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.

1,095 thoughts on “Straw in the Stink

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  • Ruth

    Yes, they’ve been caught with their pants down, which is great. And it all substantiates exactly what you’ve been saying for a long time.

    It not only reveals the barbarity of the British government, but all its treachery to turn on its best buddy, Gadaffi.

  • Frazer

    You can also see the full report on the Mail Online…Nice photo of Tony and Jack looking suitably smarmy…

  • Katabasis

    I’ve often wondered how it is possible to have open and honest politics in any country with a well funded “intelligence” “service”. Equally I’ve just as often wondered why they are left out of common political analyses or narratives (left or right) – after all they can interfere at any stage unaccountably.

  • Mary

    O/T but also relevant.

    Interesting that a main daily is reporting this alone, ten days after Dr Holmes went missing, the choice of image and the ‘reassuring’ statements of the coroner’s officer. Also note the site of discovery – frequented by dog walkers, and the alleged googling for toxic substances. Also absent is a statement from Dr Holmes’ wife. However, we will see how the statutory authorities handle it and meanwhile observe as best we can, remembering that common things are commonest.

    Also this which gives the date Dr Holmes went missing.{}
    As Alice said, ‘Curiouser and curiouser’.

  • Anon

    Mary, from your link.

    Before finding his body, Wiltshire Police made a public appeal for information but warned people not to approach Dr Holmes for their own safety because they believed he had been ‘looking at information on the internet regarding self-harm and the use of toxic substances’.
    Friends of Dr Holmes say this disclosure irritated his family, who questioned why a scientist engaged in chemical warfare research would ‘need to Google toxic substances’.
    …Mr Tranter said the results of tests carried out to establish the cause of death would not be known for several weeks.
    He added: ‘Police do not consider this death to be suspicious in any way, nor do they believe there was any third-party involvement.’

  • nevermind

    Scotland tart detectives would not be too far off. Just been on the Lancashire Telegraphs site, Jack Straw owns every person on that rag. Usingh their search facillity I entered ‘jack Straw rendition’, it threw me out.
    This is Jacks sucking up to Cameron, no doubt in anticipation nof what he has coming to him.
    Sorry to soil your blog with this reference to a corrupted newspaper outfit.

  • Dr Paul

    I like the ‘Libyan dissident Abdel Hakim Belhadj’. Makes him sound so nice, someone who is being unjustly punished because of his critical opinions. The man is essentially no different to a certain Mr Qatada, whom the Mail above all wants shipped off to meet an uncertain fate in Jordan.

    I’m not in favour of the British state and its assistants kidnapping or forcibly expelling anyone, however odious, to face ill-treatment abroad, and Mr Straw’s vile behaviour in this case at the time and his wriggling now are typical of the man. However, what also interests me is the way that Mr Belhadj has suddenly been transformed from an evil Islamist terrorist into a respected statesman. Such, I guess, are the vagaries of international politics.

  • nevermind

    Dr. paul, Mr. Belhadj never was an ‘evil islamic terrorist,’ which should answer your pre suppostitions. Unless you have proof for your assumptions, please refrain from sounding like a propaganda dick.
    Nice to try and make out that Belhadj and his wife and children who all endured torture, are ‘essentially’ no different than Abu Quatadar. What is your undwerstanding of essential?
    Can you reference any of Belhadj hate speeches and mass rallies he spoke at?
    saying all this and thanks to Dr. paul for his spice here, we should expect some of JS dependent newspaper hacks and other carpet baggers to ‘Jack-barras’ us over the next few weeks? Should be fun to talk to them about the stinking corruption that has kept Jack in his constituency office for so long.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq Association

    Speaking of terrorism, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, a French hopeful in the Presidential election, talks sense when he declares that immigration control is not the reason terrorists are facilitated, it is security that is the problem. I agree, the security services use these people to their own ends, a dangerous modus operandi.
    Nicolas also disagreed with America’s missile defense network and French subservience to US expansionism. He said French soldiers should not be embroiled and dying in Afghanistan.
    Nicolas Dupont-Aignan would get my vote.

  • harpie

    CM: “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)”

    Will the paper be told about this error? I think they should print exactly what you wrote here.

  • Clark

    Nevermind, with respect, I think Dr Paul has a point. Abu Qatada has been charged and questioned, but the charges were dropped due to lack of evidence. There are several similarities about the cases, notably that the secret services worked with both, and both, if deported, could (have) face(d) torture.
    What is notable is the utter cynicism of the British state and its secret services, who will use people in such situations, only to betray them later. Whether any particular armed group, or people in some way connected with them, are portrayed as “allies” or “terrorists” seems to be entirely determined by political convenience at the moment concerned. A better recipe for brewing resentment has yet to be invented.
    Nevermind, have a look at Abu Qatada’s Wikipedia entry. He may well have preached objectionable things, I do not know, but even if he has, that can never be a justification for deporting him to face torture, no matter how loudly the newspapers bray for it. Dr Paul states this, also.

  • Ruth

    ‘In February 1996, Islamic extremists attacked Gaddafi’s motorcade near the city of Sirte. Allegedly, Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service was involved, which was denied by future foreign secretary Robin Cook. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office later stated: “We have never denied that we knew of plots against Gaddafi.” In August 1998, former British MI5 officer David Shayler renewed his attacks on the secret services, claiming that MI6 had invested £100,000 in a plot to assassinate Gaddafi.’ Wiki.

    So if Shayler’s allegation is true, it displays the same treachery in MI6’s relationship with Gadaffi.

    It appears to me that the Intelligence Services of our great nation would even torture their own mothers to squeeze out a little income.

    Dr Paul you need to read the Sunday Mail online a little closer, ‘In 2004, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission ruled that the LIFG was only interested in opposing Gaddafi – not mounting terrorist attacks in Britain.’

  • John Goss

    Over the past months I have been warming to the Mail, a newspaper I never used to buy. It is more affordable than some others and has constantly raised cases, like the Dr David Kelly death, which others have shied from. It even raised this story, which is so like the Kelly death to be almost unbelievable.
    Nevermind, I actually think Straw’s piece in his column in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph is quite revealing, especially the paragraph that reads:
    “After the United States, which is in a league of its own, Britain’s defence industries are among the largest in the world. In East Lancashire a huge amount of employment and prosperity depends on multi-national giants like BAE, and Rolls-Royce – and on scores of smaller firms in the supply chain. As we know from the recent redundancy announcements by BAE, when one of these companies sneezes, the whole area can catch a cold.”
    The Serious Fraud Office investigated BAe for bribes and corruption in its arms’ sales to Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately Baroness Patricia Scotland used powers she should not have to prevent the prosecution going ahead. While Straw here is showing how important, in his opinion, these arms industries are for his constituents, he also mentions how he went through all the arms’ sales documents with a fine tooth comb. So at least he has established that he reads everything thoroughly. Hopefully this will be his downfall when the war-crime trials begin.

  • Dick the Prick

    I bet Straw folds on Blair but unfortunately this is the real world and documents go missing. Still, cheers Craig, will get some longlife popcorn.

  • Fedup

    Anyone can remember David Shayler?
    The whistle-blower who first revealed the plans for assassination of Qaddafi, and was hounded for years wrecking him to the pitiful state that he is in currently?
    The incarcerations of the Muslims without any legal basis and the constant harassment of the Muslims in general are akin to the Hitler persecution of the Jews, and their detention without any legal basis in the fascist Germany, but who can dare to draw any parallels?

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq Association

    John Goss,
    Next week the inquest into the death of MI6 spy Gareth Williams begins.
    Friends of Gareth have said they fear he will become another victim of a “cover-up” by the British state, likening his death to that of weapons expert David Kelly and now Dr Richard Holmes.
    According to a source at RAF Valley in Anglesey, Gareth’s mother Ellen sadly has become withdrawn and father Ian, who works at the local Wylfa nuclear power station, has shied away from confirming and expanding a statement made by the family’s lawyer, Anthony O’Toole that a third party, another MI6 spook, was in the flat when Gareth died.
    Ceri Subbe, Gareth’s elder sister, a married physiotherapist from Chester, was described by her friends as severely traumatised by her brother’s peculiar demise. She is among 27 witnesses, including two MI6 officers, due to give evidence at the inquest.

  • Ruth

    I think the most probable reason why Gareth Williams was killed was because he confided in someone about the work he was doing because he didn’t like and he was made an example of.

    According to the Mail Online Gareth Williams ‘was working on equipment that tracked the
    the flow of money from Russia to Europe.

    The technology enabled MI6 agents to follow the money trails from bank accounts in Russia to criminal European gangs via internet and wire transfers, said the source.’

    It may be that some of this is true but there was a different element more akin to what the intelligence services get up to in that he was in fact working on equipment that could enable the SIS to steal from the money flows.

  • nevermind

    deportation in a globalised 21st century is wrong, something we all can agree to. If Abu Quatada has charges to answer, then he can be served with these charges here, if they are valid he should go to court.
    This terror game is feeding some powerfull companies and people and I don’t see this man as invincible, the arch model enemy, we need to be reminded of, is an alledged terrorist and instigator. Well try him and be done with.

    Why has Britain felt unable to let go of Aby Quatada for so long? Answer, because he is b eing used to justify their own rage and torture. They don’t care what Jordan does to him, never did care, why should they, nobody cared about the others who got moved about from prison, to prison, torture to more torture, incl.
    If Straw gets a real trial, it won’t be fair whatever happens, he will fall on his sword, Aby Quatada somehow justifies JS’s whincing.
    But what of all the other easy cases, deportations to the US for daring to break their intetrnet cartel. Anything that interferes with their internet dominance can be deported instantly, no protection. Fact is, we are using these sorry figures for our own ends, just as Merah was used by the French secrete service. Aby Quatada fits into the BBC’s rightwing agenda, their sickening repetition of the nazi salute, the whole sordid coverage of the trial, no questions asked to his brethren yet.
    What better than to amplify that notion with another story about evil islamic terrorists, I’m surprised they haven’t offered Melanie Phillips a half hour rant on the license fee payer, hence my goat with the term.

    the war on terror construct is a daily propaganda chore and its being kept up, to relent would make us start questioning the whole orifice, the new cards at the top always covering up those at the bottom, nothing must reveal itself as being constructed and planned.
    What connects Holmes,kelly and Cameron? and what did a GCHQ man know about it? Are we seeing a series of death of persons connected? Do they really think nobody noticed?

    What weird times we are living in, when it feels as if Moscow is almost boycotting the Olympics, not because our blodshed caused in Afghanistan, but because NATO is pulling out, scared about their own hyde. They are worried that their southern states could rebell and become Independent Muslim countries, faster if there are radical madrassas in Pakistan and Afghanistan, worried that there will be an armed and strong’ish Afghanistan left to its own internal strife which could further the idea’s of a caliphate.

    What a prospect that must be for Uzbekistan’s murderous family in charge.

  • Mary

    The murky world of Russian billionaires and protection rackets.
    This name of Cherney is a new one to me.
    ‘Mr Deripaska is facing a £1.6 billion legal action by one of the men he claims he paid.
    Uzbekistan-born billionaire Michael Cherney, who is living in Israel and is the subject of an international arrest warrant, is bringing the action against the businessman because he claims he failed to give him 10 per cent of Rusal.
    Mr Deripaska denies the accusations and said he only gave Cherney money for protection.’

  • guano

    The freedom of 1979’s capital liberalisation was accompanied by the freedom of government to monitor its flow through new technologies. I remember a policewoman assuring me in 1998 that it was much too complicated and expensive a procedure for them to track a vehicle. A flat lie.
    With regard to political Muslims, it is inevitable that they became aware of the application of spying technology to their utterances a good 20 years before the rest of us because they were used to being spied on by the Western dictators. They therefore developed double-check on all their utterances, to make sure that they could enter and reside in the West, and participate in the global political game at the invitation of MI6, under the false label of Asylum.
    If Mr Belhadj wishes to retain the status the BBC has given him, as senior army commander, rather than his popular image as Al Qaida jihadi, he has to keep his utterances confined to issues like human rights, while figures like Dr Kelly, Mr Abu Qatada and Dr Qaradawi who maintain a much more principled, moral/ethical dialogue on politics are jettisoned with other moralists like Mr Craig Murray.
    And further, the political Muslims who understand how to keep their private ( recorded by MI5/6 ) and public utterances within the required limit, i.e. not presenting the moral/ethical/political case for Islam, can get away with extensive bullying and persecution of their fellow Muslims.
    The West desperately needs good Muslims who by their silence of protest against the garbage of establishment, royalty, the Geneva Convention, NATO, the United Masons, inflate the grandeur of Western supremacy, and are inflated in return by the BBC.
    Political minds of all complexions cannot resist the opportunity to dominate their fellow human beings, in exchange for conforming to their superiors political agendas.
    Under the Muslim dictatorships or the dictatorship which we call Western democracy, the art of duplicity has been perfected.
    The martyrs are those who sacrifice their power and influence for the honour of speaking the truth. Abu Qatada was one such man and I see no difference between Straw/Blair renditioning Belhadj and May/Cameron renditioning Abu Qatada.
    Nor can the European Court of Justice apparently. Good on them.

  • guano

    i.e. if you avoid thought crime, speaking against the status quo of the West, you can go around with UK special services buggering your leaders, raping and killing your fellow Muslims in foreign countries and using western heavy fire power which the Western media will report as state oppression by the likes of Gaddafi and Assad.
    Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for the removal of the tyrants of the Muslim world. But these guys gain power by refusing to speak against the Western, if not Zionist tyrants who control those tyrants. That to me is betrayal, Chiyanat, treachery of the highest order to their brothers and sisters, inside and outside Islam who are in the West and who want justice.
    They may feel that it is justifiable to sacrifice the struggle for freedom of those who reside in the West, for the sake of those who are living under dictators.
    As a Muslim and as a dissident I tolerate their treachery, for the sake of the removal of the dictators. After the dictators have been removed, we need have the political minds of Islam back with us to destroy the Big Shaytan of the West. The West is counting on the compliments and influence turning these political Muslims’ heads so they forget about our oppression, which is psychological rather than material.
    You shite on this blog who think that you can reform our system without the need of assistance from political Islam, are what makes the Establishment happiest.
    The Daily Maggie Mail in this instance is playing the game of chief head-turner of political Muslims. They don’t care about torture. They only care about the Neo-con, stuffed agenda surviving the influence of independent, moral thought.

  • Komodo

    John is right to highlight the Straw – BAE connection. From the public memory hole:,,2098531,00.html
    Note also the involvement of Qatar, kind providers of a mosque to Blackburn.
    Elsewhere I note Straw’s sidie (@ £50K annually) consulting for a division of Man Group. What I had not picked up was that until 2007 the CEO of Man was “Sir” Stanley Fink, Jewish Leadership Council vice-chair and treasurer of the Conservative Party.
    Y’know, Im getting really sick of finding the same names popping up in connection with dirty deals.

  • nevermind

    far from repeating my tome, John Humphries made it clear this morning on radio 4. What a surprise the PM agreed to a 20min. plus interview in ther middle of a local election campaign.

    Grilled on the problem this novice Government is facing Humphries duly mentioned Theresa may’s difficulties with counting and our model for islamophobic propaganda, Abu Quatada, was mentioned, so was tax evasion, an instant invitation to Cameron to start stuttering, but
    NO mentioning of extraordinary rendition, Jack Straw or Cdr. Belhadj, what a surprise. Why is Cameron missing this prime opportunity to have a go at Labour?
    What does Straw know of cameron?

  • Komodo

    See my post, Nevermind. Especially look at the link. Lovely insight into Goldsmith there, too – the rule of law is irrelevant if the national interest is at stake. Straw doesn’t need to have dirt on Cameron, and Cameron doesn’t want dirt on Straw to be known – why? Because they’re all in it together, dancing to the tune of the lobbyists.

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