[Media-watch] MI6 used intelligence obtained by torture
sigi_here at yahoo.co.uk
Mon Oct 11 11:14:50 BST 2004
Dear Media Watch Friends,
you might want to contact your MPs about this:
This is a story from the Financial Times, 11 Oct 2004
the British government has used intelligence obtained
by torture in Uzbekistan - British ambassador
I enclose link and also attach story.
There is also an interview on BBC Radio 4 about this
terrible and shameful abuse of human rights.
To listen to the Radio 4 news item please go to:
the interview was broadcast at 7.51- Lib Dem foreign
affairs spokesman, Sir Menzies Campbell, on whether we
should use information gained through torture.
Financial times link:
World / UK Print article | Email article
Intelligence from tortured Uzbeks attacked
By Stefan Wagstyl, Central and East Europe Editor
Published: October 11 2004 03:00 | Last updated:
October 11 2004 03:00
Craig Murray, ambassador to Uzbekistan, has protested
over the government's use of intelligence information
obtained under torture.
Uzbek officials are torturing prisoners to extract
information, which is supplied to the US and passed
through its Central Intelligence Agency to the UK,
says Mr Murray in a confidential Foreign Office report
seen by the Financial Times.
"Tortured dupes are forced to sign confessions showing
what the Uzbek government wants the US and UK to
believe - that they and we are fighting the same war
against terror . . . This is morally, legally and
practically wrong," he says.
Mr Murray's criticisms could prompt new questions
about the use of intelligence obtained from prisoners
elsewhere, including US-held detainees in Iraq and
Mr Murray says use of Uzbek intelligence exposes as
"hypocritical" the condemnations of ill-treatment of
prisoners in the US-controlled jail in Abu Ghraib in
Iraq and "fatally undermines our moral standing".
Islam Karimov, the authoritarian Uzbek president, was
largely ignored by the west until the aftermath of the
September 11 terrorist attacks. Washington re-cruited
Tashkent for its global war against terror, increased
bilateral aid and created a base in Uzbekistan for use
in the Afghanistan campaign. Mr Karimov responded by
associating a long-running domestic campaign against
Islamic militants with the global war.
Human rights groups complained that it became more
difficult to focus western government attention on
reports of extensive abuse in Uzbek jails. Mr Murray
shared their concerns and in late 2002 publicised his
fears in undiplomatic language saying that "brutality"
was inherent in Uzbek jails and highlighting a case
where two men were boiled to death. Mr Murray was
later summoned to the foreign office for a
disciplinary hearing on unrelated allegations
concerning his behaviour in Tashkent. He was
exonerated but his friends said at the time the
ambassador believed his superiors were trying to
Mr Murray fired off his lat est protest in July 2004
after hearing about an inter-departmental meeting in
London on the use of Uzbek intelligence. Mr Murray,
who found out about the meeting only after it had
happened and was angry that he had been excluded,
writes that officials decided to continue using such
intelligence. He says the main argument employed at
the meeting was that the intelligence material
disguised the source.
"The argument runs that if the individual is not
named, we cannot prove he was tortured," he says.
"I will not attempt to hide my utter contempt for such
casuistry, nor my shame that I work in an organisation
where colleagues wold resort to it to justify torture.
I have to deal with hundreds of individual cases of
political or religious prisoners in Uzbekistan, and I
have met very few where torture, as defined in the
United Nations Convention [against Torture] was not
Mr Murray adds that the intelligence material is
useless because it is designed by the Uzbek
authorities to support their claim that they are a
vital part of the global war on terror. The Uzbeks
exaggerate the activity of local militants and their
links with al-Qaeda. "We are selling our souls for
He adds that before the Iraq war it was difficult to
argue with MI6, the Secret Intelligence Service, about
intelligence assessment. But since the Butler report
into the use of intelligence in Iraq "we know, not
only that they can get it wrong on even the most vital
and high profile issues, but they have a particular
yen for highly coloured material that exaggerates the
The Foreign Office said the UK abided by international
legal commitments, particularly the UN convention
against torture. The government, including the
intelligence agencies, never used torture to obtain
information or incited others to do so.
But it added: "We have to bear in mind the need for
intelligence for counter terrorism to arrest threats
to British lives. Where there was reliable
intelligence with a direct bearing on terrorist
threats it would be irresponsible to ignore it out of
Mr Murray declined to comment.
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