Torture and Denial 29


The cumulative evidence of UK complicity in torture is now so overwhelming as to be undeniable. Yet nobody is held to account, and in a curious British way, while it is not exactly denied it is not exactly admitted either. Until New Labour are gone, plainly there will be no real moves to get to the bottom of UK complicity. Simply to release the minute, classified Top Secret, of my meeting on 7 or 8 March 2003 in the FCO with Sir Michael Wood (Legal Adviser), Linda Duffield (Director Wider Europe) and Matthew Kydd, (Head, Permanent Under Secretary’s Department) would reveal a great deal of the policy.

There is more evidence in today’s Guardian.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jul/26/alam-ghafoor-torture-uk-intelligence

While Alam Ghafoor was being held tortured in the UAE, the British consul’s half-hearted attempts to fulfil his duty of visiting him in detention were addressed not to the UAE authorities, but to third party. The third party is blanked out from the released documents, along with much else, but the Guardian surmises it is likely to be an MI5 officer.

I am not so sure. It could be, but the style of the minute is more that used in referring to someone representing a different government. MI5 would almost certainly be regularly calling into the Embassy anyway, if operating in liaison with the UAE authorities (MI5 do not do undercover abroad). It seems to me most likely that, even if Ghafoor was first “Fingered” by MI5, the UAE authorities were taking their instructions from the CIA and that is who was being phoned and reported – though these were very strange conversations to have by telephone anyway.

It is a matter of tone and how the FCO write. The minute just reads fine if the CIA were the interlocutor, and feels a bit strange if MI5 were the interlocutor.


29 thoughts on “Torture and Denial

  • Frazer

    Did you get your prezzie ? It was delivered to your campaign office yesterday..let me know ..

  • Jon

    Ha! Talking of which, are there any interviews in which Chloe mentions her views (!) on Afghanistan, Iraq, war on terror etc?

  • Tom Welsh

    “…in a curious British way, while it is not exactly denied it is not exactly admitted either”.

    This is not purely a British way of doing things. Indeed, it strikes me as remarkably similar to the “Western” attitude to Israel’s nuclear weapons.

  • Polo

    “The Foreign Office said in a statement that Ghafoor and Siddique were not detained at Britain’s request. ‘British consular staff visited them on July 30, 2005 to ensure their welfare needs were being addressed. Their detention was a matter for the Dubai authorities … they were not detained at the request of the UK government. We do not participate in, solicit, encourage or condone the use of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment for any purpose.

    Wherever allegations of wrongdoing are made, they are taken seriously and investigated as appropriate.’ ”

    Sounds to me like this could have been said in two words: F*** O**.

  • Roderick Russell

    As a demonstration of how confused our government has become it seems that human rights is viewed as an inconvenience, not a legal obligation. But one doesn’t have to look overseas to the third world to find evidence of the active complicity of our intelligence services in torture. My own case is just one example.

    The torture my family has experienced is not of the medieval type that leaves marks, but a more modern Orwellian 1984 type of torture that is sometimes called Zerzetsen since it was developed by the former GDR secret police “the Stasi” to persecute dissidents. Psychological torture (zerzetsen) has been defined by the IRCT as being the very worst form of torture possible. Reportedly it is widely practiced in Britain by MI5, MI6 against enemies of the establishment and my own case is just one example. Its URL is:

    http://zerzetzen.wikispaces.com

    Embedded in the Wiki is a file of letters from Cabinet Ministers, Police and others that proves that the matter is being covered-up at the highest levels to ensure that no honest investigation takes place. If you look at the Wiki you will see why.

    Where is the human rights industry? In 1993 Pierre Sane the secretary-general of Amnesty said:

    “Governments are prepared to go to great lengths to cover up their crimes. They know that a bloodstained human rights record will damage their international image. So, they set up phoney human rights institutions to cover up crimes.”

    Victims of Human Rights abuses committed in 3rd world countries do have some support from human rights professionals. But those of us victimized by our own intelligence services have no support whatsoever. As others have also noted it appears that our human rights organizations are either scared to deal with MI5, MI6 or are controlled by them. If you are a supporter of some of these human rights organizations, you just might not be supporting what you may think you are supporting.

    One doesn’t have to look outside the UK & Canada to see our intelligence services not just condoning but actively practicing torture. But, why isn’t the human rights industry more active?

    Roderick Russell

    #207, 1733 ?” 27 Ave. SW

    Calgary AB T2T 1G9

    403.229.0864

  • Ruth

    I agree with Roderick Russell. I know of torture cases by the secret services which take place to intimidate people so they won’t reveal the government’s role in crime. The torture I know of involves setting light to a home with occupants, an attempted intimidatory call to a child, routinely going into homes and leaving a mess or something out of place to put pressure on the person, making phone calls at anytime and either putting the phone down or making strange sounds, attempting or threatening to run someone over, driving a truck into someone’s business premises, but most common is setting people up so that they get accused of a crime.

  • Lourens

    “it seems that human rights is viewed as an inconvenience, not a legal obligation.”

    Actually, human rights should be viewed as an ethical obligation, not (just) a legal one or (only) an inconvenience.

    Of course, ethics has been out of fashion for a while now.

  • George Dutton

    “but most common is setting people up so that they get accused of a crime.”

    Ruth

    I have spent most of the day working on a letter and making phone calls to try and prove someone innocent of a crime. My wife and I saw a policeman plant evidence on this person. The case was up at the crown court back in Dec 08 but the CPS at the last minute dropped it. We have offered to take polygraph lie detection under oath if need be and say we will pass the test. There is other evidence against the policeman. We are meeting a brick wall to try and get something done. I fear the police will be back to get this person sometime in the future. We have got to keep going on this one. Looks like we will have to ask for a judicial review, it’s our last chance to help this person.

    I will take them all the way.

  • lwtc247

    Craig. Did you catch R4’s Any Questions from Norwich 17th July 09 ?

    rtsp://rmv8.bbc.net.uk/radio4fmcoyopa/archive/radio_4_fm_-_friday_2000_20090717.ra

    Hairynit Herrmann was on (as ever) and there was a hell of a lot of BS about Afghnistan from her and some of the other panelists.

    abt 15m20s in, Herrmann says GB as chancellor presided over the biggest increase in defence spending in decades. JD interjected: Def spending = 6.9% of GDP in 2001, yet in 2008/9, it was projected to be 5.66% GDP. Herr Herrmann then went on to say GDP had increased over that time [i.e. over 2008/9] – Is this true or is it the usual NeoLabour lie?

    Later, the Pandemic planning senario by Herr Herrmann et al was chilling, not from a conspiracy pov, but because to have a national pandemic based on that utter idiot is deeply freightening indeed. Glad to see some ppl not buying into the swine flu BS. Guess what? Herr Herrmann, just like the BBC advertised Tamiflue. JD didn’t see fir to stop her advertising it either.

    P.S. You have a year to build up support for the General Election in Norwich, altho u might want to perhaps choose a place like Galloway did with a more dynamic electorate, no disrespect to the people of Norwich.

    Although deeply saddened at the result, for what it’s worth, I’m proud of you and your team. Please keep trying. Parliamanet needs some honesty and there is a lucky electorate waiting for you.

  • Duncan McFarlane

    It’s also likely that British government complicity in torture is making us a target for terrorist groups – just as Al Qaeda’s number 2 Zawahiri is motivated mostly by revenge on the Mubarak government and its allies for having him tortured in Egypt.

  • Ruth

    George,

    Is there a reason why the policeman planted something on the man?

    In my experience this is usually done when the person knows too much. When the person is criminalised that person can never be a reliable witness. Or there could be an instance when the government agency wants to put a lever on someone ie stop an appeal where sensitive information could become public. Sometimes people are fitted up particularly in drug crimes and excise and VAT frauds to act as cover for the real perpetrators ie state agencies.

    I must say it’s quite extraordinary where you’ve got two witnesses for the police to do nothing. If they wanted to get out of it they could just pretend to investigate and then say they didn’t have enough evidence to prosecute.

    Taking the matter to court even if you don’t win would give protection to the guy as knowledge of what happened would be in the public domain.

  • George Dutton

    Is there a reason why the policeman planted something on the man?

    Yes,can’t say too much more at the moment.

    “Taking the matter to court even if you don’t win would give protection to the guy as knowledge of what happened would be in the public domain.”

    Correct,thats our thoughts on it Ruth.

  • George Dutton

    “I must say it’s quite extraordinary where you’ve got two witnesses for the police to do nothing.”

    There was three witnesses Ruth, the other was a fellow police officer but sadly that officer has unfortunately suffered memory loss and cannot remember all the events.

  • MJ

    Ruth:

    “The torture I know of involves setting light to a home with occupants”

    “Sometimes people are fitted up particularly in drug crimes and excise and VAT frauds”

    A few years ago I chanced upon some key evidence in respect of a certain ‘sensitive’ event that had made the news. Under a pseudonym I published my findings on the web. A few weeks later the article was published on Rense.com. On the very day this happened (which was also the anniversary of the said ‘sensitive’ event) the building in which my flat was situated caught fire. Bizarrely, my flat was only one of two that was not entirely gutted. Everyone was out at the time so there were no injuries.

    Three weeks later I was accused by the Inland Revenue of tax fraud. This was patent nonsense and I could provide all the documentation to prove it.

    Six months later I was interviewed on US radio about my research and findings that had led to the article. Less than a week later the Inland Revenue commenced legal proceedings against me. Despite all the evidence I could provide, the court found in the Tnland Revenue’s favour. I had to go to the Court of Appeal to get the judgment overturned.

    Call me naive, but I’ve always dismissed all this as coincidence because I published under a pseudonym. Now I’m not so sure.

  • Jaded.

    If you REALLY think about it’s all so fucked up it’s deeply disturbing. We should round up all thse freaks and send them to Mars or something. Ok, so all tha above stories might not be 100%true, but I bet my bottom dollar some are. I’m with you on the charges being a possibility M.J., but the indiscriminate arson seems a bit heavy. Who knows for sure I suppose… Screwing with vehicles is a favourite pastime for these sorts. That is Gospel. Physical torture it may not be, but it is undoubtedly torture. Eddie would surely call all of this a natural flaw of our democracy. Where is the gonad anyway? 🙂 Almost quiet without him around to snipe at. He does ask for it though!

  • mary

    I heard on a Radio 4 Today report about the Human Rights Committee’s call for better dialogue between the police and demonstrators to avoid a repeat of what happened at G20. Apparently there were over 200 complaints logged by the ever-so-slow-to-take-any-action IPCC.

    What happened to Craig’s evidence to the JPHRC? Was it buried or has it been put on the compost heap round the back where the stable sweepings go? Never heard another word from Mr Dismore and his crew.

    Just hearing this morning the latest details of the revolting rendition via the Diego Garcia refuelling (chained up and put in a box and then tortured on arrival at the final destination) made me feel sick. Mr Miliband was ‘concerned’ when he originally heard about it but we were not ‘complicit’ in it of course.

  • tony_opmoc

    We’ve been camping at the WOMAD Festival for the last few days the highlight of which was Peter Gabriel promoting and attempting to raise £100,000 for the human rights organisation WITNESS.

    WITNESS is about using video, and the internet to record human rights violations across the World

    “WITNESS has provided video cameras and training to over 150 groups in 50 countries around the world. WITNESS helps them use video as evidence before courts, regional commissions and the United Nations, as a tool for public education, and as a deterrent to further abuse. WITNESS also gives local human rights groups a global voice, by distributing their video to the media and broadcasting it online at http://www.witness.org.

    WITNESS video has been broadcast by the BBC, CNN, ABC, PBS, Oprah, and satellite and cable stations worldwide forcing the Mexican government to reform their country’s psychiatric facilities, the Philippine government to investigate the murders of numerous indigenous activists, and catalyzing the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act in the US. WITNESS videos influence policy and spur discussion about the tough issues confronting our world today.

    “Armed with cameras, front-line activists are letting the truth do the talking.” – Peter Gabriel”

    I was deeply disappointed to find out the detail of the election results in Norwich North as a result of borrowing someone’s newspaper. I guess it was a failure to communicate, compounded by the most amazing volume of spam leaflet dumping. If the message is blocked out, then people can’t see it.

    Craig Murray should take a holiday, and when refreshed continue his most valuable work highlighting human rights abuses. Very few have the courage to risk all and stand up against such horrendous depravity within our own Government.

    Tony

  • Jives

    @Roderick Russell,Ruth et al…

    Yep…i know exactly the stuff you’re referring to…MANY are suffering this now..it’s gone right out of control…

    The only positve thing about this is that too MANY know it’s going on now and people talk…also,thanks to efforts such as Craig’s these practices are becoming known by the masses.Questions are being asked,paper trails popping up…the evil perpetrators are being called to account,more and more.

    Chickens are coming home to roost.

    In the end all evil/mischief undoes itself…

    Peace and strength to you all.

  • dreoilin

    “Reprieve, a British-based legal rights group, says Britain knowingly allowed Mohammed Saad Iqbal Madni to be transferred from Jakarta to Egypt via a U.S. airbase on Diego Garcia, a British-ruled island in the Indian Ocean, in 2002.

    “Once in Egypt, Madni says he was tortured for three months and then sent to the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba where he was held for six years before being released last year without charge. He now lives in Pakistan …

    “Reprieve, which represents several detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, says Britain must have known about Madni’s rendition via Diego Garcia because a specific chain of command was needed to authorise ‘unorthodox’ flights.

    “It says records relating to flights to Diego Garcia before 2008 have been destroyed in mysterious circumstances. It says its case is aimed at forcing the government to come clean …”

    From “Rights group sues government over ‘rendition'”

    Tue Jul 28, 2009 1:59pm BST

    http://tinyurl.com/nod2ep

    Destroyed in “mysterious” circumstances? I don’t think so.

  • Ruth

    I know two cases in which setting light to homes to intimidate, destroy evidence or worse has been used.

    The first revolves round excise fraud and VAT fraud; the second just VAT fraud.

    In the first case research was being carried out to gather evidence for an appeal against conviction. A contact had promised to give the appellants’ wife a photo of a man who was/is believed to work for the SIS. This man had been involved in excise fraud. If the photograph was of the principal in the appellant’s VAT fraud then it could be said for sure the principal was an agent provocateur so the appeal could be won. This VAT fraud was linked to many, many others.

    The appellant’s phone was tapped and the wife had been followed before this incident when meeting solicitors with VAT cases to exchange information.

    The contact promised to hand over the photo in a park. On entering the park the wife was followed by two men, one black. When she got home she took a call from a black man pretending to be a child and asking to speak to her young son. Later that night a fire was deliberately started in her adjoining neighbours’ fence which later that evening swept into the house.

    In the other VAT fraud case which was strongly related to the appellant’s case above one of the guys had his pub set on fire. After realising he had been set up the guy had desperately tried to get the VAT funds back from abroad.

    Also it’s interesting to note that Paul Burrell, Princess Diana’s butler, had his shop/home set on fire.

  • ingo

    I will answer for Craig as he might not have seen your post Frazer.

    Yes thank you, he has got your little prezzie, indeed it was not little at all.

    Firstly I decided to open it very carefully, just in case, with Craig in the other room, but once the fabric of a solid hamper appeared he soon perked up. What a nice thing to do, I shall endeavour to make sure that none of the items in it will go to waste…..

    cheers Frazer

  • Ruth

    I know two cases in which setting light to homes to intimidate, destroy evidence or worse has been used.

    The first revolves round excise fraud and VAT fraud; the second just VAT fraud.

    In the first case research was being carried out to gather evidence for an appeal against conviction. A contact had promised to give the appellants’ wife a photo of a man who was/is believed to work for the SIS. This man had been involved in excise fraud. If the photograph was of the principal in the appellant’s VAT fraud then it could be said for sure the principal was an agent provocateur so the appeal could be won. This VAT fraud was linked to many, many others.

    The appellant’s phone was tapped and the wife had been followed before this incident when meeting solicitors with VAT cases to exchange information.

    The contact promised to hand over the photo in a park. On entering the park the wife was followed by two men, one black. When she got home she took a call from a black man pretending to be a child and asking to speak to her young son. Later that night a fire was deliberately started in her adjoining neighbours’ fence which later that evening swept into the house.

    In the other VAT fraud case which was strongly related to the appellant’s case above one of the guys had his pub set on fire. After realising he had been set up the guy had desperately tried to get the VAT funds back from abroad.

    Also it’s interesting to note that Paul Burrell, Princess Diana’s butler, had his shop/home set on fire.

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