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Saturday, January 14, 2006

Well i'll be dipped in dogshit!

So, DLA's, further to my post "Whatagwaan? Well, not nothing at least..." [title link] which is itself a developement from "What the fuckin'ell do you think you're upto Tony & co?" about the UK Govt. complicity in Uzbek torture, after former Ambassador Craig Murray's revelations [whose website seems to be unavailable again, fuck's sake!], you may remember that i had received a somewhat unsatisfactory, but not entirely soul destroying, reply from my MP's Private Secretary about my concerns over this matter and that i reported i'd emailed back.

Well, bugger me backwards with a broomstick! I got a reply from the man himself today, typed but signed in his own fair hand (the relevance of which will become apparent as we progress). I reproduce it for your perusal:
Dear Mr [name supplied on request]

Thank you for your further email of 7 January.

You specifically ask what I may be going to do about the issues contained in your email of 29 December. The first and most important thing is to seek a view from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office as to how they see the situation and, as you know, I have already done this. To date, in the light of parliamentary concerns which has[sic] been expressed about the use of torture, the Government have publicly made it clear that they deprecate these procedures and will not accept evidence in legal or other cases which are derived by the use of torture methods.

If you believe that the Government are stating their position correctly then clearly some form of international prosecution, as you suggest later in your mail, would not be possible to sustain. If, however, you do have evidence to the contrary then I would be happy to take the matter up directly with the secretary General of the United Nations. I will, of course, make certain you have a copy of the Foreign Office reply to my earlier representation as soon as it is received.

Yours sincerely

The Rt Hon [name supplied on request] MP
So, 'Get to fuck you jumped up little bastard, you'll get precisely what I'm required, as your MP, to do and you can fuck right off for anything else' then, which is bluntly what i'd been expecting the first time around. Oh ho, never mind the complete ignoration of my request for his views and that he join the All Party Parliamentary Group established to raise these issues (as mentioned on Liberty's website), no he asks me for "evidence" which he can take up "directly with the Secretary General of the United Nations." Well, he's got me there hasn't he? What can humble little forelock tugging me do, when confronted by the prospect of the staggeringly powerful Kofi Annan, whose title my estimable MP tosses out like he can waltz in there at his whim? Fucked now aren't i?

No. What, has the mighty edjog scooped the world? Have i fuck! I can barely be arsed to scoop the detritus of daily life off the floor of my flat, but i don't have to. If there's one thing this spikey one has learned through bitter experience: it's not to get into something like this without knowing my arse from my elbow. Craig Murray has already done the bulk of it for us, and a little trawling has provided the rest:
Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 39/46 of 10 December 1984

entry into force 26 June 1987, in accordance with article 27 (1)

Article 1

1. For the purposes of this Convention, the term "torture" means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession...

2. This article is without prejudice to any international instrument or national legislation which does or may contain provisions of wider application.

Article 2

1. Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.

2. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political in stability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.

3. An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.

Article 4

1. Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law. The same shall apply to an attempt to commit torture and to an act by any person which constitutes complicity or participation in torture. 2. Each State Party shall make these offences punishable by appropriate penalties which take into account their grave nature. [my emphasis]

Article 5

1. Each State Party shall take such measures as may be necessary to establish its jurisdiction over the offences referred to in article 4 in the following cases:

(a) When the offences are committed in any territory under its jurisdiction...

3. This Convention does not exclude any criminal jurisdiction exercised in accordance with internal law.

Article 6

1. Upon being satisfied, after an examination of information available to it, that the circumstances so warrant, any State Party in whose territory a person alleged to have committed any offence referred to in article 4 is present shall take him into custody...

2. Such State shall immediately make a preliminary inquiry into the facts.

~ Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
There we have it then, the International Law to which the UK is a signatory. If you fuck somebody up to coerce them to do/say anything in any circumstances: you've fucked it; you're guilty. If you get somebody else to do it for you, stand by whilst they do it or encourage them to do it: you've fucked it just the same. By this Convention, Torture or Complicity in Torture must be an offence under Domestic Law and each State is responsible for dealing with it. The sticking point comes with Article 6, but we'll get to that. Let's have a look at what Craig Murray who was the most senior UK Govt. official on the spot in Uzbekistan, had to say first:
16 September 02

Terrible torture is commonplace: the EU is currently considering a demarche over the terrible case of two Muslims tortured to death in jail apparently with boiling water. Two leading dissidents, Elena Urlaeva and Larissa Vdovna, were two weeks ago committed to a lunatic asylum, where they are being drugged, for demonstrating on human rights...

18 March 2003

I was stunned to hear that the US had pressured the EU to withdraw a motion on Human Rights in Uzbekistan which the EU was tabling at the UN Commission for Human Rights in Geneva. I was most unhappy to find that we are helping the US in what I can only call this cover-up.

I watched George Bush talk today of Iraq and "dismantling the apparatus of terror and removing the torture chambers and the rape rooms". Yet when it comes to the Karimov regime, systematic torture and rape appear to be treated as peccadilloes, not to affect the relationship and to be downplayed in international fora. Double standards? Yes.


We receive intelligence obtained under torture from the Uzbek intelligence services, via the US...

I gather a recent London interdepartmental meeting considered the question and decided to continue to receive the material...

We indeed need to establish an SIS presence here, but not as in a friendly state.

In the period December 2002 to March 2003 I raised several times the issue of intelligence material from the Uzbek security services which was obtained under torture and passed to us via the CIA...

I was summoned to the UK for a meeting on 8 March 2003. Michael Wood gave his legal opinion that it was not illegal to obtain and to use intelligence acquired by torture. He said the only legal limitation on its use was that it could not be used in legal proceedings, under Article 15 of the UN Convention on Torture.

On behalf of the intelligence services, Matthew Kydd said that they found some of the material very useful indeed with a direct bearing on the war on terror. Linda Duffield said that she had been asked to assure me that my qualms of conscience were respected and understood.

a meeting was convened in the FCO at the level of Heads of Department and above, precisely to consider the question of the receipt of Uzbek intelligence material obtained under torture...

I understand that the meeting decided to continue to obtain the Uzbek torture material. I understand that the principal argument deployed was that the intelligence material disguises the precise source, ie it does not ordinarily reveal the name of the individual who is tortured...

I have dealt with hundreds of individual cases of political or religious prisoners in Uzbekistan, and I have met with very few where torture, as defined in the UN convention, was not employed. When my then DHM raised the question with the CIA head of station 15 months ago, he readily acknowledged torture was deployed in obtaining intelligence. I do not think there is any doubt as to the fact.

At the Khuderbegainov trial I met an old man from Andizhan. Two of his children had been tortured in front of him until he signed a confession on the family's links with Bin Laden. Tears were streaming down his face. I have no doubt they had as much connection with Bin Laden as I do. This is the standard of the Uzbek intelligence services.
Then there's the 'legal advice' of Michael C Wood to the UK Govt:
13 March 2003

Craig had said that his understanding was that it was also an offence under the UN Convention on Torture to receive or possess information under torture. I said that I did not believe that this was the case, but undertook to re-read the Convention.

I have done so. There is nothing in the Convention to this effect. The nearest thing is article 15 which provides:

"Each State Party shall ensure that any statement which is established to have been made as a result of torture shall not be invoked as evidence in any proceedings, except against a person accused of torture as evidence that the statement was made."

This does not create any offence. I would expect that under UK law any statement established to have been made as a result of torture would not be admissible as evidence.
Now we get closer to the nub of the issue. The UK Govt. clearly knew it was in receipt of information which had been obtained in contravention of International Law to which it is a Party, because it was told so repeatedly by it's Ambassador to the country where it was happening. The matter was so serious that the EU attempted to do something about it but were stymeed by the US and the UK Govt. took the matter seriously enough to have 'high-level' meetings about it. They also sought legal advice. Are we seriously to believe that this kind of thing goes on routinely? No. It is patently obvious that they knew.

At the very least then, since Murray reports that there was no SIS presence in Uzbekistan, the UK Govt. is guilty of not seeking to implement the provision that "any State Party in whose territory a person alleged to have committed any offence referred to in article 4 is present shall take him into custody" (Article 6) and Article 4 does not say anything about where the offence may have taken place, then for all the UK Govt. knew torturers could have been wandering in and out of it's Embassy or Aeroplanes (jurisdiction) on a daily basis, but they had no means to establish whether or not they should be nicking them. Actually, while we're on this point: they should have fucking nicked that CIA cunt Murray was on about; he fucking admitted complicity!

This however is to engage in what Murray rightly calls "casuistry" in the full text of his July 04 telegram. It is quite clear to anyone with even less than half a brain that the purpose and spirit of the UN Convention against Torture was to strengthen earlier law in an attempt to finally stamp out the fucking disgusting practice. In the opening statement, after listing that previous legislation and the relevant parts of the UN Charter, it says
Desiring to make more effective the struggle against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment throughout the world
What this appalling situation all boils down to is this: what is the definition of "complicity" under international law and how much more blatantly obvious does the evidence have to be before the UK Govt, a "State Party" will be "satisfied" and "immediately make a preliminary inquiry into the facts?" Are we to accept that a Foreign & Commonwealth Office meeting, without directly sourced data from its own intelligence service, "at the level of Heads of Department and above" constitutes such and fullfils the UK Govts. obligation to "take such measures as may be necessary to establish its jurisdiction over the offences?" Who knows, but given the "grave nature" of the possible offences, these are questions which should be heard before an International Court and i'll be urging my oh so flippant MP to seek precisely that, as he personally signed a promise to do.

Now i'm sure you're getting bored, but there's more. Because whether or not anything comes of this on the international stage is, let's face it, highly unlikely. Western Governments make the rules, they don't submit to them. However, as DLA's know, i've fallen foul of UK Domestic Law on a number of occaisions and, believe me, you pick up a thing or two.
Criminal Law Act 1977

Section 1

(1) Subject to the provisions of this Part of this Act, if a person agrees with any other person or persons that a course of conduct shall be pursued which, if the agreement is carried out in accordance with their intentions, either . . .

(a) will necessarily amount to or involve the commission of any offence or offences by one or more of the parties to the agreement, or

(b) would do so but for the existence of facts which render the commission of the offence or any of the offences impossible,

he is guilty of conspiracy to commit the offence or offences in question.
What can one say? Booyaka! Suck on that you fucking quisling shitbags! That's what. There's also a provision in UK Law which talks about the "Mens Rea" or "Guilty Mind" but, to be honest, i'm way out on a limb here, however since they took legal advice seeking to excuse their conduct, they can hardly claim to have not had a guilty mind, eh? Now far from any International Court or hi-falutin' nonesense, in this country all that's necessary to instigate a prosecution for a crime committed here within the UK is for any plain old copper to go and nick 'em for it. So go on! Have you no shame? Do something decent for once.

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Anonymous some_maineiac said...

HA! Knowledge is power, as you must know, edjog and the spread of knowledge and information to all corners of the globe via the internet will accomplish the goals that you expressed as a piscine floating in a tank...to add to my previous comment quoting words from an old work of fiction:

scenario ten: war is any means of breaking the will of the enemy. Information is a means of waging war. In an information-war, the enemy is defeated when his fear of further information is greater than his fear of the consequences of defeat.

Kudos to your trawling efforts!

(IMO, british or american law regarding conspiracy does not apply when the conspirators are from independent countries...and there is no global government to enforce any such international law, to my knowledge)

so, I will say or write what I choose and conspiracy be damned!

14/1/06 16:28  
Blogger edjog said...

Ah yes some_maineiac, but also: no, if you see what i mean.

"Informationism" will be the new weapon of the revolutionary, certainly. And the internet is it's major platform, but there are large sections of humanity who have no access to even a phone line, let alone a computer. If we truly want to raise consciousness, and i believe humanity is doomed to endless cyclical patterns of war, boom and bust which may spiral out of control and destroy what we think of now as 'civilisation' if we don't, i think we must lobby to change this, through international developement grants, or 'aid' and also by charitable donation.

re: law
I can't speak about US law regarding conspiracy but, although there will have been revision and case precedent since the Bill was drafted in 1977, the gist of it remains in place: one of my brothers-in-law has just been released after a ten stretch for it. UNCAT specifically provides that

"Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law." (Article 4)

It does not say anything about where the deed itself was committed, therefore under UK Criminal Law, to join with others in an enterprise whereby any party to it commits or intends to commit the offence of Torture is de facto a Criminal Conspiracy to Torture, even if facts or circumstances prevent the act of Torture from taking place. It is also a specific tenet of UK Law that ignorance, feigned or otherwise, is no defence.

This must also have particular relevance to "extraordinary rendition".

14/1/06 20:58  
Blogger edjog said...

My Brother-in-law wasn't nicked for Torture BTW, he was convicted of being involved in a joint enterprise to supply drugs.

15/1/06 15:07  
Blogger D-Notice said...

Having had a (very brief) look through my few books on criminal law (I don't deal with criminal law, just personal injury stuff, at the moment) which cover the Criminal Law Act 1977, I've come up with the following:

Although the conspiracy occurred in England & Wales (the memos), there may be problems with jurisdiction, as the torture occurred in another country (see R v Naini [1999] 2 Criminal Appeals Reports 398). If it was the otehr way round (conspiracy outside, torture within E&W), there'd be no problems (see DPP v Doot [1973] Appeal Cases 807).

I'll try & get to the law section of the library near work to see what else I can find. As I've aleady said, I don't really deal with criminal law matters, so suggest you try a pro-bono clinic or the Citizen's Advice Bureau, for a (probably) better view.

16/1/06 20:34  
Blogger edjog said...

Thanx d-notice, i did have a look on the net for those judgements you refer to but the best looking site i could come up with is BAILII.org and i'm afraid i had no joy finding those specific cases. What i did read there convinced me even more than my inability to understand just what the fuck i was even looking for that i'm way out of my depth here.

So i'll be seeking some further legal advice, but i've passed it onto Amnesty International also: hey you never know right? Any other lawyers out there?

I'm pretty sure i'm on it right here though because i was reading about the Extradition Appeal of Fawwaz and if it's law to consider if an offence would be indictable here in the UK, were it alleged to have taken place here, then surely it's right to think that the same reasoning would apply to a conspiracy, i.e. if the offence alleged to have been conspired in would have been indictable here etc?

Actually, it just makes no sense otherwise: i'm gonna post on the main page about this.

Again, cheers d-notice.

17/1/06 03:37  
Blogger D-Notice said...

I've had a look in the library & found that jurisdiction may not be a problem after all: s. 5 Criminal Justice (Terrroism & Conspiracy) Act 1998 says that UK courts may have jurisdiction to try a conspiracy to commit offences outside the UK.

17/1/06 18:35  
Blogger edjog said...


17/1/06 21:23  

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