Nobody Can Hear You Scream 65

Just before I gave my evidence to Parliament yesterday, my sister Celia telephoned me to say that I would be speaking not for myself but for all those thousands who had suffered unspeakable torture around the World in the War on Terror, whose screams and sometimes death rattles were heard only by their torturers. She told me I was speaking for those who could not speak.

She put me into a calm place, and I tried to give my evidence very coolly and professionally, but I believe I did manage once or twice to break through the twisted legalese in which the committee have mummified themselves, to bring home the human cost of torture to them.

You can see my evidence here:

If that disappears, Tony has kindly put it onto YouTube which you can find here:

But I am completely astonished, and horribly depressed, that there has been almost no mainstream media of this quite sensational information. There has been not one word in any newspaper or on TV. The Today programme on Radio 4 ran a story on it at 6.45am, but did not repeat it. A piece went up immediately on the BBC website

but it is very difficult to find it there without the url.

I really cannot understand why no newspaper or TV channel has covered what is quite a startling development in a prominent continuing story on the use of torture in the War on Terror.

I had hoped that my evidence yesterday would be a significant step in ending the policy of obtaining intelligence from torture, and of bringing to account the ministers who approved it. But without any sign of public or media interest, the politicians will feel they can safely ignore the truth I told.

I was trying to speak up for those who have no voice. I feel very strongly that I have let them down.

Only their torturers heard their screams, and hardly anybody else heard my voice either.

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65 thoughts on “Nobody Can Hear You Scream

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  • Matt

    Well done Craig – I’ve just watched you on Youtube. You were excellent.

    The media may not have picked up on the story, or have been directed elsewhere, and the committee can choose to ignore your evidence, but it is on the record now and can’t be buried and ignored for ever.

    You are bound to feel a bit wrung out and “down” after an event like that; but you have made the voices of the tortured heard.

    Keep it up.

  • sabretache

    I watched the whole thing. You were VERY impressive and I can find nothing to say by way of even the most constructive criticism, given the setting etc.

    I was especially taken by your ‘creating a market for the products of torture’ analogy – it was VERY telling indeed.

    BTW – what was your impression of the causes of that walk-out? Seemed to me to be prompted by feigned disgust at you successfully introducing the US and ‘waterboarding’ but difficult to get the full atmosphere from the broadcast sound and picture.

  • Jon

    Craig – there is definitely no chance you have let anyone down. Your evidence was calm, rational and precise. As I mentioned on yesterday’s thread, I didn’t think there was much more you could have added, or areas where your remit was artificially restricted by the chairman.

    It is a disappointment that the media have been slow on this, but I don’t think we should stop pushing them on it. I will continue to contact media organisations, especially smaller ones that may be sympathetic to the issue. We will get there, but perhaps yesterday will be the catalyst rather than the big bang we all hoped.

    Best wishes to you, and well done again.

  • charlie macdonald

    well done craig,

    calm, rational evidence

    ..and don’t expect too much from the MSM. They have their own agenda.

    Keep up the good fight,

  • Andy

    Well done Craig, just wanted to congratulate you on a great job, and having the bravery to stand up against torture like this. Thank you.

  • Iain Farrell

    I watched you live Craig and you were excellent. Don’t be down about whether it makes any difference. You have done what you set out to do and done it very well.

    Please keep doing so.

  • Greengorilla47

    After all his years of tireless campaigning it was great to see and hear Craig give his evidence to the parliamentary JCHR. And his disappointment at the lack of coverage is therefore understandable.

    But as others have opined it’s necessary to give it some time. After having invested so much in the lies, deceit and corruption of our rulers the mainstream media (MSM) is naturally reluctant to upset the hornet’s nest of complicity and war criminality that lies at the heart of their silence.

    Once again, this is where bloggers can play the leading role in ensuring that the news gets out. Please bloggers everywhere, publish this news far and wide.

    I have already done so at and

  • Les Visible

    Let’s put this in perspective.

    If only the torturer heard their screams this is something different than hardly anyone hearing you (given the size of the population what you say is true) because your own heart heard you speaking and your conscience read the state of your being and each and every one of us is a universe unto ourselves and we add to the collective awareness of the whole world no matter how faint our voices may appear.

    If any speaks the truth it vibrates out across the world. Ideas like acts, move through time and we cannot know the final destiny of either. If I had to rely on the evidence of the size of my own audience I could despair of the value of my work but… I do believe that we are doing the work of some force beyond our understanding. This force has only human minds and hearts and hands to work with.

    You are an example of “the better angels of our nature” and you are not alone. Even if I were convinced that nothing I said or did ever made any difference I would still not change what I do and I do believe that this feature in the minority that we are both members of will stand in judgment of us at some future time and I do believe that everything we say and do will eventually lead to a larger opportunity to express it whether it be you or George W. Bush. He finally got the chance to show the world what he was made of. You will get that chance too.

  • Leo

    Yahweh hears you, that is all that really matters. My hope is your truths and courage will spread this planet like a wild fire so that the monsters who are at the root cause of all this suffering can receive their just punishment. Yahweh Bless!

  • Jives


    It’s natural after such an onerous task and the build-up to it that you feel a bit down.

    Dont be.

    You did a fantastic job yesterday.You were completely plausuble,dignified,measured,calm yet utterly incisive when you had to be.You should be immensely proud of what you have done-and have been doing for years.

    I applaud your bravery,determination and humanity.It shones o brightly out of you yesterday.There are MANY on your side here,abd beyond, who watch with great interest.

    “From one small acorn a mighty oak may grow…”

    If what you have done causes ONE torturer or person in power to think again then you have achieved what damn few ever will.If you have helped to prevent ONE more scream or death rattle you have achieved what damn few ever will.

    Please keep up the struggle Craig.So many have immnese respect for you.

    We,together, will not give up.

    Together we WILL win the argument-though it WILL take time.

    Thank you again Craig,most sincerely.

    You are a lion.

  • Nigel


    Your evidence was calm, concise and compelling, and I don’t think there was more you could possibly have done on this occasion.

    The silence of the corporate media (with one small BBC exception) tells us volumes about how trustworthy they are with any stories which might redound to the discredit of those in power to whom they seem so eager to suck up.

    As with the issue of G20 policing, it seems that it’s now up to bloggers to give your evidence the widest currency. Hence:

    Keep on keeping on!

  • RickB

    Bravo Craig, I think you did superbly. I too am disappointed at the lack of coverage but that is the media’s fault, the ‘Market For Torture’ concept is very strong. That there were not headlines (apart from the dutiful BBC piece) of -Straw Created a Market For Torture- is very sad, yes there are financial pressures on journalism but choices were made, flu got covered ad nauseam (does it make you nauseous? Find out in out 12 page OUTBREAK pullout) as did other stories so it’s not simple economics (and Philippe Sands evidence got zero coverage). It’s going to be a long haul as Obama’s ‘look forward’ bullshit demonstrates, but when all is said and done you were on the right side and did what many others didn’t have the principles or courage (and obstinacy!) to do. As you said in the committee others said ‘rather you than me’- they failed, you have succeeded.

  • Mark Wood

    Well done Craig for entering the vipers pit and rattling a few snake tails in the process. What got me the most was the almost coordinated lack of response by the mainstream media, how come the numbers as stated by the Google video link is always so low, you get more comments on here than views on these sites, I don’t believe the states for one moment, as anyone that did comment must have seen the video in the first place.

  • Mohamed

    Well done Craig,

    You were heard by many, and many more will hear your voice.

    Call it faith or optimism, but the truth can not be forever muted. For those who believe in the truth in your words, that is enough of a motivation to continue down this painful path and stand together for the cause.

    You did us all proud! Well done.

  • Mohamed

    Well done Craig,

    You were heard by many, and many more will hear your voice.

    Call it faith or optimism, but the truth can not be forever muted. For those who believe in the truth in your words, that is enough of a motivation to continue down this painful path and stand together for the cause.

    You did us all proud! Well done.

  • Christopher Dooley

    Re: Mark Wood

    YouTube does seem to be working rather oddly…

    On a search for the footage it states on the result page that it has had no views.

    Click on the file and then it says, oh , there have actually been over 100 views.

    Try viewing the file and re-viewing the file and the view counter does not go up.

    I don’t know what is going on, but I would conclude that yes, the youtube viewing figures are inaccurate.

    Re: Tony

    Is it possible you could create a torrent file from the footage

    this would

    a) allow people to download the whole file in one piece for viewing and storage against possible future removal/blockage from you-tube

    b) make it harder for the authorities to track who is watching the footage

    I’m sure you will be able to find human rights sites that would happily seed the torrent

  • ken

    It’s time to celebrate Craig. The 28th April 2009 was your day, Truth on Torture Day. As has already been said here, you laid the foundations, the stepping stones, that will lead to sanity. Maybe things will get worse first. That’s not unusual. The lack of interest in the media is a fact, but insignificant in the long run.

    Personally you have inspired me to do and say things that otherwise I would not have, and therefore you must have inspired many many others similarly. I’m not unique.

    There were at least a couple of items you laid on the table yesterday that invoked sharp intakes of breath in the committee members. As you were talking at the time you were probably unaware of that.

    It is now all written down, all on the record and cannot be erased.

    So a time to celebrate.

    As I’ve said before, Well Done!

  • Jaded

    Craig, maybe your best bet is to focus more on getting a network of people to hassle their local rags on publishing some of your articles. I will report back next week with my results.

  • Mike Jones


    You let nobody down; the road will be long and a vitally important stage of the journey was completed yesterday.

    You did a great thing, sir.

  • Greengorilla47


    I suspect the situation is not so dire as it might seem. Listening to Phillipe Sands’ evidence which he gave after you I heard him opine that it would be best for the UK to examine torture cases independently else they would have to be dealt with in dribs and drabs after enquiries in the USA.

    The question arises: has the JCHR already foreseen this eventuality and acknowledging the permanent embarrassment your own allegations pose to any UK government decided that the best thing was to give you a hearing?

    That way they cover themselves in anticipation of any further likely revelations and embarrasments that are likely to arise in the future.

    I understand Human Rights Watch is soon expected to publish a study of UK collusion with Pakistan in torture. At this time I haven’t been able to trace such a study on the HRW website. But if and when it does get published that’s going to give your case added relevance.

    All is by certainly no means lost.

  • Stephen


    You are one of a rare breed. A professional who adheres to the highest principles of his profession and to his duty to the public interest. People like that are always a thorn in the side of a corrupt government. Think John Stalker. You are in good company down through the ages. You are few. But ultimately you reveal the canker of corruption which would remain hidden beneath the surface if you were to do what the majority do: blindly obey orders out of a mixture of unction and fear. You are a good man, and for what you have done you will be long remembered, and in a just world would be richly rewarded.

    On another note, I met a professed paedophile, or might have done. Here’s what he said. “I get regular copies of paedophiliac literature through the mail. Of course I abhor the abuse of children. I’m completely against it. But of course it would be silly not to take a quick look through the stuff just in case any of it turns me on.”

    ADVISORY NOTE: This anecdote may contain an analogy.

    You did fine.

    Best Wishes,


  • punkscience

    I can’t find words to congratulate you sufficiently for your brilliant, eloquent testimony, Craig. My two highlights (both in the last YouToob video):


    “Why was no-one else motivated? Why, as far as I’m aware, the only Senior British Civil Servant who put down in writing that we should not get intelligence from torture: It is illegal, it is against UNCAT . . . . I find that really quite extraordinary- the fact that you can make people go along with it.”


    Craig>> “The sad truth is, isn’t it, that it seems that government organisations, civil services, government lawyers will go along with the most terrible and inhumane things that their political masters tell them to. And the number of people- the percentage of poeople- that will stand up and say that “this is immoral, this is wrong, this is illegal, you shoudln’t do it” is very, very small.”

    Chairman>> “Because the strongest thing for your case would be corroboration, wouldn’t it, from another independent source, but we don’t have that. So I’m just, really, trying to get to the bottom of why, if these allegations are true, that no-one else has come forward having already had someone who has come out and made them.

    Craig>> “I don’t think the government has ever denied anything that I have just said to you. I would be very, very surprised if they ever turned around to you and said that anything that I said to you is factually wrong. I have here a document- I published a book on this of my time in Uzbekistan. I’m not going to mention the name to you in case I’m accused of advertising. I had to go through the clearance process that civil servants go through when they publish a book and I have here the table of comments and the things the foreign office asked me to change and the fascinating things is that, for example, the account I give in the book of that meeting with Michael Wood and Linda Duffield, they didn’t ask for any changes. They only asked for one very small change. The Foreign Office has not denied the facts of what I’m telling you.”

    Craig rules.

  • Simonj23

    Just to echo what previous comments have said, I think your performance was excellent. I watched it last night and was gripped by it – on so many levels it exposed the dark underside of our establishment yet your testimony was a breath of fresh air and hope. Not surprised it got so little exposure but I’m forwarding the youtube links to as many people as possible .

    Don’t give up. The next ten years are going to see such radical changes with the future so uncertain that people like you, of such good heart, are very important.

  • Apostoli

    Bravo Craig,

    Massive Cojones!

    None of the pussies in the FCO will risk their non-comtributary, index-linked pension for what is just, right + true.

  • David T

    Quite apart from the unreliability of torture-derived evidence: even were that not so, we should be taking a firm lead as a nation on this issue.

  • Jon

    @Greengorilla47 – thanks for the post on IMCUK. I am also spreading the word. You do blogs, I will try small publications on the left (Red Pepper) and NGOs (am chipping away at the Amnesty behemoth, and will try web-based Avaaz too).

    @All – we will get there O:o)

  • mrjohn

    Well done. You obviously started with some allies on the committee and seem to have won a few more during your session.

    You cannot legislate morality, though you should base your legislation on morality. You should base policy on an ethical position as well as a legal one, since laws can never accommodate all situations. The ethics of the UK government are clear, it makes no difference who does the torturing or where it happens.

  • Rowdy

    I watched the live webcast all the way through.

    Well done Craig, it was a masterful, professional performance.

    As for the British Government collusion with torture, I have just come across this article on The Cage

    As with many things despicable e.g.including the invention of concentration camps (for the Boers), chemcial gas attacks in N Iraq, the British lead the way.

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