Monthly Archives: April 2012

Straw in the Stink

The Mail on Sunday is doing a very good job on the odious Jack Straw’s involvement in torture and persecution. I think that at last the truth has entered the established narrative. There is a little box in the report about my own evidence to Scotland Yard. I will type it out here as the Mail’s box format here is not internet searchable:

“Torture” Evidence Handed to the Yard

Further pressure was piled on Jack Straw last night over the “rendition” of Libyan dissident Abdel Hakim Belhadj after sensitive documents were handed to Scotland tard detectives.

Craig Murray, former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, passed the documents to police as part of the inquiry into the behaviour of Ministers and intelligence officials over the detention of Mr Belhadj in Bangkok in March 2004.

The opponent of Colonel Gadaffi was flown to Tripoli, where he claims he was tortured.

Mr Straw, who was Foreign Secretary at the time, has denied ever condoning the use of torture to extract information.

But the documents appear to cast doubt on that position.

One memo, headed “Uzbekistan: Intelligence Possibly Obtained Under Torture” contains minutes of a meeting Mr Murray held with senior Foreign and Commonwealth officials on March 8, 2003 to discuss his concern that the UK could be in breach of international law by possessing intelligence obtained by torture.

The minute, dated March 10 2003, quoted Linda Duffield, then the FCO’s Director of Wider Europe, apparently justifying the use of such material as part of the fight against terrorism.

A second memo, dated March 14 2003, and written by Simon McDonald – the Straw’s principal Private Secretary – to Ms Duffield says Straw has read the minutes and “agrees that you handled this very well”.

Mr Murray is understood to have told police that during Mr Straw’s time at the FCO diplomats were told to only refer to the policy on torture verbally.

Mr Murray said last night “My evidence stated that Jack Straw introduced a policy of allowing evidence obtained by torture to be used. I also told them that written evidence had been destrpyed, and we were told to not commit details into writing.”

There is a slight misquote in the above. It should say Jack Straw introduced a policy of allowing intelligence obtained by torture, not evidence. In fact it was specifically stated such intelligence would not be produced as evidence in court (people were imprisoned without charge or rendered instead). The instruction not to put things in writing was given to me personally, I don’t know if others were told the same. As I was the only one protesting, perhaps not.

These links are to the documents in question.




The first two were obtained by Freedom of Information Act request. Details of the CIA’s colllusion with the Karimiv regime’s torturers have been redacted by the FCO. Last week Jack Straw came out and argued strongly for the effective abolition of the Freedom of Information Act. Now there is a coincidence for you.

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One Turbulent Ambassador

It is really wonderful to be back home again after almost six weeks travelling. It is also a tremendous pleasure to be able to announce this:

A play by
Robin Soans
A World Premiere
Directed by
Jessica Swale
One Turbulent Ambassador follows the career of Craig Murray on
his appointment as Her Majesty’s Ambassador and Plenipotentiary
to the Republic of Uzbekistan in 2001.
Murray’s proximity to post 9/11 Iraq forces him into a political
minefield that neither he nor the Foreign Office could have
envisaged. When he walks into a bar in Tashkent late one
Monday night and sees a beautiful belly dancer arching her
limbs, his personal life threatens to become as turbulent as
the political landscape around him.
Don’t miss this opportunity to see the world premiere of Robin
Soans’s newest play, researched and developed in collaboration
with LAMDA students.
Please note that this production contains strong language and
scenes of an adult nature.
Lyric Hammersmith Ticket Office:
0871 22 117 22* (Mon – Sat, 9.30am – 7.30pm, 5.30pm on
non-performance days) or book online at**
* Calls cost 10p per minute, plus network extras. **Agents, industry guests and LAMDA
Angels should continue to book through The LAMDA Linbury Studio Box Office.
Venue Lyric Hammersmith
Dates 7.30pm Mon 02 July
& Times 7.30pm Wed 04 July
2.00pm Thu 05 July
7.30pm Fri 06 July
2.00pm Sat 07 July
7.30pm Mon 09 July
2.00pm Tue 10 July

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An Evening With…Me. In support of Bradley Manning

Monday 16 April 2012
Why Do We Need Whistleblowers in a Democracy?
An Evening with Craig Murray
Ex Ambassador, Author, Broadcaster, Whistleblower and Human Rights Activist

Small Chemistry Lecture Theatre, Main Building, Cardiff University

With Bradley Manning’s impending court martial hearing and the recent WikiLeaks controversy, Craig Murray will be discussing why whistleblowing is necessary in a democracy. He will draw on his experience as former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan, until 2004 when he was removed from his post for exposing grave human rights abuses as well as about his experiences in Africa.
This event is held in partnership with Bradley Manning Support Events (Wales). For more details of events taking place for the Manning campaign in April, see
Please contact Naomi Blight at [email protected] or call 029 20228549 if you are able to attend.

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Disaster – Genius Needed

I am sorry for the blog hiatus, but I follow a method of historical research a bit akin to method acting! I am absolutely immersed in the world of Burnes. I am in Bhuj at tne moment, and yesterday was at Mandivi looking at the shipyards and harbours where Burnes procured his boats to sail up the Indus – they are still made today. Much larger than I had realised. In Mumbai I identified a “lost”, uncatalogued portrait of Alexander Burnes which I think is the finest of him anywhere. The owners did not know who it was. It is by Brockendon like the one in the royal geographical society but is quite different, with him in military uniform. It is by Brockendon, not a copy.

Today disaster. I have lost ten days worth of notes. I noticed this morning that I had two versions of the identical document of my notes open – an .ODT on open office. One was a much older version. Paradoxically they had the identical file name but both showed as saved – the save icon was blanked on each.

Having checked that the content was all there on the version on which I was working, and that it was saved, I decided the best thing was to close off the extraneous version. Disaster!! An error message came up saying open office would now close. On restart, document recovery brought up only the old version, minus ten days work. I had a moment of hope when I right clicked on the document icon and saw “restore earlier versions of the document” but clicking on that just brought up a ,essage that there are no earlier versions available.

I am heartbroken- these aren’t just notes that can be recovered from memory, but also painstaking transcripts of old manuscripts, some of which I probably can’t access again even if I had the time and money.

I can think of a dozen things I might have done to avoid this situation. Comments on how to avoid such happenings are not welcome in the current trying circumstance. The real question is, can anyone think of anything at all that might help? I am running Open Office on Windows 7.

I really cannot express how much in despair I feel. This trip has cost all my available cash and I have to come back soon as money is out.

[If any mods have hung around while the blog is quiet, I am getting an extremely small typeface, only on this site. Do we have a problem, or is it another computer glitch personal to me?]

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