December 30, 2005
SOME FOLKS NEVER LEARN:
Ex-envoy to Uzbekistan goes public on torture (Anne Penketh, 30 December 2005, Independent)
Britain's former ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, has defied the Foreign Office by publishing on the internet documents providing evidence that the British Government knowingly received information extracted by torture in the "war on terror".
TO FCO, Cabinet Office, DFID, MODUK, OSCE Posts, Security Council Posts
16 September 02
SUBJECT: US/Uzbekistan: Promoting Terrorism
I quite understand the interest of the US in strategic airbases and why they back Karimov, but I believe US policy is misconceived. In the short term it may help fight terrorism but in the medium term it will promote it, as the Economist points out. And it can never be right to lower our standards on human rights. There is a complex situation in Central Asia and it is wrong to look at it only through a prism picked up on September 12. Worst of all is what appears to be the philosophy underlying the current US view of Uzbekistan: that September 11 divided the World into two camps in the "War against Terrorism" and that Karimov is on "our" side.
If Karimov is on "our" side, then this war cannot be simply between the forces of good and evil. It must be about more complex things, like securing the long-term US military presence in Uzbekistan. I silently wept at the 11 September commemoration here. The right words on New York have all been said. But last week was also another anniversary – the US-led overthrow of Salvador Allende in Chile. The subsequent dictatorship killed, dare I say it, rather more people than died on September 11. Should we not remember then also, and learn from that too?
Chile's not really the best example to use, because it is so obviously a case where American support for "fascism" served both our interests and those of the nation in question spectacularly well. After all, knowing what we know today about how Allende-type regimes tended to devolve and how Pinochet's evolved, who wouldn't whack Allende again? Of course, Taiwan, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, South Africa, South Korea, etc. all worked out rather well too, so it's not clear he has any point at all. Posted by Orrin Judd at December 30, 2005 2:00 PM