The Denial of Justice 132

I don’t think any single person who has considered the matter seriously, has any real doubt that Jack Straw was complicit in torture in an active and involved way, and has lied about it continually. There are some who would argue he was ethically justified, but that is a different argument. It is not worth engaging in ethical argument with anybody who maintains that the facts which are the basis of the argument, should not be known.

The Gibson Inquiry was set up by the Government precisely to get to the truth of these matters. It was then cancelled precisely in order to hide the truth of these matters, which is one Hell of a U-Turn. The real reason for the cancellation of the Gibson Inquiry was that it became evident from its initial inquiries, firstly that Gibson was not a vicious calculating placeman like Hutton, and secondly that the number of very senior ministers, diplomats, security service agents and civil servants who were directly implicated in criminal activity was very large.

I confess that the cancellation of the Gibson Inquiry, at which I was determined to give evidence, came as a staggering blow to me. The official excuse for its cancellation was that there are a number of law cases pending over torture of individuals. This was very strange as public inquiries are generally into incidents likely to result in law cases, and the notion that the inquiry cannot run in parallel with law cases is a novel one.

Anyway, I collected myself and I quietly after several police interviews gave my formal, sworn, eye-witness evidence to the Metropolitan Police to assist the police investigation against Jack Straw, Mark Allen and others in the kidnap and torture of Abdel Belhaj and others. That was some years ago, and it is now absolutely plain to me that the very decent and genuine policemen whom I met are being blocked from ever going anywhere with that case.

Now we have the news that the new Justice and Security Act is to be used by the government to ensure that the facts of Belhaj’ civil case against Straw and Allen are forever hidden from the public. It is quite extraordinarily Orwellian that the systematic and deliberate denial of justice is through something called the “Justice and Security Act”.

What an appalling country.

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132 thoughts on “The Denial of Justice

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  • April Showers

    There will be more of his twisting tonight from the state broadcaster.

    Tonight on BBC2, episode 1 of 3. The Iraq War.

    Regime Change

    Episode 1 of 3

    Duration: 1 hour

    The people at the top of the CIA and Saddam’s foreign minister describe just how the US and Britain got it so wrong about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction before the invasion.

    Tony Blair recounts how he flew to President Bush’s private retreat at Camp David to go head to head with Vice President Dick Cheney. Colin Powell explains how he came to make his disastrous presentation to the United Nations. Foreign Secretary Jack Straw describes how he – and even President Bush himself – tried to persuade Tony Blair that to join in the invasion was political suicide.

    The logo on this T shirt is apt.

    I hope Mr Purnell has been ensuring that his previous master’s interests have been protected in this production and that his name is not besmirched.

    (Reposted from the The Sky Has Not Fallen thread)

    How much lower can this country go?

  • Komodo

    How much lower can this country go?

    Beware of rhetorical questions. History shows they can bite you on the arse. Lower.

  • shekissesfrogs

    The inability to get justice through Karzai’s government is what makes the Taliban popular. Sooner or later, it’s going to go to the street.

  • Indigo

    “What an appalling country”

    And what appalling people we have elected – or who have been selected – to run it …

    No matter how much we protest we’re ignored … But it’s not in our name.

  • April Showers

    There’s a media storm erupting on the 90 Afghans being illegally held in Camp Bastion. No charges. No lawyers.

    TPTB brought Col Bob (Stewart) on to BBC ‘News’ to explain that they could not be handed over to the Afghan authorities as there were no assurances that they would not be hurt or even killed.

    He was so intent on his protesting (too much) that he let these words out. ‘In any case they are of no more use to us’. Now what do these words mean?? He was rather red faced and uncomfortable throughout.

  • Frazer

    Actually the use of torture by Afghans on Afghans is relatively rare. Prisoners are treated a lot better in Afghan custody than say American or British hands due to the Pashtun honorific code of hospitality and protection. In Afghanistan, prisoners whom have been handed over to the Afghan system have access to family visits, better food and a chance to mix with other detainees. How do I know you ask ? I know a man who knows a man that is a regular visitor to these institutions as part of his job.

  • April Showers

    The Truth Would Be a Buzz Kill
    The Iraq War is Not Over for the Iraqi People

    In 1946, the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg stated the following, in language that was introduced by Judge Robert Jackson, the lead American prosecutor of Axis war criminals:

    To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.

    This means that those who launch a war of aggression are responsible for far more than just the initial death and destruction caused by the war. They should be held responsible for all of the “accumulated evil” that follows and that would not have otherwise occurred. This is a very succinct and intuitive ethical precept that is virtually impossible to argue against. But while this injunction can’t seriously be disputed, it can be ignored, and, in fact, often is by powerful states. Unfortunately, Jackson’s own government has never taken his words seriously, and this has never been more evident than in the case of Iraq.


    PS Body count quoted there is wrong, as usual.

  • Jemand

    I think it is now a pretty clear truism that there is an inverse relationship between power and accountability. I’d like to hear of ideas of how that can be corrected.

    Having said that, I also think that there is a dirty grey area in which many people operate and must operate in order to reconcile performance demands with outcomes. Unfortunately, in the same way that people don’t want to know under what conditions their inexpensive garments are made, they also don’t want to know how their government s deliver national security.

  • fedup

    Straw is a wanker of gargantuan magnitude. His hypocrisy in waving around the little UN blue book in every press opportunity he had during the build up to Iraq war. This was a choreographed move to convince the wavering Iraqi generals to do the “right” thing and take the dollars and make a run for it, or else a trumped up trial awaited them.

    The torture enabling, mass murder facilitating bastard should be in jail.

  • April Showers

    ‘Unfortunately, in the same way that people don’t want to know under what conditions their inexpensive garments are made, they also don’t want to know how their government s deliver national security.’

    Ref the content of the last clause, this person does and so do many, many others. They also want to make the necessary changes.

  • Komodo

    Foreign Secretary Jack Straw describes how he – and even President Bush himself – tried to persuade Tony Blair that to join in the invasion was political suicide. (cited above)

    Straw doing his best to avoid the Iraq war here:

    The inquiry has heard that Sir Michael, former senior legal adviser at the Foreign Office, took issue with Mr Straw in January 2003 over his assertion in a meeting with US vice-president Dick Cheney that Britain would still be “OK” if it failed to get a second resolution.

    “He wrote to the then-foreign secretary in a memo: “To use force without Security Council authority would amount to a crime of aggression.”

    Mr Straw replied: “I note your advice but I do not accept it.”

    Sir Michael told the inquiry: “He took the view that I was being very dogmatic and that international law was pretty vague and that he wasn’t used to people taking such a firm position.

    “When he had been at the Home Office, he had often been advised things were unlawful but he had gone ahead anyway and won in the courts.””


  • Indigo

    “… people [ … ]also don’t want to know how their government s deliver national security”.

    Hope you’re omitting the Iraq war and our so-called war in Afghanistan … don’t think either of these has anything to do with national security.

  • Tony Gosling

    Straw bad yes but worse was David Miliband thought he was being smart by covering MI5 & MI6 sanctioning torture, out of power he realised the best thing to do was scoot off to the CIA front like the glove puppet he is, International Rescue

  • Chris2

    “I also think that there is a dirty grey area in which many people operate and must operate in order to reconcile performance demands with outcomes.”

    In other words: some people do whatever they are told to do…

    “Unfortunately, in the same way that people don’t want to know under what conditions their inexpensive garments are made, they also don’t want to know how their governments deliver national security.”

    ..and they don’t care what it is, just so long as they get paid.

    And, of course, protected from the consequences.

    Straw has made a mockery of the law, he and his colleagues have been involved in kidnapping, torture and murder on a massive scale. The idea that such behaviour contributes to “national security” rests on the belief that protecting criminals from punishment for their evil actions is a national objective.
    Sodom and Gomorrah were shining refuges of virtue and civic decency in comparison.

  • Komodo

    Thanks for that link, Crab. Also on the site, I recommend:

    So…‘Unfortunately, in the same way that people don’t want to know under what conditions their inexpensive garments are made, they also don’t want to know how their government s deliver national security.’, from another point of view becomes-

    ‘Fortunately, in the same way that people can be sold inexpensive garments, they also can be induced not to care know how their government s deliver national security.’

  • Cryptonym

    Whilst there are nuances, ethical arguments etcetera, it would be useful for the public to have a comprehensive list of names, down to the last underling and toady; no details of specific domestic or international crimes, treasonous treacherous loyalties, simply a vast collaborative comprehensive list of named Baddies to which the public can refer at election time or if any named figure so much as ventures to pontificate, spouting hypocritically in public on any matter whatsoever, or even show their face without an army of minders. A terrific blacklist covering politics, journalism, finance, corporate crimes, military and security, the morally polluted and the vile. Anyone claiming to be libelled has no specific accusation they can refute or claim defames them, by contesting inclusion they can only dig for themselves and others a bigger hole, implicate others or exonerate themselves if clean; the obligation is on them to prove or disprove their innocence or virtue -in doing so they would open a whole can of worms. Let’s unashamedly have a glorious unstoppable witchhunt or a sort of RoguesWiki. With a Miscreant of the Week, highlighting a target for organised ridicule and contempt where vigils and crowds dog their every footstep and moment. Name and shame. Right now there are so many Baddies still in positions of power, that opposing them is so diffuse and weak, but with everyone focusing on and going after just one at a time – and Straw seems a good place to start – defer everything and everyone else and concentrate on one person till they are driven by ostracism and fear to come clean and plead for mercy.

    1. Margaret Thatcher
    2. Anthony/Miranda ‘Charles Lynton’ Blair
    3. Gordon Brown
    4 David Cameron
    5 ‘Jack’ Straw
    6. William Hague
    7. All of Thatcher’s cabinet
    8. All of Blair’s cabinet
    9. All of Brown’s cabinet
    Hitler, Stalin, Yorkshire Ripper, IDS, Kitson, Churchill, Heath, the Bush clan, Savile, the Krays, Kissinger …

    Or keep the dead and the living separate? You get the idea.

    At least a Top-100 of the twisted and tainted, (there might be substantial overlap with the ‘great and the ‘good’. Though inclusion might become a badge of honour amongst them.

    Either that or a parallel untainted investigative police, courts and detention system.

    Clearly the English courts are dysfunctional. Scottish Courts, which should never submit to or be subordinate to to the ‘authority’ of the politicised Supreme Court/new Law Lords, should be forced to take a keen compulsory interest in crimes particular to their jurisdiction – e.g. rendition through Scottish airports such as Prestwick – on charges such as kidnapping and whatever else that can be thrown at them, let’s start putting some big names in any dock as a first step. A stumbling block might be masonic interference and their blatant influence on Procurator Fiscal’s offices and high echelons of the police.

    Afghanistan seems almost idyllic in comparision with the festering UK.

  • pete

    Good for you Craig, I’m glad this small record of dissent still exists amongst if the blizzard of self-congratulation the leaders of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts keep engaging in.
    It would be nice to live in a century where the UK was not involved in a war in far east, what are the chances of that?
    Did they ever catch up with Kissinger?

  • Jives

    13 December 2005:

    “Unless we all start to believe in conspiracy theories and that the officials are lying, that I am lying, that behind this there is some kind of secret state which is in league with some dark forces in the United States …There is simply no truth in the claims that the United Kingdom has been involved in rendition full stop, because we never have been.”

    – Jack Straw to the Commons foreign affairs committee


  • Pan

    “It is quite extraordinarily Orwellian that the systematic and deliberate denial of justice is through something called the “Justice and Security Act”.”

    Rather like the giant American military base which, built on the Chagossian island of Diego Garcia, after the cruel forcible removal of the island people by the British government, was named “Camp Justice”.

  • Techno

    “What an appalling country.”

    I know. I think that pretty much every day now.

    Was it always like that and I just wasn’t aware until recently? I mean, unsavoury things have always gone on away from the public gaze. Or has there been a genuine deterioration in recent years?

  • Juteman

    Straw is a clown. An evil clown, but still a clown.
    I remember him getting the hots for Condoleeza Rice.
    He used to follow her around with his tongue hanging out like a 15 year old boy.
    He even changed to contact lenses after decades of wearing spectacles.

  • Indigo


    I ask myself pretty much the same question fairly frequently and then I remember the Empire and Churchill’s unmitigated support for it and all it’s acts of unimaginable cruelty … and the Chagos islanders … and … and …

    I think it’s always been the same, run by the same kind of people with the same goals. We may be more aware now – for the world has changed – but they haven’t. Even if those who wish to know know more they are confronted with denial. We have little chance of proving differently when our law, courts and government documents are controlled by them.

  • Art FitzWalter

    George W Bush was ‘made’ president by the Supreme Court not by the citizens of the United States. He should be referred to as Governor Bush, therefore. Russia Today broadcast a documentary on Iraq, detailing the huge increase in cancers in the population and the birth of babies with hideous defects. A doctor explained that the mothers threw the babies away. You can find pictures of these babies on the internet but you need a strong stomach. Meanwhile, Bush and Bliar continue to avoid prison and are free to write their books and make expensive speeches.

  • Haemoglobin

    For some reason, we in Scotland are being spared the BBC Iraq war series. Can’t say that upsets me. Why should these guys be offered more platforms with which to attempt to justify the unjustifiable?

    In the David Butcher Radio Times piece on the programme, we are told how “In the case of Iraq, the key question we want to know is how world leaders came to believe Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.” David Butcher can speak for himself, but the key question I want to know (the answer to) is how to do something about the ignorance of the David Butchers of the world, and how to stop this ignorance from spreading.–series-1—1-regime-change

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