Who Cares About Torture in the UK? 89


This is perhaps the best of eleven analyses I have found so far on major US blogs of the new material I recently posted proving a UK ministerial policy of torture.

http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2010/07/01/torture-and-truth/

I have done numerous foreign press interviews in the last two days, including Liberation, Boston Globe and Der Spiegel. But I got the brush off from the Guardian and Telegraph, no response from sending the documents to Channel 4 and the BBC, in fact precisely zilch from the UK media. What is wrong with this country?


89 thoughts on “Who Cares About Torture in the UK?

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  • Anonymous

    Perhaps we are the most controlled, disabled, corrupted country on earth?

  • mike cobley

    Surely that accolade is reserved for the United States of Advertising. But I’m disappointed that Channel 4 news didnt get back to you – I’ve emailed them to express this disappointment and to request an explanation. If none if forthcoming, I may have to use …. the phone!

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Bit of course, the mainstream media in the UK is unlikely to jump to permit systemically criticism of the deep structures of power in the UK, particularly when the individual concerned – Craig Murray – hails originally from deep inside that structure and therefore discourses from a position of irrefutable knowledge.

    I suspect the same would apply in any country with respect to its own structures of power. The foreign press is relatively less worried about criticising the structures and dynamics of power in the UK because they are not dependent on the patronage of those same structures. This is where the true limits of ‘free speech’ lie within the mainstream media.

  • Arsalan

    Torture is what it means to be British.

    The UK has always tortured and will always torture.

  • sandcrab

    This might be relevant, from reddit/politics today:

    Harvard Study: From 1930s-2004, NY Times called waterboarding torture in 81.5% of articles, LA Times in 96.3%. Yet from 2002-2008, NYT did so in only 1.4% and LA Times in 4.8%. The WSJ? 1.6% (1 of 63 articles) and USA Today never called waterboarding torture or implied it was torture.

    http://www.hks.harvard.edu/presspol/publications

    /papers/torture_at_times_hks_students.pdf

  • Malcolm Pryce

    I don’t know, Craig, why do you think it is? Have they absorbed the notion (without needing to be explicitly told) that your information is taboo? Or have they been misled into believing you are a trouble-maker and therefore ‘unstable’? And that once they form this view it is very difficult to shake them from it. I get the impression that journalists are very fixed and rigid in their worldview, although, of course, they are convinced that the very opposite is the case.

  • writerman

    What’s wrong with this country? Well, a great deal actually, but that’s another story.

    One is either inside or outside. Within the circle of power, or not. Craig was once, before he went rogue and native, on the inside track. He had proved his potential to serve the establishment power structure, the deep state, the power that remains no matter how people vote; however, he failed at the vital, final hurdle; the ability to serve even though such service means the total destruction of everything one truly believes in… the willingness to sell out, and sell one’s soul.

    Like Craig, I was once taken to the top of the mountain and offered everything I could see, but there was a price, my soul and everything I believed in, which wasn’t much, but it was all I had, and it was mine. I declined the offer and walked away.

    It’s not about left or right, or these crooked political parties, and their obtuse ideologies. It’s about up and down and Power. Who has it, and who doesn’t.

  • somebody

    Recommend http://www.democracynow.org/2010/6/29/john_pilger_there_is_a_war

    JOHN PILGER: Well, the war you don’t see is expressed eloquently by the New York Times, that range of extraordinary media apologists that we’ve just seen. The reason we don’t see the war on civilians, the war that has caused the most extraordinary devastation, human and cultural and structural devastation in both Iraq and Afghanistan, is because of what is almost laughingly called the mainstream media. The one apology, not these apologies that we’ve seen this morning from Fox to CBS, right across the spectrum, to the New York Times this morning, the real apology that counted was the New York Times when it apologized to its readers for not showing us the war in?”or the reasons that led up, rather, to the invasion of Iraq that produced this horrific war. I mean, these people now have become so embedded with the establishment, so embedded with authority, they’re what Brecht called the spokesmen of the spokesmen. They’re not journalists.

    Brooks writes about a “culture of exposure.” Excuse me, isn’t that journalism? Are we so distant from what journalism ought to be, not simply an echo chamber for authority, that somebody in the New York Times can attack a journalist who’s done his job? Hastings did a wonderful job. He caught out McChrystal, as he should have done. That’s his job. In a country where the media is constitutionally freer, nominally, than any other country on earth, the disgrace of the recent carnage in the Middle East and in Afghanistan is largely down to the fact that the media didn’t alert us. It didn’t report it. It didn’t question. It simply amplified and echoed authority. Hastings has proved?”God bless him?”that journalists still exist.

    /….Transcript and video

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Writerman, do you mean you got the tap on the shoulder, a cup of lukewarm tea and the offer of a raincoat? Was it a Jon Snow moment? Tell us more!

  • Jon

    People who know my perspective know that I am not easily given to conspiracy. But after attending Craig’s evidence session at Portcullis House last year, I genuinely thought the press would be interested, but hardly any publication was willing to pick it up. Here we have a fresh development, and there have been others involving Craig, post FCO, but the result is the same.

    Could this be active interference from D-Notices? I thought they were reserved for items that were not already substantially in the public domain though. SIS knows that, even if something is discussed on the internet, it keeps it’s ‘rumour’ status, and it only becomes respectable discussion if the papers run with it.

  • Duncan McFarlane

    To be fair to the Guardian they do have this report on seven different cases in which Iraqis died in the “custody” of British forces in which the MoD refuses to answer questions on how they died and why

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jul/01/iraq-deaths-custody-military-legal

    I do agree with you that torture by British forces doesn’t get nearly the coverage it should get though – and that when it does the focus is often on hooding rather than all the working in shifts to beat and kick civilian prisoners into unconsciousness or death

  • me in us

    Question to Craig: Have you posted the memo which you quoted in your 2009 article, How a Torture Protest Killed a Career, at http://www.consortiumnews.com/2009/102409b.html :

    – snip –

    We built up an overwhelming dossier of evidence, and I complained to London about the conduct of our ally in rather strong terms including the photos of the boy being boiled alive.

    ‘Over-Focused on Human Rights’

    I received a reply from the British Foreign Office. It said, this is a direct quote, “Dear Ambassador, we are concerned that you are perhaps over-focused on human rights to the detriment of commercial interests.”

    – snip –

  • Ruth

    writerman

    It’s not just ‘about up and down and Power. Who has it, and who doesn’t.’ It’s also about those subservient to this Power, those who in their normal course of duties will commit an isolated corrupt/immoral act such as a defence lawyer ‘who forgets to send off a letter’, a prison governor who at the behest of a state agency detains a prisoner after his release date to help hide state crime or an otherwise well respected judge who makes a perverse judgment again to conceal illegal state acts.

  • Clark

    Duncan McFarlane,

    I read the Guardian article. I’d say that the difference is that the Guardian article focuses exclusively on the Ministry if Defence. It goes nowhere near any question of whether the MOD was following a government *policy* that approved torture.

    This is where attention is not permitted to be focussed – who decided that torture was acceptable.

  • craig

    me in us

    Hi – I’ve not posted that one. I am not sure if I have a copy, to tell the truth – might need a new FOI request.

  • Abe Rene

    You say that you got the brush off from the Guardian and Telegraph. Perhaps you could post their responses, as you have done the FCO documents? As for the BBC and Channel 4, I can think of two possibilities, not necessarily mutually exclusive:

    (a) They feel they have already looked at the material in “Murder in Samarkand”, so that it is not fresh evidence.

    (b) They have succumbed to pressure to ignore you, from powerful people who can influence their funding or careers.

  • Craig

    Abe

    Five of the seven documents are not in Murder in Samarkand because I didn’t have copies. I have only obtained them recently after FOI requests.

  • nextus

    Most journalists I know would have no qualms about hacking up their sources for the sake of a good story but they instinctively stifle anything that makes their editors frown. I think the thumbs up or down is usually dictated by what will sell to the public rather than what might offend the powers that be. Papers love controversies and if the editors feel they can land a blow on the government they’ll generally jump at the chance. However, they’re terrified of embarrassment and demand a high level of trust in their sources, in proportion to the potential impact. Maybe it would help to get a press agent?

    Won’t the establishment just haul out the usual suspects to deny the significance of this evidence? What’s Charles Crawford’s take on it? If you can force him to concede, then the end game is truly in sight.

    @writerman: very well put. The King’s schilling is usually offered informally, over coffee, off premises. They want to test the water first to make sure you’ll accept. Later on, if they think you’re about to wander off message, you get offered extra perks to buy you off. If you refuse, then your fortunes suddenly go into steep decline. It takes a courageous individual to disregard the threat. Craig, you’re a shining example.

  • ingo

    I do care about those tortured, 1st witness is one organisation to support.

    But what I said two days ago stands. They called the bluff by saying that Cameron will initiate an inquiery.

    Since then we had ferocious infighting, no dopubt the Americans are hell bent on influencing what we are exposing here, hence my call for more back up documents from over there, whatever these important documents point to.

    The rejection of Craigs testimonies by the mainstream media is telling of their underlying agenda or of the level of infiltration by the MI’s.

    So whence Cameron finally comes out with his ‘news’ of an inquiery, we have shot all our canons already.

    Why can there be not an independent inquiery, were victims of the Uzbekistan regime are called, were we decide the open agenda and the remit, Holland, being played about by Goldsmith and Blair might just provide the vehicle for such an inquiery.

    Why should the bastards investigate themselves, thats what Israel is doing!

    Although their tete a tete with Turkey seem to have split the cabinet and led to power games between Bibi and that bouncer from Moldova, relations between the two are deteriorating.

    Thanks also to writerman for being so honest here, it makes for better understanding.

  • me in us

    Reply to Craig: Can you say what the date of that memo was? The emptywheel post that you linked to puts things together in time reference to each other:

    – snip –

    That is, [you, Craig, asked your questions of Michael Wood,] is it legal and is it the accepted practice of the government to accept information gathered using torture (ironically, at almost exactly the same moment Jane Harman, having been assured that torture was legal by CIA General Counsel Scott Muller, was asking him whether it was the formal Bush policy).

    – snip –

    and

    – snip –

    Also, it bears mentioning that these minutes [Duffield, 3/10/03] were written within a week of Dick Cheney’s last ditch attempt to claim Iraq had ties to al Qaeda in the lead-up to the Iraq war (the intelligence community managed to vet that specious claim) and about the time KSM’s 183 waterboardings started.

    – snip –

    Where were “commercial interests” in the timeline? Thanks, my deepest respects to you.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    nextus, is the preferred beverage nowadays, coffee rather than tea? Do you speak from experience? Tell us more, please. Writerman, I’m sure many are eager to hear your account, now you’ve introduced the element of suspense… go on…

    Ruth, that’s fascinating, so this is how it can happen without the normative diurnal of the system being interrupted or visibly corrupted. Quiet individual acts of betrayal of principle.

    Thanks.

  • somebody

    Dangerous game

    Editor’s note: The campaign against Moazzam Beg and Amnesty International is led by the McCarthyite Harry’s Place, an Israel lobby operation that specializes in defaming critics of Israel and what it broadly labels as ‘Islamists’ (which according to its definition is any Muslim who is not Ayaan Hirsi Ali). It is also assisted by The Spittoon which is jointly run by members of the neoconservative Centre for Social Cohesion and the Quilliam Foundation. Like Harry’s Place, the Spittoon also uses the cover of anonymity to smear opponents. Both frequently crosspost each others material and coordinate their attacks.

    by Victoria Brittain

    Guantanamo jumpsuit detainees (photo)

    Two weeks ago in Leeds, I gave a peace lecture honouring Olof Palme, which ranged over wars old and new, the bombing of Dresden, Daniel Ellsberg, Wikileaks, Bloody Sunday, and the Turkish flotilla to Gaza. Afterwards I was approached by two young Muslim women. They wanted to discuss the issues raised in the lecture, but also to talk about how isolated they felt and how hard it is for them these days to talk about politics without fearing hostility and feeling that they are being seen as “terrorists”.

    http://pulsemedia.org/2010/07/01/dangerous-game/

  • Suhayl Saadi

    The arrest of the alleged spies in the USA this week highlights a point which has come up here and elsewhere, that people working covertly for various states, including the host state, are embedded in all notable walks of life.

    There is no reason to expect that the UK and US states do not have people embedded in professions and business in their own countries, undertaking covert – by which I mean working to an agenda co-terminous with that of the hard state, rather than solely those of overt mercantilism/ law/ whatever – domestic work on behalf of their own state.

    It is interesting that this alleged spy – see link – worked for a while at Barclays in London. While one is not suggesting in way that this relatively brief period of her employment activity was in any way, shape or form instrumental or that the bank was in any way, form or shape involved in this specific case, banks, of course, being absolute paragons of morality, it is, I think, becoming common knowledge that banking institutions as a sector are likely to be replete with such dynamics and that in some cases, the relationships are indeed instrumental and systemic.

    On rainy afternoons, as one counts one’s bronze, one takes to watching the raincoats stroll by…

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/30/anna-chapman

  • Mat

    Hello Craig

    What you’re experiencing is a phenomenon by no means exclusive to the UK. One can observe similar nonsense in any country where a) there are few political parties capable of taking power, b) the parties are made up of people with little political courage or talent and c) there’s a dense concentration of media ownership. A gradual reduction in the depth of education only helps. With this sort of setup it is far too easy for the press and the politicians to control the agenda for the country. Your documents are nothing short of political wet dynamite ?” little wonder the domestic MSM is reluctant.

    This sort of sweetheart deal is marginally harder to arrange in the US, where the predominant culture is one of suspicion of government and power. But no doubt, work is in progress. In Germany, memories of what happens when the press and the public take their eyes off a government are still far too fresh.

  • somebody

    From Medialens message board

    Eviction at Parliament Square today…

    Posted by Alan Haynes on July 2, 2010, 8:17 am

    Hi All,

    According to the radio this morning on the orders of a High Court Judge, all of the anti-war protesters camped on Parliament Square since 2001 are to be evicted today ?” so presumably this means Brian Haw as well.

    Meanwhile 3 soldiers are to be awarded the Military Cross at Buckingham Palace today for ‘gallantry against an enemy on land’.

    Wouldn’t it be ironic if the cars taking these 3 ‘heroes’ to Buck House happened to drive past Parliament Square at the same time the riot squad were wading in, batons at the ready. Somehow a real statement about the times we live in, where people genuinely craving for peace and justice are given a good kicking, whilst those responsible for killing in the name of a perverted, corrupt establishment are given rewards.

    aa

    Hear,hear, Alan Haynes

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