Weasel Words 723

The Independent have Jack Straw well and truly cornered:

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Craig Murray, who was sacked as UK ambassador to Uzbekistan in 2004 after alleging that Britain used intelligence obtained by the CIA under torture, said he attended a meeting at the Foreign Office where he was told that “it was not illegal for us to use intelligence from torture as long as we did not carry out the torture ourselves” and claimed this policy came directly from Mr Straw.

The former Foreign Secretary said: “At all times I was scrupulous in seeking to carry out my duties in accordance with the law. I hope to be able to say more about this at an appropriate stage in the future.”

I hope so too, and I hope that the appropriate time is either at the Old Bailey or The Hague.

Straw has climbed down a bit from his days of power and glory, when he told the House of Commons, immediately after sacking me, that there was no such thing as the CIA extraordinary rendition programme and its existence was “Mr Murray’s opinion.” He no longer claims it did not exist and he no longer claims I am a fantasist. He now merely claims he was not breaking the law.

His claim of respect for the law is a bit dubious in the light of Sir Michael Wood’s evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry. Wood said that as Foreign Office Legal Adviser, he and his elite team of in-house FCO international lawyers unanimously advised Straw the invasion of Iraq would be an illegal war of aggression. Straw’s response? He wrote to the Attorney General requesting that Sir Michael be dismissed and replaced. And forced Goldsmith to troop out to Washington and get alternative advice from Bush’s nutjob Republican neo-con lawyers.

Jack Straw did not have any desire to act legally. He had a desire to be able to mount a legal defence of his illegal actions. That is a different thing.

Should any of us live to see the publication of the Chilcot Report, this will doubtless be clear, though probably as a footnote to page 862 of Annex VII. That is how the Westminster establishment works.

The SNP has weighed in on the side of the angels:

Revelations by the former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan of the UK’s knowledge and acceptance of torture must see those involved answer questions on what happened.

In an article in the Mail on Sunday, Mr Murray reveals that he attended a meeting at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office where he was told that “it was not illegal for us to use intelligence from torture as long as we did not carry out the torture ourselves” and revealed that this policy came directly from Jack Straw.

Mr Murray also reveals that “there was a deliberate policy of not writing down anything… because there should not be evidence of the policy.”

Craig Murray also states that “for the past year the British Ambassador in Washington and his staff have regularly been lobbying the US authorities not to reveal facts about the UK’s involvement in the CIA torture programme” and claims that is one of the reasons the full Senate report has not been published.

The SNP has called for a full judicial inquiry to be set up as a matter of urgency to get to get to the truth of who knew what and when.

Commenting, SNP Westminster Leader Angus Robertson MP said:

“Mr Murray’s revelation of the attitude taken by then Foreign Secretary Jack Straw only adds to the urgency with which we need a full judicial inquiry.

“Craig Murray’s article lifts the lid on the UK’s role in the human rights abuses that the US Senate has reported on and there can be no more attempts to avoid answering the tough questions that have been posed.

“Clearly answers are needed just as much from the politicians who led us at the time as from those directly involved in what was going on. The need for an independent judicial inquiry is now clear for all to see.

“It is also long past time that the findings of the Chilcot inquiry were published and there can be no more delays to that report being made public.

“There needs to be a full judicial inquiry to get to the bottom of the UK’s involvement in rendition flights that passed through UK territory and the UK’s wider knowledge of the abuses that the Senate has revealed.”

Craig Murray’s revelations can be viewed on page 25 of today’s Mail on Sunday

But with Malcolm Rifkind being promoted everywhere by the BBC to push his cover-up, it remains an uphill struggle.

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723 thoughts on “Weasel Words

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  • Iain Orr

    Repeated from the J’ACCUSE thread because directly relevant to this new one,

    Thanks, Peacewisher, for these reminders [in the J’ACCUSE thread] of how soiled D Miliband and H Blears are; also the disturbing YouGov poll on British attitudes to torture. I have no idea how one could translate the poll into any coherent statement of “British values”. It would be a mistake, however, to take at face value approval of torture (or the use of “information” elicited by torture) for utilitarian reasons. Many people really see torture as “deserved punishment” but most surveys are so worded that they shroud from open recognition this fallen angel of our nature.

    There’s evidence of that in [the J’ACCUSE] thread, in the wish for Jack Straw to be rendered to Libya and tortured there, as was expressed by Farrukh at 6.47 pm on 14 December (on which I have already commented). There was no suggestion there that a justification for torturing Straw would be to extract information. What’s desperately needed is for him to be cross-examined under oath by the sharpest forensic lawyers available. That falls outside the definition of torture, but it is what Straw must fear more than physical torture or being murdered by a relative of those whose torture to death he has facilitated.

  • passerby

    I am looking forward to see Straw and Blair the liar in the dock at the Hague, it is no longer possible to cover up the crimes of the magnitude these two operatives have committed. These psychopaths can no longer enjoy the protection of the establishment without the establishment turning into a joke. Their immunity from the laws and conventions is over, and the time is up for them to stop cock a snook at us the plebs; “watchu gonna do about it?”

  • Peacewisher

    What Blair had to say at the Chilcot Inquiry was very interesting, and very revealing. It showed that Blair is now 100% appearance (i.e. perception) and 0% content (i.e. what really happened). But he is right. We do get all our information about the world via the media, so what really happened may or may not be right and we have no way of knowing at the time. What I’m still not sure of is whether Blair sought to get some semblance of truth out to the UK before FoxNews got going on it, or whether he was right up there with Fox from the start. I hope the former…

  • pete fairhurst

    “I hope so too, and I hope that the appropriate time is either at the Old Bailey or The Hague”

    “Malcolm Rifkind being promoted everywhere by the BBC to push his cover-up, it remains an uphill struggle”

    I agree with you that they should both be charged and tried. You have clearly shown them up for what they are, to your eternal credit.

    Of course anyone who was half awake after 9/11 knew that the whole GWoT process was rigged all along. And anyone who was paying attention to Blair, and his desire for war in Iraq, knew that it was a contrived war to feed into their wider agenda. It was obvious at the time really. But the majority swallowed the lie whole, because they chose not to think for themselves, and accepted the main media BS.

    But I fear that the issue will rest there.

    Which UK politician ever ended up in a court, charged with illegal acts that they committed whilst in power? I can’t think of one. The Establishment always looks after it’s own doesn’t it?

    Which “Judicial Inquiry” ever effectively punished a UK politician for crimes committed whilst in office? Inquiries are just continuations of Establishment cover ups aren’t they? A way of kicking the issue into the long grass. For a generation if necessary; witness the Bloody Sunday inquiry.

    I hope that I am wrong

  • Ba'al Zevul

    whether Blair sought to get some semblance of truth out to the UK before FoxNews got going on it, or whether he was right up there with Fox from the start. I hope the former…

    Hope springs eternal. But just don’t put any money on it. Faux News = Rupert Murdoch, remember him?

    You don’t? Let me jog your memory:



    (The Sun = Rupert Murdoch)

    What murky waters these are. All that was long before Tone’s manly charms proved too much for the mother of his godchild, and Rupe started getting inquisitive about Blair’s Albanian connections.

  • Robert Crawford


    “Mutual self protection at the top”.

    Those in the three Houses that Rule and Govern us would know from the outset, in fact, they would know from the planning stage.

    All of “New Labour” is culpable!

    As well as whoever signed “off” on this Policy.

  • giyane

    Robert Crawford

    ” All of ” New Labour ” is culpable ”

    My local imam always campaigns door to door for New Labour on election day. My MP is Liam Byrne, one of the architects of New Labour’s foreign policy. Byrne was invited to the opening ceremony of the mosque, but didn’t come.

    The leaders of the Muslim community, who you would have thought would have enough self-respect to detach themselves from these New Labour criminal=torturers and war criminals, actively support them and share information with them to intimidate and spy on the ordinary Muslims of conscience like me.

    Fedup eat your heart out. The imams should be made to stand side by side in the dock with New Labour’s Straw and Blair.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Coincidentally to mine at 1333 –


    Blair avoiding publicity. This is getting to be something of a pattern, with the exception of this, which was all over the web –

    A gathering of vultures in the veldt, it looks like. Doesn’t look as if actual miners will be too prominent, let alone African ones. I digress.

    Re. his ‘voluntary’ work for Albania…this page is headed ‘weasel words’, isn’t it?

    I wish we had a conservatory party, btw. Frost-tender patio plants need a friend.

  • giyane

    Trouble is the same imams also are sending men and funds to Syria on behalf of David Cameron’s Zionist war against the Syrians. Their minds appear to be completely disconnected from anything to do with Islam. The institutions of Islam in the UK are now entirely political organisations.

    I hope the imams enjoy their toasty central heating while the innocent starving families of Syria survive winter in tents. Mind-boggling hypocrisy bolstering Straw, Blair and Cameron in their criminal operations.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Confirmation of the Blairs’ absolutely unrewarded lack of interest in carbon-based fuels (See Climate Change Initiative, prop AC Blair, dormant since 2011).


    That’s the Adriatic Oil and Gas Summit. Definitely no connection to the Baku-Puglia Pipeline for which Blair is NOT BEING PAID to sweeten the locals who get their land dug up. Because Blair isn’t there. His wife is….and she doesn’t work for nowt.


    I see Halliburton’s in there as well.

  • Peacewisher

    So the Siegemaker is actually out on bail at the moment! All sounds rather unsavoury… Hope they all get out safely.

  • Ed

    “He now merely claims he was not breaking the law.”

    He’s not in fact saying that. Same as you show regarding the Iraq War, he’s claiming he tried to ensure he acted lawfully.

    He is running with the so-called “good faith” defence, that if he broke the law he did so because he followed bad legal advice (so it wasn’t really his fault). For obvious reasons, in many areas of criminal justice, it’s not a valid defence.

  • Ben the Inquisitor

    Oil Pressure Could Sock It To Stocks

    With crude sliding through the key $60 level, oil pressure could stay on stocks Friday. West Texas Intermediate futures for January closed at $59.95 per barrel, the first sub-$60 settle since July 2009. The $60 level, however, opens the door to the much bigger, $50-per-barrel level. Besides oil, traders will be watching the producer price index Friday morning, and it’s expected to be off 0.1% with the fall in energy. Consumer sentiment is also expected at 10 a.m. EST.

    Consumers stepped up and spent in November, as evidenced in the 0.7% gain in that month’s retail sales Thursday. That better mood should show up in consumer sentiment. Stocks on Thursday gave up sizeable gains after oil reversed course and fell through $60.

    “Oil has pretty much spooked people,” said Daniel Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG. “There just isn’t a bid. With everything in energy and the oil price collapsing as it is, who is going to step in and be a buyer now? The answer is nobody.” Oil continued to slide in after-hours trading. “The selling appears to have accelerated a little bit after the close with really no bullish news in sight,” said Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Associates. WTI futures temporarily fell below $59 in late trading.

    “The big level is going to be $50 now in terms of psychological support. Much as $100 is on the upside,” said John Kilduff of Again Capital. Oil stands a good chance of getting there too. Tom Kloza, founder and analyst at Oil Price Information Service, said the market could bottom for the winter in about 30 days, but then it will be up to whatever OPEC does.

    That was just the intro. Now, wait for it, check this out:

    “It’s (oil) actually much weaker than the futures markets indicate. This is true for crude oil, and it’s true for gasoline. There’s a little bit of a desperation in the crude market,” said Kloza.”The Canadian crude, if you go into the oil sands, is in the $30s, and you talk about Western Canadian Select heavy crude upgrade that comes out of Canada, it’s at $41/$42 a barrel.”


  • Jives

    Ba’al Zevul,

    Tony Blair in Romania eh?

    How apt.

    I wonder which of the black site airfields he landed at?

    Not much publicity there usually…

  • Ben the Inquisitor

    The airport funding is EU welfare…http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/12/14/us-poland-airports-specialreport-idUSKBN0JS06K20141214

    “The European Union has given Poland more than 100 million euros ($125 million) to build at least three “ghost” airports in places where there are not enough passengers to keep them in business.

    The result is gleaming new airport terminals which, even at the peak of the holiday season, echo to the sound of empty concourses and spend millions trying to attract airlines.

    Poland is not the only country in Europe to have built airports that struggle to attract flights. Around 80 airports in Europe attract fewer than 1 million passengers a year, and about three-quarters of those are in the red, according to industry body Airports Council International. Some cost much more to build than the Polish projects. One airport in eastern Spain, open for three years, has so far received not a single flight.”

    Craig; How many SNP members support participation in the EU?

  • Ishmael

    Just dropped in to catch up, great work Craig, and others. Really good to see some movement in this.

    Comment from the mail.

    “I have to agree both Tony Blair and Jack Straw should be put on trial for crimes against humanity, if the UK government wont do it then the International Criminal Court in the Hague should try them.”

    Rated 561 up, 5 down. That’s the kind of popularism I don’t mind.

  • Bert

    In the ‘Intelligence and Security Committee’ debate of 18 March 2010, MP Andrew Tyrie reported what Jack Straw said:

    “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 simply is no truth in the claims that the United Kingdom had been involved in rendition“.

    More here.

  • John Goss

    Thanks Bert. It is a good article which finishes:

    “Straw should now make an official statement that the ‘conspiracy theories’ of which he spoke can now be regarded as ‘conspiracy facts’ and that there does indeed exist a “secret state… in league with some dark forces in the United States” and further that, “the officials [were] lying and [he, Straw, was] lying.”

    We can only wonder if these are the very same “dark forces” include the “many dark actors playing games” of which Dr. David Kelly spoke shortly before his own demise in 2003.”

    It might have been better to have finished “. . . Dr. David Kelly spoke shortly before his own murder in 2003.”

    Unfortunately any law-case about torture would be out of public scrutiny, handled by some establishment judge with a big white brush, the wrong people would be on trial, and some minor intelligence officers would get their knuckles rapped.

  • pete fairhurst

    Bert 4.03


    We are all “conspiracy theorists” now.

    We’ve got to watch out when Cameron makes us all “non violent extremists” though…

  • pete fairhurst

    They’ve been torturing people for decades.

    Operation Phoenix:


    “The program was in operation between 1965 and 1972, and similar efforts existed both before and after that period. By 1972, Phoenix operatives had “neutralized” 81,740 suspected NLF operatives, informants and supporters, of whom between 26,000 and 41,000 were killed.[8][9]”

    “According to one former CIA officer few of the detainees who were interrogated survived—most of them were tortured to death, and those that survived the torture sessions were generally killed afterwards.[19] The torture was usually carried out by South Vietnamese with the CIA and special forces playing a supervisory role.[19]”

  • Ben the Inquisitor

    “She says she personally did not ask for redactions.”

    Plausible deniability. A non-denial, denial.

  • Jives

    Theresa knows nuffink about torture yeah? Nuffink,honest…and even if she did it wasn’t her party wot done it at the time yeah?


  • Mark Golding


    A culture of fear and paranoia indeed-and not from our supposedly fiendishly spectral enemies but from our own supposed protectors.

    Clearly Jives and in concert with Craig Murray’s article which lifts the lid on the UK’s role in the human rights abuses, the Australian secret service ISIS, sorry ASIS, hooked up with ‘Group 13′ and hatched the self styled Islamic cleric ‘Lindt’ plot starring ‘Sheikh Haron’ the Iranian lacky and easy mark.

    Watch out UK and France et al. as Israel blasts Switzerland for acceding to Palestinians with Geneva Convention meeting we have many more patsies in the bag tuned to our needs.


  • Robert Crawford

    Pete Fairhurst.
    They have been torturing people for decades.

    I have known it was going on since I was a wee boy, from stories from my grandpa’s experiences in the first world war, right through to now, from returning soldiers.

    What you posted (operation pheonix) shows they are completely “DEPRAVED”.

    No wonder the “Stanford experiment on Roll Playing”, showed up what it did.

    A sick nation!

  • Neil Saunders

    Keep the pressure on, Craig! Let’s hope that Blair and Straw will be made to answer for their lies, warmongering and complicity in torture at The Hague.

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