Straw in the Stink 1095

The Mail on Sunday is doing a very good job on the odious Jack Straw’s involvement in torture and persecution. I think that at last the truth has entered the established narrative. There is a little box in the report about my own evidence to Scotland Yard. I will type it out here as the Mail’s box format here is not internet searchable:

“Torture” Evidence Handed to the Yard

Further pressure was piled on Jack Straw last night over the “rendition” of Libyan dissident Abdel Hakim Belhadj after sensitive documents were handed to Scotland tard detectives.

Craig Murray, former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, passed the documents to police as part of the inquiry into the behaviour of Ministers and intelligence officials over the detention of Mr Belhadj in Bangkok in March 2004.

The opponent of Colonel Gadaffi was flown to Tripoli, where he claims he was tortured.

Mr Straw, who was Foreign Secretary at the time, has denied ever condoning the use of torture to extract information.

But the documents appear to cast doubt on that position.

One memo, headed “Uzbekistan: Intelligence Possibly Obtained Under Torture” contains minutes of a meeting Mr Murray held with senior Foreign and Commonwealth officials on March 8, 2003 to discuss his concern that the UK could be in breach of international law by possessing intelligence obtained by torture.

The minute, dated March 10 2003, quoted Linda Duffield, then the FCO’s Director of Wider Europe, apparently justifying the use of such material as part of the fight against terrorism.

A second memo, dated March 14 2003, and written by Simon McDonald – the Straw’s principal Private Secretary – to Ms Duffield says Straw has read the minutes and “agrees that you handled this very well”.

Mr Murray is understood to have told police that during Mr Straw’s time at the FCO diplomats were told to only refer to the policy on torture verbally.

Mr Murray said last night “My evidence stated that Jack Straw introduced a policy of allowing evidence obtained by torture to be used. I also told them that written evidence had been destrpyed, and we were told to not commit details into writing.”

There is a slight misquote in the above. It should say Jack Straw introduced a policy of allowing intelligence obtained by torture, not evidence. In fact it was specifically stated such intelligence would not be produced as evidence in court (people were imprisoned without charge or rendered instead). The instruction not to put things in writing was given to me personally, I don’t know if others were told the same. As I was the only one protesting, perhaps not.

These links are to the documents in question.




The first two were obtained by Freedom of Information Act request. Details of the CIA’s colllusion with the Karimiv regime’s torturers have been redacted by the FCO. Last week Jack Straw came out and argued strongly for the effective abolition of the Freedom of Information Act. Now there is a coincidence for you.

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1,095 thoughts on “Straw in the Stink

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  • Jay


    as I know it the hasnt there been efforts in our legal system to try Blair And Bush for there human rights and war crimes.

    Didnt we fail in seeing them in court most recently in Malaysia.

    We need to get at them with cyncism and laughter and honesty.

  • Komodo

    I have to say that notwithstanding all the assurances offered, I find it hard to credit that Craig is so overwhelmed by work that he cannot post a line or two offering some hope of his return. He’s undoubtedly made influential enemies in his time (a sad consequence of telling the truth to power, but an inevitable one):
    viz, eg:
    …and concern is I think justifiable.

  • Uzbek in the UK

    Mark Golding
    Sharing your sentiments of negativism of US global hegemony, I at the same time recall death toll of millions in US-USSR proxy wars during Cold War. In new cold war between US and China it looks like death toll will be much higher as stakes are too going to be much higher since both parties are clearly going to be motivated by material gain (something that was not the case during Cold War since USSR was motivated not by material but by ideological gain). I foresee European Balance of Power type instability worldwide with China asserting its global dominance claims with US opposing and involving its economic and military might. Unfortunately places like Central Asia, Middle East and South East Asia are going to be in the epicentre of this struggle.

  • Mary

    To become a Spad you need to know someone in the party of your choice who will take you on. A survey by the magazine Civil Service World found that 89 per cent of the current crop of Spads had worked for their party HQ or for an MP.
    Most Spads are young with little experience of anything much. They tend to have been in marketing, lobbying or media relations before joining the Westminster bubble. Once in government, they are thrown in at the deep end: they have no training, they are not accountable to anyone except their ministers and the jobs they do vary enormously from one department to another.
    The really scary thing is that so many Spads go on to hold the highest offices:+++ David Cameron, George Osborne, Nick Clegg, Ed Miliband and Ed Balls all started as Spads+++, and all are still young.
    Stand up, you Spads, and be accountable
    The Government’s special advisers are too well protected for the power they wield.
    The author here is correct. The system is unaccountable, open to undue influence, and totally undemocratic. We did not vote for Mr Smith.
    Hunt arrived by way of the coalition. He appears next Thursday. Probably undergoing full rehearsals and training at the moment.

  • Clark

    “SPADs”; they’re never good, are they? SPAD used to mean “Signal Passed At Danger”, which was what lead to the Ladbroke Grove rail disaster. Now it’s “SPecial ADvisor”.

  • Mary

    Protestors are being roughed up in Baju.
    Our septugenarian representative Mr Humperdink is being disingenuous when he says he knows nothing about the situation in the host nation.
    I like the request to the Spanish performers not to win as Spain could not afford to host the tripe. The shares in Bankia (Spain’s largest bank} have been suspended today. We could also ask Mr Humperdink (aka Arnold Dorsey) the same but I don’t think there is any danger of him winning.

  • Mary

    Sorry Baku. An interesting page heavily edited by a state minion I would assume. See SOCAR revenue $10 billion. A very small population too. Encouragement of the remaining Jewish citizens by the President. No mention of the pomegranate producer corporations.

  • Mary

    The charming Frenchman Fred Michel employed by Murdoch did well for his boss. He chose well as his target, the young Adam Smith who became a sitting duck. I almost feel sorry for the 30 year old who looks as if he is about to burst into tears.
    Leveson Inquiry: Hunt’s ex-aide ‘bombarded’ by lobbyist

    Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s former adviser Adam Smith has told the Leveson Inquiry that he was “bombarded” with information from a News Corp lobbyist.

  • jimbo

    Where’s that dude who kept bragging on here about how he was all chummy with Craig Murray, and made sure any social meetings were fully announced on this forum – Frazer or something like that? Doesn’t he know where Craig is, and can’t he drop by to suggest he posts an update once in a while?

  • Komodo

    Wouldn’t feel too sorry for the virginal innocent Smith, Mary. If he wasn’t doing exactly what he was told – and he’s not making that an issue – he wasn’t doing his job. He had more opportunity than most to register any disquiet he may have had about the (probably routine) techniques of engagement used by NI. And he didn’t. Michel in addition seems to have had a direct line to Hunt, with which Hunt was entirely happy. Big drinks later…

  • Mary

    Merci Komodo! They are a precious and pretentious crowd.
    PS Will Rebekah and Charlie be joining us for drinky poos?

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