UK envoy to coalition member Uzbekistan under fire

Now for some more dirt on Uzbekistan, another member of the "coalition of the willing", that Bush administration-assembled coterie of nations fighting for "democracy" and "justice" in Iraq.

According to an article in the Guardian, the UK's ambassador to Uzbekistan has come under attack by Downing Street, ostensibly for failures that include "drinking too convivially with Uzbek locals" and "allowing an embassy Land Rover to be driven down steps" but in reality for his intense criticism of both the brutality of the Uzbek government and the way that the US and UK turned a blind to these abuses in their "war on terror".
A senior source said the former ambassador had been put under pressure to stop his repeated criticisms of the brutal Karimov regime, accused among other things of boiling prisoners to death. The source said the pressure was partly "exercised on the orders of No 10", which found his outspokenness about the compromises Washington was prepared to make in its "war on terror" increasingly embarrassing in the lead up to the Iraq war.

"He was told that the next time he stepped away from the American line, he would lose his post," said the source.

Uzbekistan, a post-Soviet police state on the strategically important border with Afghanistan, was another potential political minefield. Uzbek security services use "torture as a routine investigation technique", according to the US State Department. But Washington's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have led them to finance much of the regime's security apparatus. In exchange the US gets a military base in Khanabad as a centre for operations in Afghanistan. Last year Washington gave the government $500m (£298m) in aid, $79m of which was specifically for the same "law enforcement and security services" they accused of routine torture.

Mr Murray
[the ambassador] sent numerous reports to London about human rights abuses, and his dispatches became increasingly heated during the build-up to the Iraqi invasion. He argued Uzbekistan's human rights abuses were as bad as those being used as ammunition against Baghdad. Yet Washington was financing Uzbekistan, rather than invading it, he said.

... He became personally involved in exposing torture, commissioning a forensic report on the bodies of two political prisoners, Muzafar Avazov and Husnidin Alimov, which concluded they had probably been boiled to death.
Another conscientous public official targetted for speaking out against the lies and hypocrisy of this "war on terror".

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