Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Secret memo: UK gains information via Uzbek torture: "In the memo, ambassador Craig Murray complained to superiors in London that British officials were 'selling their souls for dross' -- accepting bogus confessions tortured out of detainees and designed to trick Washington and London into supporting Uzbekistan's harsh policies and giving it military aid.

"'We receive intelligence obtained under torture from the Uzbek Security Services, via the U.S. We should stop,' Murray wrote. 'This is morally, legally and practically wrong. The practice '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.'

"A spokeswoman for the foreign office declined to comment on the memo itself but said: 'Britain never uses torture to get information.' But she added: 'We recognise there is a need for intelligence on counterterrorism to protect the safety of British nationals. It would be irresponsible to rule this information out of hand.'"

""Tortured dupes are forced to sign up to confessions showing what the Uzbek government wants the U.S. and the UK to believe: that they and we are fighting the same war against terror. "I repeat that this material is useless -- we are selling our souls for dross. It is in fact positively harmful," he wrote. "The aim is to convince the West that the Uzbeks are a vital cog against a common foe, that they should keep the assistance, especially military assistance, coming, and they should mute the international criticism on human rights and economic reform."

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