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Wednesday, July 27, 2005 

Government continues disgraceful censorship over books.


The Foreign Office is threatening action against Craig Murray, the former ambassador to Uzbekistan, if he publishes an unauthorised book attacking the use of intelligence obtained under torture.

Mr Murray was deprived of his ambassadorship last year after the leak of a report in which he criticised the use of torture material by MI6. He said yesterday: "I'm not surprised the government want to ban my book. It contains a lot of information they don't want to have known. None of it concerns national security, but illegal and underhand behaviour by the British government".

I've already posted on "Sir" Jeremy Greenstock's book being censored (censorship and greed) but that was a completely different case. This attempt to censor Craig Murray is a thoroughly vindictive attack on a critic of the government's foreign policy, support for intelligence obtained under torture, and the propping up of some of the worst governmental regimes on the face of the planet.

Craig Murray was the British ambassador to Uzbekistan, until he dared to speak out about its appalling human rights record at a conference in Tashkent. His speech was picked up on by Kofi Annan. It was not until August of 2003 that he was first challenged on trumped up charges, mainly of having sex with girls in his office and hiring "dolly birds" to work in the visa office. He was exonerated of all these charges in January of 2004. He subsequently had a nervous breakdown and suffered from depression, but managed to keep his job until October 2004 when one of his complaints about the use of torture was leaked to the Financial Times. (A good breakdown of the charges and details of some of the methods in the torture by the Uzbeks used is here).

Since then, he stood against the foreign secretary Jack Straw in his Blackburn constituency, winning 2,082 votes. He's been a thorn in the side of the government ever since his appointment. Finally, they've found a way of gaining revenge on a man who has done nothing other than be honest, attack hypocrisy and defend innocent civilians. The dark clouds over the country have just got even blacker.

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