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).

http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/documents/Wood.pdf

– 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.

http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/documents/Telegram.pdf

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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  • Johan van Rooyen

    “I rather fear that the Joint Commission on Human Rights may continue the British parliamentary tradition of ostracising whistleblowers.”

    Which would have been OK had there been a free press to fill the void left by parliamentary tradition.

  • Ruth

    It is becoming increasingly obvious that any Muslim could be picked up and tortured to give sustenance to the idea of the threat of Al Qaeda.

    Any opposition in countries the US and UK want to maintain as allies to exploit their resources and strategic positions are called terrorists affiliated to Al Qaeda.

    How long will it be before we ourselves start opposing our corrupt government that they fly us offshore to be tortured and confess to terrorist links. Not long I think.

  • Chuck Unsworth

    Well let’s see what Andrew Dismore does. Any Chairman of any Committee ought to place all submissions before the Members for their consideration. If a Committee in its wisdom chooses to reject a submission it should give its reasons. Equally it may choose to accept and to pursue further information.

    But sadly most Chairmen of Parliamentary Committees seem to believe it is their job to direct, rather than to be directed by their colleagues. That is simply undemocratic.

    Judging from previous the performances both of this Committee and its Chairman I do not hold out much hope for an unbiased, transparent or welcoming response.

  • Goodman

    If we had any sort of an opposition they would never let this rest until we had an election

  • Goodman

    If we had any sort of an opposition they would never let this rest until we had an election

  • Sam

    Thank you and well done, Craig. That’s integrity and a heap of bravery you’re demonstrating.

    It’s an horrific indictment of our government and our society when telling the truth and being a good guy is interpreted as being a rebel and a course of action to be silenced and destroyed.

    But I’m sure that there are many of us ‘little’ whistleblowers out here rooting for you.

  • anticant

    I salute your courage, Craig. If you and a few other honest brave souls can succeed in dissipating some of the fog of lies and deception which has been so calculatedly woven around us since 9/11, perhaps the British public will start awakening at long last to the full enormity of the true situation. They are already uneasy and restless, sensing something rotten. Now they need stirring into active anger.

    Despite everything, I still believe in the bulldog spirit. All it lacks is leadership such as Churchill gave in the 1930s and ’40s.

  • anticant

    I knew Harriet Harman when she was Legal Officer of the then National Council for Civil Liberties and I was a member of the executive committee. For her and her colleague Patricia Hewitt – who was NCCL General Secretary – the Council was even then more of a stepping stone into Labour politics rather than a cause they felt passionately about. Their respective records in government amply bear this out.

  • dreoilin

    “how heroic some people are in speaking the truth”

    I agree, and especially in Craig’s case. But surely the point is that it shouldn’t HAVE to be heroic? Plain speaking about these issues is labelled “a risk to national security”. Much the same as criticism of Bush’s policies in the USA was called, by the right-wing, “unpatriotic” or in some cases “treasonous”. War, especially global, never-ending war, is a great excuse for silencing dissent — and hiding the truth.

  • Strategist

    “Well let’s see what Andrew Dismore does.”

    Yes, indeed. Let’s see. Please keep us posted, Craig.

    I think we need to explore the matter of Andrew Marr’s role in this further: “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.”

    My point is that Andrew Marr, if he has read anything over the past 7 years (Murder in Samarkand included), or has any research staff, or earns his TV journalist’s salary by doing any work whatsoever, must have known that Harriet Harman was lying. So why didn’t he take her to task? The media complicity in this is just as bad as anything we are getting from the Westminster establishment.

  • Drew Murray

    Well done and kudos to you. You have glimpsed that nether world of deceit and brutality, and got out with your soul intact. Take care.

  • lwtc247

    A number of salient points have been made here.

    a) Lack of (a real/sincere) parliamentary opposition

    b) NeoLabour (+LibDem/Con) Careerism

    c) Politicians able and willing to tell lies with impunity

    d) unprofessional or corrupt media.

    e) Public apathy

    f) Lack of political leadership

    g) Criticism of the State (no matter how just) is often reciprocated with state initiated punitive action.

    h) Erosion of freedom

    and we have this…

    i) Peak oil

    j) Economic collapse

    l) State reporting on an undertaking preparatory steps for civil unrest

    m) Growing Nuclear pollution problem

    n) Global Corporatisation killing small enterprise

    o) Governmnet Secrecy

    p) Shady e.g. Common Purpose,and Secret Societies which impinge upon politocal and sociological life.

    q) More looming resource wars

    r) Zones of occupation States that have various ‘UNSCish’ degrees of imperviousness to internal law.

    s) A dishonest banking system

    t) A weakening magnetic field

    u) A sun that is displaying somewhat unusual behaviour – that may potentially unleash a blast of ‘pent up’ energy.

    v) Numerous states with a broken or disfunctional moral compass but command powerful weapons

    w) Melanie Phillips etc al

    x) Eugenic fantasists holding disproportionate amounts of power

    y) The growing biometric database

    z) — add your concern here

    Not a pretty picture folks. One thing is certain. Our future problems can only be overcome with a large concerted effort with unselfish activists an honest, sincere leadership presiding over an educated group of supporters.

    Tick, tick, tick.

  • Craig

    Strategist is right – journalists at the BBC hava an extraordinary ability to unlearn the truth when interviewing Ministers. Jeremy Pazman, for example, told me he much enjoyed Murder in Samarkand lately – but you would think from Newsnight’s reporting of the Binyam Mohammed case that the whole issue of torture was a complete revelation now – which is of course what the government are claiming.

  • Craig

    Strategist is right – journalists at the BBC hava an extraordinary ability to unlearn the truth when interviewing Ministers. Jeremy Pazman, for example, told me he much enjoyed Murder in Samarkand – but you would think from Newsnight’s reporting of the Binyam Mohammed case that the whole issue of torture was a complete revelation now – which is of course what the government are claiming.

  • Chuck Unsworth

    Maybe Paxman – and more particularly Marr – are merely talking heads. They certainly seem incapable of following any debate through to its logical conclusion. Marr is simply showbiz of a bad Saturday night quality – bubble-gum for the eyeballs. Paxman seems unable to get his head out of his fundament, but at least his researchers seem to be very slightly more competent.

  • David McKelvie

    “Jeremy Pazman, for example, told me he much enjoyed Murder in Samarkand – but you would think from Newsnight’s reporting of the Binyam Mohammed case that the whole issue of torture was a complete revelation now – which is of course what the government are claiming.”

    How are the mighty fallen? Would this be the same Jeremy Paxman who stated that his approach to interviewing politicians was ‘why is this lying bastard lying to me?’?

  • George Dutton

    “journalists at the BBC hava an extraordinary ability to unlearn the truth when interviewing Ministers”

    “Jeremy Paxman: £1 million (one-year deal)”…

    http://tinyurl.com/d4sqtu

    “It was my final communication before being dismissed as Ambassador”

    “Meantime, with no income from the putative film and my discovering just how near impossible it is to publish a book yourself and get bookshops to take it, my lack of funds is becoming positively terrifying”

    Journalists at the BBC won’t tread down the same path as you Craig, nor others in the mass media.

    “What is a man profited, if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul”

  • suraci

    If the likes of Harman and Straw resent us calling them liers, let them sue.

    When we descend into a full police state, it will be down to these two and many others like them.

    Paxman and the rest are mere shadows of what they once were. They have bills to pay as we all do, and the BBC was destroyed after the Gilligan affair.

  • Ruth

    lwtc247

    I have some more salient points to add:

    z) i) The setting up of people in frauds organised by the secret services to secretly remove money from the UK.

    ii) The complicity of UK judges during trials/appeals of these people to hide the involvement of the state.

  • NomadUK

    Driving a horse and coaches through the intelligence-sharing agreement and the entire fucking ‘special relationship’ would be a fine start to getting the UK to stop whoring itself to the US. Shutting down the ECHELON listening posts at GCHQ and turning their NSA taskmasters out of the country would be another.

    Damn, Craig, don’t go taking any private jet flights anywhere anytime soon.

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