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.