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.


723 thoughts on “Weasel Words

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  • Mark Golding

    was a clear international treaty that allowed the continuation of the Russian naval base in the Crimea – which Putin violated when he seized the Crimea.

    What!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kharkiv_Pact

    Anyway we kept the yanks out of Chersonesos Taurica; those red-necks would smashed the ancient Greek theatre that my travellers built like they have in Iraq and Syria. Respect!

  • Macky

    Mark Golding; “What!

    Don’t be so surprised Mark, as Herbie has already stated; “He just makes this crap up, or more likely has it made up for him”.

  • Resident Dissident

    Perhaps Mark Golding should bother to read his own links

    “Shortly after the (disputed) March 2014 accession of Crimea to the Russian Federation,[7] Russia unilateral terminated the treaty on 31 March 2014.”

    I appreciate such a task is probably well beyond Macky.

    As for Herbie – perhaps he might ponder where Putin got his idea for a 13% flat income tax rate from – yes the flat tax rate so beloved of right wing economic ideologues everywhere. We could also add in the complete non enforcement of controls over capital movements (even though the legislation is in place it is just not enforced fro those who bend the knee to the capo de capos)

  • Mary

    Four souls have been released from Guantanamo and are being returned not just to Afghanistan but to ‘the government of Afghanistan’ where more horror awaits for them.

    132 souls remain in the Guantanamo hole.

    A. Why does Cuba tolerate such a prison on their island?

    B. Why has Obomber broken his promise to close it?

  • Mary

    The Evidence that North Korea Hacked Sony is Flimsy
    December 21, 2014 – 12:52am

    It is difficult to find the source of hacks, since hackers cover their tracks with fake IP addresses and false clues. This makes it difficult to determine if the hackers are state sponsored, agents of a state or acting alone.

    So far FBI agents have offered no evidence for their claim that North Korea is responsible for the hack. The Sony hack didn’t have the style of a nation state attack. The initial public statement made by the hackers didn’t mention North Korea or the film The Interview and only asked for monetary compensation in return for leaving Sony alone. The hackers only started making references to the movie in their statements after the media media stories made connections between North Korea and the attacks.

    /..

    http://www.wired.com/2014/12/evidence-of-north-korea-hack-is-thin/

  • Macky

    Resident Dissident; “I appreciate such a task is probably well beyond Macky”

    It’s very difficut not to be mockingly rude, so let me put it this way;

    Resident Dissident; “was a clear international treaty that allowed, etc”

    First 6 words from Wiki; “The Agreement between Ukraine and Russia”

    Even though now it’s been spelt out for you, am I right in thinking that the likelihood of you being able to see the difference is embarrassingly small ?

  • Kempe

    ” Why does Cuba tolerate such a prison on their island? ”

    Probably because the conditions in their own high security prisons aren’t really very much better. Cubans can be held on remand for years awaiting trial and still risk long terms of imprisonment for dissent or relatively trivial offences. Cuba has a zero tolerance policy towards drugs and possession of a small amount of cannabis for personal use can get the offender eight years.

  • Tim

    The Cubans try not to:

    In partial compliance with its obligations under the lease, the U.S. sends a payment to the Cuban government each year. The payment due on July 2, 1974 was made by check in the amount $4,085,[4] which is the same amount sent in 2006 regardless of the fact that with inflation $2,000 of 1903 dollars would be worth: $52,631.58 in 2013. After the Cuban Revolution, the government under Fidel Castro has cashed one of these checks. Castro says this was only done because of “confusion” in the heady early days of the revolution. The remaining checks, made out to “Treasurer General of the Republic”, a position that ceased to exist after the revolution, were shown stuffed in a desk drawer in Castro’s office during a television interview with the leader years ago.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guant%C3%A1namo_Bay

  • Kempe

    What’s “moronic” about it? They’ll judge Guantanamo by their own standards.

    What has Alcatraz, a prison that closed years ago, got to do with it?

  • Macky

    Kempe; “What’s “moronic” about it? They’ll judge Guantanamo by their own standards”

    I’ve already had to spell something out like to a five year old for one of your fellow contrarians, do I really have to do it again ? Try to engage your brain, read up on Cuba’s attitude that occupied part of itself called “Guantanamo”, read up on what has gone on & still goes on at that torture hell hole, and then try to find anything comparable occurring in Cuban prisons.

    Kempe; “What has Alcatraz, a prison that closed years ago, got to do with it?”

    You obviously didn’t read the article; if you did you would realise the irony of your statement about “judging by their own standards”, as you then understand exactly why the majority of Yanks don’t even think twice about torturing foreigners when they do this every minute to millions of their own citizens. Chris Hedges has written a few articles about the evil corrupt monstrosity that is the US prison system, do yourself a favour & clue yourself up.

  • Macky

    Mark Golding; “I was fascinated who would pull that from the link Macky, but, to be fair, the thread is tapering and most are waiting Craig’s return bless him”

    Yes, it seems like all the other adults have left, and we are stuck with the kids !

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Macky

    I hope you don’t mind a personal question?

    Why DID you return to thus blog after leaving in a huff, unable to cope with the fact that Craig’s viws on Ukraine/Russia didn’t change in respoinse to your urgings?

    I mean, Craig’s views are still the same and it’s not as if your posts have gained in wit, wisdom, fluency or constructive thought in the meantime.

    In top of that, you still have to suffer repeated correction from your betters on here.

    Why did/do you bother?

    I’m genuinely puzzled and can only put your return down to amazing over-confidence and self-delusion.

  • Macky

    Ah ! Habbabkuk has arrived ! A full crèche !

    Dishonest misrepresentations (a slight change from downright lies), severe bout of projections, followed by a discreet plea for the Macky bogeyman to away, and ending with the recognition that Macky places as much value on your opinions as he does to the dust on the floor.

    Kempe ; “Report on human rights in Cuba”

    Really ! Is that the best evidence you could find ?!! A 15 year old report ! And guess what, no mention of waterboarding or rectal feeding, nor prolong confinements in small boxes, nor mock executions, or sleep deprivation, or medieval hangings to dislocate limbs, etc, etc, It’s like comparing a chicken with a T-Rex !

    Nothing to say about the country that makes up 5% of the World’s population, yet has 25% of the World’s prison population ? Nothing to say how the US Justice System & Prison Service has been so corrupted by Coporatism, that prison terms are often delibrately extented because each prisoner is now a cash cow, and nothing to say about how the torture of mind-destroying solitary confinement is more & more becoming the norm, as it means less expense & so more profit for these companies ?

    Still think that the conditions in Guantanamo match more Cuban prisons than US prisons ?!!

  • Mary

    Well said. Perhaps our friend has not heard of
    Supermax prisons and what goes on within. I think this ghastly coalition were talking of replicating them here or was it the previous lot in charge?

  • Resident Dissident

    For the hard of thinking

    “A treaty is an agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign states and international organizations. A treaty may also be known as an (international) agreement, protocol, covenant, convention, pact, or exchange of letters, among other terms.”

    He might also wish to look up the Budapest memorandums as well.

    For those wanting the latest in a long series of human rights reports on Cuba – all while the same monarchy was in charge:

    http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/cuba/report-2012

  • Macky

    Resident Dissident; “For the hard of thinking”

    Oh dear, I guess my first attempt at basic explanation was still too sophisticated for you, so let’s try again, going back to the very beginning;

    Your original statement; “Unlikely since their was a clear international treaty that allowed the continuation of the Russian naval base in the Crimea – which Putin violated when he seized the Crimea”

    Mark Golding expresses his surprise at your statement (“What !”), and gives you the Wiki link detailing the Kharkiv Pact.

    Your immediate response to this was;

    “Perhaps Mark Golding should bother to read his own links

    “Shortly after the (disputed) March 2014 accession of Crimea to the Russian Federation,[7] Russia unilateral terminated the treaty on 31 March 2014.”

    Quite bizarre, as Mark wasn’t disputing the Russian termination of the Kharkiv Pact, but in fact was expressing surprise that you were surprised, because via your loose language, the inference was that Russia had broken International Law.

    I then tried to gently point out that the Kharkiv Pact was a mutual agreement, just between the two concerned States, my inference being that it was perfectly legal for either party to terminate the agreement, and as you may or may not know, its termination was frequently advocated by some politicians on the Ukraine side in recent years.

    The whole point was actually of course, made moot by the illegal overthrow of the legitimate government of Ukraine, as that was with whom the Pact was legally valid with, so Putin’s formal & legal termination was a actually a symbolic formality.

    “For those wanting the latest in a long series of human rights reports on Cuba – all while the same monarchy was in charge:”

    Still comparing chickens with tyrannosaurs, as no mention of waterboardings, rectal feedings, & all the other US specialties; just for the record do you think that the respond of, “Probably because the conditions in their own high security prisons aren’t really very much better” as a serious answer to the question of ” Why does Cuba tolerate such a prison on their island? ” is rational, or stark raving bonkers ?!

  • Resident Dissident

    “the inference was that Russia had broken International Law.”

    What I said is that Russia had broken an international treaty – they had

    “my inference being that it was perfectly legal for either party to terminate the agreement”

    Is this really how you see agreements – just as things that can be broken without consequences – you also ignore the Budapest accords.

    The reason why the Cuban regime isn’t in a position to criticise Guantanamo is that their own record with political prisoners is considerably worse when you look at the numbers detained and those that died in custody. My all means criticise the criminal penal system in the US, and it has many many faults – but by and large there is freedom of speech in the US and people do not get locked away in such numbers as has happened under the Castro family in Cuba. There are opposition newspapers, magazines and websites (many of which are linked to and quoted from freely her). Where are their Cuban equivalents?

    If you want a condemnation of US torture and rendition by the CIA I am more than happy to provide one – but could we have yours in respect of the KGB and the DGI (or is that to use your words a diversion?). And perhaps you might wish to reflect how the whole situation within the CIA has come to light and how our democratic systems are slowly forcing changes to be made. Where are the KGB whistleblowers and apologies for their past records?

  • Macky

    Resident Dissident; “Is this really how you see agreements – just as things that can be broken without consequences – you also ignore the Budapest accords”

    So you would see no problem in maintaining treaties, even of the Budapest accords type, if ISIS seized control of a pro-Western puppet state in the ME ? How about if fascists overthrew the elected government of a state on the borders of the EU, err, oops !

    Resident Dissident; “The reason why the Cuban regime isn’t in a position to criticise Guantanamo is that their own record with political prisoners is considerably worse when you look at the numbers detained and those that died in custody”

    Please point to where this information can be found.

    Resident Dissident; “My all means criticise the criminal penal system in the US, and it has many many faults – but by and large there is freedom of speech in the US and people do not get locked away in such numbers as has happened under the Castro family in Cuba. There are opposition newspapers, magazines and websites (many of which are linked to and quoted from freely her). Where are their Cuban equivalents?”

    The topic is torture, and torture in prison, not State censorship or limits on free speech, which of course is a very important issue in its own right.

    Resident Dissident; “If you want a condemnation of US torture and rendition by the CIA I am more than happy to provide one – but could we have yours in respect of the KGB and the DGI (or is that to use your words a diversion?)”

    I wouldn’t insult you by asking you to condemn what every decent person would automatically & naturally condemn, and would expect you to have the same common decency; we are adults after all, not silly immature students trying to impress each other with our self-righteous credentials.

    Resident Dissident; “And perhaps you might wish to reflect how the whole situation within the CIA has come to light”

    You must mean this, and the words really say all that needs to be said iro this;

    https://fbexternal-a.akamaihd.net/safe_image.php?d=AQBUUIhl_WG5EJtK&w=487&h=326&url=http%3A%2F%2Fi.imgur.com%2FwBomLjv.jpg

    Resident Dissident; “how our democratic systems are slowly forcing changes to be made”

    You are kidding, so don’t hold your breath, as nothing will change; just like when Britain supposedly banned the Five Torture Techniques, that were used against the IRA, but without a word anywhere, used them again from the very start in Iraq.

  • Kempe

    ” Really ! Is that the best evidence you could find ?!! A 15 year old report ! And guess what, no mention of waterboarding or rectal feeding, nor prolong confinements in small boxes, nor mock executions, or sleep deprivation, or medieval hangings to dislocate limbs, etc, etc, ”

    Well you tried to make a comparison with conditions at Alcatraz which closed in 1963!

    The report didn’t go into a great deal of detail about methods used but just because Cuba might practice Enhanced Interrogation Lite rather than the Full Fat version doesn’t make it any less repugnant.

  • Resident Dissident

    Resident Dissident; “The reason why the Cuban regime isn’t in a position to criticise Guantanamo is that their own record with political prisoners is considerably worse when you look at the numbers detained and those that died in custody”

    Please point to where this information can be found.

    Try here yet again for starters

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights_in_Cuba

    The numbers for Guantanamo are 779 detainees and 8 deaths in custody.

  • Macky

    Kempe; “Well you tried to make a comparison with conditions at Alcatraz which closed in 1963!”

    I really hope for your own sake, that you still have not read that Chris Hedges article; because if you have, and did not realized that he was just using his trip to Alcatraz to write about the present reality of the US Prison System, than I really do squirm in embarrassment for you.

    Kempe; “Enhanced Interrogation Lite rather than the Full Fat version doesn’t make it any less repugnant”

    No it doesn’t, but why do you insist on trying to compare the tiny comparative “Lite” example to Guantanamo, when there is the widespread systemic torture of millions in the US; can it only be because you know nothing about the situation in the US, as you think you already know, so can’t be bothered to read up about it ?

    Resident Dissident; “Try here yet again for starters”

    Yes I read through that, and I didn’t find anything about the inhuman evil of running a program to torture people expressly for the purpose of extracting false confessions to justify international crimes.

    No doubt Cuban Human Rights are dire, but two important factors have to be taken into account;

    1) In any country under siege & in a virtual war lasting decades, the government/ruling body, will always be fighting against sedition & foreign sponsored seditious activities (you only have to consider the ludicrous number of CIA attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro), they will be rightly paranoid & always erring on the side of ruthlessness to the detriment of the peace time bonus & luxury of upholding an outstanding Human Rights record; it’s what happened here & in the US during WW2. I know that you don’t like or really understand the word “Causality”, but that is a real factor here.

    2) The Wiki article you linked to is based on the reports of Human Rights Watch, & Freedom House; the first to quote Wiki itself;

    “HRW has been criticized by national governments, other NGOs,[29][30] its founder and former Chairman Robert L. Bernstein,[31] and the media. It has been accused by critics[32] of being influenced by the agendas of U.S. foreign policy,[33] in particular in relation to reporting on Latin America”

    And for Freedom House; “Representatives of Cuba alleged that the organization is a U.S. foreign policy instrument linked to the CIA and “submitted proof of the politically motivated, interventionist activities the NGO (Freedom House) carried out against their Government”.

    So, cases of exaggerations and perhaps even downright fabrications, probably occur quite a lot in their reports.

    I take it that as you haven’t picked-up on any of my last points to you, you have nothing further to say.

  • Resident Dissident

    “Amen. No excuse for torture is acceptable.”

    Macky per the last link

    “In any country under siege & in a virtual war lasting decades, the government/ruling body, will always be fighting against sedition & foreign sponsored seditious activities (you only have to consider the ludicrous number of CIA attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro), they will be rightly paranoid & always erring on the side of ruthlessness to the detriment of the peace time bonus & luxury of upholding an outstanding Human Rights record; it’s what happened here & in the US during WW2. I know that you don’t like or really understand the word “Causality”, but that is a real factor here.”

    Macky per the previous post – compare and contrast.

    Righteous paranoia = the ends justify the means. The diagnosis is now clear, only the strongest treatment now has any chance – an immediate dose of Koestler “Darkness at Noon” is recommended together with Orwell taken four times a day. Positions of power and influence should be avoided at all costs – exposure to direct sunlight is beneficial. Keep away from others of a similar, particularly middle aged men impersonating young girls. The general public should treat with caution particularly if the patient starts talking about the need to crack a few eggs to make an omelette (believe me this omelette will give you severe indigestion) or accuses relative blameless objects (e.g. parking meters, small countries seeking liberty from overweening neighbours, unruly children etc.) of fascism, revisionism, ant progressive behaviour etc. If cornered the public should result to humour as a defence – reasoning with the victim in such cases has been shown to be 100% ineffective.

  • Macky

    Resident Dissident; “Righteous paranoia = the ends justify the means. The diagnosis is now clear, only the strongest treatment now has any chance – an immediate dose of Koestler “Darkness at Noon” is recommended together with Orwell taken four times a day. Positions of power and influence should be avoided at all costs – exposure to direct sunlight is beneficial. Keep away from others of a similar, particularly middle aged men impersonating young girls. The general public should treat with caution particularly if the patient starts talking about the need to crack a few eggs to make an omelette (believe me this omelette will give you severe indigestion) or accuses relative blameless objects (e.g. parking meters, small countries seeking liberty from overweening neighbours, unruly children etc.) of fascism, revisionism, ant progressive behaviour etc. If cornered the public should result to humour as a defence – reasoning with the victim in such cases has been shown to be 100% ineffective”

    Assuming you yourself actually wrote this, in the season of goodwill, here’s some sincere & well intentioned advice; do yourself a very big favour, & leave the humourous witty parodies to Sofia !

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