has published links to a series of memos, emails and other correspondence that outline the close ties between the U.S., British and Uzbekistan. The documents demonstrate the complete lack of interest that the Blair and Bush governments have in the development of democratic institutions in the Middle East and Asia.
This should be of no surprise to anyone, but the depth of detail in the documents and the stunning revelations of torture, rendition and government oppression make for painful reading.
“Last year the US gave half a billion dollars in aid to Uzbekistan, about a quarter of it military aid. Bush and Powell repeatedly hail Karimov as a friend and ally. Yet this regime has at least seven thousand prisoners of conscience; it is a one party state without freedom of speech, without freedom of media, without freedom of movement, without freedom of assembly, without freedom of religion. It practices, systematically, the most hideous tortures on thousands. Most of the population live in conditions precisely analogous with medieval serfdom.”
While our soldiers die to provide democracy to Iraq, we promote dictatorship and repression in Uzbekistan. How can we demonstrate the meaning of a free democratic society, if we continually support the most oppressive dictatorships we can find?
“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 queried the legality, efficacy and morality of the practice.
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.”
This is information that needs the broadest possible distribution. I know that most Americans don't have a clue where Uzbekistan is located, but I think that most understand hypocricy when they see it. The Bush and Blair war administrations have raised hypocricy to the level of an art form.