Timeline of a Dilemma
Nothing original here, just quotes.
Craig Murray, the former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, told me that “the U.S. accepts quite a lot of intelligence from the Uzbeks” that has been extracted from suspects who have been tortured. This information was, he said, “largely rubbish.” He said he knew of “at least three” instances where the U.S. had rendered suspected militants from Afghanistan to Uzbekistan. Although Murray does not know the fate of the three men, he said, “They almost certainly would have been tortured.” In Uzbekistan, he said, “partial boiling of a hand or an arm is quite common.” He also knew of two cases in which prisoners had been boiled to death.
In 2002, Murray, concerned that America was complicit with such a regime, asked his deputy to discuss the problem with the C.I.A.’s station chief in Tashkent. He said that the station chief did not dispute that intelligence was being obtained under torture. But the C.I.A. did not consider this a problem. “There was no reason to think they were perturbed,” Murray told me.
January 20, 2005
Inaugural Address by President George W. Bush
All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: The United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you. (Applause.)
Democratic reformers facing repression, prison, or exile can know: America sees you for who you are, the future leaders of your free country.
The rulers of outlaw regimes can know that we still believe as Abraham Lincoln did: “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves, and, under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it.”
The leaders of governments with long habits of control need to know: To serve your people you must learn to trust them. Start on this journey of progress and justice, and America will walk at your side. (Applause.)
Article from June 13, an account of the events in Uzbekistan of May 13, 2005. Uzbek protesters ran gantlet of death
The interviews corroborate estimates from human-rights groups that put the death toll in the hundreds–far more than the figure of 173 announced by the Uzbek government. Moreover, accounts from survivors cast strong doubt on the government’s contention that most of those killed were armed Islamic insurgents bent on the overthrow of Uzbekistan’s president, Islam Karimov.
Despite the sporadic bursts of gunfire on the plaza, protesters chose to stay. Several survivors said rumors began swirling through the crowd that Karimov was flying to Andijan. Believing he was coming to listen to their grievances, they thought the opportunity to confront him justified the risk.
Karimov did fly to Andijan, but only to oversee the crisis. He never spoke to demonstrators.
May 13, 2005
Press Briefing by Scott McClellan
Q I have a question on something else. On Uzbekistan, do you have any reaction to what is going on over there, on the crisis? And have there been any high-level contacts since this erupted?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I know that the Department of State has been in touch with our embassy there, and so they probably will be talking more about this at their briefing, as well. We have had concerns about human rights in Uzbekistan, but we are concerned about the outbreak of violence, particularly by some members of a terrorist organization that were freed from prison. And we urge both the government and the demonstrators to exercise restraint at this time. The people of Uzbekistan want to see a more representative and democratic government, but that should come through peaceful means, not through violence. And that’s what our message is.
May 18, 2005
Press Briefing by Scott McClellan
Q Scott, the President of Uzbekistan has now admitted that his government killed upwards of 170 of its citizens, some anti-government protestors, some escaped prisoners, apparently. Opposition groups say the figure could have been far, far higher. What’s the President’s view of this situation?
MR. McCLELLAN: Actually, we spoke about it just the other day. The State Department addressed this very matter and expressed our concerns about it. Obviously, we have continued to urge restraint by all and for all to work for calm in Uzbekistan. We were deeply disturbed by the reports that authorities had fired on demonstrators last Friday, and we expressed our condemnation about the indiscriminate use of force against unarmed civilians. And we certainly deeply regret any loss of life. So we’ve expressed that previously.
But we’ve also called on people to reject those who would try to incite violence, as well. And we talked about that, too. We’ve urged the government, as well, to allow humanitarian organizations, like the International Committee for the Red Cross, to have access to the region so that they can gather facts and help take care of people that need help.
Q That’s very clear. I wonder if I can contrast it with something, though. In 2002, the President said of another leader who had arrested 75 people and had them sentenced: “The dictator has responded with defiance and contempt and a new round of brutal oppression that has outraged the world’s conscience.” The President was speaking of Fidel Castro, who imprisoned these dissidents, didn’t kill any of them, and I wonder why the double standard.
MR. McCLELLAN: I don’t know that I would look at it that way. Obviously, Terry, there are different circumstances around the world. You have to deal with those different circumstances. And so I wouldn’t look at it that way at all. But we have long spoken about our concerns when it comes to the human rights situation in Uzbekistan, and we’ve laid out the facts as we know them about the human rights situation in Uzbekistan. We would like to see a more open and responsive government. But the way to achieve that is not through violence; it’s through peaceful means. And that’s what we always emphasize.
Q This is a leader who has been in power since before the fall of the Soviet Union. He’s clearly a dictator by any definition of that word. And I wonder if you could respond to the concerns that many people have that this administration is going easy on him because he is necessary in the war on terrorism, in part because the United States has rendered certain detainees into his country and —
MR. McCLELLAN: I think the facts speak differently. The facts are very clear in terms of we speak out about the concerns that we have, we speak out when we are disturbed by events that take place. And that’s what we have done in this instance, as well. And I just did.
May 31, 2005
President’s Press Conference
Q Two questions about the consistency of a U.S. foreign policy that’s built on the foundation of spreading democracy and ending tyranny. One, how come you have not spoken out about the violent crackdown in Uzbekistan, which is a U.S. ally in the war on terror, and why have you not spoken out in favor of the pro-democratic groups in Egypt that see the election process there unfolding in a way that is anything but democratic?
In terms of Uzbekistan — thanks for bringing it up — we’ve called for the International Red Cross to go into the Andijon region to determine what went on, and we expect all our friends, as well as those who aren’t our friends, to honor human rights and protect minority rights. That’s part of a healthy and a peaceful — peaceful world, will be a world in which governments do respect people’s rights. And we want to know fully what took place there in Uzbekistan, and that’s why we’ve asked the International Red Cross to go in.
June 14 article regarding the June 9th, 2005 meeting of NATO and Russia in Brussels in which it was decided that a “communique” that would emerge from the meeting would not include language “calling for an independent investigation” of killings.
U.S. Opposed Calls at NATO for Probe of Uzbek Killings
The outcome obscured an internal U.S. dispute over whether NATO ministers should raise the May 13 shootings in Andijan at the risk of provoking Uzbekistan to cut off U.S. access to a military air base on its territory.