Monday, 20 August 2007

Murder, through the Purple Haze, in Samarkand

By Plot Tracer

The news goes so fast nowadays. Add to that the choice we have not to listen, read or watch it. Things are so different from when I was younger when everything came to a stop for the 1.00pm, 5.45, 6.00, 9.00 and 10.00 news. Real news was reported on the front pages of the newspapers – even on the tabloids. I wonder does my ten year old know what is going on in the world? I remember the news from my childhood – miners trapped down mines, people shot, planes bombed on runways, politicians hauled over the coals for misdemeanours and political faux pas.

Who remembers the prime events leading to the political and war state we are in at the moment? Israel knows that people forget. As did Blair, now Brown and Bush. This forgetfulness is aided by a complicit press. Complicit in blanking our memory with the hashish of Jade Goody, Paris Hilton, Wayne Rooney, the latest mini-celeb from Big Brother and John Prescott’s Jags.

Who remembers the wee boy cowering behind his father as Israeli soldiers snuffed out his little life? Who remembers the little girl crying on the beach in Gaza beside the blown up memory of her normal family life? The Israeli/Palestine conflict is for another blogpost, but I’ll make the point that the most recent excuse for Israeli war – the kidnapping of three Israeli soldiers, happened after these atrocities were meted out by their comrades.

M y point is about memory and the “War on Terror”.

Who remembers David Kelly? Who remembers weapons inspectors in Iraq giving the all clear? Who remembers Bush and Blair assuring us that there were weapons and this was beyond reasonable doubt… Who remembers the Gleneagles Hotel Making Poverty History and Bob Geldof even more famous…. (red herring, eh?)

Who remembers Craig Murray?

Those of you who keep up to date with the War on Terror will know who he is. Those of you who trawl the internet for secret documents will know who he is. For the most of us caught up in every day life filled with the noise of advertising ways to a better life and the lives of the select few who show us our inadequacies, Craig Murray may well be a tennis player, a golfer or Paris Hilton’s/Jade Goody’s latest love interest.

In his own words, Craig Murray says, “many would judge that in my private life I have behaved pretty badly. In the small hours of the night, I tend to agree. What I think I did right was to refuse to go along with some absolutely dreadful things the West was at best overlooking, probably condoning and arguably encouraging in the name of the War on Terror.”

A few months back, in the depths of the Scottish Winter, I happened to be in Ayrshire. My visit coincided with a protest outside Prestwick Airport against so called, “Rendition Flights”.

As I stood in the rain, with representatives from across the political spectrum, becoming wetter and wetter even though I was under the protection of a huge SSP golf umbrella (rain in Ayrshire seems to come at almost 90 degrees),

I thought, “What good am I doing?” I thought, “Will anyone listen?” What had started out as an issue a friend had alerted me to through her persistence online seemed to me to be an issue few knew or cared about. This is the lot of the protestor. Alone in a sea of apathy. I used to think apathy was something people chose. I don’t believe that now. I think we are encouraged to be apathetic. Amnesty and lefty journo’s were shouting about it, but few people were raising their heads above the purple haze of petrol prices, the imminent arrival of Santa Claus, Harry Potter and yes, Jade Goody and her men. Few people had heard that America had sent flights through Scotland’s airports, carrying poor souls to be tortured in some of the worlds most selective torture houses and prisons. Few seemed to care that Scotland was being shown to be complicit in torture, rape and death.

Craig Murray was the British Ambassador to Uzbekistan until he was removed from his post by the Blair Government. Why was he removed? Did he have his hands in the till? Did he accept bribes? Did he have more than one Jag? Well, the truth is, he found irrefutable evidence that the British Government for whom he worked for, was accepting information obtained from torture victims. He found out that people who demonstrated against the Uzbekistan government, where being chemically lobotomised. He found out that the opposition in exile had been sentenced to death in their absence. He found out that people were being boiled to death. He found out that Muslims were in jails because they were Muslims. And all of this was happening in a country Bush and Blair deemed “friendly” and in fact, a country ruled by a regime funded by the US.

Craig Murray published a book about his findings – a book I read just after publication. Some of his evidence has had to have been left out because of the British Government's tightening suppression of the written word, though the references left out can be easily found online. I find it shocking that so few know his findings – and that the Daily Mail are not up in arms about what he said about the links between our Government and the Uzbekistan Government. But then they are making an honest buck out of absolute disgust at the racism of the “Chav” Jade or the terrible world rocking events in the life of Pete Doherty. I’m glad they are on the case. I know my life is better lived by knowing their disgust at Paris and Lindsay Lohan. Lives will be saved by their investigative journalism.

Murray’s stance is principled in our democratic states’ trudge down the road of authoritarianism. There have been few insiders willing to speak out.

New Labour holds on to power even though week after week our democracy is bled of morality. Bush will go, and in his place will be a clone from the other party who may say things in a slightly different way, but nothing will change. Such is the two in one party state. Britain has shown that is possible. The effect of this will be that, even more than now, ordinary people’s belief is cemented – the belief that they can do nothing about these power hungry and money greedy politicians. We return to the haze of “better” mobile phones, flatter TV’s with more and more channels that lead down the road of apathy; “better” Marks and Spencers; thick shakes and thin fries; IPODS and digital Cameras. Safe in the knowledge that people are having their nails pulled out, faces pummelled and lives cut short in order for us to feel safe buying our slave produced teeshirts off the supermarket rails and our Kylie Minogue fragrance. Somewhere amongst the noise are fearful David Kelly’s and Craig Murrays. Hopefully more will speak out.

“Murder in Samarkand – A British Ambassador’s Controversial Defiance of Tyranny in the War on Terror” by Craig Murray is published by Mainstream Publishing.

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