Discovering That I Do Not Exist 60


My blog existence has been almost nil for a couple of weeks due to a truly terrible internet connection here in Ghana (where I still haven’t got everything on the project finished to the state where I can fly to Norwich North).

I recall a speech Peter Hain gave about ten years ago to the effect that the adoption of new technologies could lead Africa to catch up with the rest of the world economy, bypassing the smokestack age. In fact of course the advent of new technology leaves Africa further and further behind. “Broadband” here is 512 kb/ps and costs US $300 a month. In fact it is giving me 7 kb/ps.

But not only my virtual existence is tenuous. I have been surprised to discover that it seems that I was mistaken about my physical existence too. Today The Guardian leads with the story that Tony Blair knew of a secret UK policy of receiving intelligence from torture. The Guardian goes big, with five follow up articles.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/jun/18/tony-blair-secret-torture-policy

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jun/18/torture-mi5-policy-terrorism

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jun/18/torture-intelligence-abuse

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/interactive/2009/jun/18/torture-uk-interactive

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/audio/2009/jun/18/terror-interrogation-torture-tony-blair

The strange thing is, I could have sworn that I had been a British Ambassador and had been smeared in a campaign orchestrated by No 10, and then sacked, for opposing this torture policy. I thought I had blown the whistle on this policy five years ago and published a number of government documents which proved the existence of this policy. I even thought I had written a book about it which became a bestseller.

I appear to have been suffering from this delusion over a lengthy period, because I also thought that I gave detailed evidence on all of this just six weeks ago to a parliamentary committee.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LF9spgagSHI

But all that cannot be true. For one thing, David Miliband gave evidence on UK complicity in torture two days ago to another parliamentary committee, and not one MP mentioned the eye witness testimony I had just given, which contradicted much of what David Miliband had said. For another, the Guardian’s survey of key points of evidence for the existence of a secret pro-torture policy, does not mention anywhere that it was denounced by a British Ambassador who was sacked for it and published documentary proof.

I cannot quite explain to you how unpleasant it feels to be written out of history before you are dead. Stalin of course airbrushed people out of the official photos all the time. At least he had the decency to kill them first.


60 thoughts on “Discovering That I Do Not Exist

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  • technicolour

    I agree with commentators who say that if it hadn’t been for Mr Murray, and others whose work I haven’t followed, this issue would not have been raised and would not be in the papers, and Mr Milliband would not be subject to scrutiny, even by a committee appointed by government, whose own chairman protests about the fact. The thing for Mr Murray to remember is that he was one of the first people to break the wall of silence, as far as I know. He therefore made room for those after him.

    Being first is necessary, and as far as I can see, is not always a thankless task, but often. But the task continues. Thank you.

    PS Sorry if that sounds a bit pompous.

  • mary

    From the Morning Star today

    Blair told: ‘Come clean on torture’

    Thursday 18 June 2009

    Louise Nousratpour

    Politicians and legal experts queued up today to warn ex-prime minister Tony Blair that his knowledge and tolerance of torture during the Iraq war made him unfit to continue as Middle East peace envoy.

    The Guardian newspaper alleged that Mr Blair was aware of instructions given to agents regarding torture in the aftermath of the September 11 2001 World Trade Centre attacks.

    The policy offered guidance to MI5 and MI6 officers who were questioning prisoners around the world in the event that they complained of being tortured by the US military.

    Officers were apparently given instructions that they must not “be seen to condone” torture or “engage in any activity yourself that involves inhumane or degrading treatment of prisoners.”

    But the guidance made it clear that they were under no obligation to stop prisoners from being tortured.

    “Given that they are not within our custody or control, the law does not require you to intervene to prevent this,” the policy stated.

    Law professor and QC Philippe Sands said that the guidelines breached the UN convention against torture.

    Referring to ministers’ reluctance to disclose information about alleged torture of former Guantanamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed, legal charity Reprieve director Clive Stafford Smith said: “We now know why the Foreign Secretary was so insistent on keeping this torture policy from the British people.

    “It has nothing to do with national security and everything to do with the immoral decisions made at the highest level of government.”

    He added: “When Binyam Mohamed was questioned by a British agent, he thought his torture would surely end. Instead, the agent was apparently under instructions from Number 10 to abandon Binyam to his fate.”

    Liberal Democrat shadow foreign secretary Edward Davey said: “Surely Tony Blair cannot remain Middle East Envoy when he is accused of breaking the UN convention against torture.”

  • MJ

    Craig, a political pundit on telly tonight was mooting July 23 as a likely date for Norwich North…

  • anon

    David Miliband had taken note of the evidence of Professor Sands about the opinion of Lord Bingham who believed torture was justified in individual cases where there are life and death security issues. He had also taken note of the loophole about cases sub judice. He was following the script from the JCHR committee and responding to it.

    In front of the JCHR committee, Professor Sands portrayed the government’s contravention of the Geneva Convention and Human Rights legislation as having been in effect replaced, at least in the minds of this government, by Bush’s argument that our opponents in the war on terror had lost their rights to any protection.

    ‘This sausage is made from 100% British beef’ doesn’t mean the same as ‘This sausage is made 100% from British beef.’ Human Rights legislation has become a very small part of a larger sausage which is made up from political colouring, colonial and commercial dealings plus a lot of other trash.

    Lawyers know exactly how to present evidence in a way that is factually correct, but makes it appear uncontraversial. In the small part his evidence that I have seen, Miliband started to build his case on the plinth that Professor Sands had provided in the earlier hearing. viz, if you stick with national security, all the other issues will be lost. Both are just being lawyers and but that’s not Milibands job. He’s supposed to be a leader for this country’s future, not a pathetic apologist for our recent past. No doubt when the moment comes he will deal the fatal blow to Blair. For now he is just toeing the Brown line, securing his own position. Sod torture, there are Brownie points to be won working for the grey suits.

    Mary’s Morning Post post is encouraging, but today the BBC was full of the great and the good grunting loudly about the need to put all of these inconvenient accusations behind us with a fudged, final enquiry. You can’t beat a good sausage, full of fat and flour filling, red hot from the barbeque. That’s what the public want and that’s what they’ll get.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Jon, you’re absolutely right. Thanks very much for considering the issues.

    Abe, I don’t claim to be a ‘Che Guevara’, but I was a member of the Ant-Apartheid Movement for many years and distributed leaflets through doors, for decades tried to avoid buying South African produce and consistently argued against the regime, etc. I wasn’t a writer then and so had no public profile.

    I’m very open about these things.

    Thanks for asking – but if I may ask, why do you ask?

  • Abe Rene

    @ Suhayl

    You seemed keen on ‘white’ as a political label, and the label ‘honorary white’ was used in South Africa for certain visitors (e.g. E.R. Braithwaite, who wrote a book by that title about his visit there in the 1970s). I wondered if you had any related activism.

  • John

    Craig.

    You can get decent internet connections in Ghana. Try BusyInternet on Ring Road North – it’s the biggest net cafe in town and also does great work incubating local business. As a disclaimer – I’m due to start helping them on their esoko.com farming project soon.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Yes, as usual, you’re spot-on! I was thinking precisely of E.R Braithwaite’s seminal book when I used the term and was almost going to reference it in the blog-entry, in fact, but I had an instinct that it might muddy the waters – you know, people might have thought that I was somehow comparing the UK to Apartheid-era South Africa, a comparison which would have been daft! If I’d been writing an essay, I would’ve referenced it, obviously. The term’s passed into the language now, to some extent, in any case. I picked up the book second-hand during the 1980s when I was exploring that sort of thing, you know, British ‘kitchen-sink’ films from the 1960s, etc. Very well-spotted, Abe!

  • Abe Rene

    @Mary

    Just had a look at your reference – someone smashed Nadine Dorries’ furniture and sent a message boasting of it to her. I hope that Justice catches up with the perpetrator.

  • mary

    Abu Rene – The whingeing was about spending £2,000 to entertain constituents. Why did she do that? Don’t forget about the details of her ACA claims.

    More from her here.

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2009/06/14/torment-of-claims-row-tory-115875-21438950/

    From the BBC website

    NADINE DORRIES

    Claim: The Telegraph accused Ms Dorries of spending only free weekends and holidays in the property she calls her main home. It said her claim of £18,000 in rent on the property she designates as her second home was therefore unjustified. The newspaper also said she claimed for a New Year’s Eve hotel room and a lost £2,190 deposit on a rented flat.

    Response: The MP for Mid Bedfordshire refused to clarify publicly what she considers to be her main home. Instead, she released a long statement on her blog explaining her various living arrangements.

    Ms Dorries denied the allegation about the hotel room but said she had claimed for the lost deposit. She also wrote: “There is one thing I know about me better than anyone else. I never do anything I know to be wrong and I have common sense by the bucketful.”

    ________________________________________

    Chutzpah!

  • Jon

    The vandalism of Dorries’ furniture must be seen as an indictment of public opinion against all MPs, even though her behaviour has been pretty poor also. From mary’s quote of the BBC: “The MP … has refused to clarify what she considers to be her main home” – what a goddamn cheek, after all that has happened!

    In my view she does not deserve public sympathy, even if she is genuinely bewildered why people are angry, or certain that she has done nothing wrong.

  • Abe Rene

    @mary

    “The whingeing was about spending £2,000 to entertain constituents. Why did she do that? Don’t forget about the details of her ACA claims.”

    I do not know what MPs typically spend to entertain constituents, but I understand that tickets to visit Parliament through MPs are much in demand. Thus if it were customary to offer them even modest hospitality like coffee in the restaurant used by MPs, and 500 visited in a year, the costs could mount up.

    As for ACA, if Nadine Dorries were led by the Fees Office to think of ACA as unofficial income, I think that was a bad mistake, and that raising MPs’ salaries to a level commensurate with their responsibility but treating expenses the same way as in other organisations (i.e. fairly strictly), would have been a better idea. But what’s done is done.

  • David McEwan Hill

    Time to come home, Craig. We believe we are living in the first days of a better country. Scotland will need every shoulder to the wheel if we are to defeat the relentless media assault on our future.

  • tony_opmoc

    Craig,

    Well I’ve had no internet connection at all for over a week whilst trying to keep up with my wife in Lancashire and the Lake District.

    You may or may not be pleased to know that I suggested to my wife one night that I was considering spending a few days in Norwich – depending on other committments and timings – tramping the streets – trying to get people to vote for this bloke who’s book I’d read on our last holiday.

    She not only said – Go for it – but that She was coming too. She hasn’t read your book – but I guess I must have told her rather a lot about it.

    The book I read on this holiday – when it was really pissing down cats and dogs was “Escaping the Matrix ?” How we the people can change the world” by Richard Moore.

    I thought over 50% of it was absolutely brilliant and I would recommend the first few chapters as an exceedingly good summary of recent history leading to why Craig and others come out with statements such as “Discovering That I Do Not Exist”

    The last few chapters explore possible solutions largely based on a concept of local democracy and empowerment at the local level rather than the current bureaucratic central dictatorships. The ideas here are largely based on meetings structured to find solutions that everyone can agree with and to which all interesed parties are welcome and become committed to. In theory it sounds wonderful – but then so did John Lennon’s song Imagine – and nearly everything has got worse since he sung it.

    Tony

  • tony_opmoc

    So when I suggested to my wife that I was considering tramping the Streets of Norwich wearing a Posh Suit doing all the Working Class areas and just telling them to get off their Fucking Arse – and Put an Honest Local Man in Parliament by voting for him…

    She laughed

    You in a Posh Suit?

    And then she got me in training (normally my longest walk is to the local pub to see a band)..,She got me doing 3 miles – first down the Devil Steps – and then on a Circular Tour of New Skelmersdale (they are all Scouse – the original Woolyback Old Skem Western Lancashire accent has been almost completely wiped out) But Skem ain’t so bad as a New Town – virtually all the Scousers have got a Garden – the Planners ( I think my Cousin in Preston might have done it ) – They Didn’t do High Rises – just normal houses with gardens

    And so after surviving Skelmersdale

    We arrive in Keswick

    And I get Two Poles – as If I am going Ski-ing

    And She says Don’t Look Embarrassed – All The Serious Walkers Use These

    So we are doing an “Easy” Walk from Rossthwaite to Watendlath

    And the Ambulance and The Mountain Rescue Crew Turn Up At The Same Time as Us

    And He is Blocking The Way

    And They are all going for it seriously doing the mouth to mouth and the pumping the chest – and the oxygen mask – and so well I thought what should we do?

    Its a bit impolite to step over the body – and say we have got to get to Watendlath

    So we sit and wait by the Sheep

    I mean there is fuck all we could do – the Professionals were in attendenance

    And they went for it for well over 30 minutes

    And we were getting bored. Is this guy going to come back to life from the dead or not?

    And we still do not know if he survived (we have been trying to find out)

    But he had a quality pair of walking boots on – and his wife didn’t look much different to mine.

    So we followed the sheep’s path past and tried not to cause any disrespect or embarrassment.

    But that could have been me – he was far better prepared.

    So we WALK to Watendlath.

    And it is the Most Beautiful Place In The World.

    The Next Day We Walk Round Buttermere (She Gave Me an Easy Day)

    So Norwich Should Be No Problem.

    (We Have Friends in Norwich)

    Tony

  • Courtenay Barnett

    Cogito ergo sum ?” or as Craig would not like us to know ?” Blogito ergo sum. Sure he exists, and does so in a huge way in the blogosphere. Press on mate ?” exist!

  • anon

    Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie.

    Trans. Give us our daily pain.

    I followed the links to The Guardian in Craig’s post and found it. There was Gordon Brown’s self-pitying face saying New Labour are going to win the next election because of his socialist policies of mitigating the worst effects of the recession.

    What is he on? Our fathers and grandfathers were locked up as prisoners of war in the middle of a full-scale war against Fascism. Nobody tortured them, hooded them, pissed on them and set savage dogs them. Their families were not taken hostage and handed over to prisons where electric drills were driven into their heads.

    What has socialism got to do with anything? We the British people demand that the perpetrators of the Iraq war are convicted under the existing international legislation on human rights and that the sovereignty and assets of Iraq, which was illegally attacked, are returned in their entirety to the Iraqi majority, which happens to be 60% Sunni, rather than to the puppets of USUKIS aggression.

    New Labour has cancer, the illegality of the Iraq and Afghan wars. It is shortly going to be put to rest and we can all step over its dead body and proceed with our walk.

  • tony_opmoc

    The thing is I am a human being and I was emotionally Affected by what happenned.

    He died – he was 73 years old and he died with his walking boots on – just like that – on his way to Heaven

    Watendlath

    I found this information by a Google search and I found the website of the Mountain Rescue Team

    These Guys Do It For LOVE of their fellow human beings who get their boots on and see the Beauty Of Our World For Real

    Tony

  • tony_opmoc

    anon,

    Thank You for saying this

    “Our fathers and grandfathers were locked up as prisoners of war in the middle of a full-scale war against Fascism. Nobody tortured them, hooded them, pissed on them and set savage dogs them. Their families were not taken hostage and handed over to prisons where electric drills were driven into their heads.”

    It sort of makes me feel for the kid who was sat exactly here (where I am sitting) – and got into the Spitfire – just down the Road at the Main Airfield

    And Won The Battle of Britain

    If The German Nazis had captured him – there is No Way they would Do

    What Tony Blair/George Bush/Dick Cheney Did

    Tony

  • Ruth

    Not only have they murdered, tortured and left millions scarred for life both physically and mentally, they and the puppet Iraqi government have intentionally failed to reconstruct the country so that Iraq is forced to lose its vast oil resources to US and UK oil companies at the end of June.

    On the surface it appears the UK/US military presence is disappearing with the UK army having left Iraq and the US troops about to.

    However, what I’d like to know is who actually owns the mercenary companies operating in Iraq? Who initially funded Aegis’ precursor, Sandline? Is there any relationship between it and government; this includes secret unelected permanent government.

  • Ruth

    Not only have they murdered, tortured and left millions scarred for life both physically and mentally, they and the puppet Iraqi government have intentionally failed to reconstruct the country so that Iraq is forced to lose its vast oil resources to US and UK oil companies at the end of June.

    On the surface it appears the UK/US military presence is disappearing with the UK army having left Iraq and the US troops about to.

    However, what I’d like to know is who actually owns the mercenary companies operating in Iraq? Who initially funded Aegis’ precursor, Sandline? Is there any relationship between it and government; this includes secret unelected permanent government.

  • Ruth

    Not only have they murdered, tortured and left millions scarred for life both physically and mentally, they and the puppet Iraqi government have intentionally failed to reconstruct the country so that Iraq is forced to lose its vast oil resources to US and UK oil companies at the end of June.

    On the surface it appears the UK/US military presence is disappearing with the UK army having left Iraq and the US troops about to.

    However, what I’d like to know is who actually owns the mercenary companies operating in Iraq? Who initially funded Aegis’ precursor, Sandline? Is there any relationship between it and government; this includes secret unelected permanent government.

  • Ruth

    I’ve just posted a comment three times but it’s just ended up in the preview section though it’s been counted twice in the comment section.

    Is there something wrong?

  • Polo

    @Ruth

    It may be just a lag in transmission. I have had to resist the temptation to repost comments I thought hadn’t got through.

    Then again it could be a tech-glitch.

    By Ian Fleming’s criteria, though, three times is enemy action. [1 = happenstance; 2 = coincidence; 3 = enemy action.] I always loved that one. Really simplifies your life.

  • Jon

    Ruth, Polo et al:

    After posting, if your post does not automatically come up at the end, refresh your page – usually by pressing F5. This should reload the page properly, and you’ll see your post.

    This is slightly annoying but this feature helps reduce the load on the server by telling the browser software to use the copy it already has in memory. It means that high traffic web sites can cope with more users than they ordinarily could.

  • George Dutton

    June 28, 2009

    “CIA Crucified captive in Abu Ghraib Prison”

    “The Central Intelligence Agency crucified a prisoner in Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, according to a report published in The New Yorker magazine.”

    “A forensic examiner found that he (the prisoner) had essentially been crucified; he died from asphyxiation after having been hung by his arms, in a hood, and suffering broken ribs,” the magazine’s Jane Mayer writes in the magazine’s June 22nd issue. “Military pathologists classified the case a homicide.” The date of the murder was not given.”

    “No criminal charges have ever been brought against any C.I.A. officer involved in the torture program, despite the fact that at least three prisoners interrogated by agency personnel died as a result of mistreatment,” Mayer notes.”

    “An earlier report, by John Hendren in The Los Angeles Times indicted other torture killings. And Human Rights First says nearly 100 detainees have died in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

    “Hendren reported that one Manadel Jamadi died “of blunt-force injuries” complicated by “compromised respiration” at Abu Ghraib prison “while he was with Navy SEALs and other special operations troops.” Another victim, Abdul Jaleel, died while gagged and shackled to a cell door with his hands over his head.” Yet another prisoner, Maj. Gen. Abid Mowhosh, former commander of Iraq’s air defenses, “died of asphyxiation due to smothering and chest compression” in Qaim, Iraq.”…

    http://tinyurl.com/kk3xbx

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