Barder on Murray

by Nathan Hamm on 1/4/2006 · 2 comments

I have absolutely nothing to add that I have not said before on the Craig Murray story, and as I have mentioned, I’m less interested in the specifics of the case than I am in how Western policies can reduce torture in specific and increase liberalization in general in Uzbekistan. With that said, I highly recommend reading Brian Barder’s well-informed final comments on the Murray story. I especially recommend reading the post and his earlier one as Barder himself is a retired British diplomat.

While I found everything worth reading, I particularly liked this.

Has Britain become indirectly complicit in torture by supporting and propping up the Karimov government in Uzbekistan?

Again, where’s the evidence? The limited technical assistance we have given to Uzbekistan has all, including the small military training programme, been specifically directed at promoting democracy and improvements in human rights behaviour, including in particular programmes aimed at the elimination of torture (see the details of British ‘aid’ programmes on the Blairwatch blog, cited earlier). Indeed, these could well be seen as tending to undermine the Karimov regime rather than propping it up. The US government, despite its interest in preserving its air base and other facilities in Uzbekistan, has also been active in programmes designed to move the country into more democratic ways and to eliminate human rights abuses — with the result that Karimov has now broken with Washington, closed its bases, and formed a new and close relationship with Beijing (and Moscow). Much good that will do for the oppressed Uzbek people! Anyway, it’s a strange form of complicity in torture that takes the form of aid programmes designed to wean the government off it.

And from the first post, I found Barder’s comment on blogosphere discussion right on the mark.


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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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{ 2 comments }

Laurence January 5, 2006 at 7:54 am

Nathan, Thank you for finding and posting this Barder Q & A (and his earlier post on Murray). It is very, very interesting!

Bert January 11, 2006 at 7:25 am

Hey guys, what’s up with Craig Murrays website? It’s not reachable now … at least not from germany.
Someone experiencing the same?

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