The Murray Torture Telegrams

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 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. You should avail yourself of Rich's remarkable labors with all speed.

One very significant item unearthed by Rich 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.