Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Help Craig Murray Have His Evidence Heard on the Use by the UK of Information Gained from Torture

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 heard. 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

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 speciifically 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


Sackerson said...

Email sent as requested.

hatfield girl said...

Oh thank you, S. Torture. What worse can be done in our name.

roym said...

brave chap, taking pot shots at thuggish oligarchs. and alisher usmanov

lilith said...


hatfield girl said...

:) L.

hatfield girl said...

Brave, and knows terrible things, Roy

Raedwald said...

Likewise done.

hatfield girl said...

There are times when Angels wonder what century we must consider ourselves in. We are clearly pre-Enlightenment.

Beccaria's Dei Delitti e delle Pene and de Montesquieu's L'Esprit des Lois surely are required reading for any claim to humanity. Bit modern for New Labour though.

We are, as Peter Porter writes:

'the uncomfortable in our century'.

But this is a very deliberate destruction, R.

What is in it for them? Why are they doing this?

Anonymous said...

email sent.

Craig Murray is honourable, determined, and very brave.

I would advise him not to take any solitary woodland walks.

I don't suppose he needs my advice.

Caronte said...


Elby The Beserk said...

Done too.

Why are they doing this? Simply, I believe, because they can. A case of absolute power. I look back to that heady night in 1997 when my ex and I were up past Portillo, getting splendidly sozzled, and think ...

You lying bastards.

hatfield girl said...

New Labour's barbaric dismantling of the rule of law, their position at the forefront of the charge on the Enlightenment should be a source of bitter shame to many who were celebrating in 1997 Elby. They all (or at least the mass of them) had voted for something else all together.

I don't suppose it crossed most people's minds that there was the project to end the post War settlement. Indeed it was its re-foundation that was being voted for, after the cruelties of deindustrialisation and technological change and the way they had been brutally hurried on rather than eased and ameliorated was experienced.

The difficulty, the hopelessness of re-arguing what has been argued in such magnificence centuries ago, and that I had thought was set in stone, daunts me.

I think Loix, and Delitti and Pene, were still on the Index when it was closed in the sixties because the Church couldn't keep up. Perhaps Benedict might produce a small selection of 'formerly banned' that are now mainstream moral thought. Give a bit of a boost to decency and put the Index, at last, to a good use. Combat the deliberate closing down of knowledge on certain strands of thought by New Labour.

hatfield girl said...

You would know Uzbekistan C. Thank you.

It's reassuring to see the certainty with which Craig is regarded, Anon. He's been character-assassinated by New Labour.

Elby the Beserk said...

We need more Craigs in all arms of government. It's not that hard, is it, to distinguish between right and wrong in such areas as this?

hatfield girl said...

New Labour didn't used to do God, Elby. Now they don't do right and wrong either. Just what the Catechism warns will happen if you don't do God.