I have now obtained under the Freedom of Information Act a heavily censored copy of one of my telegrams from Tashkent protesting at the use by the UK government of intelligence obtained under torture.
Every British person should read this telegram and hang their head in the deepest of shame. This is the pitch blackness of New Labour’s embrace of authoritarianism. Read it, and remember I was both smeared and sacked for this attempt to apply simply the most basic of humane standards.
The censored passages detail British ministers’ receipt of the torture intelligence from the CIA, and point out that the purpose of the CIA intelligence is consistently to paint a false picture, exaggerating the strength of al-Qaida in Central Asia. Miliband approved the redactions from the telegrams “On grounds of national security”. Those are precisely the grounds on which he unsuccesfully sought to suppress the evidence of UK collusion with torture in the Binyam Mohammed court cases.
Here is the text of the telegram Miliband did not redact. It is incredibly damning – you can imagine just how damning the redacted parts are!
Manuscript Note: Matthew Kidd, Redacted
Grateful for views from both Redacted and Legal Advisers.
To Routine FCO
TELNO Misc 01
Of 220903 January 03
INFO ROUTINE UKMIS NEW YORK, UKMIS GENEVA, UKDEL VIENNA
FOR WILLIAM EHRMAN
Your relno 323
RECEIPT OF INTELLIGENCE PROBABLY OBTAINED UNDER TORTURE
1. Thank you for TUR. I apologise for not findng you at the Leadership Conference, but I had decided to drop this. What seemed to be a major concern seemed not a problem to others, and this caused me some self-doubt.
2. However I see that the Economist of 11 to 17 January devoted its front cover, a full page editorial and four whole pages of article to precisely the question I had raised. Reading a newspaper on the flight back here 12 January, I was astonished to find two pages of the Sunday Mail devoted to exactly the same concerns. Back in Tashkent, I find Human Rights Watch urging the US government not to extradite Uzbek detainees from Afghanistan back to Uzbekistan on the same grounds. All of which emboldens me to think I am in good company in my concern. These stories all quote US sources as indicating that the CIA is accepting intelligence obtained under torture by “allied” governments. As I already explained, I too believe that to be most probably true here.
3. Redacted. You accept that torture of detainees in Uzbekistan is widespread. Redacted.
4. Redacted. I can give you mounds of evidence on torture by the Uzbek security services, and I have et victims and their families. I have seen with my own eyes a respected elder break down in court as he recounted how his sons were tortured in front of him as he was urged to confess to links – I have no doubt entirely spurious – with Bin Laden. Redacted.
6. I am worried about the legal position. I am not sure that a wilful blindness to how material is obtained would be found a valid defence in law to the accusation of having received material obtained under torture. My understanding is that receiving such material would be both a crime in UK domestic law and contrary to international law. Is this true? I would like a direct answer on this.
8. The methods of the Uzbek intelligence services are completely beyond the pale. Torture including pulling out of fingernails, electrocution through genitals, rape of dependants, immersion in boiling liquid – is becoming common, and I weigh those words very carefully. Redacted.
DG DEFINT 1
The final codes are significant. it means that this was considered so hot that only a single copy was made in the FCO – very unusual indeed – and given to the Director General Defence and Intelligence.
It is both pathetic and evil that Miliband is still attempting to hide the UK’s complicity in torture by redacting those parts which state in terms that the CIA torture material was being given to me and to ministers in the UK. I am willing to testify on oath anywhere that this was stated clearly in the redacted material.
Miliband’s redactions are not in the interests of national security, but rather are intended solely to hide New Labour complicity in torture – just as the judge ruled in the Binyam Mohammed case.
It is also very significant that Miliband has redacted my observation that the torture intelligence painted an entirely false picture which exagerrated the strength of Al-Qaida.
All of which explains why the security services are desperately working to keep the LibDems out of office.
That is why it is essential that Miliband’s enthusiastic espousal of Jack Straw’s torture policy should debar either of them from any potential coalition involving the Lib Dems after the election. It also explains why I view those thinking of voting New Labour as endorsing the most vile practices know to mankind.
It is now beyond argument that, taken together, the documents I have obtained under FOI prove that there was a positive UK policy of complicity in torture. They also prove beyond doubt that, contrary to the lies of Jack Straw and Michael Jay, my account of events in Murder in Samarkand is true, not only in general but in the finest detail.