Daily Archives: March 14, 2014


Belated Self-Congratulation

In January, in the lengthy period when I was not posting this blog received its 5 millionth unique visitor.  That really is quite a lot of people.  Despite having been dark for most of the last twelve months, remarkably after just three weeks comeback it is back in the top 30 UK political blogs, and well on the way back to its former position of being the second most influential UK blog of any kind.

Interestingly this page has been seen by over four hundred thousand people.  Glancing through the locations of the last 100 to look at it, 90% of them were in Scotland.  I might therefore humbly claim to have a small impact on the referendum campaign.  I would stress I am extremely willing to speak at campaign meetings at any time, and will absolutely prioritise any such invites over the next six months.

I should express my enormous gratitude to all those who have helped keep this site going, designers, hosts, technicians and moderators, who have not only put in a huge amount of unpaid time but in some cases contributed from their own pockets to the costs over many years. I am not naming names as some specifically wish to be anonymous, but I am very well aware of who each one is – even though, in an extraordinary number of cases, we have never met in the non-virtual world!

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The Torture Cover-Up

It emerges from the USA that 9,000 documents proving direct involvement of the White House in cases of brutal torture are being withheld from the Senate Committee by the Obama administration.  This should surprise nobody, as Obama has done everything in his power to protect George W Bush and the many in the administration, diplomatic service and CIA involved in the whole secret web of torture and murder.  The entire programme was on a scale and of an order of brutality much greater than anything that has been yet understood by the public.  All of those foreign nationals rendered to Uzbekistan, for example, were killed during or following torture and buried in the desert.

It seems that Obama and the Republicans are combining to make sure that the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the subject – which by all accounts will be damning enough – is never going to be made public in any way that reveals anything not already known.  The Republicans – and Fox News – have already united behind the extraordinary assertion that the CIA were entitled to spy on the Committee’s activity on its computers, because the physical computers had been provided by the CIA.

At least there is some traction for outrage in the United States.  In the UK, Downing Street dismissed the Gibson Inquiry as soon as it became clear that Gibson was not prepared to be a patsy like Lord Hutton.  I had some small part to play in that.  Gibson had instructed the Foreign Office that, in preparing my own evidence, I had to be given access to any document I had been able to see while I was Ambassador.  This caused huge alarm in the Foreign Office and security services as I knew precisely where the incriminating documents lie and how to find them in a way an outsider never could. Gibson’s insistence on my behalf put the wind up Downing Street and Cameron and Clegg decided to cancel the inquiry.  Similarly Downing Street is postponing the report of the Chilcot Inquiry until Chilcot – who is by no means as “difficult” as Gibson – produces a sufficiently anodyne report.  Even Chilcot’s ultra-Establishment panel of pro-war enthusiasts is having some difficulty with the demands on their intellectual integrity. In particular, Cameron is still refusing to let the Chilcot Committee see, let alone publish, the memos between Tony Blair and George Bush which make it absolutely clear the invasion was agreed long before has been admitted, and also cast some light on its true motives.  Cameron’s withholding of the invasion docs is a precise parallel to Obama’s withholding of the torture docs.  The complete media, political and public silence on this in the UK is terrifying in its implications.

 

 

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