Miliband Lies About Torture 41

David Miliband refused to testify to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights about UK complicity in torture. That in itself is an example of how useless our parliament is and of the contempt in which the executive hold it. Thr JCHR was set up by the Commons and Lords specifically to monitor the UK’s compliance with its international human rights obligations. In the case of a most serious breach, government ministers can simply refuse to appear before the committee. What use is it?

Had Miliband testified at the JCHR, he would have been confronted with my evidence and that of others and expected to respond.

Instead, Miliband appeared before the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, with its absolute New Labour majority.

I am in Accra and have not had any internet connection for two days. Today I have, but very very slow and I can’t watch Miliband’s appearance. If I buffer for three minutes I can get a twelve section tape. So I have been sampling his evidence. As far as I can tell nobody confronted him with my evidence. But from around 48 minutes he tells a direct lie, that we do use intelligence from torture but only where it concerns a direct threat to life.

As I testified to the JCHR, the torture material which I was seeing from Uzbekistan plainly did not fall into this category, yet I was told it was “Useful” to the intelligence services and we ahould continue to receive it. The meeting at which Iwas told this was minuted by the FCO.

Our parliament is pathetic in allowing Miliband to testify before a different body to that which heard the contrary evidence. But even so, even from the snatches I have been able to view, Miliband comes over as shifty and the government’s determination to continue receiving intelligence from torture glare through the carefully contrived answers.

Comment from those more able than I to see a fuller part of his evidence would be very welcome.

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41 thoughts on “Miliband Lies About Torture

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  • Jives

    Will watch it later Craig and post my thots but i have to say i’m not surprised by anything these charlatans and war criminals do any more.

    There is a mighty judgement gonna come on these bastards very soon,that’s for sure.

    Further and slightly off-topic..i was the first commnentator on The Independent’s article about the new head of SIS today.I did not vent spleen or swear i simply posted Rudyard Kipling’s poem Mesopotamia.I was the first post.Within an hour it had been removed and the article comments facility completely closed.

    Ho hum

    Regards to you in Accra Craig.

  • Jives

    Correction to previous post>Kipling poem back up on Independent’s comment section…

  • mary

    Links to video and audio here

    Foreign Secretary gives evidence on human rights

    16 June 2009

    Foreign Affairs Committee hears evidence from David Miliband MP, Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) for human rights inquiry. The session will focus on a number of issues which relate to the responsibilities of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) for securing the human rights of British citizens and others overseas.

  • anon

    It’s extremely difficult not to look shifty if you are in fact a ventriloquist’s dummy. Apologies for being flippant.

  • Shuggie

    Re Miliband’s lie “we do use intelligence from torture but only where it concerns a direct threat to life”

    Read this court order

    rushed through on 13th January 2006, to prevent any press reporting of the case of Salahuddin Amin (he was tortured in Pakistan with the knowledge of the UK spooks) – his ‘evidence’ was used to shore up the Operation Crevice convictions.

    Operation Crevice was linked to the 7/7 ‘players’ in ways that the spooks/crown don’t want the public to know about.

  • Clark


    I’m commenting here only to offer moral support. It is a shame to see over 170 comments on your preceeding ‘Iran’ post, with a raging argument, no doubt, between eddie and everyone else, and only seven comments here on this subject for which the government terminated your career. I wish there was something more useful that I could contribute, but all I can think of is to show my respect for your ongoing dedication in opposing these atrocities.

    Best wishes,


  • Stevie

    I agree with Clark – I am listening to David Miliband’s appearance to the HOC FOC as I work and he is certainly chosing his words very carefully. I look forward to hearing Craig’s analysis of what has been said and also what else the Committee should have asked David Miliband. The 170 comments on the previous thread are a distraction for some, but then I am sure most people who visit this blog are mainly interested in reading Craig comments.

  • VamanosBandidos

    Miliband the “B” man (everything bout this guy is average, and limited, he is the epitome of mediocrity, and he has been riding on the dead legs of his father long enough, for him to have forgotten how to stand on his own legs). He is the sort of a chap who takes orders or more politely put; cues from US, and Tel Aviv. Hence to find him denying torture to be a UK government tool is no surprise, for the nice little waiter that he is (looking at him always evokes the visions of waiters in the Indian restaurants) he has been ordered to say what he has delivered to the committee.

    However, the committee itself if it were to be able to rigorously pursue this matter, would then have Craig as well as the B Man attending in the same session, and in time the B man would have spilled the beans.

    Alas this is not the way the game is played, hence the torture carries on, whilst Craig is shoved out of the way, and his livelihood cut off, for making a fuss and being a trouble maker (following an agenda!!!! this is the way British discount, evidently Agenda is as bad leprosy, or chlamydia) and with Craig out of the way the screams of the poor bastards getting their eyes gouged out is not heard any more, after all; see no evil, and hear no evil policy makes for only a little bit of torture, just like a little bit of pregnancy ,and little bit of virginity

    This kind of criminal behaviour is going unnoticed in our “Media” in the twenty frist century, what Justice Jackson the Nuremberg Prosecutor would make out of it all? One can only guess.

  • Jon

    @VamanosBandidos – whenever I hear the atrocious Miliband on the radio, I can’t help but think he is trying to be another Blair. Smooth-talking, spinning, lawyerly, self-interested disassembler.

  • technicolour

    My respect to anyone who can watch 47 minutes of this. I just dropped in at 48 to see the part the post refers to. I haven’t found it yet, actually, but the spectacle is quite extraordinary.

  • technicolour

    At around 2.05 he talks of a “shared commitment to have no truck with torture.”

    “We abhor torture. We will not cooperate or collude with it” he says, at around 7.29.

  • Iain Orr

    Can we please have more rigour about David Miliband (DM)? I can understand the frustration that led Jives to say that DM is “only a puppet following orders”. For that to be true, there would need to be evidence that DM lacks the freedom of all MPs, to walk into the Yes or No lobby as they think right on every issue. Agreed, it sometimes calls for bravery to defy your PM or party whip. But no MP is a puppet, even if they have accepted a bribe (financial or a promise of political preferment). Look at DM’s record and the criticism that sticks is of being a selfish coward, unwilling to stand up for the values he (probably genuinely) espouses whenever they might damage his political ambitions. His expenses record also suggests that where self-interest and idealism might be in conflict, he does not err on the side of idealism.

    When he became Foreign Secretary, I was ready to applaud DM’s rhetoric (look back at some of his early speeches). He’s no puppet, just a flop.

  • technicolour

    (27 mins approx) Mr Milliband is saying, regarding the British security service cooperating with ISI, for example, that before 2004 the guidance on cooperation with torture were “informal” but that “since 2004 the guidance is now comprehensive”. He repeats that “since 2004 this advice has been updated”. He repeats again that “the guidance before 2004 was informal” at around 38 minutes.

    (31.20) He is asked whether, since the government has said it will publish the new guidance, if the government will “undertake to publish what guidance has been given?” He replies that no, the government won’t, both because of the need for secrecy and “not least because of the legal cases underway”. He is pressed on this, but silences the questioner with a “Really, it wouldn’t be the right thing to do”.

    (45 mins) He is asked about “the use of intelligence overseas which has been garnered possibly through the use of torture”. His questioner says “I know you like the ISC (Intelligence Services Committee) so I’ll quote the ISC”.

    “Not as much as I like you” replies Milliband.

    Some of this intelligence, his questioner adds, has already “frustrated terrorist attacks in the UK.”

    At 48 or so minutes, Mr Milliband explains that, if you are faced with a piece of evidence which seems to be “completely credible”, but which, as his questioner asked, you “know or suspect comes from torture or mistreatment” do you then ignore it?

    He then says “the assessment therefore comes whether this is a threat to life”.

    At 52 mins approx he is asked:

    “Could you reassure us now, particularly the British people, that should information be available, albeit through torture, albeit we know how unreliable such evidence is, if you received such information that suggested that such danger was imminent to the British people, you would act on it”.

    To which Mr Milliband replies: “Yes”.

    At the beginning of the session, the chairman, Mike Gapes wished to put on record the fact that committees such as this should be appointed by parliament, and accountable to parliament, not appointed by the government.

  • Jon

    Iain Orr – I think you are right. What concerns me is the sheer number of people who have, in terms of what one presumes to be their initial good intentions, performed a full U-turn once in the Cabinet. Can selfishness explain the mendacity of all the Blears, Blairs, Millibands, Straws and their ilk?

  • Ruth

    I believe the Cabinet acts as the executive of the real policy makers or as some people term it ‘deep government’. I believe it emanates from the inner recesses of the Privy Council.

  • Jon

    Ruth – I am cynical about such a theory, but on the other hand, I find it hard to believe that in recent times no principled people have successfully fought their way to the top. Could it be just our extraordinary bad luck that we have (and have had) cabinets and shadow cabinets of such consistently shifty and amoral careerists?

  • Anonymous


    Any really principled character would cause problems long before they reach any such high office.

    Real integrity will filter itself out almost inevitably……

    …..Who is going to say, “Hey, you’re a pain in the arse, here’s the top job.”

  • Anonymous

    Robin Cook was causing very serious embarrassmebt for his Labour chums by saying that “Al Qaida doesn’t exist and everybody with any connection to the intelligence services knows it.”

    So if you get to the top and then insist on expressing an integrity that contradicts power, it seems the next thing is you die.

  • Ruth

    But there’s another side to it. Maybe the economic survival of the UK is on the line so politicians come to the conclusion that they must follow the policy dictated to them, although immoral, as it benefits the majority of the people and of course their pockets. On occasions it might be necessary to imprison a few innocent people say for excise or VAT fraud to prevent exposure of the state via the secret services removing money from the country without public knowledge. This money might be used for covert actions to fill state coffers ie selling arms for oil or diamonds etc

  • Polo

    Watched the whole Miliband session. True grit.

    The transcript (which I assume will issue eventually) will be well worth a read. Stripped of all the visual and vocal posturing, it should clearly show how many of his answers were totally vacuous, with unfinished sentences left hanging in the air. A patronising and oozingly sincere delivery is no substitute for answers.

    The Guardian piece, referenced above, adds a nice dimension to the exchanges on the non-publication of the pre-sanitised guidance to UK interrogators (officers/agents or whatever).

    I look forward to Craig’s forensic analysis of this pathetic performance when he (Craig) gets over the shock of being airbrushed out of the official story.

    Both the omission of his evidence and the scheduling of Miliband before a different committee speak volumes. You could even describe them as a ringing validation of Craig’s case.

  • Anonymous


    Quote: “… it benefits the majority of the people and of course their pockets.”

    That would be a very short term consideration.

    The bankers are bankrupt. We are allowing the Bank Of England and The Federal Reserve to print money (tens of trillions of dollars and pounds) to give them so that they will no longer be bankrupt but we will, owing THEIR system those trillions plus interest for the rest of our lives and our childrens’ and our grandchildrens’. It is a diabolical situation.

    It takes an idiot to think that allowing these bankers to fix their own mess (because that’s what we’re doing)is going to be good for anybody but them.

    The new ‘powers to regulate’ given to the Fed and the BofE are simply powers to carry on their criminal enterprises without any scrutiny at all, either by us or by our elected governments.

    These criminals now OWN our governments. Elected governments now have to go to these PRIVATE CORPORATIONS and ask politely to be told what they are doing to our countries….before being told to eff off.

    Don’t believe it? See below.

    You couldn’t make it up.

  • Polo

    I have sent the following email to the Committee for Foreign Affairs.


    Dear Committee Chairman and Members,

    I looked at the whole of David Miliband’s evidence to the Committee yesterday. I am surprised at the lack of tenacity of Committee members in following up their questions when faced with vacuous answers from the Secretary of State. The lickspittle attitude of the Committee, including the chairman, was alarming. This committee is supposed to be holding the executive to account. I saw none of this. I saw a self-satisfied club atmosphere which projected abject gratitude towards the Secretary of State for deigning to even appear. There was no reference to the first hand evidence of Craig Murray presented before a related committee. There was no reference to the Secretary of State’s refusal to appear before that other committee.

    I am a citizen, and former senior civil servant, of an ex-colony of the UK, and I was educated to view the UK parliament as the mother of parliaments. I am sadly disillusioned, and not for the first time. Great Britain or Little England? When are you people going to get your act together and accept your contemporary status in the world.

    The administration has destroyed the career of a worthy man in the interest of power and duplicity and doesn’t consider it even worthy of mention. What sort of people are you?

    Pol ?” Duibhir

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