Something is, obviously to anybody, missing from this document series and something else is also missing obviously to anybody who has been a Whitehall civil servant.
For earlier documents in the series see here. But the crucial missing documents relate to these two above, labeled duffieldminute and mcDonald.
What is, obviously to anybody, missing is a communication from the PUS (head of the Diplomatic Service Sir Michael Jay, now Lord Jay for services to torture) to Jack Straw. Jack Straw’s Private Secretary minutes “The Foreign Secretary agrees with the PUS that you handled this very well. Thank you.”
Where is the communication from the PUS to Straw saying that Duffield handled this meeting with me, about complicity in torture, very well? We do not have it. This despite repeated Freedom of Information Act and Data Protection Act requests from me for all the documents. I have been told that some documents were withheld on grounds of national security. What did Lord Torture-Jay say to Jack War-Criminal-Straw, that is still being withheld by Hague to protect Straw?
The next part is that which anyone who has worked in Whitehall will understand. The Duffield minute is a record of an internal meeting between FCO officials. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of internal meetings between FCO officials every single day. Some will be on major policy questions, like the future of the EU or global warming. Yet only one or two minutes of internal meetings a day will be deemed important enough to be put into the Secretary of State’s box. An internal FCO meeting solely about matters in Tashkent will probably never have been selected before.
What was so important about this little internal meeting that it commanded the full attention of Jack Straw and Lord Jay?
Anybody who has ever worked in Whitehall will know that it is next to impossible that this minute was simply put before Jack Straw unexpectedly like this.
One of two things must be true. Either Jack Straw was fully up to speed and had been extensively briefed before about intelligence from torture in Tashkent and my attitude to it, or the Duffield minute was put up behind a substantive submission explaining the background. Either way, vital documents are being hidden concerning Jack Straw’s involvement in the policy of receiving intelligence from torture.
It is worth remembering that the FCO did not give any of the documents above to the Gibson Inquiry until I did.