Trenchant criticism of the UK by the United Nations over its human rights record would have been major news in the pre-Blair days. One of Blair’s “achievements”, which in the 1990s I should have thought impossible, was to win the acceptance by the public and the media of the practice of torture and other gross abuses by the state.
Ian Cobain continues his dogged work on the subject, and everyone should read his report. The lack of prominence accorded to it on the Guardian’s website is telling. I should acknowledge that for some reason Ian has conceived a serious dislike of me; he remains one of the few mainstream journalists worth reading. Pilger, Fisk, Oborne, Cockburn, Cobain, Milne – that’s about it for those I look forward to reading.
I am speaking today at a rally for Bradley Manning outside the US Embassy. I was reflecting, that when I leaked a few secret telegrams on UK complicity in torture, despite many threats the government did not prosecute me under the Official Secrets Act because they did not want the publicity. Today, under the Justice and Security Act, I would be tried in secret, would have still been in jail now, and anybody who reported the facts of the case would have suffered the same fate.