The Gibson Inquiry – Wilfully Blind? 36

Wilful blindness – or worse? The credibility of the Gibson Inquiry into UK government complicity in torture seems to me to fall by the minute. The following facts seem to me almost unbelievable.

Government departments, including the FCO and MI6, are supposed to have already given Gibson all relevant documents so the inquiry can read through them before starting witness hearings.

But the government did not hand over the key document, revealed by Ian Cobain in the Guardian last month, which set out the permissions to operatives on complicity in torture. In fact as an email to me from Sara Carnegie, solicitor to the inquiry, reveals, the government still had not given this document to the inquiry ten days after the Guardian published. It now has done so in response to a specific request from Sara Carnegie.

Just as astonishingly, the FCO papers including those shown above, handed over by me to the Inquiry, were not among those submitted to the Inquiry by the FCO. The Inquiry has now requested unredacted copies. As of five days ago, and two months after I submitted my copies (redacted by the FCO), the Inquiry had still not received these papers from the FCO.

Ian Cobain’s source for his document is a whistleblower. I am also a whistleblower. There is no doubt that the documents produced from these whistleblower sources to the Inquiry are key evidence that the UK government was complicit in torture. There is also no doubt that if it were not for these whistleblowers, the Inquiry would never have seen this material – AND THAT THE INQUIRY IS INCREDIBLY RELAXED ABOUT THAT. So how much other incriminating material is the government still keeping hidden, and the so-called Inquiry not inquiring about?

Which goes back to the specific question on which I challenged the Inquiry. Had Gibson, in his role as Commissioner for the Intelligence Services, seen the document authorising complicity in torture revealed by Ian Cobain? This is the Inquiry’s very carefully worded answer to me on that point.

Further to your email below, I have now had an opportunity to speak to Sir Peter and show him a copy of the relevant document that was referred to in the Guardian article. He has confirmed that he has no memory of ever having seen this and that it would not have been a document that he would automatically have been expected to see at that time.

The statutory function of the Intelligence Services Commissioner was extended with effect from 6 July 2010, to include the monitoring of compliance by intelligence officers and military personnel with the Consolidated Guidance on the standards to be following during the detention and interviewing of detainees. Sir Peter had no role in the drafting of the Guidance. You may be aware that this Guidance is the subject of Judicial Review proceedings and judgment is expected in the near future.

The second para is smoke in your eyes, answering a point I never raised. The first para is a very narrow denial – that Gibson cannot recall having seen a particular piece of paper. It is far short of a denial that he knew of the policy. I think that Clive Stafford Smith’s point is absolutely right. Gibson should not be a judge, he should be a witness.

Suspect might be a better word.

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36 thoughts on “The Gibson Inquiry – Wilfully Blind?

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  • Jonangus Mackay

    How War on Terror turned a senior British envoy at UN into an anarchist:
    ‘I don’t think David Kelly was murdered. I think he was humiliated to death, which is almost worse [ . . . ] We were effectively demoralized — de-moralized — by our State. We were given permission to be amoral.’
    Carne Ross to an audience of 350 at LSE last night:

  • Wikispooks

    John G

    The site runs a Starfield Technologies SSL Certificate. Your problem does seem to occur intermittently and I’ve no idea why.
    All the cert does (besides confirming the site is who it says it is), is encrypt the connection.
    Try using “http://” instead of “https://” as the url prefix if it makes you nervous

  • anno

    The problem Carne Ross identifies as Government inability to deal with the problems that face us is caused entirely by its refusal to listen. Humans need government not direct action, they need their views and experience to be considered. At the moment the only view being considered is the view down the wrong end of the barrel of the gun of economic blackmail by the Zionist bankers.
    For example the entire world is releasing R22 refrigerant in vast quantities into the atmosphere, but I am liable for a £2000 fine in the UK for doing the same.
    Government thinks it can solve these problems by carbon quantitive easing, printing permission to offend. The actual problems are never addressed by governments because they never, ever listen to the people on the ground.

  • Watching Them, Watching Us

    “Ian Cobain’s source for his document is a whistleblower. I am also a whistleblower.”

    Spy Blog letter to the Detainee Inquiry re: lack of whistleblower anonymity protection and immunity from prosecution

    There are several points which the Detainee Inquiry must satisfy before it can be considered to be demonstrating sufficient political independence and technical operations security trusworthiness, for any current or former members of the intelligence agencies, military personnel or civilian sub-contractors etc. to act as whistleblowers.

    1) Publish all of the detailed Undertakings regarding criminal prosecution or internal discipline

    2) “Don’t ask / don’t tell about contact with the Detainee Inquiry” and Developed Vetting Security Clearance interviews

    3) Get assurances that the Detainee Inquiry itself will never be treated as a national security investigation target

    4) Make into a proper whistleblower leak website

    5) Publish a PGP Public Encryption Key

    6) Document Meta-Data should be removed before public publication

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