Document 08 – Butt

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Murder In Samarkand – Document 8 – letter from Simon Butt dated 16 April 2003


Following my telegram on the start of the Iraq war, Simon Butt, Head of Eastern Department, was sent out from London to tell me I was now considered “Unpatriotic”. On return he met with Sir Michael Jay (PUS), to discuss how to deal with me. His letter records this conversation.

Apart from the underlying political context, there are two astonishing things about this letter. The first is the libel by a government department of the anti-war Labout MP Andrew Mackinlay, who to the best of my knowledge had never been in a strip club, in Poland or anywhere else.

The second is that he notes that after dinner I went out with a young lady to a jazz club (which I did – it was my secretary Kristina, and we just went for a quick drink). But while he blows that up with much innuendo, he fails to note something much more significant.

While we were having dinner, the grandson of our host, Professor Mirsaidov, a distinguished dissident, had been abducted from outside the house by Uzbek security services. He had been tortured to death and his body dumped back on the family doorstep at 4am. It had been intended as a warning to dissidents and the British Embassy not to meet each other.

Simon Butt was fully aware of these facts when he wrote this letter, but plainly the murder of our host’s grandson – which was inconvenient for our important relationship in the War on Terror with Karimov – was much less worth mentioning than my going for a drink to a jazz bar.

Letter from Simon Butt dated 16 April 2003 (pdf – 496KB)

Document no longer available on this site. Removed by legal action by the British Government, which acknowledged the authenticity of the document and claimed Crown Copytight over it.