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Craig Murray's Damning Documents on Torture


Came across this at crooks and liars, followed on to the Craig Murray site itself for a gander at the documents.

Craig Murray has seemingly set up a coordinated release of papers from his time in tashkent to a series of UK bloggers. Daily Kos has picked it up and to be honest some of Murray's letters make for uncomfortable reading for some.

Taking from the Kos pulled quote;
  1. We receive intelligence obtained under torture from the Uzbek intelligence services, via the US. We should stop. It is bad information anyway. Tortured dupes are forced to sign up to confessions showing what the Uzbek government wants the US and UK to believe, that they and we are fighting the same war against terror.
  2. I gather a recent London interdepartmental meeting considered the question and decided to continue to receive the material. This is morally, legally and practically wrong. It exposes as hypocritical our post Abu Ghraib pronouncements and fatally undermines our moral standing. It obviates my efforts to get the Uzbek government to stop torture they are fully aware our intelligence community laps up the results.
  3. We should cease all co-operation with the Uzbek Security Services they are beyond the pale. We indeed need to establish an SIS presence here, but not as in a friendly state.
And from Murray himself:

12. On the usefulness of the material obtained, this is irrelevant. Article 2 of the Convention, to which we are a party, could not be plainer: "No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture."

16. I have been considering Michael Wood's legal view, which he kindly gave in writing. I cannot understand why Michael concentrated only on Article 15 of the Convention. This certainly bans the use of material obtained under torture as evidence in proceedings, but it does not state that this is the sole exclusion of the use of such material.

17. The relevant article seems to me Article 4, which talks of complicity in torture. Knowingly to receive its results appears to be at least arguable as complicity. It does not appear that being in a different country to the actual torture would preclude complicity. I talked this over in a hypothetical sense with my old friend Prof Francois Hampson, I believe an acknowledged World authority on the Convention, who said that the complicity argument and the spirit of the Convention would be likely to be winning points. I should be grateful to hear Michael's views on this.

Its no surprise that people in power are aware of abuses being undertaken in the name of the west abroad. It is their job after all. That doesnt make it correct. Is prosecuting a policy where the acceptance of torture abroad and the willingness to use its fruits not utterly damaging to any war on terror, even a struggle against terror would see the futility of such an action.

I sincerely hope that there is time to salvage something from this and Murray is not proved right about this:

"19. This is a difficult and dangerous part of the World. Dire and increasing poverty and harsh repression are undoubtedly turning young people here towards radical Islam. The Uzbek government are thus creating this threat, and perceived US support for Karimov strengthens anti-Western feeling. SIS ought to establish a presence here, but not as partners of the Uzbek Security Services, whose sheer brutality puts them beyond the pale."

We all picked up our prism on September 12, but people in the field for longer than we have been aware voice misgivings about the arguments for the efficiacy of torture. I concur, I agree wholeheartedly that a tortured man is a broken man and will tell whatever we want. The determination of guilt or innocence is irrelevant, torture has a 100% conviction rating.

We should all be aware of what is going on regarding torture, and careful to extrapolate our conclusions to the issue of rendition which is related but not identical. The US and UK will legalise the use of torture evidence thus legitimating torture abroad in their name. This is not acceptable to me:
1) On human rights grounds and the already established norms of international behaviour
2) On security grounds, if Shannon and Ireland were to become bound up with the tale of rendition and thus legitimated torture I know i wouldnt feel safe long term.

Again, lessons are here to be learned. We must make sure that these lessons are hammered home. At the end of the day my government may too be complicit to a lesser degree. Murray's stuff is interesting and released to the public domain for us all to deliberate on.

For more head to bloggerheads (many posts just look back through them)

UPDATE: More sites carrying the story, most are quite left fyi, Meaders has it, Chicken Yoghurt (quite good), Bair Watch

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