Thursday, December 29, 2005

Torture

Craig Murray is the former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan. He complained too loudly about the repeated human rights violations that the Uzbek government was involved in, such as boiling dissidents alive. He protested vociferously about the use of information gathered by torture in the war on terror. He pointed out that the information gathered was of no use anyhow, that the confessions were from 'dupes' who were signing confessions that made it look like the Uzbeks were fighting the same war as the US and UK. I don't know about you, but if I was made to sit and watch as my children were tortured, I would sign just about anything to get them to stop.

That's one of the techniques that was used by Uzbeks. Torturing children in front of parents.

Hell, at least they weren't boiled alive.

Oops, they do that too.

Well, Craig Murray didn't think that was the right way to fight a war on terror. So he protested. He was removed from office. He said he would publish the memos he had made while Ambassador. Citing the Official Secrets Act, the British Government banned him from doing that. He did it anyway.

That link was working when I looked this afternoon. It's not working now. (UPDATE: It appears to be working again. 9:40 am 12/31/05) Luckily, bloggers picked it up, and are posting it around the world. Here in the US, Kos, among others, have published it.

As I read them, what I notice is that no one is really denying that the UK is using evidence gained by torture. There was even a rather nit-picky memo sent by a legal adviser pointing out that, essentially, not illegal to recieve evidence obtained by torture. The answer, essentially is it's legal as long as it doesn't make it to court.

Here's part of one memo:

1. We receive intelligence obtained under torture from the Uzbek intelligence services, via the US. We should stop. It is bad information anyway. Tortured dupes are forced to sign up to confessions showing what the Uzbek government wants the US and UK to believe, that they and we are fighting the same war against terror.

2. I gather a recent London interdepartmental meeting considered the question and decided to continue to receive the material. This is morally, legally and practically wrong. It exposes as hypocritical our post Abu Ghraib pronouncements and fatally undermines our moral standing. It obviates my efforts to get the Uzbek government to stop torture they are fully aware our intelligence community laps up the results.

3. We should cease all co-operation with the Uzbek Security Services they are beyond the pale. We indeed need to establish an SIS presence here, but not as in a friendly state.



So what's the US position on this? Uzbekistan is given a quarter billion dollars in aid annually, three-fifths of which is military.

In an era when so many jobs are being outsourced to other countries, it's nice to know we do the same thing with our torture.

Yeharr

3 Comments:

Blogger boni said...

This is a most disturbing story in a year filled with disturbing stories.
I can't imagine what this world is coming to.

11:14 PM, December 29, 2005  
Blogger Jessica said...

Wow, outsourcing torture. You're right. Maybe Friedman is, too. The world is flat.

9:47 AM, December 30, 2005  
Blogger Cranky Yankee said...

These are the kinds of things the US used to stand against...

So sad.. It's almost as if we are going to wake up on Jan 1 and find that it is 2005 and this whole past year was a bad dream.

If only...

1:48 PM, December 30, 2005  

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