Craig Murray – Your Help Needed – Reveal Torture to Stop It

4 March, 2009
Your Help Needed – Reveal Torture to Stop It

On Tuesday 10 March the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights will discuss whether or not to hear my evidence on the UK government’s policy of using intelligence from torture. They discussed whether to hear my evidence on 3 March but failed to reach a conclusion.

The government is lobbying hard for my exclusion. I need everybody to send an email to to urge that I should be allowed to give evidence. Just a one-liner would be fine. If you are able to add some comment on the import of my evidence, or indicate that you have heard me speak or read my work, that may help. Please copy your email to

Please also pass on this plea to anyone you can and urge them to act. Help from other bloggers in posting this appeal would be much appreciated.

The evidence I am trying to give the parliamentary committee is this:

I wish to offer myself as a witness before the Joint Commission on Human Rights on the subject of the UK government’s policy on intelligence cooperation with torture abroad.

I appeared as a witness in person before both the European Parliament and European Council’s enquiries into extraordinary rendition. My evidence was described by the European Council’s Rapporteur, Senator Dick Marty, as ‘Compelling and valuable’.

The key points I wish to make are these:

  • I was British Ambassador in Uzbekistan from 2002 to 2004.
  • I learned and confirmed that I was regularly seeing intelligence from detainees in the Uzbek torture chambers, sent me by the CIA via MI6.
  • British Ministers and officials were seeing the same torture material.
  • In October/November 2002 and January/Februray 2003 I sent two Top Secret telegrams to London specifically on the subject of our receipt of intelligence gained under torture. I argued this was illegal, immoral and impractical. The telegrams were specifically marked for the Secretary of State.
  • I was formally summoned back to the FCO for a meeting held on 7 or 8 March 2003 specifically and solely on the subject of intelligence gained under torture. Present were Linda Duffield, Director Wider Europe, FCO, Sir Michael Wood, Chief Legal Adviser, FCO, and Matthew Kydd, Head of Permanent Under-Secretary’s Department, FCO.
  • This meeting was minuted. I have seen the record, which is classified Top Secret and was sent to Jack Straw. On the top copy are extensive hand-written marginalia giving Jack Straw’s views.
  • I was told at this meeting that it is not illegal for us to obtain intelligence gained by torture, provided that we did not do the torture ourselves. I was told that it had been decided that as a matter of War on Terror policy we should now obtain intelligence from torture, following discussion between Jack Straw and Richard Dearlove. I was told that we could not exclude receipt of specific material from the CIA without driving a coach and horses through the universality principle of the UK/US intelligence sharing agreement, which would be detrimental to UK interests.
  • Sir Michael Wood’s legal advice that it was not illegal to receive intelligence got by torture was sent on to me in Tashkent (copy attached).

On 22 July 2004 I sent one further telegram on intelligence got by torture, with a lower classification, following FCO communications on the subject. Copy attached.
It was my final communication before being dismissed as Ambassador.

In conclusion, I can testify that beyond any doubt the British government has for at least six years a considered but secret policy of cooperation with torture abroad. This policy legally cleared by government legal advisers and approved by Jack Straw as Secretary of State.

Craig Murray
2 March 2009

Source: Craig Murray

William Blum: Anti-Empire Report, Number 67 – Being serious about torture. Or not.

4 March, 2009

In Cambodia they’re once again endeavoring to hold trials to bring some former senior Khmer Rouge officials to justice for their 1975-79 war crimes and crimes against humanity. The current defendant in a United Nations-organized trial, Kaing Guek Eav, who was the head of a Khmer Rouge torture center, has confessed to atrocities, but insists he was acting under orders.[1] As we all know, this is the defense that the Nuremberg Tribunal rejected for the Nazi defendants. Everyone knows that, right? No one places any weight on such a defense any longer, right? We make jokes about Nazis declaring: ‘I was only following orders!’ (‘Ich habe nur den Befehlen gehorcht!’) Except that both the Bush and Obama administrations have spoken in favor of it. Here’s the new head of the CIA, Leon Panetta: ‘What I have expressed as a concern, as has the president, is that those who operated under the rules that were provided by the Attorney General in the interpretation of the law [concerning torture] and followed those rules ought not to be penalized. And … I would not support, obviously, an investigation or a prosecution of those individuals. I think they did their job.'[2] Operating under the rules … doing their job … are of course the same as following orders.

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Media Lens 5 March, 2009: Generic Invader Nonsense — Obama on Iraq

MEDIA LENS: Correcting for the distorted vision of the corporate media

March 5, 2009

As a presidential candidate, Barrack Obama described the war in Iraq as one that “should never have been authorised and never been waged”. ( On February 27, as president, Obama saw it differently. He told US troops at Camp Lejeune, a Marine Corps base in North Carolina:

“You have fought against tyranny and disorder. You have bled for your best friends and for unknown Iraqis. And you have borne an enormous burden for your fellow citizens, while extending a precious opportunity to the people of Iraq. Under tough circumstances, the men and women of the United States military have served with honor, and succeeded beyond any expectation.” (’Obama’s Speech at Camp Lejeune, N.C.,’ New York Times, February 27, 2009;

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Housmans Radical Books (London) Newsletter for March 2009




1. Housmans sale continues…
2. A request for volunteers with experience of organising events
3. Meeting room available for up to 12 people


4. (film screening – British premiere)
‘Chomsky & Company’
France, 2008, 127 mins
Saturday 7th March – 5.30pm

5. (book event & talk)
‘Cranks and Revolutions’ with Mark Gold
Wednesday 11thMarch – 7pm

6. (charity art auction)
Art Auction for Gaza
Saturday 14thMarch – 2pm

7. (book event & talk)
‘Politics & Paranoia’ with Robin Ramsay
Saturday 14thMarch – 5pm

8. (book event & talk)
‘Unmasking the State: A Rough Guide to Real Democracy’ with Paul Feldman
Wednesday 18thMarch – 7pm

9. (party & book launch)
Miners’ Strike 25th Anniversary Party
Saturday 21st March – 6.30pm

10. (book event & talk)
‘Unlocking Democracy – celebrating 20 years of Charter 88’
Wednesday 25th March  – 7pm

11. (book event & talk)
Nick Davies – ‘Flat Earth News’
Wednesday 1st April  – 7pm

12. Forthcoming in April 2009


13. ‘Can I Bring My Own Gun? An Israeli soldier’s story’
by Seth Freedman

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Amira Hass on the Israel Donors Conference, a gift to Israel

4 March, 2009


The extent of the funding pledged to the Palestinian Authority by donor countries reflects the extent of their support for Israel and its policies. The American taxpayers’ contribution to the Ramallah government’s bank account is dwarfed by the large sums the U.S. government donates to Israel every year. It’s impossible to get excited over the American pledge of $900 million (two-thirds of it for strengthening Salam Fayyad’s government and the rest for Gaza’s recovery) and forget the $30 billion the United States has promised Israel in defense aid by the end of 2017, as last week’s Amnesty International report noted.

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COHA: Revamping U.S.-Cuban Politics: Playing the Guantánamo Card in a Game of Constructive Diplomacy

  • 106 years of American occupation of Guantánamo Bay is long enough
  • Obama signs order to close torture facility, but remains silent about the base’s future
  • Reversion of the obsolescent facility to Cuba is essential for the normalization of U.S.-Cuban relations as well as rehabilitation of Latin-American ties

In recent months, media coverage of Guantánamo Bay has focused on the relocation and plans for the prosecution of detainees now housed there by the United States government. But there is another issue that all but goes unaddressed – the legitimacy of the U.S. naval base’s very presence along the southeastern coastline of Cuba. This issue has not yet been even cursorily explored. On January 22, President Obama signed an executive order that called for the closure of the Guantánamo Bay detention camp within one year. This would remove the sole remaining function of the base that served as an internment camp for suspected terrorists, and therefore also would provide the Obama administration with good reason to reconsider returning the land itself to Cuba, its rightful and legal owner.

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