could also be grounds for a none broadcast of the package, and instead the nice news night would be inviting yet another one of the enemies of the moment, or a Muslim (whichever is on hate more list, coming first) so that Paxo can get on with his trade mark giggling and laughing whilst the camera is on the unfortunate victim, and the editor letting the Paxo jollies to be broadcast, in case the dumb bastards watching the program do not get the underlying message.

    Therefore I would not be holding my breath to see the package aired.

  • George Laird

    Dear Craig

    “Yakubov has been granted political asylum in the UK, but last week he telephoned me to say he was being turfed out of his government provided accommodation and is now homeless”.

    Isn’t the Labour Government wonderful?

    To make a guy homeless without providing him with alternative accommodation, must be part of Labour’s social justice agenda.

    Roll on a General election.

    Yours sincerely

    George Laird

    The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

  • ncclols

    It sounds like Mr Yakubov has been subject to the same treatment of all refugees. You are housed wherever they can put you while you wait for your decision on your asylum application. Once you have a positive decision you have (I think) 28 days left in the accommodation and NASS support and then you’re cut adrift.

    The only good bits are that you are at least entitled to the normal rates of benefits and you potentially have the right to apply for housing under homelessness accommodation but you only get assistance if you are in ‘priority need’ and few local authorities will accept the fact that you are a refugee on its own as indicating priority need, there normally has to be other factors.

    Most cities have a refugee support group of some description, Craig, maybe you can help him find one where he is currently?

    However, I seem to remember that defectors in the past seemed to get protection on the basis that assassination was always a danger. Or was that just when you were a Russian defector during the cold war?

    Still, the fact that he has been accepted as a refugee from a supposed ‘ally’ speaks volumes about the quality of our foreign policy.

  • Craig

    Watchd it. It’s a really good feeling to see it reported on the BBC that the Tashkent bombings were false flag – I reported that to the FCO at the time, but Ministers have simply recycled the Uzbek government propaganda repeatedly in parliament.

  • Strategist

    Phew. What to say? Instant reactions.

    Yakubov seemed pretty convincing.

    The reporter Peter Marshall’s scepticism seemed stagey, and seemed to me to get in the way of conveying the information, giving the impression that his primary concern was to showcase his man of the world reporters’ scepticism and secondary concern air Yakubov’s testimony.

    A good and humane contribution from Craig.

    Pretty bleak for Yakubov: a consensus that the Uzbek govt will try to kill him and a pretty clear message from the US ad British authorities that they have no intention of lifting a finger to prevent that.

    No mention whatsoever of Richard Conroy (I missed a few minutes in the middle, so I would like to check that). That would appear to be the dog that didn’t bark in this case – what was it that Newsnight got from Yakubov on that issue that they bottled screening?

  • Strategist

    Ps I’ve loaned out my copy of Murder in Samarkand, so can’t check what it says about Richard Conroy in that, or what his story is. Can anyone help?

    (From memory, the Murder in Samarkand of the title was of the dissident academic’s nephew, son, dumped on his doorstep dead as a warning from the secret police – is that right?)

  • Craig

    Yes – Peter Marshall asked me about Yakubov’s testimony that Conroy was murdered, but obviously they decided not to show that bit.

  • David Allen

    A bit of a dumbed-down “human interest” story really. Come along and marvel at this weirdo ex-spy with the sad lonely eyes and the line about being 28 going on 70. Not really Newsnight’s finest hour.

    However – Yakubov was very credible, and the underlying message was clear enough. Torture is a way of life, everybody knows it, and the West has been complicit.

  • MJ

    “It’s a really good feeling to see it reported on the BBC that the Tashkent bombings were false flag”

    Yes. They even described them as “classic” false flag. Funny that. I thought the BBC always dismissed such things as conspiracy theories.

    Overall quite a serious piece and Craig’s contributions were used to good effect. Also quite long.

    Congratulations Craig, your tireless efforts are at last bearing some fruit.

  • stranger

    I met that uzbek guy. now he has faced to big problem. He is homless nowadays and only God knows where does he live? Thank you Mr Brown for your superb social policy.

  • KevinB

    Brilliant report……how rare is that on the BBC.

    What a horror that Karimov is (OK Craig, we’ve heard you say it often enough but the witness to (and subject of) torture concentrated the issue).

    ….and blimey!

    ….and blimey, a state-sponsored false flag terror attack……revealed… an insider.

    ……next thing you know, the BBC will be broadcasting a serious and thorough analysis of the the attacks of 9/11.

    ….hang on…..keep it serious.

  • tony_opmoc


    You are not allowed to say that. Instead you are supposed to believe the impossible, because the official story of 9/11 breaks the fundamental laws of physics and maths. You are supposed to go along with what is probably still the majority view, because 9/11 was an extremely well constructed PSYOP.

    Hardly anyone studies physics and maths anymore, and most who did have forgotten what they were taught. I have studied physics and maths and been trained in practical psychological techniques including behavior analysis and behaviour modification – that is modifying the behaviour of others without their knowledge. I am well aware of the power of a PSYOP, even though I myself was vulnerable to it.

    I knew something was definitely not right about 9/11, but it took around 12 months, before I analysed 9/11 in detail myself, and proved to myself that the official story of 9/11 was not true, and that the buildings had to be have been brought down by controlled demolition. It was the only explanation that satisfied the laws of physics and maths.

    I told all my colleagues at work, and my friends, and the reactions varied from pretending to agree with me (whilst really thinking I had gone mad) to outright aggression and hostility. It was extremely difficult for me to deal with, not just because of this reaction, but because I realised that this evil had come from within my own culture. It was much more comfortable on a psychological level to blame the evil on another alien culture that I did not understand, but I could no longer lie to myself.

    It then became obvious how evil my culture really was, because it was planning to launch an aggressive war against Iraq on the basis of lies that I myself had proven were fabricated by reading the official US/UK Government and UN Websites – available to anyone who could use a search engine – that proved that Iraq had been disarmed of WMD’s.

    At least well over 1 million other people marched down Whitehall in protest before the War started – but still we failed to prevent it, and we should have done more.

    That is the sorry truth of the society we lived in 6-8 years ago. It has since got considerably worse for all of humanity.


  • mary

    The international community has repeatedly criticized the Karimov administration’s record on human rights and press freedom. In particular, Craig Murray, the British Ambassador from 2002 to 2004, wrote about financial corruption and human rights abuses during his term in office and later in his memoirs Murder in Samarkand [14], pointing to reports of boiling people to death. The United Nations found torture “institutionalized, systematic, and rampant” in Uzbekistan’s judicial system.[15] For several years, Parade Magazine has selected Karimov for being one of the world’s worst dictators, citing to his tactics of torture, media censorship, and fake elections. [16]

    In response, the Uzbek government criticized Craig Murray for not behaving like a genuine British ambassador. It informally stated that diplomacy is more about mutual compromise rather than one-handed harsh criticism. The British government replaced Craig Murray in 2005.

    [edit] Personal life

    Karimov’s wife, Tatyana Akbarovna Karimova, is an economist.[17][18] They have two daughters and three grandchildren. His elder daughter, Gulnara Karimova, who has been avoiding an arrest warrant from New Jersey, United States[19][dead link] serves as an advisor for Uzbekistan’s ambassador to Russia and is believed to have built an extensive business empire that includes the largest wireless telephone operator in the country, night clubs, and a large cement factory.[20]


    Extract from the Wikipedia page on Karimov. I was thinking about who will succeed him but as he is 71 I suppose he will be around for some years yet. Grim thought.

    Questions – Why have the Americans got an arrest warrant out for Gulnara? Who is the current British Ambassador to Ukbekistan and what is the UK’s attitude currently? Still going along with Karimov presumably.

  • Craig

    The arrest warrant is for removing her children and herself from the US during a divorce/custody case (ex-husband is a US citixen). Interesting fact – she fled leaving over 6 million dollars worth of “personal jewellery” in her dressing table, according to the New Jersey court inventory.

  • xmasdale

    Having worked with refugees in London for many years, the homelessness of this defector is no surprise. Contary to BNP propaganda, refugees do not jump housing queues.

    If a refugee family with children apply for housing they do get preferential treatment over people without children. But if you’re single, you go way down the waiting list and if you’re in London, you get involuntarily “dispersed” to other parts of the UK. If you’re female, you get slightly better treated than if you’re male. It is correctly assumed that sleeping rough on the streets is more dangerous for women than for men. I have known refugees who end up sleeping in abandoned cars. More usually though, single refugees end up sleeping on the floor of some other refugee from the same country, if they can find compatriots in the UK.

  • craig


    yes. the problem in Ikram’s case is that nobody wants a major assassination target sleeping on their floor.

  • KevinB


    You saw the truth about 9/11 before me but I recognise everything you say about colleagues reactions and the general drift of society.

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