Murder in Samarkand

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Publication.png Murder in Samarkand Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Publication date29 June 2006
Author(s)Craig Murray
SubjectsForeign and Commonwealth Office,  Uzbekistan,  UK/Torture
Local copyBroken Link: [[{{{local}}}]]
An account of Murray's experiences as ambassador and his persecution by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office for his persistence in raising issues of the gross abuse of human rights in Uzbekistan.

Murder in Samarkand is a book by Craig Murray, former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan.

Amazon Reviews

As of September 2011 there are 38 reviews of the book posted on Amazon UK, 30 of them 5 star. The following is from the first of them dated 13 July 2006:

Allegations of visas in exchange for sex against a British ambassador to some ex-Soviet republic; subsequently cleared on all counts but forced out nonetheless. Like many in Britain that was all that really remained in my memory of the of the lurid headlines and media reports of a year or so ago - and life carried on.

Anyone for whom that rings bells owes it to themselves to read this book, as does anyone wondering about the true nature of the West's so called 'War on Terror'. It is deeply disturbing on two levels:

  1. It documents the appalling nature of the 20 year Uzbek Regime of Islam Karimov. A regime which spans the pre and post-to-date Soviet era. Not in some dry academic fashion either but through the exploits of the Ambassador who, at considerable risk to his own safety, intervened in numerous cases of offical brutality. The reader is left in no doubt that the Karimov regime of Uzbekistan is on a par with the very worst of the worlds self-serving and brutal dictatorships. It was during this period that controversy about US/UK willingness to 'make use of evidence obtained under torture' and US so called 'rendition flights' became public. The ambassador reported that any such 'evidence' from Uzbekistan was useless since the regime was simply in the business of forcing 'dissidents to confirm what the regime wanted the West to hear. His reports were unwelcome.
  2. To have the true nature of one the then principal strategic allies in the West's 'War on Terror' exposed to scrutiny was judged by the Government and the Foreign Office top brass to be (euphemistically) 'counterproductive'. In spite of him having overwhelming support from human rights organisations and the Ex-Pat British business community, not to mention achieving more genuine influence with the Karimov regime than any of his predecessors, he had to be stopped. The methods employed to stop him were the inspiration of those headlines. They bring shame on both the British government and the upper echelons of a politicised civil service which even now is doing all it can to prevent both the sale of this book and publication of documents which prove its authenticity.

Obstacles to publication

Murray succeeded in having various documents related to his dismissal from the Foreign Office released under the Freedom of Information act and intended to annex them as supporting evidence for the books contents. Imagine his surprise when he was told: ... that the documents remained Crown Copyright; that he therefore needed permission to publish them which was denied; and that he risked having to defend a potentially £1 million lawsuit if he did publish them. The following is from his blog on the subject, entitled Murder In Samarkand – Supporting Documents and dated March 2011:

In publishing "Murder in Samarkand" I had wanted to publish the supporting documentation in the book to corroborate my story, especially as the FCO is claiming that the story is essentially untrue. In that sense, perhaps the most interesting link in the documents below is the very first document, which is a table of detailed amendments the FCO insisted be made to the text. This is fascinating if you consider just how much it confirms was true, particularly in the conversations it refers to between officials.

Many of the other documents I managed to have released under the Freedom of Information Act or Data Protection Act. I was astonished when the FCO announced that they would still take legal action against me if I published them. They argue that - and this astonished me - even if a document is released under the DPA or FoIA, it is still copyright of the Crown and so cannot be published. I was even more amazed when the lawyers of the publisher said that this was probably true, and certainly could not be fought without potentially a milliom pound legal case.

It appears that, among so many attacks on civil liberties in recent years, the Blair government has managed to administratively negate its own Freedom of Information Act. Robin Cook must be spinning in his grave.

Net posting is not breaching copyright because there is no charge to access the documents. This site may, of course, be subject to technical attack, so I would be grateful if those who can mirror these documents on their own sites, do so.

These are contemporary documents from my time as Ambassador in Uzbekistan. They do I believe include the real smoking gun on Britain's, and the CIA's, use of intelligence obtained by torture abroad. They also show the FCO getting increasingly angry with me over my being "over-focussed on human rights", rather than building good relationships with Karimov, our ally in the War on Terror.

They do not give a smoking gun that proves that the allegations brought against me, of which I was eventually cleared, were trumped-up and motivated by a desire to get rid of me for policy reasons. Being internal FCO documents, they are written to maintain the facade of a proper disciplinary investigation. You need to be prepared to read between the lines - and read the book!

Some of the following documents are no longer available on this site. They have been removed as a consequence of legal action by the British Government, which acknowledged the authenticity of the documents and claimed Crown Copyright over them. [1]

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Supporting Documents

This is the full catalogue of documents, many of which Murray felt obliged to remove from his blog. Each contains a brief explanatory note about their contents by Murray.

  1. File:FCO Comment-2.pdf- FCO Comment
  2. File:IMF.pdf - IMF Telegram
  3. File:Declaration.pdf - Declaration
  4. File:Speech.pdf - Speech
  5. File:HillNegotiation.pdf - Hill Negotiation
  6. File:Wood.pdf - Michael Wood memo of 13 March
  7. File:Iraq.pdf - Telegram of 18 March 2003 headed US Foreign Policy
  8. File:Butt.pdf - Letter from Simon Butt dated 16 April 2003
  9. File:Duffield.pdf - Exchange of emails with Linda Duffield
  10. File:Reynolds.pdf - Colin Reynolds' report of 26 June 2003
  11. File:Drake.pdf - Minute of meeting with Howard Drake
  12. File:CMCommunity.pdf - Letter from British Businessmen in Tashkent
  13. File:Smith.pdf - Email to Kate Smith
  14. File:CMStraw.pdf - Minute of 26 September 2003
  15. File:Telegram.pdf - Telegram