Jack Straw Responds to Alex Salmond with Blatant Lie 203

Jack Straw continues to lie about his involvement with torture. On Sunday, Alex Salmond told Alex Marr on the BBC that an inquiry must discover what Straw and Blair knew. On Monday Straw responded in the Guardian:

Straw said Salmond’s comments were completely untrue. “The British government was never complicit nor condoned torture or other ill-treatment of detainees wherever they were held,” he said.

I can offer absolute and definitive proof that Straw is lying (redactions made by FCO):



The Foreign Secretary was Jack Straw. Simon MacDonald was his Private Secretary in the FCO.


It has been a source of astonishment to me that journalists are prepared to continue to publish Straw’s denials of involvement in torture, when there is indisputable documentary proof that he is lying. I offered these documents to the Guardian years ago, but was not surprised when that Blairite rag refused to publish.

I was however surprised by this. When Straw criticised Salmond on Monday, I immediately offered these documents to the National as proof that Straw was lying. The National too refused to publish. Firstly they said that they had to consult their lawyers about whether the government would sue them. Then they said they could not work out how to condense the information into a short article (which begs the question why it had to be short). They then said they were too busy.

The reason I did not post for a week was that I was extremely dejected to receive an instant rejection, without interview, for the post of Chairman of the Scottish Human Rights Commission. This is an appointment of the Scottish Parliament and the decision is made by a committee of Scottish MSPs. It is a job for which I undoubtedly meet all the published requirements. I lecture regularly on human rights all round the world, and have been called to give evidence in person to the UK Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights, the European Parliament and the Council of Europe. I have a great deal of senior level public sector management experience, also a requirement.

When I published a few weeks ago that I had been considering my future while in Ghana, it was because I was considering applying for the job on the Scottish human rights commission. That would have entailed going back to being a public servant and ceasing political activity, including giving up this blog. I certainly can do this – for the 21 years I was in the FCO, nobody except those close to me knew my political views. I decided eventually that the chance to work on human rights in a positive way might enable me to do more good in the world than I am achieving as a campaigner. I definitely did not expect to get the job, but could not apply honestly without interrogating myself as to whether I really was prepared to meet the conditions.

I did not however expect an out of hand rejection for a position for which I was not only qualified but which was also junior and less well paid than previous public appointments I had held.

I did not necessarily expect to get the job, but to be refused without being interviewed is not something I expected, and it hit me hard. As a whistleblower you become a non-person. That is why the media publishes Straw’s denials of all knowledge of torture despite the existence of these documents. It is unpleasant to be a non-person, who cannot even be interviewed for a job for which they are abundantly qualified.

The SNP plainly have a major problem with me as a member. Before the SNP Conference in Aberdeen, I was approached by the Embassy of Ecuador. They wished to have a meeting with the SNP on behalf of the alliance of seven South American states including Ecuador, Venezuela, Cuba and Bolivia who have a broadly anti-imperialist stance and were interested in learning about the Scottish independence movement with a view to possible cooperation in international fora. It so happened the Spanish acronym of this group is ALBA! The Embassy know me through Julian Assange and I was their only contact in the SNP, so they asked me to arrange the meeting. I emailed every suitable SNP contact I could think of, and made a number of phone calls, over a four week period. I eventually received a one line rejection, and had to host the Ambassador myself (apart from a short reception the SNP hosted for the diplomatic corps, to which I was refused entry).

Taking all these things together – my repeated rejection as a candidate, the refusal to meet ALBA, my out of hand rejection (by a SNP led committee) for the human rights job, the National’s refusal to run my evidence of Jack Straw lying, I feel not just rejected but despised by the hierarchy of the Independence movement. As I have moved back to Scotland with the sole motive of carrying on the campaign for Scottish independence, I really have this last week been looking hard at myself and considering what the future may hold. I suppose I was naïve to imagine that the hospitality and exclusion shown to whistleblowers in Whitehall would not be mirrored in Holyrood.

Which leads me back to the minutes above. When I objected to, and tried to stop, the policy of getting intelligence from torture, I knew I was probably blighting my future in the FCO. But I did not fully appreciate that it would lead on to me being backlisted by the establishment – including the Holyrood establishment – for my entire life. It is rather a hard cross to bear. Fortunately I have much else in life to be thankful for.

203 thoughts on “Jack Straw Responds to Alex Salmond with Blatant Lie

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  • fwl

    Someone told me how labour has always feared being perceived weak in security far more than traditional Tories and so become either more gullible or acquiescent. If you went to school with Pinkie and Farquar now in intelligence its easier to tell then to get knotted than if you feel your new, newly promoted and likely to be found out or picked upon if you step out of line.

    The SNP are the new boys and girls and so seem nervous about standing up.

    Craig has spoken about how when he joined the FCO he realised he was different from a different educational background and not from ab old diplomatic family. I don’t know if Craig would have been treats differently if he had come from a diplomatic family (I suspect it would have made a difference). But Craig did stand up as did Charles Kennedy. That counts.

    If the SNP took Craig in and gave him a seat I wouldn’t vote SNP but I would respect them for having guts.

    At heart I see this thread as one which compares Craig’s guts with Jack Straw’s. It also reminds me how difficult it is to create a meritocratic society and how we lie to each other and ourselves about our efforts to be meritocratic and multicultural.

  • Matter

    Hi Craig
    I introduced myself briefly to you last Saturday at the Islamaphobia conference in Edinburgh. I handed you the INCONTROVERTIBLE documentary by Tony Rooke and was hoping that you would watch sometime when you are less busy.
    Please let me know what you think if you ever get round to it.
    Keep up the great blog.
    Thanks from maxter.

  • pete fairhurst

    “Keep publishing here & do whatever it takes to get other’s to publish it online too. And if it’s money you need, put up a bloody PayPal button. You might be surprised how much we. the people value your wisdom.”

    Well said Graham. I would certainly cough up if it meant that Craig was able to continue with his excellent, thought provoking, work.

    Craig, you are far better outside the tent pissing in, than inside pissing out. The people need critics like you on their side. Particularly in these dangerous times that we are in.

    Best wishes

  • John Goss

    My sympathy Craig. Not even getting an interview shows that they really have the knives out for you. As others have said they do not deserve your undoubted expertise in human rights. Perhaps they have already hand-picked a candidate with poorer credentials than yours, and don’t want the difficulty of choosing that candidate who may not interview as well as you would. It is the only explanation that springs to mind. Anyway, there are more important blessings in life.

    Not in the least surprised that the ‘Free Press’ (what a laugh that is) does not want to discedit Straw as he ought to be discredited. Why don’t you try one of the online journals that tackle human rights issues? Russia Today would probably run on it but then you are probably too patriotic to take it outside the realm. It is what none of us should be ashamed of in a global world since it is the only way sometimes to get the message out.

    Information is available now beyond the mainstream and its readership is growing as the world arouses from its slumber. The Huff Post has quite a readership, Global Research, News Junkie Post but they are small outfits running mostly on the goodwill and the generosity of those involved. While referring to NJP the editor-in-chief, Gilbert Mercier, has just published a book “The Orwellian Empire”. My copy arrived today. You might agree with this.

    “In our global Orwellian totalitarian state, life appears almost pleasant at times. Obey, stay in line, and rewards may be expected from comformity. Rebellious behaviour, on the other hand, is no longer tolerated. The US is a prison nation, and incarceration has become the school system of the oppressed. During the McCarthy era, communists or people suspected of so-called anti-American activities were prosecuted, but now anywhere in the world a person suspected of being a terrorist or other extremist can be blown to smithereens by a drone. Never mind due process. Collateral damage: who cares? Vaguely defined enemies of convenience are killed anywhere, any time. The anonymous Big Brother has become judge and executioner. . .”

    I have expressed my views before that psychometric tests were devised to find people who do not question things as they stand. It is an antidote to progress. Yes, I’m not surprised you did not get an interview.

  • 33rd Degree Fukcmason

    This reeks of a secret Freemason state within a state, and above all the political parties. The solution is to require all public servants (incl MPs) to declare whether they are members of any such groupings that give a lie to democracy.

    To be made public along with a annual tax returns and wealth declarations. The most insidious evil arises when there is a secret group within a group. The heaths,saviles and janners will no longer get away with grand buggery.

  • lysias

    Surely it is becoming increasingly obvious that the only way to have a government that is beholden to the people is to have a government that is the people. As in Athens.

  • Republicofscotland

    “Yes, all politicians have one master, the people.”


    Unpretentious poppycock, if that were truly the case, the world wouldn’t be in the mess its in today.

  • ATA R.O.S.T.G.

    You have my undying esteem, Sir. You have received Her Majesty’s highest honour for exemplary courage and integrity: the Royal Order of Shit Through a Goose.

  • lysias

    Well, it’s poison gas here, and not torture, but I don’t think it’s really off topic. RT: Turkish MP faces treason charges after telling RT ISIS used Turkey for transiting sarin:

    A treason investigation has been launched against a Turkish MP who alleged in an exclusive interview with RT that Islamic State jihadists delivered deadly sarin gas to Syria through Turkey.

    Ankara’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office opened the case against Istanbul MP Eren Erdem of Republican People’s Party (CHP) after his interview about sarin was aired on RT on Monday.

    Because certain commenters are bound to complain about RT, let me post a link to a similar story in the Turkish newspaper Hürriyet: Eren Erdem hakkında soruşturma başlatıldı [Investigation opened of Eren Erdem].

    The Hürriyet story is partly based on the RT report, but a leading Turkish newspaper has considered the report worth publishing. And the Hürriyet story is also based on a Turkish source in Malatya, who is said to have reported the same charges.

  • Tony M

    The problem is Westminster/Downing Street/Whitehall intransigence and refusal to face reality, we not only reject them, we reject their system. We’re not leaving, we left ages -decades ago, now we’re arriving at the better future we not only imagine, each of us, but know is our right and have known is not only attainable, but inevitable.

    The SNP will get us there in good shape, but by the slow less-travelled route. Bandits have strewn the road with muck and ordure, painted ghouls spring up and assail us, but we pass by, more tickled than scared, some weary, others getting stronger and more determined, the destination sensate to all, no mirage. I think they have the right still to choose their battles and the ground, the cause, national auto-self-determination, is right, but they cannot right every cause and injustice encountered on the way, only take notice, pause to take on board, or we’ll never get there. They’ve took us so far, leadership is by popular acclaim very capable and leading on a broad front, sometimes hesitant but unerring, bold where priorities lie. Yes we are nearly there, we can carry the weak and the wounded spirits the rest of the way if we have to. Nae bother.

    Greater things beckon, are coming, fulfillment of some sort, for all, including Craig.

    In the meantime, can you sing at all tolerably?

  • Republicofscotland

    Craig I’m pretty disgustec at the treatment you’ve received at the hands of the SNP. I’m not sure if they’ve been warned off you by Westminster, or they’re afraid of your candid orations.

    If it wasn’t for the fact they still propose independence from Westminster, I’d probably vote for the Greens. Even there I’m in a bit of a quandary with Caroline Lucas’s rash decision to resign from the Stop the War Coalition, leaving Jeremy Corbyn on his own.

    Why don’t you deliver your evidence to Jeremy Corbyn, and see if he runs with it.

    I fear though no one wants to wash Westminster’s dirty linen in public.

    The media are either afraid or complicit in covering up your findings bypass them.

    But in all honesty if I were you I’d get out now, to hell with the lot of them they’re corrupt to the core.

  • lysias

    A real advantage of Scottish independence is that it would be a new beginning, which could allow real reform of the system. To my mind, that should include the adoption in some, perhaps limited form of the Athenian system.

  • Alex Birnie

    Craig, Murder in Samarkand should be required reading for those who think that there is anything worth saving in the UK political system. Please don’t give up on us – I can’t be the only one who types in Craig Murray into the computer as soon as it is switched on……

  • Republicofscotland

    Meanwhile, the son of the real leader of Westminster, Dobby aka Prince Charles has had unrestricted access to secret cabinet documents (some withheld from ministers) for at least 20 years.

    Charles the parasite in waiting, has used his insider info to lobby Westminster politicians, on such critical issues such as, fox hunting, badger killing and homeopathic medicine, all of which he gives his royal ascent to.

    Minister’s are said to be in a quandary, of whether to act or not on Prince Charles preferences, not wishing to upset the real leader of Westminster the Queen.

    I do wish the monarchy would stick to opening train stations or shopping malls, or museums, at least, one could almost (not quite though) find them bearable.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    A furred lawcat (cf Rabelais) would assert that while the government did not condone torture, it felt under no obligation not to benefit from its application by someone who did. That it was not, in the legal sense, complicit in the torture. And that (as the lawcat states above) in any criminal proceedings the information would not be admissible as evidence – ruling out its use in the much-to-be-desired prosecution of Straw, too.

    Which is maybe the p.o.v. of The National’s lawyers. As regards the length of the article, it would be necessary for the writer to fill in the background. Not everyone has heard of Craig; the Uzbek event would need to be described. And we all know Straw is a shifty legalistic obfuscator anyway, so the news value is not great. Perhaps you’d have been better sending your proof to Salmond direct (it may even have gone there anyway – splashing it in public, whatever it does for your CV, may not assist a case in preparation).

    Whatever you may think of the SNP performance in Westminster and Holyrood, it is strongly enhanced by the solidarity so far shown by its MP’s. Some of whom, like Beth, above, will probably peel off if independence is achieved: it’s a broad church, but knows that unity is strength at this stage. And that,let me respectfully suggest, is why you’re not warmly accepted by the party, and why you’re probably wasting your time until you’re a bit more united with its methods as well as its aims.

    Thank you, as always, for the opportunity to say so.

  • Republicofscotland

    “Your delusions are so quaint.”


    Oh they’re not delusions, Fred actually believes it.

  • bevin

    Were you to be restored to a position in the “public service” you would be expected, required from the first, to conceal or deny routine practises designed to thwart democracy.
    Outright torture, barely denied by governments using the belief that they torture prisoners as a signal rallying racists and sadists to their side, is now almost institutionalised. In a sense Craig’s courageous refusal to condone it probably worked in New Labour’s favour, attracting support from traditional authoritarians and imperialists.
    The system is terminally rotten- it lurches from crisis to crisis. The only question open to debate is whether capitalism will be replaced before it kills civilisation entirely or whether it will be under the colours of “growth” and “accumulation” that we march into a barely habitable desert where food and water are difficult to obtain and survivors long for Leviathan.
    That is the system which is advertising for Human Rights Commissioners.
    Retrieving sovereignty is a great idea but most of the power nationalists are looking for is no longer in Westminster but in Wall St, and Washington. Nationalism implies not just securing a new arrangement with the UK, which is little more sovereign than Scotland is, but separating from NATO, bidding farewell to the European Community and joining with the handful of nations defying the United States.
    The truth is that, after independence, Scotland will still be expected to look the other way as prisoners are rendered to torture sites, allow Monsanto to kill your bees and pollute your fields, open up the Health Service to corporate raiders, apply sanctions against Russia to bring its struggle for independence to an end. And, most importantly, an independent Scotland will be expected to shoulder a large part of an odious and ancient pile of usurers’ IOUs known as the National Debt.

    So corrupt has the system become that only real mediocrities or cynical criminals succeed within it: the recent Labour leadership contests were a demonstration in how bad things were. With the single exception of Corbyn is was a rogue’s gallery of corruption and stupidity as candidates vied to swap nonsensical policies in terms that insulted the intelligence of five year olds. They were auditioning for minor parts in the Establishment circus in the expectation that they could parlay conformity and submission into more prestigious and highly rewarded positions. They barely dared to dream it but what they wanted to be was Jack Straw and Tony Blair.

  • fred

    “Oh they’re not delusions, Fred actually believes it.”

    I’m not one of your conspiracy theorist Illuminati rule the world Holocaust deniers if that’s what you mean.

  • Jeremy Stocks

    “This reeks of a secret Freemason state within a state, and above all the political parties. The solution is to require all public servants (incl MPs) to declare whether they are members of any such groupings that give a lie to democracy”

    Then try out this awesome read:


    A few weeks ago you may remember Hannover was targeted with a truck bomb which was a false alarm. I think that was a shot across the bow at Angela Merkel by the Deep state. It is my belief that similar groups organised the Brighton Bomb against Margaret Thatcher. I hated her, but I wonder how many of her own ideas she actually understood in depth. After all she was about to give a speech about “the enemy within”

  • Pictish Fish

    Craig, you are an admirable man. You’ve taken a principled stance, and that is very much to your credit. Don’t let the shitbags grind you down.

    I’d consider starting a radical Scottish independence party to challenge the seemingly increasing complacency of the SNP if I were you…

  • Republicofscotland

    “I’m not one of your conspiracy theorist Illuminati rule the world Holocaust deniers if that’s what you mean.”


    Let me put it this way Fred, with regards to Labour and the Tories at Westminster, all the other parties are unlikely to produce a British Prime Minister, in the near future.

    “Democracy’ is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.”

    Former US President, Thomas Jefferson.

  • RobG

    RE the press: this is quite an important development in the Syria crisis…

    Assad can stay, for now: Kerry accepts Russian stance

    … and although this story comes from AP (with the usual spin), thus far I haven’t seen it picked-up by the Guardian, New York Times, et al.

    Craig, your loss with the human rights commission is our gain. We need the Murrays, and a myriad of others across the internet, to speak truth to power.

    Keep up the good fight!

  • Bert

    I have been blacklisted many many times; it is the price of independence.

    Any social psychologist can tell you; there is no tyrant to equal the group. From Le Bon (1895): Psychologie des Foules; through McDougall (1920): The Group Mind; Freud (1922): Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, to Berne’s: The Structure and Dynamics of Organisations and Groups – this has been a hallmark of group psychology.

    To be a member of any group you must concede a part of you to the group dynamic. As soon as you show signs of independent thought you’ve had it.


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