New Labour’s Complicity in Torture – Truly Evil 99

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.

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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.

Wm Ehrman

Fm Tashkent

To Routine FCO

TELNO Misc 01

Of 220903 January 03



Your relno 323


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.

5. 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.

7. Redacted.

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.



Single Copies



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.

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99 thoughts on “New Labour’s Complicity in Torture – Truly Evil

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  • Ruth

    Yes, I know Lewes has its own radical tradition but what I’m saying is that to get rid of Norman Baker fraud could come into play though if he doesn’t win I’m sure the townspeople would raise hell.

  • lwtc247

    -> Freedom of speech for deliberately insulting Muhammad(saw) cartoons

    -> Redactions for incriminating memos and illegal evil govt acts.

    -> Redaction/censorship/prosecution for expressions of anti-Zionism.

    Tomorrows vote will change all that.

    /Hahahahaah hahah haha/

  • Suhayl Saadi

    “Multi-millionaire wallpaper heir Mr Osborne…” Mark Golding

    Re. George Osborne and in a fit of historical resonance, it occurred to me that the moral might be: Beware paper-hangers! And those who paper over the cracks made by paper-hangers.

    Thanks, Craig, I do hope you’re right. I know that under the green wellies, Lewes is really Revolution City…

    I once had coffee in the place where Tom Paine lived in Lewes – amazing vibe. I didn’t know it was Paine’s house and I found myself discussing politics and really getting into gear and I could feel the radicalism leach off the wood paneling, seriously, it was a cosmic thing. Then I noticed a bronze plaque and realised I was at the epicentre of radicalism.

    There are a lot of ‘White Witches’ (Wiccans) around Sussex, too.

    Yes, Abe, you’re right, perhaps Sood is a Tory plant (?aspidistra). Or maybe – knowing the seat is unwinnable and hoping for a better seat next time around (though it’s an odd way to go about it; who in the party now would trust him? If he’s disloyal to one…) – he just wants to dissociate himself from Brown and give himself ‘a name’ – after all, non-one would’ve heard of him otherwise? I see that even his mum – a longtime Labour worker – seems mystified and is condemning him – and it takes a lot for an Asian mother to condemn her son in public! This could become a piece of Bollywood bathos. Prodigals, and all that. Perhaps Sood ought to throw a good bash, invite the High Tories to High Tea, be recalaimed as an aspidistra. But then, perhaps he would be sued. [sorry]

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    I’m having trouble, trouble relaxing Craig knowing MI5 is backing Cameron and this:

    “More than 30 allegations of postal vote irregularities have been reported to police forces in England.”

    7 million postal votes can make a difference in a ‘hung’ scenario.

    Norman has always taken the time to answer my questions.

    New figures released by the election watchdog show the Conservatives accepted £123,464 from Lord Ashcroft, the deputy chairman of the party, who is spearheading the battle for the key marginal seats.

    The Tories have raised about £17 million according to the Electoral Commission. A large portion of which is being used to capture marginal seats and ‘paper over the cracks’ – thanks Suhayl.

  • mary

    Have just watched a very depressing segment on BBC News 24 where three ‘pundits’ (inc Lance Price ( ) predicted a small Con majority with Cameroon as PM on Friday.

    This is a good article on Redress on an omission from all of the campaigns.

    “UK general election: Shhh… don’t mention the Israeli


    SYNOPSIS – Stuart Littlewood views the conspicuous absence of any mention of

    the Israeli occupation in the British general election campaign, against the

    background of the paralysing influence of the Israel lobby on the three main

    political parties and the silent complicity of the mainstream media, including the BBC, and the Church in Israeli crimes.

  • mary

    This omission too –

    Johann Hari’s article on the STWC website –

    The shameful, bloody silence at the heart of the election

    Johann Hari says we are sending young people to kill and die in order to prop up a President who (like his people) opposes almost all our actions and is threatening to defect to The Enemy. You might think that is worth discussing. Yet when Afghanistan comes up in this election, the sole subject of complaint is that our helicopters don’t work as well as they should…..

  • Vronsky


    Perhaps ‘Zetetic Scholar’? A sceptical but non-dogmatic magazine. About a dozen issues were produced by Marcello Truzzi in the 70s/early 80s, intended as an antidote to the mindless dogmatism of such as James Randi. More could be said of Randi (his admirers are people like Larry from St Louis) but he is notoriusly litigious. I once asked him (by email) if a claim made by Uri Geller that he had won a lawsuit against him was true (it seemed to me unlikely). He replied (denying it) but I also got a reply from his lawyer. Truzzi’s analysis of What Really Happened is here, if you’re interested:

    ZS is worth reading (though often not an easy read) for its extended psychological and mathematical examination of what constitutes evidence. Many interesting debates spread across the issues – in fact Randi is a contributor!

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    Well said Mary – thanks, yes I also read residents from Nablus in the West Bank and Ramallah have witnessed Israeli bulldozers backed up by the Israeli army crushing and burning places of worship.

    The ‘Emperor of drones’ Obama has authorised Deputy Director for Resources and Acquisition for the Pentagon’s Joint Staff, Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Glenn Walters to supply 6,500 of these spatially aware, networked and waypoint programmed flying killers from above, to Afghanistan. The ‘drone wars’ are escalating with a target of 8,000 by 2011 and destined to attack nuclear installations in Pakistan and Iran.

    I sincerely believe Hague has been tasked by the elites to ‘change British thinking’ towards a strike on Pakistan and Iran and prompted Hague’s allegation that Britain was becoming a “foreign land” which to me cemented the popular view that the Tories are the ‘nasty party’ hell bent on domination in the Middle East.

    But Shhhh mention no more before the election!! “We can deal with a ‘hung’ parliament” are the whispers – by stealth and deception – Conservatives have the right backing – or do they?

    Think twice folks before you commit a cross in the ‘nasty’ box!

  • Charles Crawford

    “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.”

    As usual, Craig, you overegg the pudding in a way blatantly misleading to readers.

    In this case you sent this telegram to a named individual, NOT to the FCO.

    It was in effect an FCO Teleletter. Did you classify it as SECRET which meant that it could not go as teleletter but had to go as an E-Gram instead?

    One way or the other, the codes are NOT significant. They show the FCO Communications Centre doing its job: YOU directed it to William Ehrman only, and that is whom it reached. You also cc’d it to other posts and not to named individuals at those posts, so there it would have had a pretty wide distribution.

    And why did you send such a telegram ROUTINE? Not exactly much urgency/importance there?

    Not very convincing evidence of … anything?


  • mary

    Just one question to the ex Ambassador.

    Was Bliar called ‘Miranda’ when you were fellow undergraduates at St John’s College Oxford or was it afterwards when he was a pupil barrister?

  • MJ

    Vronsky: yes,’Zetetic Scholar’, that’s it. Good job I remembered it began with Z otherwise you wouldn’t have known what on earth I was talking about. Many thanks indeed for the links.

  • MJ

    “Jealous because he is twice the man you are CC?”

    Or because the commonest phrase found on his blog is “comments (0)”?

  • Craig

    Bullshit Charles and you know it. It’s a telegram not a teleletter, and it’s “for” not “personal for”.

    “Routine”, as Charles knows, means in practice it will be seen the next morning. Standard priority for a policy question.

    All that won’t mean anything to anyone outside the FCO, but anyone in the FCO will know Charles is talking crap.

    As usual Charles completely fails to even mention the reality of of people having their fingernails ripped out and being boiled alive. A real paperclip department mind.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Thanks, Mary and Vronsky – I need to feed my head and will check-out the links.

    Perhaps His Ex-Excellency Charles Crawford drinks the wrong kind of tea.

    Mary, re. the election result, I predicted some weeks ago on this website that the Tories would win with a 25-seat overall majority and that by the end the majority of the media would be purring in unison about David Cameron’s leadeship qualities.

    What will happen is that the Lib Dems and Tories will take seats from labur in northern Britain. while in the south, the Lib Dems will not take (enough) seats from the Tories to make a difference overall. The Tories will end-up with the biggest number of seats; the Lib dems will increase their share but not enough to make a difference to the arithmetic in Parliament and Labour will retreat to its historical heartlands.

    We shall see how my prediction pans out. I will not be watching, it’s too dispiriting. I will be playing psychedelic music very loudly. No, actually, I will be studying for an exam and so will consume nothing but comfort food.

    I agree entirely about the lack of discourse on (“don’t mention”) THE WAR and DEATH.

    It is all – all – deeply depressing.

    Keep on pushing though. Keep on pushing.

  • Clark

    MJ, Mary, Suhayl, Mark Golding,

    thanks from me, too. With these dispiriting predictions of a small Tory majorty, I’m repeating my call for tactical voting. I know, I don’t like it either. I don’t like cleaning up vomit, but the alternative is worse.

    Come on Mary, Jon, Ruth, Brian, Technicolour, and Craig. Lets try to HANG THE PARLIAMENT!

  • Ruth

    Hopefully, if the Conservative candidate wins by fraud in Lewes the townspeople will know what appropriate action to take.

    In 2007 the Independent ran an article on some of the people’s reaction to the new parking meters.

    ‘Since new parking restrictions were introduced – some say imposed – in Lewes in September 2004, there has been a remarkable backlash in which a group of vigilantes and vandals have been blowing up the newly installed meters.

    So far there have been more than 200 attacks in which 35 of the town’s 96 meters have been written off, while repairs have been needed on a further 170 machines at a total cost of £300,000. The covert bombers have used a variety of devices ranging from simple bangers and powerful crow scarers, to a mix of firework explosives that have scrambled the innards of the meters.’

    So no doubt banning firewoks and crow scarers will be a priority for the new government.

  • Jon

    @Charles – many of us here are interested in the other side of the coin, so long as it’s not died-in-the-wool neocon (we have a couple of regulars that might be described as such). But aren’t you criticising the arrangement of deckchairs on the Titanic?

    You want Craig to admit he is wrong – when he is asserting that the British government under its current masters have been accepting torture material, and he is also asserting that such acceptance creates a market for torture. Are either of these fundamental points incorrect? I find it hard to see that they are, though I might agree that the second one is hard to prove.

    What is comes down to, I think, is you appear to be in favour of British responsibility for torture. At least Bruce Anderson tells us straight that he is in favour (women and children included, in his case). I wonder if the shame of such a position was suspended, that you would own up to agreeing with it too?

  • glenn

    Jon: I believe Mr. Crawford did publish an apologia for torture on his blog quite a few months back, saying in effect what a jolly good thing it was. Nothing interesting, just the usual set of excuses.

    I wouldn’t have noticed it, of course, nor would anyone else had Mr. Murray not mentioned it here.

  • technicolour

    Clark, thanks, I do see & appreciate your point. And I’m out there. I just feel very stupid for not having done more earlier.

  • Tashkent

    Yes the labor followed the policies of supporting war in Iraq as the Torries would do. Lib Democrats are getting the revenge votes or in other way masses are trying to find an alternative to two leading parties. But is it not indicative of the greater change in democracy or voters thinking? May be democracy has failed to deliver as a system? May be for humans controlled democracy looks after more the interest of the nation than the present form of democracy? May be Vladimir Putin is right at least he has delivered to his nation. And May be President Islam Karimov is also right? Tashkent is progressing city and I am sure if Andhijan plan would have succeeded then Tashkent could have become another Kabul?

  • Todd

    Re your memo to William Ehrman (Director General (Defence & Intelligence) at the FCO):

    Ehrman was the one who wrote:

    “Dealing with Islamist extremism, the messages are more complex, the constituencies we would aim at are more difficult to identify, and greater damage could be done to the overall effort _if links back to UK or US sources were revealed_.”


    Now what did he mean by that? That the UK or US are behind the manifestations of the war of terror?

  • ensa

    Passing through…

    You might want to correct “I have et victims and their families”…

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