The Murray Torture Telegrams

Chris Floyd

By now, the world — or at least the blogosphere — has seen the documents released by former UK diplomat Craig Murray, proving that the Bush and Blair governments both knew that the “intelligence” they were receiving from Uzbekistan was the result of gruesome and agonizing tortures on thousands of innocent people. Bush and Blair knew this — yet Bush continued to “render” his Terror War captives to Uzbekistan, and shower the nation’s Stalinist dictator, Karimov, with gold, guns and public honor. And despite Blair’s repeated and strenuous denials of any complicity in America’s heinous practice of “rendition” (indeed, in one recent Parliamentary appearance, Blair pretended that he didn’t even understand what the term meant), Murray’s documents prove that Britain’s leadership knew full well what was happening in Karimov’s torture chambers. Yet, like their American counterparts, British officials not only condoned the Uzbek tortures, they also spent considerable energy in devising contorted — and specious — “justifications” for using the tainted fruits of these evil practices.
And evil is the word for it. Murray, while still serving as UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, dug up proof that the tortures condoned by Bush and Blair included boiling prisoners to death, in addition to the traditional methods of pulling out fingernails, beating, starving, and raping. Nor were these refinements limited to the prisoners themselves — their family members were also tortured to produce “confessions.” One chilling case unearthed by Murray, who witnessed the Stalinist show trials mounted by Karimov’s judicial goons, featured a peasant farmer who was forced to confess to extensive family links to Osama Bin Laden — after seeing his children tortured before his eyes. At the show trial, the old man renounced his confession and exposed the torture of children — and was promptly hustled away.

All of this — and much more — Murray reported at the time to his superiors in London, and to his diplomatic colleagues from Europe and the United States. At every turn, he found either resigned complicity — “What can we do? The US supports Karimov?” — to outright embrace of torture from — who else? — Bush’s own man in Tashkent, who told Murray that the “reduction of civil liberties” under Karimov was “no bad thing,” since it was being done in the name of combatting Islamic extremism. Here we see the Bushist ethos in essence: Everything is permitted — torture, murder, rape, kidnapping, aggression — in the name of “fighting terrorism.” Bush has of course brought this police state philosophy to America, as even the mainstream media is beginning to report.

Murray’s release of these documents — an end run around the Blair government’s threat to censor his whistle-blowing book on his tenure in Uzbekistan — is yet another of a whole battery of smoking guns proving the pervasive criminality of the oh-so-Christian Coalition of Bush and Blair. Empire Burlesque’s intrepid webmaster, RichardK, has been on top of this story quite literally from the beginning; he was among the first to receive Murray’s documents upon their release this week, and one of the first to get them out into the blogosphere. He has compiled a detailed — and growing — compendium of stories and documents relating to Murray’s revelations, which can be found here.

One very significant item unearthed by Richard is a speech Murray gave at York University last February. Here you will find a good overview of Murray’s “journey through dark heat” in Tashkent. But there is also another telling revelation buried in the speech, almost as an aside, which does much to explain how the “intelligence” community — which now appears to have swallowed the US-UK governments whole — really works. Murray tells of his time as a diplomatic officer in Warsaw in the 1990s. He meets a Polish informant, who retails some hot gossip about something the Polish prime minister allegedly did. But Murray was at the event where the indiscretion supposedly took place, and knew that the story was false. The next day, Murray saw the same informant talking with another UK “diplomat” who was in fact an undercover MI6 man. “Low and behold the very next day I received on my desk in its striking bright red cover a piece of MI6 intelligence material containing this [false] story about the Polish Prime Minister,” Murray told the students. The next time he saw the informant, he asked why he’d given the false information to the MI6 agent. The informant smiled and said, “Well, he paid me $8,000 for it.”

And that, dear friends, is the basis of much of the “intelligence” upon which the “War on Terror” is now based: grasping informants selling false information to agents looking for anything to justify the policies of their leaders. We already know of cases of innocent captives in Guantanamo Bay who were sold outright to U.S. agents by “bounty hunters” — human traffickers, actually — in Afghanistan and Pakistan. As Murray points out, we now know that much of the “intelligence” used by Bush and Blair to manufacture war fever was sold by proven liars and shady operators willing to tell the warmongers what they wanted to hear.

So when you hear Bush and Cheney — and the pipsqueaking bootlickers in the blogosphere and mainstream press — defending the use of torture, rendition, and lawlessness in the “fight against terrorism,” remember that British bagman in Warsaw. For this is how the world really works. This is the true foundation of the malevolent edifices of fear and repression that Bush and Blair are building on the ruins of ancient liberties.</FONT&gt

Ours is a brand-new world of allatonceness

By RichardK (webmaster)

Crossposted at Empire Burlesque

The UK government has been quick to deny that they practice, or tolerate the practice of torture. So it is perhaps not surprising that they are determined that you should not see the following documents that were leaked to Empire Burlesque soon after they were leaked in the UK.

Craig Murray was the UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, until his complaints and protest at the use of intelligence gained by torture got too much for Jack Straw and the Foreign Office, who set about attempting to unsuccessfully smear him, and to boot him from office. He retaliated by digitally unleashing telegrams and memorandums that he was told to ‘burn’ and were not to be unveiled under the draconian Secrecy Act. This has turned out to be somewhat of a circus event for the blogosphere. The realisation that whistleblowing may have a future online has arrived and there is little officials can do when sensitive data is propogated to tens of thousands of people via blogs in a matter of hours.

The Wiretap story story I’ve  been covering behind the scenes has suddenly taken on a whole new colour since this unveiling and subsequent data burst by Murray. It’s possible that the Bush administration has been targeting dissidents and those who don’t fit into the  ‘With Us”  slice of George’s ridiculously dogmatic and stark view of the world because we are a threat to his war mongering family dynasty when it’s possible that the real truth can be unveiled to many.

Over the last couple of days, bloggers and forumists have proven that they truly do represent a force in the war of ideas. Now –  underlying layers – which have been blanketed from the masses by corporate and government enslaved  media can be disseminated by hundreds of thousands of online social networks that are only a few bytes removed from one another.

Media guru and electronical anthropologist Marshall McLuhan brilliantly predicted this in his 1967 work – “The Medium is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects”. It’s close to 40 year ago that McLuhan coined the term “the global village.”

“…Ours is a brand-new world of allatonceness. ‘Time’ has ceased, ‘space’ has vanished. We now live in a global village…a simultaneous happening.”… “Electric circuitry profoundly involves men with one another. Information pours upon us, instantaneously and continuously. As soon as information is acquired, it is very rapidly replaced by still newer information. Our electrically-configured world has forced us to move from the habit of data classification to the mode of pattern recognition. We can no longer build serially, block-by-block, step-by-step, because instant communication insures that all factors of the environment and of experience co-exist in a state of active interplay.”

…Societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media by which men communicate than by the content of the communication…. The alphabet and print technology fostered and encouraged a fragmenting process, a process of specialism and of detachment. Electric technology fosters and encourages unification and involvement. It is impossible to understand social and cultural changes without a knowledge of the workings of media. Anxiety is, in great part, a result of trying to do do today’s jobs with yesterday’s tools, with yesterday’s concepts.

from McLuhan’s The Medium is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects (1967)

As a member of “I’ll Publish the al Jazzera memo” group at Blair Watch, we were one of the first to get the memo outside of the UK – and have had some time to develop the idea of how to build a blogswarming monitor. With Technorati and Google it is truly possible to view how this story unfolds in close to real time due to their intense data gathering and the Open Source software we used for RSS scraping. It’s pretty geeky I know. But the page has been attracting swarms of blogophiles as this story gets mapped out in virtual real time on the page. And it provided mewith a way to approach the story from a different angle.

Empire Burlesque also has the fresh Channel 4 interview stream with Murray on it’s podcaster to help take some of the stress of Blair Watch. You can stream it on the page or download it.

There’s also a ‘must see’ Channel 4 video below by Andrew Gilligan that we uploaded last week in flash.

Dispatches: Kidnap and Torture American Style (pops in new window and you may need Macromedia Flash 8 Player to view it) follows the stories of terror suspects. Some of them are British residents, who have been snatched from streets and airports throughout the world before being flown to the Middle-East and Africa. In countries such as Syria and Egypt, they undergo agonising ordeals before being incarcerated, without ever facing an open trial.

Testimonies from those suspects allege that Britain has a key role in these shady operations from supplying intelligence information on which interrogations are based, to ordering their arrest and detention.

Andrew Gilligan : Megan – we should stop calling it a war for one thing. You can’t wage war on an abstraction and this isn’t a problemthat’s solvable through military means because terrorists have no fixed assets which you can attack. Terrorism is an idea and the only way we can defeat it is intellectually and by causing those extremists to cast out those ideas. Terrorism thrives from repression. Terrorists can argue that we are no better than they are (falsely).

A message from Craig Murray:

“Can I pass on my thanks to everyone who is posting the documents and making them public. You are striking a real blow for humanity and against the appalling decline in our civil liberties and standards.

We have also proved that, as long as we have good people out there, technology now makes it impossible for Western governments and political establishments to bury the truth, no matter how much they control the mainstream media.” And he attaches another document, this time one that is already in the public domain, but seems pertinant to what so many of us are posting.

It is not secret, and not new, but gives a valuable historical context to the relationship between Uzbekistan and the West.

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