The Documentary Evidence on New Labour and Torture 47

It is my birthday today, and I feel rather pleased with the progress being made on exposing the torture crimes of New Labour.

Tony Blair, Jack Straw and David Blunkett’s “Get Out of Jail Free” card has been that the courts accept the argument that national security overrides all, and the biggest threat to national security is the threat of withdrawal of intelligence cooperation in the “War on Terror”.

It was precisely the threat of withdrawal of Saudi security cooperation that the Law Lords concluded was the potential greater evil, which justified forbidding the prosecution of New Labour’s personal paymasters at BAE for corruption.

And it was precisely the alleged threat of withdrawal of US security cooperation which persuaded the High Court to ban publication of material detailing the torture of Binyam Mohammed.

Only then Obama got in and the Americans said “Milliband is wrong (ie lying), we never threatened to withdraw security cooperation”.

If you read the Guardian report of the High Court judgement, in any other age a Minister caught behaving as appallingly as Milliband has, would have resigned. I would love to be locked in a room with the little twerp for a couple of hours to teach him about the reliability of intelligence from torture. I would have him confessing to menbership of Al-Qaida before I severed his second testicle.

Which is of course the major point. Binyam Mohammed is an innocent man whom we gave over to torture for no reason. The thousands tortured in Uzbekistan into confessing to Al-Qaida links were almost all innocent. That is just one problem with the “Torture Works” argument put forward by Britain’s highest paid thug Jonathan Evans

Can anybody construe the government’s line as anything other than “We were not complicit in torture. We were complicit in torture, but it was necessary.”?

In a Kafkaesque twist, Sky News are today running the banner headline

“Release of Intelligence Papers Could Damage UK/US Intelligence Sharing Agreement”

They are reporting from “US sources” that the Americans have now been persuaded to help Milliband by threatening to reduce cooperation if the evidence of Binyam Mohammed’s torture is released.

Is there a single person out there who genuinely does not now believe that Mohammed was tortured, and further that MI5 and MI6 were not complicit in torture worldwide? The documentary evidence I have already published is damning:

More so are the minutes of the FCO meeting at which I was formally instructed to stop complaining internally about collusion with torture as it had been set as an undeclared government policy. The High Court ruling gives still further weight to my Freedom of Information Act request to have those minutes released.

Friday was the twentieth working day by which the FCO was supposed under the Freedom of Information Act to respond to my request. Hardly surprisingly, it has not done so (other than to acknowledge receipt). I shall now appeal to the Information Commissioner. The government’s attempts to prevent the truth being known about their complicity in torture, are simply desperate. There appears to be a weird fiction that everybody does not realise the truth already.

It really is “The Emperor’s New Clothes”.

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47 thoughts on “The Documentary Evidence on New Labour and Torture

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  • MJ

    “I would love to be locked in a room with the little twerp for a couple of hours”

    Rather you than me. Great post. Interesting to see the response of the Information Commissioner. Happy birthdsy.

  • Ruth

    ‘Binyam Mohammed is an innocent man whom we gave over to torture for no reason.’

    I disagree. There is a reason for most things. You say torture doesn’t work. In this scenario it does work. The UK and US governments get exactly what they want – Muslims who confess to taking part in terrorist activities. Obviously not enough were or have been taking part so the governments need to increase the numbers to scare the shit out of us and justify the War on Terror, which is obviously a ruse to nick resources in Muslim lands and gain strategic advantage as well as restricting our civil liberties.

  • Ruth

    PS I forgot to wish you Happy Birthday and to thank you for running your blog. It really has immense value.

  • anticant

    What is truly alarming reading the ‘Times’ online comments on Evans’ speech is that at least half – maybe more – take the line that any methods, however repugnant, are justified if they “keep us safe” and that those who object to the use of torture on either ethical or practical grounds are a bunch of bleeding-heart liberal simpletons.

    Keep at it, Craig – current developments must be the best birthday present you could wish for.

  • Craig

    Anticant –

    Worse than that, is that this is precisely what those in the FCO, Home Office, MI5 and MI6 persuade themselves, to justify keeping their jobs and lifestyles (cf Charles Crawford).

    The Naxi extermination camp system was not dome by a few people, it involved the complicity of hundreds of thousands of ordinary Germans who persuaded themselves that the murder of Jews, Communists, Gays, Gypsies, Poles etc was “keeping them safe”. It is exactly the Evans/Straw line, and accepted veru easily by the majority if a sufficient climate of fear is created.

  • Chris

    “I would have him confessing to menbership of Al-Qaida before I severed his second testicle.”

    I kind of assumed after he didn’t resign after the EU Election disaster that he doesn’t even have one.

  • anticant

    Yes – I pointed out to Charles the other day that the craven timidity of the present-day British is contemptible, when you remember that 40,000 civilians were killed here in a single year during the Blitz. My parents’ generation – the grandparents of this pathetic lot – said “Britain can take it. Do your worst, Adolf” and got on with their daily lives as best they could, often not knowing whether their homes wold still be there when they returned from work.

    Having grown up during that real war, I feel quite ashamed of the moaning minnies always caterwauling about how fearful they are of the “War on Terror”. Even since 9/11, the risk of being involved in a terrorist incident is umpteen times less than that of being knocked down by a careless driver when you are crossing the street.

    Yes – there are some dangerous fanatics out there. They need sleuthing and tracking down by old-fashioned police methods – not manufacturing by false flag operations and torture.

    See my latest post in Anticant’s Arena.

  • glenn

    Many happy returns, Craig.

    However, I have to agree with Ruth – this sort of torture does work, particularly when it was lifted directly out of Mao’s torture manuals for extracting _false_ confessions about undermining the state.

    Very much like the middle-ages type stuff – ‘water trial’ and so on. Does anyone believe there actually were many witches, wizzards, all these devil’s assistants and so on back then in the Inquisitions? No? Well why did so many confess to the very same, when the result of such a confession was to be cruelly put to death straight afterwards anyway?

    I bet we even have had the Cheneys and Milibands of the day saying, in the most serious tones, “We have prevented tens of thousands of devil-related activities with these methods. We have nothing to apologise for.”

    Agreed with Anticant too – we are a bunch of frightened, pampered and also wickedly cruel children in this generation, willing to visit medieval horrors on almost certain innocents, and the ruination of entire foreign countries that had no argument with us, just for the supposed protection of our miserable skins. Hearing Americans crowing at us that “now you know what tear’o’rism is like” after 7/7 was most galling. As if their IRA-funded bombers had never been at work, and as if we’d never had entire cities flattened by genuine military might.

    Seeing Miliband on Newsnight yesterday, I was left astonished yet again at how we’d come to this – allowing our country, let alone the Labour party, to be taken over by such unprincipled, cowardly liars.

  • Mr M

    Blunkett use to be my MP when I lived in Sheffield. Although I was young then, he always contradicted the spirit of the people who lived at his constituency with the worst touching me being the day he accused people like me and my family as having “swamped” the GP services.

    People like him can get away in places where the victims are unlikely to shift or unable to take initiatives, but stand no chance when faced with rigour and scrutiny.

  • Roderick Russell

    Craig, The Guardian applies a “double standard” on torture. As a comment to your Oct 1 article, under the heading “The Guardian and MI5, MI6” I summarized what happened after my wife and I visited The Guardian’s Office in Manchester. Save to say, we went to complain about years of Zerzetsen (sometimes called “no touch torture”) torture from MI5, MI6 being covered-up by government, only to get threatened after we left their offices.

    My story is about the neutering of our human rights industry, our government, our parliament, and our press ?” since it proves that high establishment figures can operate above the law in the UK with impunity.

    The only conclusion I can reach from my experience about UK organizations, that purport to be interested in human rights (such as The Guardian and Amnesty International), is this – It is almost as if they are controlled by MI5, MI6. That is allowed to establish their bona fides in human rights abroad where the CIA are the main culprit anyway, while being careful to avoid issues where MI5, MI6 are themselves the torturers. An old intelligence trick. Other victims have also commented that where zerzetsen torture is being applied in the UK, there is no human rights agency that will help.

    I wish Mr. Mohamed all the help he can get, but one should understand “the double standard” – the human rights industry is far from honest when dealing with torturers in its own home establishment. Lions when dealing with Pinochet types abroad, they are wimps at home. Roderick Russell

  • tony_opmoc

    Happy Birthday, and Congratulations on Everything You have achieved over the Last 12 months.

    Hope You, Your Wife & New Baby Son are Well.


  • Tony

    Many happy returns.

    How are you convinced Miliband has one testicle, let alone two to sever?

    He is on the road to become the new Jack Straw. Complicit, condescending and writhing as the lies spew out of his mouth to bring him closer to power. Not as smarmy, connected and criminal genius as Blair so he won’t make it to the top without several strokes of luck.

    Without Blair+friends to bully them, the courts should be able to get much of what they want. The talk about the US withdrawing security collaboration is absurd. They define our policies and we are a client nation, it would be like me saying I won’t use my left hand any more because it has been naughty.

  • mike cobley

    Thatcher corrupted us with her voodoo monetarism, then Blair corrupted us by dragging us into a war, and kowtowing to Washington for years and years has also corrupted us. We’re like Lonely in the TV series Callan, a spineless henchman who does what he’s told.

    Oh, and happy birthday! just a week after me own. Hey hey, we’re the Librans!

  • Charles Crawford


    Happy Birthday!

    A powerful post, even if I am not quite sure what my ‘lifestyle’ (your reply to Anticant in the comments) has to do with anything. We both had a jolly time overseas for many years at the taxpayers’ expense.

    Two questions:

    – could you maybe explain what you meant when you said that ‘almost all’ the thousands of Uzbeks tortured into confessing AQ links were innocent. How could you or any of us know which were or were not innocent?

    – of the nearly 200 countries in the UN, how many of them would you trust not (not) to use torture or illegitimate pressure when it comes to interrogating terrorist suspects? And if the answer is ‘not many’, where does that leave international intelligence or even normal international police cooperation in this very complex area?

    Oops. Three questions.

    My own take here:



  • anon

    The picture in The Times of Jonathon Evans looks like Wallace of Wallace and Grommit. That’s the trouble with relative morality, everything becomes play-doh, the expenses, the evidence of WMD, parliament, MI5/6, presidents.

    What can you do with play-doh people?

    If you remove one of Miliband’s play-doh testicles he will get a play-doh make-over and a new one made. There is no connection to reality with these people.

    That’s not to say that reality does not exist, but you won’t find it there. Fair play to Binyamin Muhammad and to the UK judges and to Craig for their patience and persistence in this quagmire of shifting, Blair-speak putty.

  • anticant


    Thanks for quoting me on your blog! I’ll put a fuller comment there on your interesting post.

    Meanwhile, you ask above “How could you or any of us know which [of the thousands of Uzbeks tortured into confessing AQ links] were or were not innocent?”

    Isn’t this rather an own-goal? It is precisely the point which those of us who think that evidence obtained by torture is not only morally tainted but also utterly unreliable and therefore virtually useless keep on making.

    Welcome to the club!

  • anon

    More Charles Crawford linseed oil putty.

    How does belonging to an international club of torturers redeem us? Mr Moseley can say that his sex life is private. But the UK can’t say: ‘We only conduct torture in The International Torturers Club in our own time and at our own expense. What we do in private is of no concern to the general public and we resent very much the implication that we have done anything wrong.’

    We do not own the world any more. Except Blair who kept complaining about ‘foreigners’ resisting the UK/US forces in Iraq.

    What you ruling class lot don’t understand,and I did understand at the age of seven when I was sent away to be educated with you lot, is that not one of you has a principle, or grain of truth, or fibre of moral consciousness in your over-inflated egos.

    You think that the world is as you shape it, and according to your whims and desires as the inheritors of British Empire. Sorry mates, you are past your sell-by dates and you should be dead in your coffins. Wake up to the real world in which the UK is a tin-pot third rate island and China, India and the Middle East are the intellectual and economic super-powers.

    Taste the coffee and stop trying to laugh off your crimes with a pathetic smirk.

    The only hope of success in the modern world is if the UK starts to practice what it has hitherto pretended to be,

    a moral force for justice in the world. If we do not practice that, we have absolutely nothing to contribute. As Craig says, you seem to think that everyone is duped by your smug excuses. Not any more my friends, not any more.

  • glenn


    With all due respect, are your objections not somewhat misplaced?

    Rather than questioning how Craig Murray could possibly know whether “almost all” Uzbekistan citizens subjected to torture were innocent, and whether or not we can exchange intelligence to many of our dubious friends, should you not be more concerned about having these supposed “friends” and “allies” adhering to International Law? Shouldn’t the first duty of anyone with the least integrity to do just this – ensure common humanity, justice, and International Law is followed ? (The answer is “yes”, by the way.)

    Obviously, a man as important, worldly and intelligent and yourself is above such considerations. But could you tell us why? Why is anybody with authority and influence, such as yourself, not standing up for the most least and oppressed citizen anywhere: a personal under torture ?

    Your record of excusing torture notwithstanding, could you explain to me why people confessed to witchcraft, under the very system you claim gives useful intelligence? Even when such a confession meant they would be burned at the stake. And after Iraq, the “intelligence” for which whose WMD was obtained by _very_ dubious means (“curveball”, etc.) why should should people like you ever be believed about anything, ever again?


  • Ruth

    In the UK there seems to be a growing divide between the corrupted, the incorruptible and a mass living in an illusion

  • dreoilin

    “How could you or any of us know which [of the thousands of Uzbeks tortured into confessing AQ links] were or were not innocent?” — (via anticant’s post above)

    Oh my. Didn’t Charles do well. Give him some more rope, someone.

    Craig, I’m 30 minutes late, sorry, but Happy Birthday!

  • Abe Rene

    Happy Birthday, and good luck in your activity of exposing the government’s failure to live up to its own voluntarily accepted standards.

  • Clark

    {Belated} Happy Birthday Craig,

    another year of telling the truth and keeping the pressure on; well done. Thank you for your part in keeping my faith in human nature alive.

  • anticant

    I agree with Charles when he tells me that it is the job of intelligence to keep a secret eye on some very dangerous people. But when he adds “as it happens, not unsuccessfully”, how do we know? The spooks never give us any details of the many alleged plots they claim to have foiled.

    As for Al Qaeda and its supposed 19 Saudis who created such mayhem in the USA on 9/11 with a few box cutters and razor blades, I have always found it as convincing as a pantomime horse.

    Oh well, Hallowe’en draws near….

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