Monthly archives: January 2012

Joint Enterprise on Torture

The law is not blind in this country – “joint enterprise” is used almost exclusively against young black men. But I can see no reason why the principle of joint enterpirse should not apply equally to those who set the policy under which people were rendered to be tortured in Libya, rather than merely to the security service functionaries who carried out the policy. In my reading of joint enterprise, if Ministers can show they were not involved in signing off individual rendition permissions, they should still be guilty for having participated in the behaviour that made such results likely, indeed inevitable.

I have given evidence to parliament that I was told, officially, as a British Ambassador, that Jack Straw had initiated a policy of using intelligence obtained by torture. I also testified before parliament that this was an unacknowledged policy which I was told, officially, should not be discussed in writing. The government has at no stage attempted to deny the truth of my account. The government did not submit evidence to the Parliamentary committee to claim that my account was untrue. The government has nowhere stated that my evidence is untrue; they prefer to rely on private media briefings to claim, untruly, that I am mad and alcoholic.

I shall tell the police that those involved in rendering persons to be Libya to be tortured were doing so in keeping with a War on Terror torture intelligence programme authorised by Jack Straw. It is no secret what I will say; here I am saying it.

Of course, I realise that the Crown Prosecution Service and the Met will,three years hence, claim there were no grounds to prosecute anybody. I am not that naive. But the fact of a formal police investigation will force some attention on whether or not my account is true. Ignoring the facts and just being rude about me is less easy in a criminal investigation.

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Iraq Executions

The Iraqi governmnet executed 34 people in a single day last week, and judicial killings are running at over 600 people a year. Extra-judicial killings by state sponsored actors are much higher, and still higher are killings by various violent factions.

Meantime there are less than a third as many operational hospital beds as before the invasion, and less than 20% of the doctors. There are three million maimed people in Iraq. Available electricity in MW/h is about 30% of pre-invasion levels.

I am waiting for a neo-con acolyte to tell us now how the “liberal intervention” has greatly improved the lot of the people of Iraq.

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Torture Cover-Up

The security services are delighted at the cancellation of the Gibson Inquiry into torture. Gibson had been showing worrying signs of independence. To use my own humble case as an example, he instructed the FCO, to their fury, that I must be allowed to see unredacted any document which I had already seen whilst Ambassador, and that I must be provided with paid legal assistance for my evidence on the same basis as other former public servants.

It is true that the terms which the government had set for the inquiry were ludicrous. Security service evidence would all be heard in secret, victims would not be allowed to question witnesses, the Cabinet Secretary, not Gibson, would decide what could and could not be published, and the CIA would have a veto on the publication of anything that related to their activities – including my own evidence.

But it was nonetheless true that a bad inquiry would be better than no inquiry, particularly given Gibson’s signs of fairness. Nothing short of assassination would prevent me from publishing my own evidence online, for example, and I would encourage detainees and others to take the same attitude.

The huge amount of time and energy devoted by the security services to persuade ministers firstly to constrain and then to cancel Gibson, is sufficient evidence in itself that the Gibson Inquiry would have been worth having. John Sawers has devoted more of his time to fighting the inquiry internally than to any single other subject, and become a hero to the torturers of Vauxhall Cross in the process.

It is ludicrous that Kenneth Clarke has announced that the Gibson Inquiry cannot go ahead because of the Metropolitan Police inquiry into rendition and torture anent Libya, when the Leveson Inquiry continues despite the long-running and delberately ineffective police investigations into News International.

The Gibson Inquiry contacted me in a friendly and helpful way, inviting me to submit a short evidence narrative for consideration in the interim report they will publish, to explain and put in context the official documents which I had supplied.

It dawned on me that my evidence of ministerial endorsement of a secret policy of collusion in torture, is extremely important to the Metropolitan Police investigation into rendition and torture, in favour of which Gibson has been cancelled.

This morning I therefore contacted Scotland Yard. I gave details of who I was and what I wanted to give evidence about. I was told a senior inspector would need to be consulted. Eventually, I was phoned back.

Scotland Yard stated that there is no investigation into complicity with rendition and torture in Libya.

UPDATE: Through the Gibson Inquiry secretariat I have now been put in contact with a senior policeman who will see me next week. Insofar as it is wise to comment on a criminal investigation (I certainly don’t want to jeopardise any prosecution) I will keep you posted on how “real” the police investigation seems to be.

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Beavering Away

I am sorry there have been so few posts lately. I am terrifically busy. Yesterday I was up before dawn and back after midnight, having spent the day in Wales. Regular readers will realise that I am working on something I shan’t be able to blog about until it has come to fruition. I was most amused recently by a commenter who called me an “armchair critic.” I shall be in Germany, Brazil, Afghanistan and Ghana in the next two months.

Also I continue to dig into the extraordinary case of Adam Werritty and just why he was holding all those meetings with Matthew Gould, while Gould was Private Secretary to Miliband and then while he was Private Secretary to Hague, and then while he was UK Ambassador to Israel. I have new information, but as I am working on it with someone else quasi-mainstream I shan’t break it before they do. It is a story that really ought to be a television documentary, but given the mainstream media blackout, I was considering whether a podcast format might be a good way to get it further out there. But I need someone who can film it in a reasonably professional way, cutting in pictures, document extracts and interviews in a manner that looks good.

Any ideas or volunteers out there?

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Anti-Scottish Propaganda

I guess we are in for a full three years of anti-Scottish lies from the mainstream media. One of the most common unionist lies is that Spain would veto Scottish independence, as claimed in today’s Independent. This canard has been about for years and is assiduously spread by unioinists. I have discussed it in the past with senior Spanish diplomats, and they have been unanimous that it is impossible that Spain would seek to veto Scottish membership.

Firstly, nobody in the EU has ever left the EU voluntarily, let alone been expelled, and the idea that 5 million EU citizens in a stongly pro-EU country would be thrown out against their will is not in the realm of practical politics. The whole dynamic of the EU is expansive, with countries continually accepted into membership who technically should not be. Everybody knows, for example, that Romania and Bulgaria were not remotely close to compliance with the acquis communitaire when they were admitted. There is no appetite anywhere in the EU to argue that an EU member successor state would have to re-apply.

Secondly, Scots are much liked internationally. There is a strong popular understanding throughout Europe of Scottish desire for independence – bagpipes, Braveheart and a separate football team are an intrinsic part of this strong Scottish popular recognition. There are no votes in Europe in being beastly to the Scots, and that includes Spain. The Spanish government are not stupid. It would be very unpopular in Spain to act against the Scots, and would infuriate the Catalans and actually boost the independence movement there. Tactically, there are times when it is best to pretrend to be relaxed about self-determination, as Cameron is doing.

Thirdly, there is a real difference here with the Kossovans. Spain does not oppose Slovenia, Croatia or other parts of the former Yugoslavia from EU membership. It did not oppose the Czech Republic or Slovakia. Spain does not automatically argue against EU membership for splitting states – that is a lie spread by English unionists. Unlike Kossovo, the Scottish state is not inextricably linkes with organised crime, and is not outside the EU.

Finally, as an example of Unionist lies and tricks, read the Independent article very carefully. You will see that the anaonymous “source” of the claim that Spain will veto Scottish EU membership is not anything to do with the Spanish government, but a Whitehall official.

The actual headline of the article should be:

“Whitehall Official Lies that Spain Would Veto Scottish EU Membership”.

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Catholic Orangemen Orders

Following a recent post mentioning that recently my financial affairs have not been good, a number of readers were kind enough to place orders for The Catholic Orangemen of Togo using the button on the right. I know this because several emailed me about signatures and dedication messages.

Unfortunately I can see no sign of any of these orders in my Paypal account and no money has been received. This is very strange as plainly my correspondents were under the impression they have successfully placed orders and paid. I am worried lest the account has been hijacked in some way I don’t understand.

I recently updated the email address on the account, and that may be the cause of the problems. But I can still enter the account and the details of historic attractions are all still there.

Can anyone who thinks they have ordered check their paypal accounts to see if the funds have indeed gone out, and if it gives any more info on the account to which they went?

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Afghan Farce

The French government has suspended training for Afghan forces after four of their troops were killed by an Afghan soldier under training. Extraordinarily, that makes eight NATO troops killed by their trainees in 2012 already. It is the most extreme example of the complete failure of the occupation to achieve any of its ostensible aims. It is not even achieving any of its hidden aims, other than the channelling of huge amounts of our money to the arms industry.

But do not worry: NATO have come up with a brilliant and effective policy response to this problem. They are suppressing statistics on NATO personnel killed or wounded by Afghan army and police personnel. So that’s alright, then.

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Timing is All

Meryl Streep took best actress award at the Golden Globes for The Iron Lady. There has been much media speculation about the motivation for Alex Salmond choosing Autumn 2014 for the independence referendum, largely centring around Bannockburn. Personally I can see the referendum coinciding brilliantly with Margaret Thatcher’s state funeral in London. That really would clinch it.

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Pardon a rather navel-gazing morning, but I have been thinking about blogging. I am not sure how the Leverson Inquiry got into discussion of blogging, but apparently the editor of the Daily Mirror has described bloggers as “cowboys”.

If you read this blog you would, even in the last few months find definite and documented evidence that Jack Straw is lying about his complicity in torture, that Gus O’Donnell lied spectacularly about Adam Werritty’s number of meetings with the FCO, that there was a secret diplomatic deal between the US and Saudi Arabia that provided for the NATO attack on Libya and the Saudi invasion of Bahrain. You would not know any of those things from reading the Daily Mirror, or any other mainstream paper, with an honorable partial exception for the Independent.

Yet to my knowledge the only blogger to appear at Leverson has been the ultra right pin-up boy Paul Staines.

I have entered this blog for the Orwell Prize this year. I have never done so before. I had not realised, until I received an email last week, that the Prize accepts entries purely on the basis of self-nomination. That presumably rules out most decent people from the start. But I did have to select eight blog entries from 2011 for the nomination, and I found a dozen or so of which I am quite proud. This gave me impetus to move forward with an idea I have had for some time. I wish to bring out a book of collected writings.

My working title is “Zionism is Bullshit – Craig Murray and the Need for Dissent 2005-2011“. I want to bring together not just the best entries of this blog, but published articles, and transcriptions of speeches and talks, as well as highlights of evidence to parliament etc. I probably won’t be able to incorporate comments from the blog, as copyright and permission issues look a bit nightmarish.

A book called “Zionism is Bullshit” is going to have to be self published and sold via the internet. That worked fairly well for The Catholic Orangemen of Togo. There are now 74 left of the original 1200 hardbacks printed. Please buy a copy or two, using the buttons on the right. My hubris has been punished, and in the two months since I announced I will be donating 10% of my income to Scottish Independence, my income has been nil (except £64 profit on Catholic Orangemen sales). Like “The Catholic Orangemen“, “Zionism is Bullshit” will be available for free download.

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American Killers

For those of us who grew up thinking of American culture as related closely to our own, it is quite hard to come to terms with the fact that there is a very substantial strand to US popular culture that makes it a danger to the entire world, and requires a dedicated worldwide effort at containment and reorientation.

If you have any doubt of that, just read the comments here in the LA Times. We know Perry is an arse, but look at what LA Times readers “think”. And remember the LA Times is at the liberal end of the spectrum, insofar as the US has one.

There are more Americans locked up in jails than citizens of any other developed country. Unfortunately, largely the wrong ones.

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Complicity in Torture

So nobody in the security services was guilty of complicity in torture. Those rendered to torture were in fact whisked off by flying pigs. Or maybe a big boy did it and ran away.

I should say I never had the tiniest bit of doubt that the institutionally corrupt Metropolitan Police would let off the security services. Nobody ever is guilty in these things. It was nobody’s fault that an unarmed and unresisting electrician was shot six times in the head as he sat on a tube train. It was nobody’s fault the police subsequently lied about him. It is nobody’s fault that MI5 and MI6 officers were interviewing detainees with freshly mutilated genitals. It was nobody’s fault that, when I blew the whistle on active UK complicity in torture, I was immediately suspended from duty and charged with eighteen allegations of gross misconduct, every one of which was subsequently adjudged to be false. It was nobody’s fault that David Kelly died a horrible, lonely and mysterious death after letting slip the truth – that there were no Iraqi WMD. It was nobody’s fault that hundreds of thousands died and trillions were squandered due to the lies officially published – by nobody’s fault – about WMD.

I have views on this lying exoneration today which are more complex than you might expect. The MI5 and MI6 officers were following policy set out by Tony Blair and Jack Straw, that we should obtain intelligence from torture. It would have been a hollow justice for some junior spooks to be scapegoated while Straw and Blair are walking around as respected international statesman, coining in the money.

Yhe Met investigation was so remarkably “thorough” it did not approach me at any stage, even though I had given obviously relevant evidence in person to the Council of Europe, European Parliament and UK Parliament.

Do watch my evidence to the UK parliament if you have not already done so. Then judge who you believe.

Meanwhile, there is no sign at all that the so-called Gibson Inquiry into UK Complicity in Torture is ever going even to take the lid off the whitewash bucket and get started.

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A Two-Edged Sword

There is a superficial attraction to resorting to assassination to prevent the development of a nuclear weapon. To take the heat of Israel/Iran out of the subject, it is tempting to think it would have been good if North Korea’s nuclear programme had been disrupted by such means.

But once you abandon the framework of legality, you have no grounds to complain if your opponent reacts in the same manner. The notion of “good terrorism” and “bad terrorism” is foolish. It reminds me that the media are very anxious actively to spread the idea that bombs in Syria are false flag operations by President Assad, but were scoffing when my on the spot investigation of the actual evidence immediately on the scene revealed that the so called Islamic Jihad Union bombings in Uzbekistan were almost certainly a false flag operation of President Karimov – very probably with the connivance of the CIA.

To start a competition in assassinating scientists seems to me an extraordinarily foolish thing for Israel, with its large and widespread scientific community. There are reasons to worry about Iran’s nuclear intentions, though nuclear armed and militarily aggressive Israel has no moral standing to be the country asking the questions. But street assassinations are not going to do anything but make the problems worse.

Of course, if war is the intention, these murders are entirely rational.

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Scotland/England Maritime Boundaries

According to existing Westminster legislation, English waters stretch at their North Easterly point to 56 degrees 36 minutes north – that is over 100 miles North of the border at Berwick, and North of Dundee.

In 1999 Tony Blair, abetted by the Scottish traitor Donald Dewar, redrew the existing English/Scottish maritime boundary to annex 6,000 square miles of Scottish waters to England, including the Argyll field and six other major oilfields. The idea was specifically to disadvantage Scotland’s case for independence.

The pre-1999 border was already very favourable to England. In 1994, while I was Head of the Maritime Section of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, I had already queried whether it was too favourable to England. I little anticipated that five years later Blair would push it seventy miles North!!

I should explain that I was the Alternate Head of the UK Delegation to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and was number 2 on the UK team that negotiated the UK/Ireland, UK/Denmark (Shetland/Faeroes), UK/Belgium, and Channel Islands/France maritime boundaries, as well as a number of British Dependent Territories boundaries. There are very few people in the World – single figures – who have more experience of actual maritime boundary negotiation than me.

The UK’s other maritime boundaries are based on what is known formally in international law as the modified equidistance principle. The England/Scotland border was of course imposed, not negotiated. It is my cold, professional opinion that this border lies outside the range of feasible solutions that could be obtained by genuine negotiation, arbitration or judgement.

It ignores a number of acknowledged precepts in boundary resolutions, most important of which is how to deal with an inverted right angle coastline, as the Scottish coastline is from Elgin to Berwick, with the angle point around Edinburgh. It also fails adequately to close the Forth and Tay estuaries with baselines – by stark contrast to the massive baselines the UK used across the Thames and Stour.

It is essential that Scotland is not conned into accepting the existing England Scotland maritime boundary as a precondition of any independence referendum. This boundary must be subject to negotiation between equal nations post independence, and in my opinion is most likely to end with referral to the International Court of Justice. I have no doubt the outcome would be a very great deal better for Scotland than the Blair-Dewar line, which would cost Scotland billions.

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English Tory Interference

If it were true that Scottish voters need London’s legal permission to vote on their own future, that would in itself be a strong argument for independence.

As it is, Cameron’s despicable effort to try to use legal pretexts to interfere in the timing and question of Scotland’s independence referendum, is almost certain to backfire. Cameron both with unionist lickspittle Marr yesterday and with Adam Boulton today, kept saying the government will “clarify the legal position” on a referendum.

Cameron’s constitutional knowledge seems worryingly shakey. The government cannot clarify legal positions; that is the role of judges. The government can make legal claims, it can even publish its own legal advice (something it hates doing); but the law is decided by judges. English judges interfering in Scotland’s referendum would of course be no more popular than English Tories.

We will see later today, but I cannot see any possible legal argument that Cameron can use to back his desire to bring the referendum forward to 2012 or 2013 instread of 2014. Why one date can be legally more justified than another is beyond me. Politically, the SNP campaigned very clearly on the basis of a referendum “in the second half” of this Scottish parliament. Salmond is trying to do what he said he would do when he won the election – a rare and praiseworthy thing for a politician.

I also cannot see the legal argument why there should not be a three choice question. Personally I would prefer a two choice question, and my two choices would be more devolution or independence, on the grounds electoral support for “status quo” parties was insignificant. Cameron of course wants two choices, status quo or independence. But plainly Cameron is acting purely politically, to try to boost the chances in both question and timing of status quo winning. Again his claims to be acting on “legal” grounds appear simple tripe.

Has he consulted Scotland’s Lord Advocate? Is this like the infamous decision of Lord Goldsmith to change his mind and argue that the war in Iraq was legal? Goldsmith flew to Washington to consult George Bush’s law officers, but did not ask the view of Scotland’s law officers.

I strongly suspect Cameron’s “legal” pretext is concocted by English lawyers – lineal descendants in office of those who tried Wallace for treason to a man who was never his King.

Most shameful of all is the position of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, and their continued slide into unreconstructed unionism. I have explained before how the Liberal party’s very political identity was forged in opposition to unionism, how Gladstone fought a massive battle for Irish Home Rule, how Rosebery helped invent modern Scottish nationalism and Lloyd George fought huge battles for at least partial Irish freedom. Being the antithesis of the “Conservative and Unionist Party” is a vital part of the raison d’etre of liberalism as an independent political force in this country, and why for years organised liberalism survived largely in the Celtic fringes.

The political institutions descended from the old Liberal Party have now been taken over by political careerists with no ideological connection to, or interest in, the beliefs of their predecessors. Their only interest is personal power and income.

When I announced I was leaving the Lib Dems for the SNP, a very senior Lib Dem and friend of long standing tried to persuade me otherwise. I explained the party’s enthusiastic unionism as something completely antithetical to its traditions, something which this individual did indeed understand. He said the party remained strongly federalist. I asked whether that meant it would campaign stongly for the “Devolution max” option in a referendum. He replied that certainly, it would.

Yet we now see the Lib Dems are party to a coalition attempt to use legal pretexts to keep the devolution max option off the ballot paper, let alone campaign for it. The Lib Dems have become, as a party, lying, deceitful, untrustworthy bastards completely alienated from their ideological heritage. The good people remaining captive within the institution should leave now.

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IoS on Werritty’s Case

Kudos to the Independent on Sunday, which yet again is the only mainstream media outlet with the nerve to continue to report the real information on Werritty, Gould and Israel.

The rest of the media are content to leave the public with the impression that the Secretary of State for Defence was obliged to resign merely over soliciting lobbyist funding for a too close male friend. It is not the fact of the cover-up which is so shocking; it is its near-total success.

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High Speed Rail

There is no scenery so beautiful is is not enhanced by a train running through it. If the Victorians had equivalents of the silly people from the Chilterns Society, we would never have the amazing beauty of the Settle to Carlisle railway.

The biggest problem about the government’s plans for high speed rail are that they are far too limited. Rail is by far the most resource efficient way of moving large quantities of people, and above all freight, around the country, and is much less disturbing to the environment than the equivalent motorway capacity. An updated and expanded rail network is an absolute necessity for the UK.

Unfortunately not only are the government’s high speed plans very limited, they doubtless will involve a model whereby the taxpayer pays for the construction, the fares are sky high, the taxpayer pays an operating subsidy and yet there is “profit” for a “private” operator and its financiers, who purchase our politicians.

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US Defence Review

Seldom has so much PR hype been given to anything as meaningless as Obama’s US Defence Review. There will be no drop in US military spending, just a smaller increase than previously proposed. The move to less grunts and more zapping from drones and eventually satellites has been underway for years and is simple continuation of technological development. The doctrine of a “right” to intervene anywhere in the World has not changed. The rhetoric is stepped up on a new – and totally pointless – Cold War with China that will keep the military-industrial complex in its dominant position to exploit US society for the next half century. In short, nothing has changed.

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Diane Abbott

Diane Abbott follows Paul Flynn in apologising for telling an obvious truth. It shows New Labour has not changed under Ed – the ability to spout anything other than neo-con slogans is to be stamped out.

I spent several days with Diane Abbott and a small party of other MPs travelling in a bus around Ghana and got to know her fairly well. She is most certainly not in the least racist.

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