Friday, December 30, 2005

Craig Murray - Hero, Whistleblower of Torture Atrocities

Craig Murray (born 17 October 1958) is a commentator on government foreign policy and was a British diplomat. He was the United Kingdom's Ambassador to Uzbekistan, until removed from his post on October 14, 2004.

While in this office he publicly criticised the human rights situation in Uzbekistan, against the wishes of the British government, an action that he alleges was the reason for his removal. He also privately criticised the UK government for committing torture by proxy, that is, sending terrorist suspects to Uzbekistan for their security services to extract intelligence of dubious value; in the phrase he is best known for, he accused his government of "selling our souls for dross".=UzbekistanIn October 2002, on becoming concerned that torture and extra-judicial killings were taking place in Uzbekistan, he made a controversial speech at a human rights conference in Tashkent, in which he claimed that "Uzbekistan is not a functioning democracy" and saying of the boiling to death of two men, "all of us know that this is not an isolated incident." The speech was cleared by the Foreign Office, but not before a dispute over its content. Later, Kofi Annan confronted Uzbekistan president Islam Karimov with Murray's claims.

He was summoned to London and, on 8 March 2003, he was reprimanded for writing, in a letter to his employers, in response to a speech by George W. Bush, "when it comes to the Karimov regime, systematic torture and rape appear to be treated as peccadilloes, not to affect the relationship and to be downplayed in the international fora ... I hope that once the present crisis is over we will make plain to the US, at senior level, our serious concern over their policy in Uzbekistan."

=He stood for parliament in Blackburn, as an independent candidate, against his former boss Foreign Secretary Jack Straw in the May 2005 general election. He came fifth with 5% of votes.
He is reported to have undergone emergency live-saving heart surgery at the end of May 2005. He was unable to fulfil an engagement with PEN UK, the organisation for international writers' freedom, and this was the reason given. This follows previous cardiac crises while under the strain of trying to get the UK government to oppose torture in Uzbekistan.

In December 2005, frustrated at the Foreign Office's failure to clear for publication some content of his memoirs, he published a number of confidential memos on his website outlining his condemnation of intelligence procured under torture, and the UK government's ambivalence to this.

In case of "Spycatcher"-type problems, these are reproduced below from his website


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