The Choice 44

I came across this 2007 interview I did for BBC Radio 4 with Michael Buerk. He is a good interviewer and challenges me directly and critically at several points. The interview is particularly fascinating for the fact that the British government was still lying through its teeth and issuing desperate denials that torture and collusion with extraordinary rendition had ever happened.

It is also good to remind myself that the audience of this blog has grown exponentially and many readers do not know the back story. I had never listened to this interview since giving it and I found it pretty compelling myself!

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44 thoughts on “The Choice

  • Daniel

    Wow. What a throwback. It’s interesting to put things into perspective and see how much things have progressed – or regressed.

  • Merkin Scot

    How long until Boris tells us this was an early example of fake news?

  • John Monro

    Thank you, Craig. Very useful to have this quick resumé of who you now are and why. You’re a bit of the moral cuckoo in the nest, aren’t you? The only problem being that in the succession of nests you’re laid in it’s the other hatchlings that throw you out and not the other way round!! There might not be torture in Scotland, thank goodness, but what you’ve recently been describing as happening there and the work of a supposedly independent police against you seems worryingly a bit like a proto-Uzbekistan in the making. I hope I exaggerate, as there remains in Scotland I’m sure enough checks and balances to ultimately undo some of this errant behaviour. At least I jolly well hope so. But it’s equally true that you nor anyone else should have to work so hard in trying to achieve this.

  • Hugh Mckee

    Great stuff. I had only a vague notion about your back story. This interview was a really good way for me to get filled in.

    Think I’ll send to my daughter in the Foreign Office.

  • giyane

    Would it be inflammatory to suggest Police Scotland stick that interview into their pipe and smoke it?

    • Roger Wise

      Great promotion of the state school system of the U.K., for those who have not fallen foul of the indoctrination of The Sun or Daily Mail, Those devoid of empathy, or any moral status, are l am sure from the same ‘engineered’ production line of the perfectly formed sausage.

  • George Gebbie

    I just shared your blog and interview on my facebook page. Quantum valeat I copy below what I wrote in connection with it. Be Well!

    “This is a MUST READ or more precisely a MUST LISTEN because it contains a recording of a radio interview. Craig Murray is a man of conscience, who has put himself in jeopardy in the past to do what really any of us should morally but few would actually.

    The Crown Office Procurator Fiscal Service is pursuing him in the High Court in relation to his reporting on the Alec Salmond trial. He and only he is being pursued in this way but other apparent breaches of the provisions he is accused of contravening, go unremarked by the Scottish State Prosecution system. You can make up your own mind as to whether you think this attack by the authorities on a man of conscience will work out quite how the said authorities imagine.

    There are, in broadly general terms, three types of law. The Law of God, The Law of Man and The Law of Unintended Consequences. The first two are open to interpretation. The third is as unbending as that of the Medes and Persians and it spares no one, whether high or low.”

  • Colin Alexander

    You know the U.K. not only allows torture; it does it too. You’ve seen first hand what they are doing to Julian Assange when there is no jury trial.

    One John McLean is one too many. Scotland has enough dead political heroes. Enough martyrs.

    As your former top boss, the Empress, said: “Think very carefully”.

  • Martin Kernick

    Though it has not made you wealthy, your conscience has given you true worth. Thank you for speaking the truth.

  • Tatyana

    I’m sorry that audio is without subtitles.
    If someone had filed a petition for accessible environment for people with disabilities compulsory subtitles everywhere on the Web, I would have voted “pro”.
    On a humorous note, I reflect on if it intentionally done so that non-native-english-speakers housewives mind their housekeeping and don’t crawl into politic discussions…

    • Courtenay Barnett


      How many languages would one have to translate ( sub-title) into, for say:-

      A highly informative interview in Russian into…??? – and vice versa – English into….???

      • Tatyana

        I would be happy with the subtitles in the same language as in the audio track, because it’s logical and rather easy to implement since there are programs for automatic subtitles for video – although they are not very accurate, but they are sufficient for general understanding.
        I again compare this problem with the accessible environment for people with disabilities and, again, regret that this standard isn’t accepted everywhere on the Internet.

        Discriminatory English language Internet conspiracy 🙂 Abbr. DELI – it’s definitely aimed at housewives! 🙂

  • Kerch'ee Kerch'ee Coup

    I was wondering whether Michael Buerk requested , or was specifically chosen,to give this not-unsympathetic interview. He is certainly a person I will now give more attention to in his own right (comments on Jimmy Saville, for example). Understandably the interview might not have gone out on the World Service, which was the only Beeb I followed at that time .Migrant-workers and Uzbek-Korean biznessmen / teashop staff in Seoul though generally friendly and talkative tended to change the subject quickly when it came to repression, so I was very disturbed by your revelations back then.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    If one were to consider Britain in a historical sense and in contemporary terms ( i.e. by which I mean immediate Post World War 11 up to the present day) then the abuse of human rights is nothing new for Britain and indeed for other major powers. How so?
    Indian Mutiny 1857; the wonderful participation in Apartheid South Africa; the expulsion of the Kikuyu and the concentration camps in Kenya etc,. etc, etc.
    N.B. I did not even go as far back as John Hawkins and the Atlantic African Slave Trade ( so what’s new when one looks at the long historical record?).
    But that was all back in the past – wasn’t it?
    The Matrix/Churchill case and Britain’s prominent role in the Iraq war; the sacrifice made by Katharine Gun; the death of Dr. Kelly; Diana’s death; the Skipral incident; – in the past?
    Way of the world – I guess.
    P.S. Lest I forget – the Craig Murray affair in Uzbekistan?
    P.P.S. Par for the course?

    • Ben

      Asshole ‘progressive’s socialists delete comments even more egregiously than right wing sociopaths

      How encouraging for the asstards…

  • Ian+Pleb

    I remember hearing this interview at the time it was broadcast and it feels as powerful now as it did then. Thank you so much for your honesty that has illuminated so many minds to what the expression “Britain’s interests around the world” actually means. Michael Buerk’s question “You didn’t think that British interests were more important than people being boiled alive,” is breathtaking in its moral decrepitude.

    • Greg Park

      Yes, he was fine in the main though. Allowed Craig to tell his story, one very unflattering to the British state. Doubt he would be allowed to tell it on today”s BBC.

  • Greg Park

    Craig,you could not have been very immersed in history in those days if you were shocked your country would condone torture.

  • Jon

    I am amused to see that if I save the audio for later listening, I find that the file is titled “01-Is-It-Better-To-Buy-Local-Or-Organic-Food-.mp3”. Is this how spies ensure their files don’t fall into the wrong hands? 😉

  • M.J.

    Good interview, it wasn’t too easy to work how to download it. 🙂
    I have to respect your choice, since you gave up a princely life style as you described. It would have been so easy to have agreed to the FCO offer, and in return become an ambassador in a European country and carry on living like that.
    But here’s a question: one of the best reasons for not regretting your choice is that in it you referred to saving lives, surely the greatest thing any human can do. My question is, could you have saved lives had your interventions been more discreet and modest, as the FCO might have expected?

    • Giyane


      Maybe one of the reasons God has so far saved our respected host three times from deaths door is his having saved so many lives with his own self-sacrifice.
      Long may that continue. We are all deeply indebted to whistleblowers against the fascist foreign policy of USUKIS, not only for their saving the lives the victims of their colonial madness, but for having rescued our own minds from insanity by the evil lies they use to cover up their war crimes.

      Sanity is imho, knowing that USUKIS is lying as it has ALWAYS lied. Thank you Craig.

    • Courtenay Barnett


      I shall now criticise Mike Pompeo – despite the fact that the MSM is too hypocritical and/or cowardly so to do.

      ” Well Mike” I would say, “please consider this.”

      When you say, “exact consequences” you are obviously making a threat to the entire international community. It has appeared on a number of occasions, that you as a spokesperson for the foreign policy of the United States of America are both isolationist and hypocritical in your selective criticisms. You want to go it alone, and then as with the oil fiasco the US belatedly discovers that the cost of extracting and producing shale oil does not make it commercially viable so to do ( your go it alone policy in action). You advocate a ‘free market system’ in theory, yet insist that Third World must, via the lending regimes imposed by the IMF and World Bank abide by terms which do not make market competitiveness in the least feasible for the borrower countries. Yet further, again with oil, pray tell just how much did the US government subsidise the companies which engaged in shale oil production – only to discover that albeit being contrary to true ‘free market ‘ doctrine, in any event the market itself simply declared – NOT VIABLE. So, likewise I declare to you that your stand against the international community on bringing to book the perpetrators of injustice against the Palestinian people is likewise – simply – NOT VIABLE AND/OR ACCEPTABLE TO THE VAST MAJORITY OF DECENT PEOPLE IN THE WORLD.

      Now, to my second and final point – Mike.

      When you say, this – “political body, not a judicial institution”. I think you have the old problem of the pot calling the kettle black staring you right in the face.

      Just think about it Mike – all of the Trump administration’s efforts have been diligently directed at staking all Federal and Supreme Court seats with political appointees. So, when you accuse the ICC of being primarily a ‘political body’ – I actually disagree with you – but would say that at the very least – they would have good precedent to follow coming from the Trump administration.

      So – take that – Mike Pompeo – put it in your pipe and smoke it.

      For and on behalf of Jack.

      Yours truly,

      P.S. Hope that helped – even if just a little – Jack.

    • Ort

      The abominable Pompeo is a bloated caricature of the archetypal Mafioso thug:

      That’s a nice court ya got there. It’d be a shame if something happened to it.

  • Highlander

    Aye it’s difficult having a moral upbringing and standards

    Some I have lauded to prior.

    In Scotland’s civil service auditors are frightened, accountants fear investigation regardless of the official professional auditors findings.
    After all it’s they’re professional qualifications at stake.

  • Jim Dryburgh

    You were brave to stand by your principles.
    Good on you for that. It was good to get a bit of your background. Your honesty and integrity shines through.
    I know you had a speaking tour planned but the Pandemic got in the way.
    The only speaking event I’ve ever attended was a Sportmans Dinner but I look forward to the opportunity
    to attend one of your events.
    I have followed your blogs on the Alex Salmond Trial and your thoughts on Scotland’s route to Independence.
    Not sure if you’ll get involved in the Mark Hirst case but that looks like another waste of taxpayers money.
    The Yes campaign needs all the help it can get.
    I hope you continue with your input to that cause.

  • David+Bruce

    What an inspiring man of principle. I’m happy to help support him financially with a modest monthly contribution. I hope others may be likewise inspired to help Craig continue his work.

  • Scott


    Great interview.

    Would you say the recruitment and job-posting policy of the FCO has been changed, since you were working there, to ensure only compliant individuals get postings to influential positions in places like Uzbekistan? I’m assuming information obtained through torture is still prevalent in Uzbekistan, and still quietly condoned by the FCO.

    Kind regards,

  • Jimmeh

    I love this blog, and read it frequently.

    I’d just like to note that the phrase “grown exponentially” is being misused by scribblers at a rate that is growing “exponentially”. Exponential growth is when the rate of growth is proportional to the quantity that is growing. Most of the time when I see the phrase being used, it just means “growing very fast”.

    In these times of a spreading pandemic (whose growth is indeed exponential), I wish people would refrain from debasing terms that have a precise meaning.

    Of course, the readership of this blog might indeed be growing exponentially; CM is a careful writer. If he intended the term to have its precise meaning, cool; but the way journos have been bandying it around, it’s hard to know nowadays.

    • Ash

      Ditto “orders of magnitude”. Quite understandable for people who don’t actually understand numbers though (which, sadly, is a vast majority anymore).

  • Jón

    Thank you for your integrity Craig! You have not lived in vain.
    All the best wishes for you.

  • Geoffrey

    Six years pay with no conditions,allowing you to publicise the British Governments indirect use of torture, that was pretty generous of them !
    In those days a very generous employer would pay 3 months salary plus week per year worked as redundancy, and if one was fired it would have been much less.

  • Matt McCallum

    A very eye opening interview Craig. It certainly shines a light on the Blair government. You can certainly hold your head up unlike some of the charlatans who are still selling their souls for the establishment coin. Well done

  • Brian Macfarlane

    What a very interesting chat Craig. Not a moment throughout where you didn’t have my full attention. Excellent stuff from Michael too. Not for the first time I salute your integrity. The world would be a much better place with more Craig Murray’s.

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