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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  • Ba'al Zevul

    IANAL furred or otherwise, yet article 15 above very explicitly says such evidence can of course be used against persons accused of torture, thankfully.

    Apologies. Will engage factcheck before operating keyboard next time. In fairness to self I often do. TY.

  • Clydebuilt

    As a supporter of the SNP and reader of the National I find my self saddened and lost for words. I’m not convinced the SNP are close to corrupt power.as Vronsky suggests. What I am certain of is that despite electorial success they are walking a tight rope in a very hostile propaganda environment.
    If we were Independent tomorrow I’d like to think they would give you a position. BUT who knows?

    So painful as it might be, you need to look elsewhere for fulfilment. Look after your self and your family. Once secure you can look about from a position of strength.


    Good Luck.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    [ Mod: Caught in spam filter, timestamp updated ]

    “Unpaid Spanish aid workers today collecting Muslim refugees from the Mediterranean. You have to wonder whether it would happen the other way round.” Anon1

    Yes, I think it would. Indeed it did, during WW2, when Turkey gave refuge to hundreds of thousands of Balkan Jews escaping the gas chambers of Europe.

    “For anyone interested in the RoP website, it carries a picture today of some of the 100,000 air-conditioned tents in Saudi Arabia, which can accommodate up to 3 million pilgrims, sitting empty while Europe takes the refugees.” Anon1

    This is a good point. Saudi Arabia is the main driver of this whole problem. if one gazes intently at any photograph of Riyadh, one can see our very own Prince Andrew situated at the distal end of a proctoscope.

  • Old Mark

    Very sorry to read of Craig’s disappointment at not even getting a look in for a role he could have discharged effectively and fearlessly; it seems likely the grey eminences took the view that Craig would have been rather too enthusiastic in carrying out his duties, and would not be the consensus seeking ‘team player’ who would tick all the right establishment boxes.

  • Hieroglyph

    “Chairman of the Scottish Human Rights Commission”

    It’s a job for an insider, old boy. They all are, Ombudsman, Commissioner, whatever. They are expected to be in the same circles as those they hold to account, and be able to speak a similar language. Their public utterances are to be so heavily couched in diplomatic politesse as to be indistinguishable from bullshit. Really not the job for Craig, because being competent is probably not any sort of factor at all. And I don’t think Craig is a Mason either.

    I also remain surprised that Straw is being given the time of day. Could be a good story, for a newspaper willing to publish. Curious how none of them are, given Straw can hardly sue for defamation, him being bang to rights and all.

  • Jives


    What a horrible dark post.

    You have,it would appear,no faith in broader humanity.

    I feel sorry for your constant hate and bitterness.

    There are other ways you know…

  • Bryan Hemming

    Jack Straw’s early history as a student activist with links to the Communist Party points to him having been recruited – or having been pressurised – to act as a mole for MI5, or some other branch of the secret services. David Blunkett and Catherine Ashton also seem to have acted in ways that call into question their professed affiliations to socialism during their younger days.

    Theirs is the worst form of treachery, as all three cheated and betrayed the very people who supported them in their rise to power, simply for personal gain.

  • punklin

    Please don’t give up the blog if at all possible. Smell the roses and cultivez votre jardin, Voltairely.

    I get your view of the SNP, but I cannot give up on it as the main vehicle for progress.

    I yearn for more analysis – why precisely does the party tend towards conformism? Is it because at root it has merely some notions of social democracy imbued with the socialist tradition of certain parts of industrial Scotland (now itself defunct and only ever Marxist in the minority)?

    I don’t think we should under estimate the depth and power of the opposition, embedded in the system over centuries now. It goes beyond people and personality (important though they can be)with a pervasive hegemony that affects (infects?) us all.

    So we have to tackle it in every way but I wonder/worry: where’s the theory to our practice?

    Onywayz, chin up!

  • giyane

    ” I do not believe it is impossible to do any good within institutions.”

    Yes but it depends where you are in the institution. As a newcomer to Islam I have about as much weight as bacteria. People are involved with their own personal experience, which in the case of Asians means coming from dire poverty and oppression. That’s their agenda, not the Qur’an or anything it says.

    Around this time of the morning the mosque behind my house lift up their hands in prayer to God to grant them a bounty from the sky. Why? Wouldn’t it be better for them to ask for the understanding of the meaning of the Qur’an when it tells them not to treat others with suspicion and not to spy or work for the military agendas of the Jews and Christians. No, when we get the sky-dosh we’ll sort out that problem.

    The SNP will sort out the problem of Human Rights abuse when they have achieved their objectives through the constitutional/institutional process. Even though that process is designed to effectively make them compromise. Then by the time they achieve their goal of independence they will have forgotten their original ideals and the UK government will raise a counter-revolution to give those new people utopia within the bosom of the union.

    Plus sha change, plus sh’est la fucking meme chose.

  • Bena

    I read your blog regularly and agree with you 90% of the time, and am very glad that you will be continuing to post in an independent capacity.

    You are blocked not so much because you are a whistleblower as such, but because you are a loose canon. Bureaucracies want functionaries; i.e. people do want they are told, and if they are not told, do as their masters would want them to do. Sadly most people can perform this role, and still convince themselves that they are moral people.

    You have honestly and courageously taken the route to becoming a dissident, and you are probably a lot better off for it.

  • Ken500

    Everyone knows Straw/Blair were complicit in torture. That is why the Chilcot Report has taken 7 years. Delayed deliberately. Constantly criticising the SNP damages the Independence movement. Members are hardly likely to endorse a candidate who damages Independence in any way.

    People should join the SNP to fight for Independence, not to get endorsed. No matter how talented they might be. Wait in line. Patience is a virtue,

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Both Giyane and Anon1 point out that £70K is a pretty useful income, and spectacularly above average. You tell us that the reason you are usually broke is that you give a lot of of it away. Well done you. But being voluntarily strapped doesn’t quite equate to being in insecure housing or none, using food banks, being unable to afford heating and having to regard the prospect of trips abroad as a ridiculously unattainable dream, though, does it? Which perhaps doesn’t help you appreciate the rock on which socialism, and indeed democratic socialism, were built in order to represent the unprivileged and poor.

    Unity is strength. That’s why the SNP is working. This does not seem to be appreciated by some posters. Either the SNP is a collection of dissidents pulling in all directions and unable to focus on their single agreed target of independence because they don’t like the way it’s being done/each other, or it sinks the individual differences and presents a solid front against its real opponents. It can’t afford the Peoples’ Front of Judea’s eternal struggle for ideological purity against the Judaean Peoples’ Front.

    Sure, the SNP is open to criticism on several fronts. But if you are a supporter, wouldn’t it be better to keep the criticism in the family, rather than handing the likes of Fred a stick to beat it with by bitching in public? Is that so unethical?

    Maybe it is. But it’s the way politics works, much as we all deplore it. Reality check.

  • Ken

    Total taxes raised in the UK £515Billion. Total taxes raised in Scotland £54Billion (plus the rest) take £54Billion from £515Billion = £461Billion. Divide by 11 (rest of the UK 11/12 pop) = £42Billion (pro rata).

    Scotland gets £30Billion Block Grant (pays for everything) + £16Billion (UK) Pension/Benefits. £4Billion Defence. £4Billion on loan repayments on debt not borrowed or spent in Scotland. = £54Billion.

    Rest of the UK borrows and spend £90Billion more. Then puts a % of debt on the Scottish accounts.
    Westminster spends £Billions on Trident /illegal wars, (£40Billions a year) tax evasion and banking fraud.
    Scotland does not support spending £170Billion on Trident or vote for illegal wars. Westminster is corrupt and does not enforce the Tax Laws. Multinationals making vast profits tax evade through the City of London, including Whisky companies, HMRC is not fit for purpose. Westminster illegally sanctions and starves the vulnerable to death.

    Westminster has illegally and secretly been taking the equivalent of £Billions from Scotland for years and lied about it. Covered up by the Official Secrets Act. The McCrone Report and Thatcher. ‘This just be kept secret ‘, written on the Documents.

    Scotland was promised FFA, Home Rule, Federalism. It is getting tax raising powers to pay for Westminster corruption and lies. Until the next Referendum.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    To conclude my unwanted interjection, I’ll add that although I said I’d join Labour if Corbyn was elected, I have not yet done so. That is precisely because, while any rational party would be able to unite behind its leader to challenge the party in power, the internecine feuding continues, regardless of the wishes of the vast majority of party members, between the gravy-train tendency and those wishing to redraw the political landscape. Sorry, too many metaphors. And I am beginning to consider returning to Scotland and working for independence as best I can. England’s fucked.

    /Ba’al out.

  • craig Post author


    When did you last see a SNP MP making an argument for independence? I have spoken on platforms for independence many times in the last year. I have shared platforms with many people, including Dennis Canavan, Lindsay Jarrett, Ivan McKee, Tommy Sheridan, Caroline Leckie etc. It just occurred to me what I have not seen is an SNP MP actually making a case for independence.

    You have a peculiarly 18th century view of a political party as a machine for giving out jobs. That is in fact precisely my concern about the SNP – it is very full now of highly paid state functionaries with their feet firmly under the table and an apparently decreasing interest in a fundamental challenge to the status quo.

    I suspect that is what most SNP voters actually want.

  • fred

    ” Either the SNP is a collection of dissidents pulling in all directions and unable to focus on their single agreed target of independence because they don’t like the way it’s being done/each other, or it sinks the individual differences and presents a solid front against its real opponents.”

    So keep quiet about Scotland going to the dogs, don’t mention health, education or policing, local government cuts, bridges falling down or the price of oil because to the SNP Scotland doesn’t matter and the people don’t matter only one thing matters to them and that is independence.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Reliable old Fred. Naturally, you want everything to be out in the open, you loyal Unionist, you. And you’ll dig it up if you can. Let’s have open and transparent politics, says you. You bloody hero.

    Pity you can’t extend the white light of your fearless scrutiny to the Unionist parties, though. Or the intentional dismantling and privatisation of essential services in your country of origin, the continued prioritisation of offshore speculators, the rapidly reinflating housing bubble and the fact that it is being run by a cabal of ultra-privileged arseholes with no pretence of democratic accountability, rejigging electoral boundaries and castrating the Lords in order to remain in power for ever.

    Or, just in passing, arch-Unionist Tony Blair (see An Apology, as usual – continuously updated), this week seen schmoozing with Buhari’s merry men in Nigeria, and very likely on his way to Rwanda in time for the election which is intended to put his good mate (and, via yet another foreign power, the UAE, employer) Kagame in power until 2032.


    It would be refreshing.

  • fred

    “Reliable old Fred. Naturally, you want everything to be out in the open, you loyal Unionist, you. And you’ll dig it up if you can. Let’s have open and transparent politics, says you. You bloody hero. ”

    I pick up my newspaper and read of a pregnant woman being told she would have to go to Newcastle to give birth because that was the nearest available cot and all the bloody nationalists care about is independence.

  • nevermind, Lord Feldmann keeps the nasty party in the news.

    Thanks for sharing your apparent, but to be expected, loss with us Craig, although its hard to understand why you would give up this blog, read by many around the world because it cuts through the news like a hot knife through butter, to join an establishment Human Rights Commission.???

    Looks like a move to shut yourself up, but for what?
    a faint hint at Independence for Scotland?
    Or is the thankless and forever ongoing task to wrestle with de- humanising Sectarianism attracting you?

    Taking a job to promote Human rights, signing the official secrets act, etc. and placing a piece of duck tape over your own mouth is not something I would regard as progress.

    truly puzzled.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    I understand your suspicion that the SNP has moved away from its commitment to independence, Craig, but I don’t share it. This is the SNP Constitution:


    A reverse-ferret on this will result in a massive loss of support on the street. And one of the most obvious courses for the Unionists is to suggest that the SNP has lost interest in independence with a view to eroding its support. If I were a member I would resist playing into that obvious ploy. Why aren’t the SNP loudly promoting independence in the Commons? Because it would be pointless. Who are they going to convert? Is that going to swing the margin in Scotland their way? Would it serve any useful purpose at all?

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Used to be routine that pregnant mothers in N. Argyll had to go 120 miles to Glasgow to deliver, Fred. After Thatcher’s lot closed the Oban maternity hospital. Probably still is.

  • Mark Golding

    Clearly a defining moment for Craig at a critical turn of the tide for immorality. By placing Craig in the centre of the mind entanglement is possible. At that instance immersing Craig in negatives including assassination returns the inimical to positive at Craig’s origin and sustains.

    This is natural law and a gift of love for Craig. Indeed he will sense the strength of this collective engagement.


  • craig Post author

    Ba’al I have not the slightest expectation that the SNP will abandon its formal commitment to independence. That would be absurd.

    What I do actually perceive is the SNP hierarchy settling quite happily into a new position of power and prestige within the UK state. I do not see them actually campaigning for independence. I asked for examples of campaigning for independence to prove me wrong. a constitution written decades ago does not answer my point.


    If you consider the implications of this post
    You may realise why chairman of the Human Rights Commission might turn out to be a relevant place to be

  • fred

    “Used to be routine that pregnant mothers in N. Argyll had to go 120 miles to Glasgow to deliver, Fred. After Thatcher’s lot closed the Oban maternity hospital. Probably still is.”

    120 miles? That’s normal here, the 120 miles to Inverness is what every first time mother travels since the SNP closed our maternity unit.


    I don’t recall the Conservatives saying the only thing that matters is the union, that was not the sole aim of Conservatism as independence is the sole aim of Nationalists which you just admitted.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    What I do actually perceive is the SNP hierarchy settling quite happily into a new position of power and prestige within the UK state.

    That would be the default direction for any professional politician. How does it help to proclaim to the world that the SNP is just as likely to throw up troughers as anyone else? Once again, you’re giving hostages to Fred. But what’s this? A canny blogger has identified the method for preventing MP’s getting too complacent, and, goodness gracious, the SNP uses it!


    I do not see them actually campaigning for independence. I asked for examples of campaigning for independence to prove me wrong. a constitution written decades ago does not answer my point.

    I didn’t attempt to answer your point, but to suggest its irrelevance.


  • Ba'al Zevul

    …independence is the sole aim of Nationalists which you just admitted.

    I’m not sure that I admitted any such thing. But to spell out what I did mean, independence is the sole, or nearly sole, issue on which that diverse group can sincerely converge. It’s the greatest common factor. That is not to say the SNP does not have other objectives, both incidental to independence and contingent on its achievement.

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