UK government torture deception update
A good round-up from Tim Ireland, and more on that Enron memo from Murray himself and Lenin which are worth a look.
The Associated Press has now picked up on the story, and via its newswires this is cropping up in USA Today, ABC, The Guardian, The LA Times and CBS. Oh, and surprisingly The Mirror seems to have got the most accurate headline: "EX-AMBASSADOR: STRAW KNEW WE USED INFO FROM TORTURERS".
The Mirror also notes:
"In October 2004 Mr Straw denied Mr Murray's allegations.
"He told MPs Britain would 'never use torture in order to obtain information' and added: 'Nor would we instigate others to commit torture for that purpose.' But in a 2003 memo, Foreign Office legal advisor Sir Michael Wood tells the ambassador it is only unlawful if such information is used in court cases."
So, please note that the anonymous Foreign Office spokesman mentioned in the Press Association report is explicitly contradicting Foreign Secretary Jack Straw's earlier pronouncements on the UK's use of torture when he/she puts forth the new government line:
"while Britain condemns the use of torture, it would be 'irresponsible' for the intelligence services to reject out of hand information which might protect British citizens from a terror attack."
There may be an argument for using information obtained by torture in such circumstances, though it is not a particularly convincing one, but that is not the point. The point is the government has been caught in a lie about its use of immorally and illegally-obtained information - and they're digging themselves deeper into a hole with it with every passing day. Keep at 'em...
More Uzbekistan documents from Craig Murray
(A good summary at The Register for those who came in late, or see earlier...)
A little bit of Uzbek-US relations. Speaks for itself, really (click for big):
Rumsfeld likes the torturous Uzbek regime and all (and again).
Always easier to look the other way when you're mates with them, eh? Maybe that's where Saddam went wrong - he should have given us some dodgy info about Iran's nuclear programme, then we could have left him to murder his people in peace, just as we do with Karimov...
More new info at Blairwatch. Oh, and The Times has picked up on this story and all... Nice work, blogger types!
More on the British government and Uzbekistan torture
Following Lenin's lead, more in-depth posts about the latest attempts to mislead the public over the extent of Britain's interest in torture are cropping up at Bloggerheads and former Ambassador Craig Murray's own blog.
Murray was sacked for trying to get this information to the general public. He even stood against Jack Straw in the General Election to try and gain publicity for the (apparent) fact that Blair and co are quite happy to allow dodgy dictatorships to mutilate and murder as a proxy for Britain. The general public have so far shown precisely fuck all interest in the matter, and now the Foreign Office are trying to censor Murray's memoirs to lessen the proof he can show and thusly make him out to be a misguided nutter that the public are entirely justified in ignoring.
Tell you what, though, it may be more comfortable to ignore claims that our government is happy to obtain information extracted through torture - but if they continue to deny it despite growing evidence to the contrary, if they try to suppress evidence which suggests that our elected politicians knew about this and were happy to allow it to continue, then none of the fuckers should be in office. If these claims that they knew all about it from the start are true, the moral bankruptcy of our overlords is such that we cannot risk trusting them over anything ever again.
You thought reneging on the tuition fees manifesto promise was bad? How'd you like to have your wife and kids violently fucked before your eyes by a group of grinning prison guards while more of them electrocute you and shove glass bottles up your already bleeding arse?
Don't ignore it. Make it your New Year's resolution to get these bastards held to account.
Friday morning update: The Independent has picked up on the story, as have scores of US bloggers - notably the mighty Kos - and "Craig Murray" is, as I type, the 6th most popular search term on Technorati. Good work everyone. Looks like this could gain some notice - as long as the fuss can be kept up into next week when everyone starts paying attention to news again...
Best places for continuing updates look to be Blairwatch and Chris Floyd's related stories feeds.
Christmas was acceptable
Five days with no news, plenty of beer, wine, whisky, champagne, port, armagnac and cognac, obscene amounts of top-notch food and even some snow. Hurrah.
I return to discover that I made it to number 8 in Blogpulse's top blogposts of 2005 run-down - with only 52 people having to die and a whole bunch of others getting mentally and physically scarred for life to get me there. Makes me so proud...
It's also worth noting that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is being arsey in an attempt to stifle knowledge of the government's complicity in torture. Keep an eye on former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray, whose memoirs are at the centre of this latest dispute, for more.
You may also like to check out Mark Mardell's review of the EU year - he seems to be predicting another year of debate about the future direction of the entire EU project. Which is sort of what I was predicting twelve months ago for 2005 and it never really happened in anything like a constructive manner, so forgive me if I remain fairly certain that the entire continent's going to approach the new year and its perennial problems in its traditional ostrich-like pose, firmly refusing to confront the manifold dilemmas that recent events and long-term trends have conspired to produce.
In other words, 2006 looks to be about to kick off with a load of the same old stuff. Still, might prompt a few more longer, more considered postings at some point, I suppose...