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10/7/06
Murder In Samarkand Craig Murray
 

www.craigmurray.co.uk/documents/docs.html

For more background on events surrounding the publication by Craig Murray of these exchanges with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), see Postman Patel's posts on the government's threats to prosecute Murray for copyright infringement.

The exchanges are revealing as they detail the mentality of the FCO that hasn't changed one iota in generations and furthermore exposes the ideological role of the civil service and should surely disabuse anybody of the notion that the civil service is neutral in its operations.

"Murder in Samarkand" and backstabbing in Whitehall - Craig Murray breaches Copyright Act!!! (alleged)

Craig Murray needs your help

PS: I encourage people to disseminate these documents as widely as possible. I've zipped them up into one, handy package here.


The Documents

I assume by making these available to the public, I am also allegedly in breach of Crown Copyright, although not a single document contains a copyright notice of any kind and in any case, I am making them available in the public interest as they were obtained through the Freedom of Information Act [sic].

Document 1 – FCO Comment

This document details feedback from the FCO requesting changes to the book in its draft form.

Document 2 – IMF Telegram

This is the original draft of the telegram which I sent on the IMF and economic policy. The computer in my office could not link to our communications equipment, so after I drafted it on my word processor, Jackie or Karen had to type it again into comms. While they were doing this, inspiration struck and I went down and added to the end of the telegram by hand.

Document 3 – Declaration

I had been in Uzbekistan exactly four weeks when I became convinced that Western policy in Central Asia was completely ill-conceived. This telegram was my first major declaration of my view to London, where it came as a nasty shock.

Document 4 – Speech

The Head of Eastern Department, Simon Butt, and the Head of the Diplomatic Service, Sir Michael Jay KCMG, were horrified by my questioning of US foreign policy and by my proposal to make a strong speech on human rights in Uzbekistan. This was not Sir Michael Jay’s view of diplomacy at all. In fact it is worth noting that, if you replace the word “Diplomacy” with “Duplicity” in Michael Jay’s email, it still makes perfect sense.

Document 5 – Hill Negotiation

My proposal to make a strong speech on Uzbek Human Rights at Freedom House was strongly opposed by Sir Michael Jay and Simon Butt. Charles Hill of Eastern Department had the job of negotiating the text with me and, after this pretty sharp correspondence, I largely got the speech I wanted.

Document 6 – Michael Wood memo of 13 March

After my protests at our obtaining intelligence under torture, I was astonished to be called back to London for a meeting on 8 March 2003 at which I was told that torture intelligence was legal, and that Jack Straw and Sir Richard Dearlove, Head of MI6, had decided that in the “War on Terror” we should, as a matter of policy, obtain intelligence got by torture by foreign intelligence services.

At the meeting it was agreed that Sir Michael Wood, the Foreign Office’s chief legal adviser, would put in writing his view that we were committing no offence by obtaining torture intelligence. This minute is that legal assurance.

Document 7 – Telegram of 18 March 2003 headed US Foreign Policy

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.

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.

Document 9 – Exchange of emails with Linda Duffield

With the Iraq war in full swing, I found myself marked down as not sound on the War and Terror and simply “sent to Coventry” by my London management, as I complained in this exchange of emails with Linda Duffield. This proved to be the calm before the storm.

Document 10 – Colin Reynolds’ report of 26 June 2003

I was delighted to get away on holiday to Canada with my family after an exhausting and difficult year. The personnel officer, Colin Reynolds having failed to bring back the answer they wanted, while I was on leave the FCO sent a political officer, Dominic Schroeder, to Tashkent. The excuse was a “Crisis” they had themselves produced by suspending my five most senior members of office staff.

Schroeder came back and dutifully reported he had found allegations of mismanagement, alcoholism, financial corruption and offering sex in exchange from visas.

I was summoned back immediately from holiday and arrived back to meet Howard Drake of Personnel Department. I went straight from the airport to his office after a 16 hour overnight flight from Vancouver via Chicago, having not slept for 60 hours. As I walked in the door I had no idea I was about to face a huge raft of false allegations and be asked to resign.

In the circumstances I am amazed by how well I managed to defend myself at this meeting! You should bear in mind that this is Howard Drake’s record of this meeting; it therefore puts the best possible gloss on what the FCO was doing.

Document 11 – Minute of my meeting with Howard Drake

I was delighted to get away on holiday to Canada with my family after an exhausting and difficult year. The personnel officer, Colin Reynolds having failed to bring back the answer they wanted, while I was on leave the FCO sent a political officer, Dominic Schroeder, to Tashkent. The excuse was a “Crisis” they had themselves produced by suspending my five most senior members of office staff.

Schroeder came back and dutifully reported he had found allegations of mismanagement, alcoholism, financial corruption and offering sex in exchange from visas.

I was summoned back immediately from holiday and arrived back to meet Howard Drake of Personnel Department. I went straight from the airport to his office after a 16 hour overnight flight from Vancouver via Chicago, having not slept for 60 hours. As I walked in the door I had no idea I was about to face a huge raft of false allegations and be asked to resign.

In the circumstances I am amazed by how well I managed to defend myself at this meeting! You should bear in mind that this is Howard Drake’s record of this meeting; it therefore puts the best possible gloss on what the FCO was doing.

Document 12 – Letter from British Businessmen in Tashkent

The British community in Tashkent were astonished to find their Ambassador was under attack.

Document 13 – Email to Kate Smith

It became plain to me that I had no hope of a fair investigation of the allegations against me. In particular I would not be allowed to call defence witnesses; indeed I was not allowed to tell anyone of the existence of the allegations. I was also banned from entering my own Embassy, and confined to my house in Tashkent.

It became too much for me, and I sent this email back from Tashkent to my union representative, Kate Smith, just before leaving to go into psychiatric care for depression. I am surprised by how articulate and clear-minded my email was.

Document 14 – Minute of 26 September 2003

I received many documents through an application under the Data Protection Act. These have been edited by the Foreign Office, with areas blacked out in the “interests of national security”.

This is an interesting example. This minute of 26 September 2003 is addressed to Sir Michael Jay (PS/PUS) and Jack Straw (PS). By convention minutes are addressed to the Private Secretary (PS) not the Secretary of State direct.

Among the things deleted for reasons of national security is who the minute was copied to. The copy addressees would be at the top right hand corner under the date. A friend of mine in Jack Straw’s office (remember I worked in the FCO for 21 years) tells me that the copy addressees on this and scores of other documents about me going through Jack Straw’s offce, included 10 Downing Street, MI6 and the MOD. That is why they have been deleted. As detailed in the book, the instruction to get rid of me had come to the FCO from No 10 on the instigation of the Americans.

It is fascinating to consider what else the FCO felt it necessary to blank out in this minute.

Document 15 – Telegram

I continued to refuse to resign and in the end was found not guilty of all the allegations against me, but given a formal warning for not having kept the allegations secret. Following a parliamentary and media campaign in my favour, I returned as Ambassador to Tashkent.

In July 2004, following the Abu Ghraib revelations, I yet again went back to argue with London that we should not be receiving intelligence from the Uzbek torture chambers. We were, I said, “Selling our souls for dross”. This telegram was leaked to the Financial Times, leading the FCO to tell the Uzbek government (before they told me) that I had been withdrawn as British Ambassador to Tashkent.

     
 
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