Guardian on Manningham Buller 39

There is a good article in the Guardian by Vikram Dodd on Eliza Manningham Buller’s professed ignorance. Some kind people in the comments thread have pointed out that my testimony and documentary evidence directly contradicts Manningham Buller.

Some commenters then bemoaned the fact that the Guardian no longer invites me to write on these issues, which provoked a response from Matt Seaton of the Guardian that it is I who refuses to write for them. That is untrue and I have posted this comment, which I repeat here as the dreaded moderators will probably get it.

It is certainly true that I formally warned in a diplomatic telegram as early as November 2002 that we were receiving intelligence from torture from the CIA, and this was illegal. I was called back to a meeting in March 2003 to be told it was legal and policy, as decided by Jack Straw. Documents on my webiste.

Matt, for the record I should be delighted to write for Guardian cif. Sadly the Michael White Jack Straw fan club at the Guardian have blackballed me – as I am sure you know.

I remain attracted to the idea – which I believe genuinely ought to work – of taking the trustees of the C P Scott trust to court for acting ultra vires. The trust stipulates that the Guardian must support liberal values. But New Labour have been the most illiberal government since Castlereagh, and the Guardian has cheerled for them. It would be a wonderful opportunity for a discussion in a court of law of New Labour’s attacks on civil liberties and the legality of New Labour’s wars.

39 thoughts on “Guardian on Manningham Buller

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  • Roderick Russell

    Craig, Thank you for drawing attention to The Independent’s excellent article. Your comment “Eliza Manningham-Buller, former head of MI5, is engaged in an outrageous attempt to rewrite history” says it all. It is truly shocking, but hardy unexpected. I have also posted a comment under the article posing what for me is a very succinct question – “Why should MI5 be held to a higher standard of reporting than our Human Rights industry?”

    As for your comment on The Guardian, I won’t reiterate my wife and my own shocking experience with them (since I have mentioned it before), except to say that it does suggest that they are very far from being the honest broker that they once were. Organizations, even the best of them, do tend to change with time. It is always important (if disappointing) to remember Harold Evans’s phrase “the half-free British press”. I don’t think they censor just on D notices, pull from the establishment is probably enough to censor a “half free” press in most cases. The Independent should be congratulated.

  • tony_opmoc

    For Fucks Sake, For a Moment, I Thought The Editor Had Lost It?

    No Matter, It Has Been Received, Read and Understood.

    And then I realised he had started a New Thread

    “March 10, 2010

    Guardian on Manningham Buller”

    Comments (3)

    Is Not The Same as

    E-liar Manningham Buller

    Comments (41)

    Though don’t expect to be treated any less harshly here.

    I think the Editor is Constructing a Picture.


  • tony_opmoc

    I would like to point out as someone who was born and bred in Oldham, I always thought The Oldham Chronicle was better than The Manchester Evening News…

    Especially The Green Final, rather Than The Pink News

    I just don’t understand how they got it out so quick

    The Original Owners of The Manchester Guardian Know Exactly What I am Talking About and Are Turning In Their Graves.

    It’s come to something when an Objective View comes to realise that on many issues, subtley submersed on the Centre Pages

    That the Daily Mail is More “Liberal” Than Either The Guardian or The Independent

    I’ve Now even Started Reading The Times Again


  • frog2

    I see that that fourth post by dreadmorayeel is up to 96 recommends at CiF.

    Excellent !

  • tony_opmoc

    If anyone else wants to get it all together – you know a bit like – then I may be able to help particularly with the distribution.

    Its a good idea and is relatively easily achievable, but everyone has to at least start not only working for free but putting real energy and even their own money into it with no real hope or even expectation of any financial return.

    The Joy Is In Spreading The Message.

    Hopefully It is a Good One, Where We Can Interview Via IPTV Live Anyone Anywhere In The World who Has Got Their Own Laptop With a $2 Webcam Built In And Has Something Interesting to Say in Response

    Like in Spanish From The Depths of Peru…

    “Craig Murray – I Love You”

    Its entirely do able for next to nowt. It doesn’t even need any advertising or subsidy – just hard work for free.

    Any unemployed journalists out there?


  • frog2


    CIF has just put up another article on this subject by Andrew Tyrie MP .

    THIS IS SOP For burying the old thread , and unwelcome comments on it .

  • Loftwork

    Craig, In a political wilderness full of some of the slimiest political fungi I’ve ever seen in a Western democracy, your continued integrity and intransigence is truly admirable. Thank you for once again assisting in a debunk of the endless stream of official disinformation.

  • JimmyGiro

    “It would be a wonderful opportunity for a discussion in a court of law of New Labour’s attacks on civil liberties…”

    My guess would be that for the 4,500 or so new laws that this government have found it necessary to burden us with, the courts hear argument after argument, condemning their judicial dysfunction.

    If I’m right, then the court reporting has failed to make any impact on the social view, hence it cannot be regarded as an opportunity of anything other than the perfunctory.

    If truth were sacred, then fascism would devolve under its own instability via the cussedness of individuals. Our system survives by control of the ‘truth’, and a continual supply of fear propaganda, to ensure that most people huddle around the ‘caring’ tyrant.

  • Jives

    I am Jives…on that site i am Dreadmorayeel..

    And proud to fight the eternal good decent human fight with you Craig-even though i could never muster the guts and cojones that you have shown all thse years.


  • AJ

    Craig, Matt Seaton just posted a message on CiF asking you to get in touch to write something for them.

  • Jives

    @ writerman and Suhayl Saadi guys may be right about what the Grauniad and it’s moderators may be…however…

    In light of this i urge you to then not give up the good decent honourable human fight and instead employ words,logic,argument,rhetoric that is calmly unassailable,unviolent and uncensorable in its clarity and decency of arc.

    This is how we progress.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Walaikum-as-salaam, Anno. Absolutely. Of course, I meant ‘well said’, not ‘well out’, a silly misprint! But ‘well out’ is good too! We need to be well out to be able to critique the system and esp. those liberal charlatans who are really really Blue Meanies with rings on each finger. Keep on – and all good wishes. God be with you.

    Tony – have a cuppa, man. Listen to ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, backwards. Kids, eh!

  • John


    “I am astounded that, having obtained the first two documents under the Freedom of Information Act last November, no mainstream media outlet will mention them and refer to them, despite acres of reporting on whether Ministers had an intelligence from torture policy”.

    Is this not good reason for starting your own TV forum–a programme of current political events?

    The present mafia crowd are not serving democracy, or human rights–and are getting away with cover-ups, due to a complicit media.

    You may need some donations to start–if you do seriously start–include me for a donation. I’m sure shareholders will follow the success of such an obviously needed venture.

    Craig, you do not answer. Why?

    Has tony_opmoc taken your place for the duration?

  • Ingo

    It can be digital internet based, it could be in a proper studio with a carefully selected audience. when I say carefully, I mean that people should have a certain level of understanding of current affairs and issues.

    My idea is to give the audience a vote, if they, hence the name of the programme ‘you decide’, push their dismissal button, because the person who is being questioned comes over as being economical with the truth, the candidate in the seat gets ushered out with some apologetic words and the next candidate is being put into the ‘honesty/truth chair’.

    I had this idea yonks ago after being so fed up with the Dimblebies staged questions. The whole political public debate on radio and TV is being led by them and it needs changing.

    If you would have a voice as the ringmaster directing the audience and its questions, digging into the answers of candidates if so necessarry, putting them on the spot, then this would make rivetting TV. I’d love to see jack Straw being questioned by the audience (and you),squirming uncomfortably in his seat, as he does, being put on to the spot until he leaves the room in silence due to too much pressure.

    A digital internet programme would still need a room of sorts and some sort of activities, people on couches etc., it would be a smaller affair than in a studio.

    At present there is no balance in political debate, we have the whole mainstream media pulling up behind the election efforts of three parties, none of who will tackle the issue many are concerned with as you rightly said, it would rejuvenate public politcal debate and engage the various disperate NGO’s/political human rights lobbyists groups that fight their legitamit corners who currently haven’t got a chance in hell to get heard.

  • John


    “I presume by TV forum you mean something internet based”?

    Not as a prime mover–I mean a studio production with audience (as Ingo states), but internet back-up, perhaps.

    It is long overdue–and I thought, such an idea may have been quashed, as its being too destabilising for the status quo establishment.

    If you watch Dimbleby’s “Question Time”, (without cringing) that would be the kind of format–but with more pertinent questions from a “liberal” audience to a panel of professional people, including relevant MPs for the topic.

    Ideas may form in the course of time from these blogs–but I think you are the type of guy , who should give some thought. I feel sure the market is out there.

  • ingo

    I cannot watch question time anymore for its apologetic ‘infotainment’policy, mixing people like Melanie Phillips with stooges such as Hoon, with the odd smattering of a rambling poet or writer of sorts.

    The programmes dilemma is its format, i.e. a selected few, choosing the questions they would like to answer before the programme, then sitting on a panel that is taking to at the audience, only occaisionally the tables are turned.

    The programme I envisage gives control of their appearance and disappearance to the audience. If they decide by a majority that the person is talking tosh, s/he gets one warning and is allowed to answer the question again.

    But if the audience decides the person should leave, action comes swift and is final.

    It is up to the ringmaster to squeeze out the finer points of candidates answers, put them on the spot, as well as direct the audience.

    Certain ground rules have to be set, debate cannot happen between the audience unless it was designed in, a sort of ‘reflection time’ at the end, but to make good TV this would have to be directed carefully, so as to give not one person the cudgel at all times.

    A ‘talking stick’ should sort this out, whoever holds it, talks, others listen.

    The intrecacies are flexible, but if the pilot is not interesting enough, it will not attract the sponsors and advertisers. Advertisers to such programme could be Human rights organisations, NGO’s, political parties unhappy with the current bias, ethical companies and banks that have not screwed us, like Triodos, the COOP, etc.

    Rule is, if its popular because it touches issues that are important to people, then it will be successfull.

  • Tom Welsh

    “Some commenters then bemoaned the fact that the Guardian no longer invites me to write on these issues, which provoked a response from Matt Seaton of the Guardian that it is I who refuses to write for them. That is untrue and I have posted this comment, which I repeat here as the dreaded moderators will probably get it”.

    Craig, may I suggest that take this opportunity to write a focused and calmly-toned article on the subject and submit it to The Guardian for publication right away? (Make sure there is nothing extraneous in it – other than its core message – to which they could possibly object). Then, if they refuse to publish it, it will be glaringly obvious that their version is untrue.

  • John D. Monkey

    Tom Welsh has beat me to this suggestion.

    Go for it Craig! Short, crisply worded, factual. They might even pay you!

    If they still blackball you, it will be more evidence that Guardian has become a mouthpiece for New Labour spin. I wonder if it’s true that they are frightened of losing all the public sector job advertisements…

  • anno


    Melanie Phillips was holding her ground on the Moral Maze last week, against a group of wishy-washy, is it -was it?, guardian- reading, liberals about unwanted teenage pregnancies. I must confess I agreed with every thing she said. Larry please note, there is much in common between the orthodoxies of Judaism and Islam. Racism against Islam or Judaism at any level, however, is totally unacceptable. I am equally appalled at the holocaust as I am at the destruction of Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq. The connection between the present violence against Muslim countries and Nazism is the presence, now and previously, of media generated racism and the callous amorality of the ruling class.

  • Jon

    @John – interesting idea, but possibly flawed; not that I want to rain on your parade! I like the idea of ‘taking control of the media’, but I think it has been tried before, and been found difficult to fund.

    IndyMedia and ReelNews are both internet based and free of corporate influence, but they remain on the periphery and do not substantially affect the public debate themselves. I am sure there are others, and whoever they are, they are unlikely to affect the public debate too! One could include CommonDreams in that list too, which selects the most progressive stories from the corporate media (and there are occasionally some good ones).

    I might be inclined even to venture that any internet-based news enterprise cannot significantly affect the news culture; I hope I am wrong on that, or at least that it will change soon! Perhaps they only find a willing audience amongst politically minded folks, who are generally in a minority?

    The internet however remains excellent for media activism, as Medialens and FAIR demonstrate.

    This reminds me: I went to a series of open meetings about the future of the media; the audience were very progressive, and one chap was very keen to state at every opportunity that the solution was to “buy satellite dishes”, by which I believe he meant doing ones own TV broadcast transmissions (not on the internet). However, the problem with that is if your news channel significantly threatens the establishment, they are unlikely to let you use existing satellities – and launching ones own is out of the question 🙂

    Giving audiences votes is interesting, but we do that in the electoral process, and they vote for the BNP. And, voters are often more selfish than racist. So I think there is a cultural problem there, caused by years of misinformation that a new channel is not going to instantaneously reverse.

    Meanwhile funding is the big problem. A newspaper is generally funded 25% by the cover price, 75% by advertising. That means that for a non-corporate paper, the cover price has to be around four times the price of a commercial rival having the same amount of content, and the public are driven far more by price than principle. Admittedly, papers like the Morning Star are helped by donations, but how far can that stretch? And though I like the paper, how much influence upon our culture of selfishness does the Star actually wield?

    I wonder therefore that a TV channel, especially if it is broadcast on air, would just not be self-funding, especially given that it might be difficult to find advertisers.

  • anno

    Al Jazeera would be a more appropriate medium for Craig to make his case. The Guardian and its readers are part of the edifice of New Labour. The cornerstone is Thatcherist consumerism, and the building has no windows, lest they look out and see the destruction New Labour has caused of many Muslim countries in this last decade of terror. The entrance doors, viz the comments facilities have many security guards. The Guardian is inward-looking and New Labour supportive and if it had wanted to run a campaign against these illegal wars, it has had a decade to do so. Nothing so far.

  • anno

    The best thing that could possibly happen in this election, in my opinion, would be that all the neo-colonial, privatising, self-seeking, closet Tories who came into New Labour under Tony Blair’s psycopathic spin, now go away and join David Cameron’s psycopathic neo-colonial Tories and leave the Labour party to oppose as forcefully as it possibly can, all the things that Brown would have done anyway.

    Please Craig, for love of Heaven, take note that it is Blair’s New Labour political compromises with the right, that caused the change in UK foreign policy, allowing it to accommodate the previously unheard of acceptance of intelligence from torture. The consequence of that compromise has been to tie up and gag, and completely sideline and ostracise, the powerful feeling of revulsion that the British public feel towards illegal invasions, bombing of civilians, creating refugees by the million, illegal substitution of existing rulers with corrupt puppets of the US, etc.

    Attractive though it is to have a voice in a popular national newspaper, The Guardian in my opinion is a leading instrument of the evil government that has caused these problems under our noses. It is part of the problem, not part of the way forward.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Absolutely, anno. Keep on!

    Also, re. the ‘calmly-toned’ article which some others(in good faith) have suggested, one of the points about all of this is that this is precisely the manner in which the MSM forces us all – people who write – into the shape into which they wish us to be presented – as ‘one of them’; they’d prefer us to write in just such a vacuous, utterly unthreatening spin-meister style. It’s dumbing-down, bourgeois-style.

    So, such presentation evolves into a kind of constant PR and that’s no accident. You end up painting cherubs around elegant and beauteous, but fixed, landscapes. If you want to paint cherubs, that’s fine, but what’s really needed is a revolution in the world of information and that is not going to come he top, nor is it going to emerge form so-called liberal media organs or the bodies that fund them. Their whole raison d’etre is precisely the opposite.

    ‘The Guardian’ has failed the test over a prolonged period. It is a part of the ruling machine. ‘Tungsten’ had it dead right, pulling me up on another thread about the ‘liberal’ media and associated funders. And on yet another thread, Roderick Russell has already told us his very powerful story of betrayal by this media organ.

    I would advise anyone to read activist scholar, Michael Barker’s deeply analytical and wide-ranging work in this, and related, areas:

  • Ian

    I totally agree with all those comments about the Guardian. It is such an apologist for New Labour I find it quite sickening. I now turn to the Independent with all its faults it does have some alternative views (though Steve Richards is beyond the pale).

  • Richard Robinson

    “what’s really needed is a revolution in the world of information and that is not going to come [from t]he top”

    Maybe it’s the same sort of problem as the recording industry ? I mean, production is a lot more accessible & cheaper, you can record music and stick it On The Internet, in the same way as you can your thoughts via a blog. But the bottleneck is distribution, by which I mean – I think – selection. How to get it into the shops ? HMV / newsagent; bring it to peoples’ attention (not advertising campaigns, just being there in the first place, in the places where people look). What I mean is, the getting-it-into-the-shops adds, not “value” but easiness, by pre-selecting. By limiting, precisely. The tiny number of newspapers the limited choice of commercial recordings, in a rack in a shop, offer the fact that they have been selected, according to some fairly consistent set of criteria. If people could stand it last time, they’ll probably do so next time. I suppose I’m predicting that if there were 50,000 papers on sale in a shop, people would buy their papers somewhere else. “Too much” choice requires thought, work.

    And, as already observed, a lot of the information on offer is not the sort of information it quite proposes itself as. I mean, a handy bundle of stuff that’s just about sufficient to let people feel that they know enough to have formed their own opinion. Often, that seems to be enough, people will settle for it. And as you say, another one that can fit into that pattern will be subject to the same forces & criteria. And anyone who doesn’t want to buy any of them, isn’t visible.

    Personally, I like the websites that make it their business to select pieces from a whole range of papers (according, again, to _their_ criteria).

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