Great Novel Plot 19

That was a nasty flu. No idea if it was a swine flu or not, but I finally have recovered a little energy today. I feel like I’ve been punched in the face, but I can manage the stairs again.

Talking of flu, this is an interesting story which could be a great mine for conspiracy theorists:

Craig Murray, British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, stumbles across the fact that the British government is routinely receiving intelligence from torture, through the CIA. He knows that the CIA is flying people in to Uzbekistan to be tortured. He directly documents a number of false flag bombings and other devices designed to exaggerate the al-Qaida threat in Central Asia.

He dutifully reports all this back to his superiors in London. He is recalled, told that this is UK policy and he should shut up. Continuing his investigations in Tashkent, he is suddenly faced with eighteen serious disciplinary allegations. They include criminal allegations like selling visas for sex, and an accusation that he is an alcohlic.

He is told the allegations will be heard in secret and he is not allowed to tell anyone, not even to prepare a defence. He has a nervous breakdown. Downing St leaks details of the more lurid allegations to the tabloids but this backfires. Murray is known in media circles and his human rights work is respected. The accusations meet with widespread media derision, and Murray is acquitted on all counts.

Returning to Tashkent in triumph, he collapses after two days with multiple pulmonary emboli (blood clots in both lungs). He nearly dies and is in a coma for five days. There is never an explanation of the cause of so many blood clots, and doctors are suspicious. Unexpectedly he recovers, but is given six months to three years to live due to resulting pulmonary hypertension. He is dismissed as Ambassador when one of his telegrams on torture and intelligence is leaked to the Financial Times – who nonetheless do not publish the most damning bits.

Murray proves to have the extremely rare ability to regrow the arteries in his lungs, and starts to recover. He tries to make public the British government’s complicity in torture, releasing documents on the internet and publishing Murder in Samarkand, which tells the above story.

Murray stands against Foreign Secretary Jack Straw in Blackburn in the 2005 General Election. The BBC make a fly-on-the-wall documentary about Murray. Esther Oxford, the Assistant Director and cinematographer on the documentary, lives with Murray for four weeks to film it. After the election Oxford and her camera are even admitted to the operating theatre for Murray’s heart surgery.

Murray becomes good friends with Oxford and presenter John Sweeney. But when the documentary is made, The Ambassador’s Last Stand concentrates heavily on Murray’s personal eccentricities and thus discounts his allegations of British government complicity in torture. The Murrays and Oxfords remain friends, however. Murray meets Esther’s father, the virologist Professor John Oxford, and Murray’s wife Nadira dances at Esther’s wedding.

Murray gives evidence to the European Parliament on UK complicity in torture. Returning on the Eurostar, he sits with a Tory MEP, a descendant of T E Lawrence. The MEP shows Murray on the train Lawrence’s original map of proposed boundaries for the Middle East.

In researching the possible dangers from avian flu, Prof Oxford exhumes a victim of the Spanish flu of 1919, who was buried in a lead coffin. The corpse is not just anybody – it is Sir Mark Sykes. Sykes is the diplomat who negotiated the infamous Sykes-Picot map, dividing the Middle East on colonial lines between British and French puppet regimes. This is done contrary to the hopes of Lawrence for a strong Arab nation, and behind the back of Woodrow Wilson. Sykes dies on the way home from the negotiations.

Six months after Sykes is exhumed, a global flu pandemic is first identified in Mexico.

All of the above is true.

The first half of the story, as contained in Murder in Samarkand, is the tale of a genuine government conspiracy to use torture, falsify intelligence and smear an innocent man to cover it up.

In the second half I conflate my tenuous connection with John Oxford, an interesting meeting on a train and the Sykes/Lawrence link, plus the timing of Sykes’ exhumation and the outbreak of swine flu. I really don’t believe those are any more than mild coincidences. But I can see inspiration for a novel in there if they were beefed up a bit.

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19 thoughts on “Great Novel Plot

  • me

    definite conspiracy here, just surprised you weren’t openly threatened with biological assassination. I’m sure they do it in a lot of cases, how else do you explain aaranovitch?

  • anticant

    Commiserations on the ‘flu. My partner and I had it for five weeks over last Christmas and New Year, despite having had our ‘jabs’, and I’m sure it was a far worse strain than ‘Swine ‘flu’. We could scarcely totter out of bed to make a Bovril for Xmas dinner.

    Your story about Mark Sykes is fascinating. I have a distant relative who is a member of the Sykes family, and they are a very odd lot. I’ve always been interested in the Lawrence of Arabia/Gertrude Bell role in the post-WW1 Middle East settlement. Lord Vansittart, in his fascinating memoirs “The Mist Procession”, says that Lawrence felt the Arabs were betrayed by the Allies. Of course he romanticised them, but the Balfour Declaration of 1917 was the biggest piece of hypocritical folly ever issued even by a British government – it so obviously contradicted itself. Lloyd George promoted it as Chaim Weitzman’s pay-off for inventing acetone – an essential component of munitions – during the war.

  • Mike Cobley

    From a dramatic, prose-narrative point of view, the unsavoury facts uncovered can either be the entire point of the main plot: these facts are revealed early on and the rest of the novel deals with the characters as they attempt to grapple with obstacles and contradictions (of circumstance and friendship, say) while struggling to publicise said facts and provoke justice. Or – the unsavoury facts are actually a doorway through to some other far more vile and distressing information which goes to the heart of international power politics, money and greed.

    Well, as a writer those are the lines I’d be thinking along.

  • Sabretache

    “I really don’t believe those are any more than mild coincidences”

    Just a mild, general observation: coincidence undoubtedly explains the odd linkage of seemingly disparate events but history amply demonstrates that conspiracy is by far the more common, cogent and accurate explanation.

    Thus, I personally prefer being tagged with the pejorative ‘Conspiracy Theorist’ than its corollary – appropriate to more trusting, not-to-say credulous, souls – that of ‘Coincidence Theorist’

  • anon

    T.E.Lawrence took compromising photos of Arab rulers featuring himself and others. He should have been born in the present age where software is freely available to spy on the people who trust you with their computers and mobile phones.

    The nastiest most degraded behaviour, now unfortunately commonplace. Tony Blair wears that post-compromised death-grin. You can’t expose me, or I will expose the fact that you have paid me millions for spiking the billions promised by the world to Palestine.

  • George Laird

    Dear Craig

    I agree with you, it is a load of crap.

    £64 to prove you are innocent?

    I sent an email through the Number 10 website asking if Cabinet Ministers had all been CRB checked.

    I have asked if they had even discussed Ministers registering and a copy of any such Cabinet minutes.

    I haven’t had a reply or acknowledgement yet.

    I think I will have to ask a series of questions via my email account.

    Tell them the response to the questions will be posted online.

    Yours sincerely

    George Laird

    The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

  • Paul Johnston

    Myself I always prefer the “lets have a car crash” means of getting rid of someone far easier and less technical.

    As an aside you should release an updated copy of your book, I find the details of your recovery from the emboli “Murray proves to have the extremely rare ability to regrow the arteries in his lungs” fascinating.

    Get well soon !


  • glenn

    Letter from Tashkent – in Private Eye’s latest issue, their ‘From our own correspondent’ section. Not exactly upbeat commentary.

  • MJ

    Glad to see the comments funtioning is now working again.

    The current swine flu business already contains enough coincidences to form the background of a third-rate thriller.

    How odd that pharmaceutical company Baxter should have applied for a patent for its H1N1 vaccine in 2008, several months before the first case was identified. How strange that the same company should, in February of this year, have accidently distributed live avian flu viral material to four laboratories in Europe. How interesting that most of the confirmed deaths from ‘swine flu’ have presented lung damage more characteristic of bird flu. How disturbing that the vaccine will contain an adjuvant (squalene) widely thought to be resposible for ‘Gulf War Syndrome’. How mind-boggling that the pharmaceutical companies have been granted legal immunity from prosecution in respect of death or injury caused by this largely untested vaccine.

    I for one won’t be in rush to roll up my sleeve this winter.

  • Michael Irving

    Craig: “conspiracy theorists”

    You really are part of the status quo, Craig.

    It became more and more obvious over the past few months through noticing that most of your views and information are largely the same trotted out misrepresentation of our world which is portrayed in the mainstreammoney media.

    This could be my last visit here. Unless I come back some time to see what else you are getting wrong. Maybe a little bit right, now and then….

    You could get a job in the mainmoneystream media. Somewhere inside the MSM (mainstreammoney) media the phrase ‘conspiracy theorist / theory’ was cooked up a few years ago.

    I’ll stop there. I don’t think you can think properly.

    Have you noticed the ‘Chemtrail’ spraying operation by certain aircraft above you? No, I don’t think so; you would lose too many buddies if you noticed.

    I’m outta here. Told the truth. Now I’m out. Never liked the mass lying that goes on in our culture. So intrinsic, many do not know they are lying.


    I could give a link to a case of gross misuse of the term ‘conspiracy theory’, but you or your backup team of experts at missing the point, would probably concentrate, as I have noticed many times, on a diversion such as the colour scheme of the webpage or some point of use of English they do not like. People who are constantly lying and compromising are good at diverting their attention.

    Maybe it’s because you all want – in various ways – to ‘climb the ladder’ of our society. And you know who controls the ladder (the people at the top, plus all those who participate in it), and how you are therefore meant to think and act. Think about it. Or not.

    The people at the top are maintaining the massive ‘Chemtrail’ spraying operation.

    That’s the truth. Ain’t no theory.


    “In the second half I conflate my tenuous connection with John Oxford, an interesting meeting on a train and the Sykes/Lawrence link, plus the timing of Sykes’ exhumation and the outbreak of swine flu. I really don’t believe those are any more than mild coincidences. But I can see inspiration for a novel in there if they were beefed up a bit.”

    When it comes down to it, which isn’t very far, you are just all talk.

  • Gimpy

    George: Waste of money really.

    Ministers I assume need a Westminster Palace pass which you need to be vetted before.

    But then again illegal economic migrant cleaners have obtained the before.

    £64 quid to prove innocence…or maybe not. Shows how flawed checks are at the minute.

  • Clark

    Hi Craig,

    my guess is that you thought you were getting better, and then the virus clobbered you again, because that’s what happened to me! So, guessing that you’re still feeling poorly, I wish you well. Best wishes to Nadira and Cameron too, especially if they’ve also caught the bug.

    Regarding the plot for a novel, Murder in Samarkand is a real page-turner just as it is.

    Get well soon all,


  • David Allen

    Sorry Craig, it’s not really unbelievable enough to make a saleable novel. Now if you could write like Dan Brown….

  • glenn


    You really have some nerve writing trash like that. And you couldn’t be more wrong on more fronts than one could shake a stick at – but I imagine you’ll stop reading at this point, people like you hear only what you want to hear.

    Besides your vague mischaracterisations of Craig Murray, you seem to think ‘conspiracy theorist’ is a charge invented just “a few years ago.” Try telling that to doubters of the JFK assassination, who were charged with being tin-foil hat nutters decades since.

    Try giving the ‘few years ago’ line to people accusing the CIA of running drugs and guns back in the 80’s, and were in turn called ‘conspiracy loons’ and so forth.

    OK – chemtrails. Let’s hear some real evidence about it. I’ve heard vague conspiracy plots, but nothing really worth my attention. Got something? Let’s have it. I’m certainly not buying into the official conspiracy theory that the 9/11 events were carried out by a bunch of barely organised rag-tag terrorists who weren’t even observant Muslims. But give us your best references, and it will have my full attention.

    But the 9/11 ‘truthers’ have a massive amount of evidence to call the official theory into question. The 9/11 truth movement is called insane for suggesting it may have been an inside job – impossible to arrange! (Although of course 19 virtually unarmed, disorganised Arabs managed to pull the whole thing off, no question about that.)

    You think Craig Murray wanted to ‘climb the ladder’ of society, and that’s why he’s where he is? He WAS climbing the ladder, very successfully, before he started insisting on the truth! Jesus! What’s the matter with you?

    ‘The people at the top are maintaining the massive Chemtrail conspiracy’ – ok – where’s the evidence? Don’t expect me to believe _anything_ without facts.

    Far from being all talk – which is all you are, with all due respect – Craig Murray put his career and his life on the line, lost his career, and nearly lost his life, in pursuit of getting the truth out. What have you done, which entitles you to denounce him like this?

  • suraci

    I have to agree with supporting Murray, clearly he could have made more money and been considerably safer by just staying silent about torture. Actions speak louder and all that. He spoke up and they did indeed try to kill him. They may even try again, though it would be risky as more people are now aware.

    I do disagree with Murray on some issues, notably the part played by our Zionist friends in so much currently taking place. But essentially Murray is correct in his world view.

    TE Lawrence has long fascinated me and I live near to where he lived and died. He had a room lined with what looked like tin foil, interestingly enough, according to a friend who visited his house. I’ve been there too but all I remember is the odd leather bed and something about baked beans.

    His strange death may have been because of his love of the Arabs, or because he rode his motorbike far too fast for his abilities and the state of the roads around that tank testing area. The roads there are still lethal to this day.

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