As UK ambassador to Uzbekistan from 2002 to 2004, Mr. Murray learned that the intelligence authorities of the UK and the US were receiving and using information extracted by the most sadistic methods of torture by Uzbek authorities. He protested strongly to London, to no avail.
Mr. Murray stands out as one who did not forfeit his moral compass to his government or to his career. When his government colleagues referred condescendingly to his “qualms of conscience,” he replied that he would not hide his shame “that I work in an organization where colleagues would resort to casuistry to justify torture.”
Mr. Murray recognized that civilized societies have long recognized torture as an intolerable affront to the inherent human right to physical integrity and personal dignity—and that this is precisely why there are so many laws against torture. He did all he could to persuade his government not to condone it. It is shameful that this strong moral stance should jeopardize his promising career. He was forced out of the British Foreign Office, but has no regrets. There are more important things than career.
Nor will he cease to call attention to torture. We look forward to early publication of his book, Murder in Samarkand, now banned in Britain.
Mr. Murray’s light has pierced a thick cloud of denial and deception. He has set a courageous example for those officials of the “Coalition of the Willing” who have first-hand knowledge of the inhuman practices involved in the so-called “war on terror” but who have not yet been able to find their voice.
Presented this 21st day of January 2006 in New York City by admirers of the example set by our former colleague, Sam Adams.
By Craig Murray, July 8, 2017 (on Antiwar.com)
After six solid months of coordinated allegation from the mainstream media allied to the leadership of state security institutions, not one single scrap of solid evidence for Trump/Russia election hacking has emerged.
I do not support Donald Trump. I do support truth. There is much about Trump that I dislike intensely. Neither do I support the neo-liberal political establishment in the USA. The latter’s control of the mainstream media, and cunning manipulation of identity politics, seeks to portray the neo-liberal establishment as the heroes of decent values against Trump. Sadly, the idea that the neo-liberal establishment embodies decent values is completely untrue.
Truth disappeared so long ago in this witch-hunt that it is no longer even possible to define what the accusation is. Belief in “Russian hacking” of the US election has been elevated to a generic accusation of undefined wrongdoing, a vague malaise we are told is floating poisonously in the ether, but we are not allowed to analyze. What did the Russians actually do?
The original, base accusation is that it was the Russians who hacked the DNC and Podesta emails and passed them to WikiLeaks. (I can assure you that is untrue).
The authenticity of those emails is not in question. What they revealed of cheating by the Democratic establishment in biasing the primaries against Bernie Sanders, led to the forced resignation of Debbie Wasserman Shultz as chair of the Democratic National Committee. They also led to the resignation from CNN of Donna Brazile, who had passed debate questions in advance to Clinton. Those are facts. They actually happened. Let us hold on to those facts, as we surf through lies. There was other nasty Clinton Foundation and cash for access stuff in the emails, but we do not even need to go there for the purpose of this argument.
The original “Russian hacking” allegation was that it was the Russians who nefariously obtained these damning emails and passed them to WikiLeaks. The “evidence” for this was twofold. A report from private cyber security firm Crowdstrike claimed that metadata showed that the hackers had left behind clues, including the name of the founder of the Soviet security services. The second piece of evidence was that a blogger named Guccifer2 and a website called DNCLeaks appeared to have access to some of the material around the same time that WikiLeaks did, and that Guccifer2 could be Russian.
That is it. To this day, that is the sum total of actual “evidence” of Russian hacking. I won’t say hang on to it as a fact, because it contains no relevant fact. But at least it is some form of definable allegation of something happening, rather than “Russian hacking” being a simple article of faith like the Holy Trinity.
But there are a number of problems that prevent this being fact at all. Nobody has ever been able to refute the evidence of Bill Binney, former Technical Director of the NSA who designed its current surveillance systems. Bill has stated that the capability of the NSA is such, that if the DNC computers had been hacked, the NSA would be able to trace the actual packets of that information as those emails traveled over the Internet, and give a precise time, to the second, for the hack. The NSA simply do not have the event – because there wasn’t one. I know Bill personally and am quite certain of his integrity.
As we have been repeatedly told, “17 intelligence agencies” sign up to the “Russian hacking”, yet all these king’s horses and all these king’s men have been unable to produce any evidence whatsoever of the purported “hack”. Largely because they are not in fact trying. Here is another actual fact I wish you to hang on to: The Democrats have refused the intelligence agencies access to their servers to discover what actually happened. I am going to say that again.
The Democrats have refused the intelligence agencies access to their servers to discover what actually happened.
The heads of the intelligence community have said that they regard the report from Crowdstrike – the Clinton aligned private cyber security firm – as adequate. Despite the fact that the Crowdstrike report plainly proves nothing whatsoever and is based entirely on an initial presumption there must have been a hack, as opposed to an internal download.
Not actually examining the obvious evidence has been a key tool in keeping the “Russian hacking” meme going. On 24 May the Guardian reported triumphantly, following the Washington Post, that
“Fox News falsely alleged federal authorities had found thousands of emails between Rich and WikiLeaks, when in fact law enforcement officials disputed that Rich’s laptop had even been in possession of, or examined by, the FBI.”
It evidently did not occur to the Guardian as troubling, that those pretending to be investigating the murder of Seth Rich have not looked at his laptop.
There is a very plain pattern here of agencies promoting the notion of a fake “Russian crime”, while failing to take the most basic and obvious initial steps if they were really investigating its existence. I might add to that, there has been no contact with me at all by those supposedly investigating. I could tell them these were leaks not hacks. WikiLeaks The clue is in the name.
So those “17 agencies” are not really investigating but are prepared to endorse weird Crowdstrike claims, like the idea that Russia’s security services are so amateur as to leave fingerprints with the name of their founder. If the Russians fed the material to WikiLeaks, why would they also set up a vainglorious persona like Guccifer2 who leaves obvious Russia pointing clues all over the place?
Of course we need to add from the WikiLeaks“Vault 7” leak release, information that the CIA specifically deploys technology that leaves behind fake fingerprints of a Russian computer hacking operation.
Crowdstrike have a general anti-Russian attitude. They published a report seeking to allege that the same Russian entities which “had hacked” the DNC were involved in targeting for Russian artillery in the Ukraine. This has been utterly discredited.
Some of the more crazed “Russiagate” allegations have been quietly dropped. The mainstream media are hoping we will all forget their breathless endorsement of the reports of the charlatan Christopher Steele, a former middle ranking MI6 man with very limited contacts that he milked to sell lurid gossip to wealthy and gullible corporations. I confess I rather admire his chutzpah.
Given there is no hacking in the Russian hacking story, the charges have moved wider into a vague miasma of McCarthyite anti-Russian hysteria. Does anyone connected to Trump know any Russians? Do they have business links with Russian finance?
Of course they do. Trump is part of the worldwide oligarch class whose financial interests are woven into a vast worldwide network that enslaves pretty well the rest of us. As are the Clintons and the owners of the mainstream media who are stoking up the anti-Russian hysteria. It is all good for their armaments industry interests, in both Washington and Moscow.
Trump’s judgment is appalling. His sackings or inappropriate directions to people over this subject may damage him.
The old Watergate related wisdom is that it is not the crime that gets you, it is the cover-up. But there is a fundamental difference here. At the center of Watergate there was an actual burglary. At the center of Russian hacking there is a void, a hollow, and emptiness, an abyss, a yawning chasm. There is nothing there.
Those who believe that opposition to Trump justifies whipping up anti-Russian hysteria on a massive scale, on the basis of lies, are wrong. I remain positive that the movement Bernie Sanders started will bring a new dawn to America in the next few years. That depends on political campaigning by people on the ground and on social media. Leveraging falsehoods and cold war hysteria through mainstream media in an effort to somehow get Clinton back to power is not a viable alternative. It is a fantasy and even were it practical, I would not want it to succeed.
Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster, human rights activist, and former diplomat. He was British Ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and Rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010. The article is reprinted with permission from his website.
Posted: September 7, 2016 in The Progressive
by Stephen Zunes
The death of long-time Uzbekistan dictator Islam Karimov has brought rare U.S. media attention to the Central Asian country of 30 million. Uzbekistan is ranked among the half dozen worst countries in the world for human-rights abuses. What U.S. government officials and our media mostly ignore, however, is that American taxpayers subsidized that regime and its brutal security apparatus for most of Karimov’s thirty-five years in power.
Torture has been endemic in Uzbekistan, where Karimov banned all opposition groups, severely restricted freedom of expression, forced international human-rights workers and NGOs out of the country, suppressed religious freedom, and annually took as many as two million children out of school to engage in forced labor for the cotton harvest. Thousands of dissidents have been jailed and many hundreds have been killed, some of them literally boiled alive.
Karimov became leader of the Uzbek Communist Party in 1989 while the country was still part of the Soviet Union. He backed the unsuccessful coup by Communist Party hardliners against reformist Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1991 and personally opposed Uzbek independence. But finding himself president of a sovereign state when the Soviet Union suddenly dissolved, he quickly modified his position, changing his first name to “Islam” and morphing into an Uzbek nationalist.
As president of the newly independent Uzbekistan, Karimov banned leading opposition parties and amassed his power through the suppression of opponents and a series of rigged elections and plebiscites, labeling virtually all opponents as Islamist radicals.
Uzbekistan is the most populous country in Central Asia, and its capital Tashkent sports a modern subway system and an international airport built during the Soviet era. As an independent state under Karimov’s rule, however, Uzbekistan remains one of the poorest of the former Soviet republics. This is despite generous natural resources, including one of the world’s largest sources of natural gas, and sizable, but largely untapped, oil reserves. Karimov pocketed virtually all of the revenue generated by the country’s natural endowments. Corruption is rampant, and his brutal militias routinely engaged in robbery and extortion. Businessmen who refuse to pay bribes were frequently labeled Islamic extremists and then jailed, tortured, and murdered.
U.S. military cooperation with Karimov’s regime began under President Bill Clinton in 1995, but expanded greatly under President George W. Bush, who provided Uzbekistan with close to $1 billion in aid and an agreement to station up to 1,500 U.S. troops in the country. Karimov was invited to the White House in March 2002, where he and President Bush signed a strategic partnership agreement, which included an additional $120 million in U.S. military aid. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has praised Karimov for his “wonderful cooperation” with the U.S. military. President Bush’s former treasury secretary Paul O’Neill spoke admiringly of the dictator’s “very keen intellect and deep passion” for improving the lives of his people.
Uzbekistan became a destination in the “extraordinary rendition” program, where the United States would send suspected Islamist extremists for torture.
Craig Murray, who served as the British ambassador to Uzbekistan between 2002 and 2004, observed how Karimov was “very much George Bush’s man in Central Asia” and that no Bush administration official ever said a negative word about him.
Murray’s exposé of American and British collaboration with Karimov’s despotic regime cost him his career with the foreign service. And it is still a sensitive issue: just this week, the U.S. State Department denied Murray entry into the United States, where he was scheduled to speak before peace, human rights and civil liberties groups.
There is more than a little irony in the way that the U.S. government, which was once willing to back extremist Islamist groups in Central Asia to fight Communist dictators, became so willing to back a Communist dictator to fight Islamists.
In May 2005, following an eruption of pro-democracy demonstrations in Andijan and other cities, Uzbek government forces massacred close to 1,000 protesters over a two-day period. The Bush administration successfully blocked a call by NATO for an international investigation, though a report from Human Rights Watch, based on interviews with scores of eyewitnesses, determined that government troops had used ”indiscriminate use of lethal force against unarmed people.” The British newspaper The Independent reported that Uzbek dictator Islam Karimov “almost certainly personally authorized the use of . . . deadly force.”
The international outcry was so intense, however, that the United States was forced to suspend military aid based on human-rights provisions in foreign aid. To the dismay of human rights advocates, however, the Obama administration in 2011 convinced Congress to waive the restrictions and resume military aid.
In reaction to the Obama administration’s efforts, twenty human rights, labor, consumer, and other groups signed a letter to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, saying “We strongly urge you to oppose passage of the law and not to invoke this waiver.” The signers encouraged the administration “to stand behind your strong past statements regarding human rights abuses in Uzbekistan” and not move toward “business as usual” with that regime.
Signatories included the AFL-CIO, Amnesty International USA, and Human Rights Watch, as well as organizations with close ties to the foreign policy establishment like Freedom House and the International Crisis Group. Despite this effort, Congress overwhelmingly approved the waiver and President Obama signed it into law
Despite evidence to the contrary, Clinton, who visited Uzbekistan that October, claimed that the regime was “showing signs of improving its human rights record and expanding political freedoms.” When asked about the 2005 massacres during Clinton’s visit, a senior State Department official responded, “We’ve definitely moved on from that.”
The repression, and U.S. assistance—climbing to as much as $30 million annually—has continued every year since.
Karimov’s death will not likely end systemic, government-sponsored human-rights abuses any time soon. And, despite a new U.S. President and Congress coming into office early next year, it’s unlikely there will be a lessening of U.S. support for the regime.
Indeed, it has been extremely rare for the United States to suspend its support for autocracies like Uzbekistan unless there is pressure from the American public to do so. Living under a repressive dictatorship, the Uzbeks are extremely limited in what they can do to change their government’s policies. We here in the United States, however, don’t have that excuse.
Stephen Zunes is a Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco and a regular contributor to The Progressive.
In this video acTVism Munich brings into light what privacy means for the indivdual and society, i.e, why it is an essential ingredient for democracy & economy. Following high-profile whistleblowers provide their views on the issue of privacy in this video:
William Binney: Former highly placed intelligence official with the United States National Security Agency (NSA) turned whistleblower who resigned on October 31, 2001, after more than 30 years with the agency.
Thomas Andrews Drake: Former senior executive of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), a decorated United States Air Force and United States Navy veteran, and a whistleblower.
Annie Machon: Former MI5 intelligence officer who left the Service at the same time as David Shayler, her partner at the time, to help him blow the whistle about alleged criminality within the intelligence agencies.
Simon Davies: A privacy advocate and academic based in London UK. He was one of the first campaigners in the field of international privacy advocacy, founding the watchdog organization Privacy International in 1990 and subsequently working in emerging areas of privacy such as electronic visual surveillance, identity systems, border security, encryption policy and biometrics.
Elizabeth Murray: Served as Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East in the National Intelligence Council before retiring after a 27-year career in the U.S. government. She is a member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).
Caroline Hunt: A United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) whistleblower.
In late 2014, a group of the world’s most renowned privacy activists, whistleblowers, technologists and legal experts joined forces to work on the development of a global initiative to fight surveillance.
Led by privacy veteran Simon Davies and former MI5 intelligence officer Annie Machon, the project has developed into the Code Red initiative. Its aim is to create the next evolutionary step in the growing movement to curb excessive government power.
The project will build bridges between the technology, media, legal and policy worlds and will become a strategic hub for the many activists working in this arena. Code Red will also create a clearing house for information in the anti-surveillance movement and will support whistleblowers and sources.
For more visit: www.codered.is and http://www.actvism.org/en/interviews/nsa-skandal-code-red-warum-privatsphaere/
Craig Murray, British ambassador to Uzbekistan from 2002-2004, was fired when he revealed CIA rendition practices in Poland and Uzbekistan to UK leaders – and was branded a liar. The US torture report will hardly change the picture, he told RT. (more)
If anybody is surprised that key letters between Tony Blair and George Bush on launching the invasion of Iraq have gone missing, they have not been paying attention. On both sides of the Atlantic, the Obama and Cameron regimes have consistently and continually covered up the crimes of their predecessors, from launch illegal wars of aggression to instituting programmes of torture and extraordinary rendition and murder.
The motive in both cases is the same. Not only are the senior politicians in all mainstream parties members of the same “club”, committed to the same neo-conservative principles and indebted to the same corporate paymasters. But also these crimes involved the active complicity of thousands of senior members of the establishment, in the armed services, the secret services, the diplomatic services and other public servants. To come clean would take down thousands of people still in public service. or in other high places. (Read more)