Condoleeza Rice – The Mask Slips 52

Since being outed as the person who approved waterboarding, Condoleeza Rice has been unable to maintain that veneer of manicured niceness. She has a hunted, vicious look in this video from the brilliant Marjorie Cohn.

This line of steaming bullshit from Rice shows just how very rattled she is:

“By definition, if it was authorized by the President, it didn’t violate our obligations under the Convention against Torture.”

Now I have had time to consider my appearance to give evidence to parliament last Tuesday, my overwhelming impression remains the lack of compassion displayed by the MPs. They seemed to have no particular concern about men, women and children screaming in agony under torture. They were solely concerned with whether the government’s collusion with it could be justified by legal sophistry. It may be that they are genuinely motivated by humanitarian concern, but the Earl of Onslow was the only one who really gave me that feeling.

I do understand that, in their very British way, they were sticking like limpets to their remit. But that opens another very interesting question. This committee is tasked by parliament to monitor British compliance with its international human rights obligations. But Foreign Office ministers are refusing to cooperate with, or appear before, this enquiry into our complicity with torture. What does that say about the weakness of our parliament?

I have decided that my next move will be to send copies of my evidence to the UN Committee on Torture, together with the information that the UK government has refused to appear before the parliamentary committee to answer these allegations.

On the positive side, my evidence and that of Phillippe Sands strips away any pretence by the government that they do not obtain a great deal of intelligence by torture. There was no serious attempt by the committee to query that.

The Foreign Office has started to shift its ground towards the Cheney argument that “Torture works”.

FCO Finally Admits To Receiving Intelligence From Torture

The leading FCO sock-puppet on the internet is Charles Crawford. Charles on his “Blogoir” (Pretentious? Moi?) had managed to write a nine part review rubbishing Murder in Samarkand without once even mentioning the word torture, thus forwarding the FCO myth that torture was not the subject of my dispute with them.

More recently he ridiculed me on his blogoir for my contention from that it is not normal to enter No 10 to give secret briefings by the front door, and assured us (falsely) that there was good intelligence behind the recent fake Manchester Bomb Plot scare, whipped up by the government.

This week he has moved on to aggressive promotion of the “Torture works” neo-con school. – Torture – See It All?

Coincidental timing by the FCO sock-puppet? I think not.

There is an interesting link between Charles and I on torture. The Dick Marty official European report into extraordinary rendition revealed ten CIA rendition flights to Uzbekistan from Europe (and many more from Baghram).

All the CIA rendition flights to Uzbekistan came from Szczytno-Szymany in Poland. We now know that the CIA had both use of that airbase and a secret torture prison nearby.,1518,621450,00.html

I was Ambassador in Uzbekistan, and Charles Crawford was Ambassador in Poland, at the time this torture traffic was happening. In Tashkent I uncovered it meticulously, reported it and protested against it. In Poland Charles made no protest. Either he did not know it was happening – in which case he was a lousy Ambassador – or he did not care – in which case he is complicit in the torture.

Charles may wish to let us know which it was – haplessly ignorant, or complicit?

Given his recent post on torture, plainly complicity would not have given him moral qualms.

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52 thoughts on “Condoleeza Rice – The Mask Slips

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  • Ruth

    Torture works.

    Surely it depends on what the torturer wants to get out of it. Without the torture no innocent guy is going to admit to conspiring to having blown up something or going to do so. It seems to me that in this respect torture does work; it’s providing the US and UK with a line up of ‘terrorists’ to put the shit up us.

  • James Schroeder

    Charles Crawfored was a more distinguished and senior Ambassador than Craig Murray. Like the FCO, Charles took his responsibility for the safety of British people seriously. Charles was decorated by the Queen. Murray was not.

    Most British diplomats believe that Murray’s opposition to torture is weak-kneed and unpatriotic twaddle. He lied to the committee about this. Murray should be very grateful he was not jailed under the Official Secrets Act. Murray is a traitor when this country is under attack from Islamists. If he is so brave why does he try to hide his homosexuality?

    The actions of Charles Crawford and other diplomats like him keep this country safe for cowards like Murray.

  • Craig

    I just deleted an even more gratutious comment from James. I am not in fact gay. If I was I would tell you, but I never have been.

  • KevinB

    Quote: “… overwhelming impression remains the lack of compassion displayed by the MPs. They seemed to have no particular concern about men, women and children screaming in agony under torture. They were solely concerned with whether the government’s collusion with it could be justified by legal sophistry.”

    Your ‘overwhelming impression’is almost certainly an accurate one.

    This is the saddest realisation of whistleblowers generally…..that the ethical issues they try to raise and the serious consequences they are trying to correct are rarely of interest to the careerists to whom they have raised their concerns.

    Power goes into a mode of mutual self-protection.

    This is the diabolical and depressing reality.

    When the powerful are wicked the individual who opposes that power will be crushed. Rare are the people who will risk a hair of their heads to help the whistleblower.

    Maybe sacrifice and suffering go hand-in-hand with this kind of action.

    It is never a waste though Craig, even if nothing seems to come of your efforts……because many others look on and wish they had the your nerve and, when the time comes, such actions can and probably will serve as an inspiration for many.

  • MerkinOnParis

    Oh, Craig, how could you spoil our fun on a friday night by deleting that dipstick!!

    Anyway, what I can’t understand is how the government – with billions at its disposal – can’t get a better team to rubbish Mr Murray that Crawford and Schroeder.

    Mind-boggling incompetence, at the very least.

    Mr Crawford, on his site, boasts that he was a speech writer for Sir Geoffrey Howe – hence my earlier comment – yet his flabby defence of torture could have come from a ‘whatever’ 101 class at a failing nursery school.

    What the government does have is total control over the MSM and you can see how it is done in this artcle :

  • nextus

    @ James Shroeder

    That’s such a cack-handed attempt to start a flame war it’s patently amusing. But also libellous.

    Charles Crawford was a renowned ‘yes’ man for his government masters (which is why Craig referred to him as an “FCO sock-puppet”). It was servility, not talent, that greased his career path. He actually adopts the positions he is required to, and sincerely believes them: that’s the problem. He is morally pliable. He identified himself with his role as a government spokesperson and assimilated his views to that institution. This is the well-known Milgram effect. Weak personalities are especially susceptible to it and Crawford’s flagrantly needy narcissism puts him firmly in that category. Essentially, he is willing ?” genuinely willing ?” to sanction deception and torture to get him a little pat on the head from his masters. Many in the Bush administration are exactly the same: this is a paternalist morality, and it is common amongst neocons (and, dare I say it, was exemplified by Nazism). Moral philosophers regard as a wholly inadequate defence. But that is the platform on which Crawford stands.

    For what it’s worth, Craig was listed for the LVO, OBE, and CVO, but formally declined them all – showing a personal virtue utterly lacking in his Mr Crawford. Craig thankfully has no need to assimilate himself to an institution to fill gaping deficiencies in his self-esteem.

    As for the libellous rumours of homosexuality – that’s a crude smear tactic straight out of the schoolyard, puerile even by tabloid standards – surely the FCO can do better than that!

  • mrjohn

    Charles Crawford

    Do you think people drinking at Embassies at the tax payers’ expense is a rare event ?

    Try living abroad as a pleb, you’ll see what British Embassies stand for, British interests, not British people or values. British interests are those of the wealthy.

  • punkscience

    Leo Davidson at May 1, 2009 1:07 PM: Quote of The Day. This is frickin rad:

    “In the end it doesn’t matter which they are; they’re just more names to add to the overflowing ledger, the historic document known as The Book of Cunts.”

  • Charles Crawford


    How does your reader Nextus know so much about me? Have you been briefing him/her?

    What exactly did you mean by saying that I am an FCO sock-puppet? Clearly I am not an imaginary person invented by the FCO to praise its glory (unless some weird Matrix-type reality is going on for us all), one core meaning of the s-p word.

    So are you saying that my postings have been prompted or organised or steered or suggested or coordinated by the FCO/Whitehall/HMG/MI6 to get at you or for some other purpose(“Coincidental timing … I think not”)?

    Or something else?

    OK, for your readers it might seem like a boring point but you portray yourself (as do I) in part on your inside knowledge of ‘how things work’. What precisely are you saying is Really Going On in this case?



  • Craig


    No, I haven’t been briefing anyone. Reminds me of the great line from Casablanca:

    Peter Lorre “You despise me, Rick, don’t you?”

    Humphrey Bogart “If I gave you any thought I probably would.”

  • George Dutton

    “How does your reader Nextus know so much about me? Have you been briefing him/her?”

    Charles Crawford

    Believe Me.

    No one has to tell most of us that come on here that you are…

    “Charles Crawford was a renowned ‘yes’ man for his government masters (which is why Craig referred to him as an “FCO sock-puppet”)”

    A visit to your web site tells us the above.You are showing signs of paranoia in your post above.

  • anticant

    I’ve just posted another long comment on Charles Crawford’s blog in attempt to jerk him back into reality.

    Yes – his latest comment here does betray signs of strain. Maybe he needs a shrink? I’m told Derek Draper isn’t over-occupied at the moment. Which might be a good ‘fit’ as Charles obviously aspires to be the Derek Draper of diplomacy.

  • Daniel Bye

    Re; Condoleeza “By definition, if it was authorized by the President, it didn’t violate our obligations under the Convention against Torture.”

    Isn’t this the particular brand of bullshit that enabled Frost to nail Nixon?

    “If the President does it, that means it’s not illegal”.

  • MJ

    “How does your reader Nextus know so much about me?”

    That made me smile. It sounds as though he’a accepting that Nextus’s remarks were true.

  • mary

    This surprising report was on a medialens post today from MikeD

    April 30th, 2009 CNN

    Churchgoers more likely to back torture, survey finds

    The more often Americans go to church, the more likely they are to support the torture of suspected terrorists, according to a new analysis.

    More than half of people who attend services at least once a week ?” 54 percent ?” said the use of torture against suspected terrorists is “often” or “sometimes” justified. Only 42 percent of people who “seldom or never” go to services agreed, according the analysis released Wednesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

    White evangelical Protestants were the religious group most likely to say torture is often or sometimes justified ?” more than 6 in 10 supported it.

    People unaffiliated with any religious organization were least likely to back it. Only 4 in 10 of them did.

    The analysis is based on a Pew Research Center survey of 742 American adults conducted April 14-21. It did not include analysis of groups other than white evangelicals, white non-Hispanic Catholics, white mainline Protestants, and the religiously unaffiliated, because the sample size was too small.

  • anticant

    What’s surprising about that? “Born again” Evangelical Christians are the barmiest people in America.

  • amk

    Mary, that’s not surprising at all. Many of those who feel the need to go to church regularly need “authority” to guide them on ethical issues, and far too much “authority” in the US is justifying torture.

    If you want to understand the psychologies that make up the US conservative movement, particularly now traditional conservatives like Arlen Specter are jumping ship, read this free book by a psychology professor:

    It’s highly informative and backed by empirical data, highly readable, and highly recommended.

  • anticant

    Veered? That’s where she came from in the first place. Like most of the neo-Cons, she is a Macchiavellian out of Leo Strauss.

  • JJ

    The University of Calgary has invited Rice to be their guest of honour at the opening of their new School of Public Policy on May 13.

    School Director Jack Mintz thinks Rice “is a good example of what a school of public policy can achieve.” Please sign the petition asking the university to rescind the invitation:

    The present neocon government of Canada led by Bush admirer Stephen Harper, recently barred MP George Galloway from entry to the country, calling him a terrorist sympathizer. Galloway is suing.

    Rice is not the only unindicted war criminal to come north for the big money of the lecture tour. George Bush and Bill Clinton will each receive $200,000.00 for a 2 hour ‘moderated conversation’ in Toronto on May 29. John Bolton and Michael Chertoff will be in town on May 31 at a separate fundraising function.

    Many of us wish they weren’t. According to Lawyers Against War, Canada’s law should see these “credibly accused” war criminal suspects either barred from entry or prosecuted. Unfortunately the political process seems to control the legal one.

  • elmot

    this is my first visit, and i am just so glad i did.

    what is happening to our world? there is no question about it, torture and human rights abuse should be rooted out. same as happening in our country here in the philippines when a general who butchered the lives of many activists is elected to congress. bush, rice and others should be dragged from their holes and be held responsible.

    sorry to say, but we are so angry at the torture that hitler and pol pot and their men did, but we are letting all these bastards be on the loose and enjoy their retirements and booze.

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