The Tashkent Papers and Ambassador Craig Murray

Craig Murray, Britain’s former ambassador to Uzbekistan, has been portrayed in the media as a colourful and dotty rogue with a penchant for bars, girls, Range-Rovers and outrageous breaches of diplomatic protocol. In August 2003, he was confronted with a series of disciplinary charges by the Foreign Office, which he was not permitted to discuss with anyone, and instructed to resign. He refused. The allegations were dropped within a few weeks but not before Murray had a breakdown and a pulmonary embolism that nearly killed him. He was finally removed from his post in October 2004.

“Our Man in Tashkent”
an interview with Craig Murray
Index on Censorship
January, 2005 Edition

Anti-Blair Bloggers in England are in a fury tonight over documents just released proving that the British Government has used information gained during torture in Uzbekistan. This torture information was used by the Brits before Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said that the British Government did not support “obtaining of intelligence by torture, or its use.”

Bloggers claim that the Blair Government does not want the documents to be published and that the government has threatened Mr. Murray:

The UK government is particularly anxious to suppress all evidence of our complicity in obtaining intelligence extracted by foreign torturers. The British Foreign Office is now seeking to block publication of Craig Murray’s forthcoming book, which documents his time as Ambassador to Uzbekistan. The Foreign Office has demanded that Craig Murray remove all references to two especially damning British government documents, indicating that our government was knowingly receiving information extracted by the Uzbeks through torture, and return every copy that he has in his possession.

The colourful Mr. Murray is expected to publish a book on his years of foreign service in the near future.

This is eerily familiar with events here in America when the New York Times earlier this month failed to inform readers that their “news break” was tied to an upcoming James Risen book release and sale.

And, like the New York Times “news break” of information that was leaked to reporters a year earlier, the information that has the British bloggers in an uproar was discussed publicly nearly a year ago by Craig Murray himself in an interview for Index on Censorship.

This is not new information. Index on Censorship interviewed Craig Murray in January of this year. During the interview they discussed intelligence information gathered during torture:

We mustn’t fall for it (intelligence gathered during torture), or accept Karimov’s line that he’s besieged by the same fundamentalists who are threatening London or New York. It worries me that there are those in the West who have an interest in accepting hyped up intelligence material.

Murray talked about this freely back in January so it is nothing new to those following the story. It is interesting also that it is Murray’s own website that is pushing the story on the blogosphere today. Several leftist bloggers were more than willing to push the story tonight (see Memeorandum ).

The New York Times this year made it their mission to attack the Bush Administration in regards to security issues. This trashing the Administration trend has worked its way across the pond to Britain.

When you read the left-leaning accounts of news from Uzbekistan there are a few things you need to keep in mind:

* It never fails that leftists always bring up “oil as the goal of all US foreign policy.” Murray says, “The US wants a strategic projection into military force in Central Asia because the region is rich in oil and gas.”

* The US rebuked Uzbekistan on human rights abuses and withdrew $18 million in funding even before the slaughter in Andijan in July 2004.

* You will never hear in these articles that the Bush Administration has withdrawn support for the Karimov Regime since the slaughter of Uzbek protesters in Andijan earlier this year.

* Because of the harsh words by the Bush Administration, Uzbekistan pulled out of its contract and evicted the US from the K2 airfield. The US was using this airfield to help supply the troops in Afghanistan.

* Here’s a biggie… Notice how the Left in the US and Europe focus their rage on the Bush or Blair Administrations and not on the torturors in Uzbekistan.

* Likewise, the sympathy for those suffering in Uzbekistan is a play for political points- period. When the Andijan Massacre was unfolding the Left was not following the story like those on the right until they saw that they could score political points. The supposedly close US ties with Uzbekistan came up in all of their discussions on the massacre.

Those are just a few observations for starters. It will be interesting to see how far the media plays Craig Murray’s story.

I anxiously await a response from Central Asian expert Nathan Hamm at the Registan

Wizbang has a great roundup on the dotty rogue, Craig Murray.

Gina Cobb is tired of the “Blaming the Rescuer” game that is being played by the Left.

Michelle Malkin has more on the story this morning.

Pajamas Media is also following this “blogger backlash” story.

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