FCO Finally Admits To Receiving Intelligence From Torture 43

With thanks to Andrew.

This is the most important blog post I have ever made. I would be grateful if you could do everything in your power to disseminate a link to anyone you know who has the remotest interest in human rights – or should have. This blog will be silent for a few days now.

Tucked away at Page 15 of its annual Human Rights report, the FCO has finally made a public admission of its use of intelligence from torture. Despite the Orwellian doublespeak about “unreserved condemnation of torture”, this is the clearest statement the government has ever made that it, as a policy, employs intelligence from torture.

“One example is the question of the use of intelligence

provided to the UK by other countries. The provenance of

such intelligence is often unclear ?” partners rarely share

details of their sources. All intelligence received, whatever

its source, is carefully evaluated, particularly where it is clear

that it has been obtained from individuals in detention.

The use of intelligence possibly derived through torture

presents a very real dilemma, given our unreserved

condemnation of torture and our efforts to eradicate it.

Where there is intelligence that bears on threats to life, we

cannot reject it out of hand. What is quite clear, however, is

that information obtained as a result of torture would not

be admissible as evidence in any criminal or civil

proceedings in the UK. It does not matter whether the

evidence was obtained here or abroad.”


Let us take this apart.

Let me start by noting that it confirms precisely the response I was given by the FCO when I tried to stop this back in 2003. http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/documents/Wood.pdf

It is worth noting two things. First it follows not just the precise legal distinctions made by Sir Michael Wood between intelligence and evidence, but it also very carefully mirrors the heading of his letter by referring to “Intelligence possibly obtained under torture” – even where there really was no actual doubt.

Secondly, it deploys the argument that you cannot be sure if the intelligence was obtained by torture or not, because the intelligence report does not give you the source. As I explain in my evidence statement to the Joint Commission on Human Rights, that is a deliberate double blind. The name of the source is always omitted from the intelligence report, on purpose so you cannot prove they were tortured to give that intelligence.

Trying Again to Stop Torture: My Formal Statement for the Joint Committee on Human Rights

I might pause here to say that this stunning new admission by the FCO proves I was telling the truth all along. Given that Jack Straw in particular and the FCO in general have been calling me mad and a liar for the last five years, I hope you might forgive me for asking you to dwell on that for a moment.

Now let me return to analyse what the FCO statement means. It is a piece of mind-blowing hypocrisy. You cannot, in the same paragraph, argue our unreserved condemnation of torture, and that it save lives so we use intelligence from it. I would add that it is also an outright lie. Not a single one of the many pieces of torture intelligence I saw in Uzbekistan had the slightest bearing on saving lives in the UK. In fact the “intelligence” was, on the whole and in detail, highly misleading. Yet the FCO made a very definite policy decision to continue to receive it – because it came from the CIA.

The FCO has in fact under New Labour never rejected any intelligence on the grounds that it came from torture.

The fact that the government accepts that it cannot use such intelligence as evidence in court, is not of great comfort when instead it is used to have people kidnapped and sent on extraordinary rendition, or severely beaten and detained without charge, or deported to home countries where they will be murdered.

The ticking bomb scenario is a Hollywood myth. 99 per cent of the tens of thousands of cases of torture in the War on Terror have been “Fishing expedition”. Torture does not work. The tortured individual will not tell you the truth, but will tell whatever he or she thinks will satisfy the torturer and stop the pain. We know this from history. People confessed under torture that their cat was the Devil and they flew on broomsticks. In my time in Uzbekistan children were tortured in front of their parents and dissidents were boiled alive.

Yet by accepting torture material for “Careful evaluation” we create a market for it. We increase the amount of torture in the World by putting a value on its result. And we are breaking international law by complicity in torture, which is plainly against Article 4 of the UN Convention Against Torture.

The government has set up its usual planned exoneration by allowing their cronies at Scotland Yard to conduct a highly circumscribed investigation into the MI5 agents involved in the torture of Binyan Mohammed.

In fact the guilt lies plainly with those who set this policy of compliance with evil. The most guilty is Jack Straw.

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43 thoughts on “FCO Finally Admits To Receiving Intelligence From Torture

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  • MJ

    Everyone must be out shopping Craig.

    “The ticking bomb scenario is a Hollywood myth”

    Given that many detainees are held for months – and in the case of Guantanemo, years – any of these mythical time bombs would have exploded ages ago.

  • researcher

    Does this indicate the leadership has decided to shift the attention away from direct torture by MI5 and MI6 to accepting it from the CIA, and legitimising that part now ?

    Not far-fetched after targeted extrajudicial killings of citizens by the UK police have been accepted (Menezes and Canary Wharf cases).

  • John D. Monkey


    Thanks to Binyamin Mohamed’s legal team, yourself and others it’s all starting to unravel.

    Today’s Indie is headling the story broken by the Telgraph:

    “Intelligence services reveal concern on 15 ‘torture’ cases”




    Watch out for people distancing themselves from Jack Straw, Scarlett et. al. over the coming weeks…

    You may get a more serious hearing than we were fearing!

  • John D. Monkey


    “by accepting torture material for “Careful evaluation” we create a market for it”

    This is I think a telling observation. The existence of a “market” for torture material is something we have heard little about. Yet it clearly exists, and it may be an idea worth pursuing.

    I wonder, has anyone has researched how many of the people rendered to Guantanamo or elsewhere were “sold” for a bounty? The temptation for an Afghani taxi driver or Pakistani shopkeeper or whoever to sell the name of someone for $10,000 must have been very great…

  • Jon

    Duly posted to Indymedia UK.

    I have a sneaky and somewhat optimistic feeling that you might have these bastards on the run now, Craig. Very well done!

  • anticant

    Craig –

    There are some libellous comments about you on Guido Fawkes’ blog which you may not have seen. The thread is “Political Class Starting to Feel Public’s Anger.

  • Polo

    By their subtleties shall you know them.

    By the way, Jack Straw is now in the cross-hairs of his UK:FCO and Crown Dependency responsibilities. Surely a good fix and hopefully with predictable results.

  • Sam

    Thank you for holding a light up in the darkness, Craig.

    It sounds trite, but it really is the case: ‘An injustice to one is an injustice to all.’

    This psychopathically callous and duplicitous approach to torture that’s employed by our government is the same psychopathy that permits and encourages the needless deaths of hundreds of thousands of third world children from malnutrition, the conning of decent good citizens into supporting illegal wars, the depleted uranium bombing of hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children, the deaths of scores if not hundreds of thousands of decent UK citizens at the hands of those they really ought to be able to trust above all. RIP NHS victims in Mid Staffs, Nottingham, Liverpool, Bristol, London, Medway, Newcastle, Edinburgh and so on. We hear only the very smear of the tip of the iceberg because the sick NHS spends more on spin than it does on finding cures.

    RIP all who die at the hands of this institutionalised insanity.

    May the rest of us enjoy sufficient good health and safety to keep burning those lights.

  • Andrew

    It is clear to anyone that by using a product (whatever it may be) the user is creating and sustaining the incentives for production. Our government has been doing that for torture derived intelligence for some years.

    Complicity is clearly proven. The government have been acting illegally. Does the law count for anything in the UK – lets wait and see.

  • erica

    I don’t know why you are so obsessed with this Craig. We didn’t torture anyone but we may have had information from other governments from people who had been tortured. So what. That’s probably been happening since the dawn of time. If my family had been blown up on 9/11 or 7/7 it wouldn’t bother me if some jihadists had a taste of their own medicine. Get off your high horse. There are far worse things happening in homes up and down the country – Baby P is just one recent example.

  • researcher

    erica lays out the probable government blueprint i pointed to earlier.

    The propaganda is based on fears for personal safety,

    used to justify the most horrific attacks on people’s safety

    by creating confused divisions with false flag operations.

    Thanks, ruth, for sharing your knowledge about secret (inter-)state operations.

  • Ruth

    I agree with erica that there are very bad things happening up and down the country; one of which is imprisonment of entirely innocent people to hide state crime This can be defined as psycholgical torture.

  • MJ

    erica: I suggest you read some of Craig’s earlier posts on this matter. They may help you understand its full significance and why Craig is on his ‘high horse’.

    Most people agree that torture is valueless as a form of genuine intelligence gathering. People will say anything to make the torture stop.

    This however can be the very point of torture. As Craig can demonstrate, false confessions obtained through torture are being used to add substance to this notion of evil jihadists, so helping to justify, prolong and intensify the phoney ‘War on Terror’.

    It’s perhaps a little more significant than you think.

  • anticant

    Erica evidently belongs to the ‘all’s fair in love and war’ brigade. I really don’t see how anyone can condone torture whilst proclaiming that they stand for freedom, democracy and human dignity.

    And Erica certainly isn’t entitled to speak for the victims or the survivors of 7/7 or 9/11 – one very articulate survivor of the former, Rachel North, would vehemently disagree with her.

    There is no equivalence between torture and cases like Baby P [whether the latter is “far worse” or not]. Torture, and collusion with it, is perpetrated whether legally or illegally by agents of the State, acting on behalf of us all. Child abuse is the personal responsibility of those who do it, and is not endorsed by society.

    I for one am heartily ashamed if the UK has participated in, or even tacitly colluded with, torture. Erica would do well to take an elementary course in ethics before bothering to post here again.

  • Steve

    Who cares? As far as I am concerned, if there is a remotest chance or suspicion that any person is involved in any terrorist organisation or activity, then they are fair game. I personally would go further and they would never be seen again!

  • anticant

    “Who cares?” You obviously don’t! “If there is the remotest chance or suspicion…they are fair game [and] would never be seen again”.

    What a charming society you aspire to live in. Argentina under the colonels, or Chile under Pinochet, sound just your cup of tea. There are still plenty such places. Why don’t you find one and go there?

  • George Dutton


    By saying the things you have said…You become that which you say you detest.


    Do you not find it strange that two posters suddenly appear trying to appease torture,trying to defend the indefensible.

  • Jon

    @erica – your support for state-sanctioned torture of suspected jihadists would only be consistent if you are prepared to agree that, should your parents or your siblings be accused of political extremism, that they should be tortured too.

    Ditto @Steve, who doesn’t even insist on probable cause – just add them to the “disappeared”. For you it seems that the cold reality of having relatives vanish, and not know for decades which unmarked grave they ended up in, is (a) abstract and (b) would only happen to someone else.

    @anticant picks a good illustration of Pinochet’s regime in Chile. Having ousted the previously democratically elected leader, the murderous dictator was installed with American support and complicity. Steve, you should read up on the numbers, and the manner of the executions, of the ordinary people like you who were taken en masse to the main football stadium and tortured, or shot in the back of the head.

  • anticant

    People like erica and Steve lack the imagination to see themselves in the shoes of victims of injustice, false accusations and torture.

    The Rule of Law has been slowly evolved over centuries to minimise such injustices, and to ensure that no-one is treated as guilty until their guilt has been proved in open court. Even so, it was still far from adequate even before this cowardly government drove a coach and horses through it after 9/11 – not to mention inciting everyone to snoop and snitch on their neighbours.

    Whether or not erica and Steve wish to live in an East German Stasi-style State, I most certainly don’t.

    Yes, there ARE terrorist threats but these need tackling in an entirely different and more focused way.

  • Ruth

    From George Dutton.

    “Do you not find it strange that two posters suddenly appear trying to appease torture,trying to defend the indefensible.”

    Absolutely, I would say it’s government interference. If they can’t bring Craig’s blog site down, they manipulate it.

    The two commenters’ tone is very similar to Eddie’s.

  • anticant

    Let’s not get too paranoid. This still is a free country [just about], and champions of liberal democracy and free speech should welcome opposing views – especially when they are so puerile and easy to refute.

    If these two really are government plants, they certainly show up the threadbare nature of the official line on terrorism.

  • Anas Taunton

    To confirm Craig’s point about the pointlessness of torture, I heard this true story:

    Two victims of torture both confessed to the murder of a third party. but when they were confronted with eachother, face to face, by their torturers, they both said they had never met the other man. So they started to fight eachother about who was the real murderer, which was the point on which their release from torture had come to depend.

    Witnesses have proved that the U.S. have planted many market-place bombs in Iraq to sow the seeds for civil war. Questions remain over the involvement of the U.S. in 9/11. Steve and Erica use context to justify torture, without showing any evidence of the context. What a waste of time. There are many aspects of the context which a fair judge could bear in mind, if we could bring the perpetrators of all these crimes to court.

    In the real world we progress from bankcruptcy to grand bargain, from a few nuclear arsenals to a multiplicity of them, from secret lies to open lies. The JCHR know that the game is up and Craig’s testimony is dynamite for their public condemnation of torture.

    What is coming up New Labour is a deal: If you the public refrain from dissent against us your trusted leaders, we will promise to give up dirty tricks and genocide and torture.

    Yes , like we always let our children blackmail us into buying them sweets instead of good food. New Labour doesn’t own this country and its good reputation. We, the British people will tell them what the deal is, and it doesn’t include torture.

  • Peter Posetti

    The truth is slow to come out isn’t it. But the revelations are nothing more than what most of us suspected all along. It is surely time that the bliars are truly revealed for all of their mandacity in telling “big ones” for the sake of some notion they have of protecting “freedom” and “democracy”. Where to next for Jack Straw? And, by the way, that was no mean feat Craig. Well done and thank you Craig from all of us.

  • Matt Costigan

    You know what I think? I think that they WANT people to know that they torture. Yep. Of course they know that the ‘evidence’ is not credible. They wanna be known as badass. I realised this when I watched that disgusting piece of propaganda ‘Taxi To The Dark Side’. That movie had nothing in it that had not been in the New York Times or whatever. And it was very slick. A little too slick. Had no soul if you know what I mean. And they miraculously managed to get John Woo on it and then proceeded to interview him with a feather duster. There were other examples but those ones should do it. That’s what’s happening. Helps to subdue the masses in times of civil unrest y’know. This has been comin’ for years.

  • JimmyGiro

    Steve wrote:

    “Who cares? As far as I am concerned, if there is a remotest chance or suspicion that any person is involved in any terrorist organisation or activity, then they are fair game. I personally would go further and they would never be seen again!”

    Sounds suspiciously like the decoy words of a pre-emptive strike of a terrorist jihadist to me; ok book him Dano (or what ever the equivalent for Cuba is).

    With your logic Steve, you will only be as safe as your enemies are weak.

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