How Hard for the Truth to be Heard 55

Yesterday Harriet Harman was lying through her teeth on the Andrew Marr show, claiming that the Government had never had any idea any of its intelligence was coming through torture. Meanwhile, the Government has refused to testify on this subject before the Parliamentary Joint Commission on Human Rights, where such lies may have consequences. If Harman is telling the truth, what do Ministers have to hide from the Parliamentary Commission?

Of course, she is not telling the truth. I today sent this memorandum to the Joint Commission on Human Rights, offering to give evidence before them – if Ministers won’t tell them what is happening, perhaps I can:

I wish to offer myself as a witness before the Joint Commission on Human Rights on the subject of the UK government’s policy on intelligence cooperation with torture abroad.

I appeared as a witness in person before both the European Parliament and European Council’s enquiries into extraordinary rendition. My evidence was described by the European Council’s Rapporteur, Senator Dick Marty, as “Compelling and valuable”.

The key points I wish to make are these:

– I was British Ambassador in Uzbekistan from 2002 to 2004.

– I learned and confirmed that I was regularly seeing intelligence from detainees in the Uzbek torture chambers, sent me by the CIA via MI6.

– British Ministers and officials were seeing the same torture material.

– In October/November 2002 and January/Februray 2003 I sent two Top Secret telegrams to London specifically on the subject of our receipt of intelligence gained under torture. I argued this was illegal, immoral and impractical. The telegrams were speciifically marked for the Secretary of State.

– I was formally summoned back to the FCO for a meeting held on 7 or 8 March 2003 specifically and solely on the subject of intelligence gained under torture. Present were Linda Duffield, Director Wider Europe, FCO, Sir Michael Wood, Chief Legal Adviser, FCO, and Matthew Kydd, Head of Permanent Under-Secretary’s Department, FCO.

– This meeting was minuted. I have seen the record, which is classified Top Secret and was sent to Jack Straw. On the top copy are extensive hand-written marginalia giving Jack Straw’s views.

– I was told at this meeting that it is not illegal for us to obtain intelligence gained by torture, provided that we did not do the torture ourselves. I was told that it had been decided that as a matter of War on Terror policy we should now obtain intelligence from torture, following discussion between Jack Straw and Richard Dearlove. I was told that we could not exclude receipt of specific material from the CIA without driving a coach and horses through the universality principle of the UK/US intelligence sharing agreement, which would be detrimental to UK interests.

– Sir Michael Wood’s legal advice that it was not illegal to receive intelligence got by torture was sent on to me in Tashkent (copy attached).

– On 22 July 2004 I sent one further telegram on intelligence got by torture, with a lower classification, following FCO communications on the subject. Copy attached.

It was my final communication before being dismissed as Ambassador.

In conclusion, I can testify that beyond any doubt the British government has for at least six years a considered but secret policy of cooperation with torture abroad. This policy legally cleared by government legal advisers and approved by Jack Straw as Secretary of State.

Craig Murray

2 March 2009

So now I wait to see what response I get. The Foreign Affairs Committee refused to call me to give evidence, and I rather fear that the Joint Commission on Human Rights may continue the British parliamentary tradition of ostracising whistleblowers.

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55 thoughts on “How Hard for the Truth to be Heard

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  • gremlins3

    I have a horrible feeling that by the time the truth eventually does come out (to an extent) public opinion will have been softened up so that people don’t care or that they even think it is justifiable. Just one example is the tone of the recent BBC coverage of Binyam Mohamed’s return, where the news headlines consistently described him as a terror suspect without even mentioning that the charges had been dropped, and placing his “allegations” of torture within this context (reading this bit of the bulletin in a tone of incredulity for good measure). Imho news coverage is only one aspect of this and there seems to have been a more strategic trend of desensitisation via TV and film dramas as well. Certainly unconditional opposition to torture seems no longer a given in public opninion. How did we arrive a situation where Mohamed attracted public criticism for having been flown back by private plane, in the full knowledge of his likely ordeal. I wonder what the Chileans, Iraqis etc. and all others we have castigated for torture think of us now.

  • anticant

    The Americans would never allow us to end the intelligence sharing arrangements and their physical presence here at bomber bases and listening posts such as Fylingdales. The so-called “special relationship” operates almost solely to their advantage, as some of their diplomats have brazenly stated.

    Blair almost certainly had no option but to follow Bush into Iraq. Two million marching in protest at the war were as nothing in the balance against American pressure. Watching Brown almost grovelling for a photo-opportunity with Obama after his half-hour audience is pathetic. We might as well sign up as the 51st State and have done with it.

  • NomadUK

    Blair almost certainly had no option but to follow Bush into Iraq.

    Rubbish. He followed because he wanted to, because he believed in it.

    Had he said, ‘No’, there would have been no invasion. And what would the US have done? Invaded the UK? Destroyed the economy with a run on the pound like they did during Suez? Screw them. All the Government would have had to do was to go public with what was happening, tell the population that the UK was abandoning its ‘special relationship’, becoming a fully supporting member of the EU, and joining the Euro. Shut down the bomber bases, throw out the NSA, expose their operations. Tell everyone why.

    They would have become the single most popular British government in history, at a stroke.

  • G-R

    As to the the Chairman of the PJCHR – simply look into the antecedents of (a) who and (b) what he is. No need to say more!

  • Ruth

    Everybody’s stating the obvious that the UK government had to follow the US but nobody’s actually asking why. What makes this country so dependent on the US? Is there something we don’t know?

  • MJ


    “Is there something we don’t know?”

    Perhaps it is that the UK government didn’t actually follow the US, as is the common assumption, but rather that the UK and US governments have a common master whose orders they must both follow.

  • lwtc247

    Jailing Kids for Cash:

    “As many as 5,000 children in Pennsylvania have been found guilty, and up to 2,000 of them jailed, by two corrupt judges who received kickbacks from the builders and owners of private prison facilities that benefited.” (Amy Goodman on Democracy Now)

  • MJ


    To your list of concerns earlier I’d add

    z) The Codex Alimentarius and GM foods.

    Monsanto’s lobbying in the US is so powerful that in some states any organic farmer whose crops are contaminated by GM material can be sued by Monsanto!

  • George Dutton

    Got this in my e-mail account today.


    “Mon 2nd March 2009; For Immediate Release”

    “Criticism of Israel is not Racist”

    “Four Palestinian human rights campaigners look set to be charged with “racially motivated conduct” after the activists welcomed the Procurator Fiscal’s motion to drop the original Breach of the Peace charge in favour of the more serious one at Edinburgh Sheriff Court today.”

    “The campaigners, all members of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC), were arrested last August after disrupting an Edinburgh Festival concert by Israeli musicians, the Jerusalem Quartet, and were due to be tried next week. Along with a fifth SPSC campaigner, Mick Napier, due to appear in court at a later date, the four stood up one at a time during the performance and made statements such as “End the Siege of Gaza”, and “Boycott Israel!””

    “We had been ready to argue that our non-violent action does not constitute Breach of the Peace because our intention was to highlight and therefore help prevent the atrocities being committed by the sponsors of the Jerusalem Quartet?”the state of Israel”, said Sofiah Macleod, Secretary of the SPSC, and one of the four accused.”

    “However, we welcome the opportunity to fight instead the absurd charge of “racially motivated conduct”; it is the state of Israel, and Zionism, the political ideology upon which it is founded, that is racist. We will resist any attempt to de-legitimise the Palestinian struggle for justice and to criminalise the growing campaign of boycott and divestment from Israel.”

    “Local Jewish writer and journalist, Marion Woolfson, is honorary president of the SPSC, an organisation that supports the right of the Palestinian people as a whole to self-determination. Before the concert, she had called on Edinburgh Festival organisers to rescind the invitation to the Israeli musicians. In a letter to the Queen’s Hall venue, she wrote, “I simply cannot understand why you should have invited the representatives of a country that practices ethnic cleansing and a form of apartheid which even those who have lived in South Africa have said is worse than anything thought up by the former rulers of their country.”

    “Woolfson described the latest charges against her fellow campaigners as “ridiculous”, and continued, “the anti-Semitism charge is the last resort of those who try to defend the indefensible. This is the equivalent of labelling all those who criticised and boycotted the white-supremacist state of Apartheid South Africa as anti-white.”

    “Campaign Chair, Mick Napier, said, “We thank the Procurator Fiscal for providing us with the forum to explain that opposition to the violent, racist state of Israel is motivated by a commitment to universal human rights. We support the Palestinian people faced with Zionist savagery and we are contemptuous of attempts to smear such a struggle for justice with the taint of racism. I hope these charges are not quietly dropped and we will have the opportunity to meet our critics in open court.”


    Looks like the state is going ALL out to silence people using fear tactics.

  • researcher

    anticant, revolutions are usually planned, controlled and driven by the bankster’s secret services and secret societies (communists, Freemasons etc) long ahead. They prepare the ground by creating the problems exhausting, killing and dividing people, then they lead the apparent opposition to themselves. See

    “The Sealed Train”, Pearson 1975 (Lenin’s secret journey from Switzerland to Russia

    to start the Bolshevik Revolution) and

    detailing the systematic transfer of technology from the West to the Soviet Union (later to China and Iran).

  • researcher

    Britain invokes emergency-act to check strike; Defense of Realm Order Makes It Punishable to Shut Off London’s Light. Believe menace averted. General Stoppage of Work Not Now Feared–Government to Replace Engineers. Military cars for traffic Will Be Used to Lessen Tube Strike Trouble–People Walk in Snow. Strike Leaders Removed. Electric Workers Disconcerted. Britain moves to check strikes. Believe General Strike Averted. Bonar Law Rebuffs Labor Chief.

    Swiss Funding for the Early Nazi Movement: Motivation, Context, and Continuities

  • researcher

    And those revealing these facts are labeled with “antisemitism” “conspiracy theories” and psychiatry (reference its origins including jailing a tenth of the Paris population, its normative use in society using it as a veiled threat from early age, and its use in the Soviet Union), isolated from their friends and families by calumnies attached to promises of secrecy and webs of intrigue, harassed, fired, assaulted and suicided/killed (witness the double shot to his head by Gary Webb).

    George Dutton, thanks for your research and links, could you please post them with full URL and title added, so we can see the source before following them ?

    Torture is the most horrible thing that can happen to a living being.

    Thank you for opposing it.

  • George Dutton


    I would BUT…

    “SACC website: Sorry, the SACC website has been unavailable for much of the last 24 hours. We have been experiencing occasional service difficulties for several weeks and hope eventually to get to the bottom of these problems. In the meantime, please be patient.”…


    Instead of the snide remark did it not occur to you to look it up yourself?.

    You don’t like me…Tough…live with it.

  • Anas Taunton

    Rendition. Sectarian bombing of civilians. Hotel attacks. Cricket team attacks. These are the normal tools or dirty tricks of the Western governments in the coalition that went to Iraq and which Tony Blair now represents under the name of the Quartet.

    Desperate and unbelievable measures to slander Islam and create prejudice against Muslims among ordinary people.

    It is very brave of Craig to take this stand but the point is that even if truth is shouted from the rooftops, people are too busy with pornography joblessness soaps family breakdown and sport to bother about the truth.

    Who controls the fatuous media that provides an alternative to the truth? Jews, and this is its deadly purpose – to drown out the truth. Smug New Labour have got it sorted.

    The British people like their governments to lie, lie, lie again so that they can relax into the conviction that their criminal leaders are telling the truth: The Crusades were Holy; Slavery was Business; the Empire brought Justice and the World Wars were fought in self -defence.

    We are such lovely people, don’t you think?

    The grey suits enjoy a bit of Scottish flyting from time to time, because it reminds them how succesful they are 99.99999% of the time at getting away with lying.

  • Mal

    Craig, you are a very BRAVE man. God bless you. We need more people like you. Go well …. and go CAREFULLY! In admiration, Mal.

  • NomadUK

    Done. My MP, Evan Harris, is on the committee. Seems a good chap; we’ll see.

  • George Dutton

    11 Mar 2009

    “UK ISPs will be required to hand over records of customers’ internet surfing habits, including IP addresses and times of use, to police and intelligence agencies from Sunday”…

    One more nail in the coffin…There will soon be more metal then wood in the coffin of freedom.

  • George Dutton

    16 March 2009

    “Iraq’s former foreign minister sentenced to 15 years jail”

    “he has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and is not expected to live much longer. He was too ill to remain standing or keep his eyes open as his sentence was handed out”

    “There are, however, more sinister reasons for keeping Aziz in prison until he dies. He will be prevented from writing or speaking about the relations between Hussein’s regime and the United States and its main European allies”

    “Aziz was Iraq’s top diplomat from 1983 until 2003. He could testify about how the US and European governments encouraged the Iraqi attack on Iran in 1980?”which triggered an eight-year war and cost over 1.5 million lives. He could reveal details on the intelligence, technology and arms provided by the US and other governments to Iraq during the 1980s, including to manufacture the chemical and biological weapons used against Iranian soldiers and Kurdish rebels”

    “Aziz could also testify on the way the first Bush administration encouraged Saddam Hussein to invade Kuwait in 1990 and then used the Iraqi invasion as the pretext for an American-led military intervention into the Middle East”…

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