Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament 173

I have just finished giving evidence to the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament on torture and extraordinary rendition. I am dashing off now and will give a fuller account later of what I said only. But I will just say that I was very happily surprised by how genuine the committee were, by the acuity of their questioning and by what was revealed of the general trend of their thinking. I perceived no hostility at all. I rather hope, and believe I have grounds to hope, that their eventual report will contain more of both truth and wisdom than is generally expected.

173 thoughts on “Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament

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  • Hmmm

    But did they know it all already…
    We all know what really happens ( the gruesome details I’ll let you keep) it may not change things but we can shut up the idiots who go on and on about our spotless record on human rights etc etc

  • Clark

    Yes! Some hope at last. I hope you’re enjoying your boozy lunch, Craig. But remember to keep your hopes in check, feet on the ground, no stratospheric visits; “the higher you fly, the faster you fall”.

    • Tony_0pmoc

      There seems to be a problem with the internet today – something about The Americans on The East Coast? I thought I had already written and posted this..Surely not Banned for This..I have read what you wrote – a year or so ago. I have never written or even thought anything like that -and I found you on your own blog – and thought you look like a fckin rock star you miserable bastard…and you are the moderotor.???Give it up and pull a girl (or bloke) instead. Jesus…what’s wrong with you?

      I know you mean well, but I have yet to find anyone who appreciates being told how to behave, especially when something has gone well. When I was gliding, the higher I was, the safer I felt, but the over-confidence and high, was a little bit dangerous, because I was not supposed to fly beyond gliding range of my base. I had already qualified for the Silver C in terms of height…its just that I was the other side of Thirsk, the thermals ran out…and I thought “oh shit” – I am going to have to find a field to land in ( I had helped on a retrieve the week before – so it should not have been such a disgrace). I had selected my looked O.K. – no cables to rip the wings off – then almost but not quite too low…I got this massive kick of a thermal – slung my Pirat Glider..into the core – and went back to over 5,000 feet…I looked at the ground looked at the map….and got back several hours after taking off

      They said where the fck have you been – and insisted I do the bar. The till didn’t add up. I had never done it before.

      You only live once – and I’m still here posting under my own ID and my own IP (unless my lad has scrambled it – he is our house administrator – but I don’t think he has scrambled it – it wouldn’t be good for new business (he never advertises)


  • Tom Secker

    That would be a first for the ISC, whose reports on 7/7 and the Woolwich murder have been a complete joke full of contradictions, obfuscation and naked, blatant cover-ups.

    • Gulliver

      Not that I am in anyway a cheerleader for the man but the difference this time may be the chairman, Dominic Grieve, who has been a persistent critic of some of his own governments policies, particularly those pertaining to the British Bill of Rights and withdrawing from the ECHR.

      • Sharp Ears

        Such an upholder of seeking the truth, that Grieve refused an appeal for an inquest for Dr Kelly. No inquest was held after Dr Kelly’s death in July, 2003.

        His decision went for judicial review but it was upheld in the High Court. That’s how the establishment works.

        8 April 2012
        Dr Michael Powers QC speaks out on the death of Dr David Kelly
        Dr Kelly was a brilliant man who did his best for his country. We owe it to him and ourselves to discover the true cause of his death

        In this powerfully argued article, doctor and barrister Dr Michael Powers QC explains why justice demands an inquest is held

  • James lake

    I am relieved to hear this assessment of the meeting. Well done Craig, I am glad that you have come out of this feeling positive about the experience.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    You may be interested to know that on the 26th, Jack Straw will be appearing in front of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, giving evidence on the topic of HM Government support for UK Victims of IRA attacks that used Gaddafi-supplied Semtex and weapons: the area of particular interest being why UK victims received no support while US victims were compensated. At its last meeting, in March, and previously, it was suggested by Tobias Ellwood that Blair was ‘pivotal’ to the issue, and should be interviewed by the committee. Blair has twice declined to give oral evidence to the Committee. Has Straw been put in the frame instead? His name doesn’t seem to have appeared in the proceedings to date. As you report with the ISC, good questioning and a not unsympathetic approach have marked the enquiry so far:

    • Trowbridge H. Ford

      Looks very superficial to me with no mention of the capture of the Eksund, loaded with Libyan weapons for the IRA in March 1987 in order to capture Captain Simon Hayward, Palme/s apparent assassin, on a most convenient drugs set-up in Sweden, and CIA arms dealer Manzar al-Kassar blowing up the airliner over Lockerbie to prevent his being set up as Palme’s killer.

      No wonder Blair wanted to say as little about it as possible.

      • Ba'al Zevul

        And that looks very unverifiable to me. So I’m sure the committee wil have little temptation to stray from their agreed remit, which is as I stated.

        • Trowbridge H. Ford

          it’s quite verifiable, just read Ed Moloney’s A Secret History of the IRA, Simon Hayward’s Under Fire: My Own Story, Tony Heraghty’s The Irish War, Peter Dale Scott and Jonathan Marshall’s Cocaine Politics, and Lawrence E. Walsh’s Firewall: The Iran-Contrs Conspiracy and Cover-Up

          I’m sure the Committee, as you indicate, will stick to the agreed cover up.

          • Ba'al Zevul

            Depends what you mean by verifiable, doesn’t it? Returning, with our reading list, to the topic…

          • Trowbridge H. Ford

            Thanks, Charli, for the link.

            Must say that I have never run across Ole’s work. Really surprising since I lived in Sweden for 16 years, and started doing research –on the Palme assassination shortly thereafter.

            Even got involved in trying to spring L. C. Underwood, the alleged assassin of alleged Palme assassin Viktor Gunnarsson, from a North Carolina prison, but to no avail. The court people reasoned that L. C. could have killed Viktor because he may have killed the mother of his girlfriend subsequently. It’s called killing one bird with two stones.

            Ole’s work is quite interesting but maybe is too broad with his brush, and uses too many stones too.

            Certainly better, though, than the brain-dead media about such conspiracies.

      • Mick McNulty

        It’s a bit rich for the UK and US to bemoan terrorism anywhere. Not only are they two of today’s leading sponsors of terrorism but imperialism throughout history could only ever achieve its aims through terror, torture and murder. They were built on it.

  • lysias

    I have disturbing memories of Quatermass II, where officials, including notably formerly dissenting MP Vinny Broadhead, robotically spout the official line after meeting with the zombies possessed by the alien invaders, because they too have now been possessed.

    This was of course Nigel Kneale’s way of fictionally representing his own experiences with officials, most particularly those at the BBC with whom he had to deal. I think the alien invaders represent the Americans who have now, by the mid-1950s, the time of Quatermass, secretly taken control of the British state.

    Let us hope this is not what happened to Craig.

  • Habbabkuk


    Good to hear you’re still alive.

    But please don’t get over-confident; you’ll be aware that on the previous thread several of your disciples seemed to think you’d end up dead like Dr Kelly (or similar).

    You’ll also be aware that those same disciples are sane, calm and very rational beings who do not throw around wild claims or daring assertions without having done their research and a lot of careful thinking first.

    So perhaps you should listen to what they say?

    In any event, it would be kind of you to thank them for their concern and perhaps henceforth clock in here twice a day until further notice just to reassure everyone you’re still around as a “major thorn in the side of the Establishment” (quote).

    • Republicofscotland

      In and out and not a mark, next, they’ll be asking you come back. ?

      Meanwhile, whilst Cruella de May, is in Brussels, lunching with her political adversaries. One of her goosesteppers has been blowing hot, air as to how wonderful it would be, if the European passport was replaced, by the old dark blue British one.

      MP Andrew Rosindell, who sees the world, through red, white and blue blinkers, even went as far as to say, when asked by Mr (student fees won’t go up) Clegg, should Ungreat Britain return to imperial measures, he replied yes.

      The goosesteppers, seem to hanker back to an era, when the common man bowed to the aristocrats, and children were shoved down a chimney, to sweep it out. No doubt, Cruella de May will return from Brussels, and claim some sort of faux, moral victory.

      • Mick McNulty

        I’m 56 and I still better visual distances in miles, volumes in pints, weights in pounds and heights in feet and inches. And oh yeah, we did win the war, so why was it our measures which were lost and we had to adapt? And I’m a Corbyn-supporting, anti-fascist, not-all-that-proud-to-be-British lefty. There’s no nationalism from me. I don’t even fly the flag. It’s too bloody to be proud of.

      • Harry Vimes


        Sorry to have to point this out but you seem to have missed a fundemental cultural issue here.

        As can be clearly seen from the comment you have replied to the standard level British piss taking response towards those who give themselves airs and graces and who set themselves up as being our betters is falling on stoney ground. The British cultural norm of taking the piss out of everything is being taken seriously.

        This is only to be expected given that this site apparantly draws readers and comments from a wide range of international locations where not everyone will “get” it. You, and to be fair others, need to be more culturally sensitive as you appear to have confused at least one poor gentleman who is operating under the illusion that comments most Brits. recognise as being tongue in cheek are for real.

      • John

        Conflating opposition to the imposition of the metric system and support for the imperial system with ‘. hankering back to an era, when the common man bowed to the aristocrats, and children were shoved down a chimney, to sweep it out.’ is simply bollocks.

  • mike

    “Sickening atrocities” in Aleppo; nothing to see in Yemen and….what, exactly, in Libya? No background. No context. No blame. Just a little local difficulty with the ISIS zombie plague that seems to spring up in countries America has tried to destroy. Funny, that.

    Killing thousands of civilians in Baghdad in one night, 19th March 2003, was a tech-driven wank-fest for the media; trying to free eastern Aleppo from heart-eating crazies is a “sickening atrocity”.

    Al Nusra has been sanitised by Washington, therefore Al Nusra has been sanitised by the corporate media. A heroic struggle in Mosul; “sickening atrocities” in Aleppo.

    For some bizarre reason, I thought Theresa May might take a different line when it came to riding alongside the runaway US juggernaut, regardless of the human wreckage it causes.

    She obviously has selective vision when it comes to “sickening atrocities”.

    Same as it ever was.

  • Sharp Ears

    Letter from Boris Johnson
    Foreign Office logo and address

    26 August 2016

    I’m writing this open letter to all those who have contacted the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in recent months concerning the case of British national, Andargachew Tsege, currently detained in Ethiopia.

    First of all, I would like to state that Mr Tsege’s case remains a high priority for the British Government and that we take his welfare very seriously.

    My predecessor as Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, raised this case with both the Ethiopian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister during his visit to Ethiopia on 1 June 2016. During his meetings, he made it clear that while progress has been made, with with (sic) regular consular access now in place.

    following his transfer to a federal prison, further steps are required. Prime Minister Hailemariam assured the then Foreign Secretary that Mr Tsege would be allowed access to independent legal advice to allow him to consider his options under the Ethiopian legal system.

    We will continue to press the Ethiopian Government as necessary to ensure that Mr Tsege has access to the promised legal representation.

    This was a point that I reiterated during my call with my Ethiopian counterpart, Dr Tedros – one of my first calls as Foreign Secretary.

    I am aware of the suggestion that the UK Government should directly call for Mr Tsege’s release. As my predecessor has previously stated, Britain does not interfere in the legal systems of other countries by challenging convictions,any more than we would accept interference in our judicial system. We do, however, lobby strongly and consistently against the application of the death penalty, and against the carrying out of such sentences when they are imposed. Our consular priority at this time is to ensure Mr Tsege’s well-being and access to legal advice, and to ensure that the death sentence is not carried out.

    During the former Foreign Secretary’s visit, a senior Foreign Office official travelling with him was given access to Mr Tsege in prison. This was the tenth visit to Mr Tsege by British Government officials. Following that visit, the then Foreign Secretary stated that he was satisfied that Mr Tsege was not being ill-treated and that he was receiving regular visits from family members in Ethiopia.

    We will continue to monitor Mr Tsege’s welfare closely and to support him and his family.



    E-mail just in from REPRIEVE

    Andy Tsege is a British father of three who was kidnapped from an international airport in 2014 and rendered to Ethiopia as part of a brutal crackdown on political opponents and civil rights activists. Prior to his kidnapping, Andy was sentenced to death in absentia at a politically motivated trial he was not even invited to attend.

    Reprieve and thousands of others have written to the UK government to call for Andy’s release, and they recently published their reply. In his response, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson continues to refuse to call for Andy’s release and instead pushes the failed approach of securing legal representation for Andy, even though there’s no way for Andy to appeal his death sentence.

    Click the button below to see our point-by-point takedown of Mr Johnson’s claims, and then take action by writing to your MP and asking them to raise Andy’s case. Over the past week, Mr Johnson has even refused to answer questions in Parliament about Andy – it’s time to hold him to account and ensure he calls for Andy’s release.

    • Habbabkuk

      This interesting post curiously omits to tell us which airport Mr Tsege was kidnapped from and who did the kidnapping.

      I wonder if “Sharp Ears” could find out and tell us?

      (We of course know how well sundry African govts treat any opposition to the local strongman or ruling clique)

      • Ba'al Zevul

        Saving her the trouble. Sana’a. No, I don’t know what he was doing there, but given that he’d been living safely in the UK for years, it doesn’t look like the ideal holiday destination. Incidentally, Blair was also approached to Do Something About It, ie closing down his AGI advisory service to the Ethiopian government unless Tsege was returned, but unsurprisingly his response, if any, has not yet been recorded. Details in usual place. We can take it that it is not in the UK’s economic or strategic interest to make waves on this one. It’s probably about the oil:

        Tullow Oil’s HQ is in London.

        • Habbabkuk

          Thank you, Baal (and thank you on “Sharp Ear’s” behalf as well, she doesn’t usually do replies, does she).

          So we know where. Do we know who did the kidnapping and rendering to Ethiopia? Was it the Yemen govt?

          • Habbabkuk

            And BTW, this blog has been relatively free of the facile insult “trolls” (used to denigrate those whose opinions you do not agree with) since you left.

            Are you going to start with those silly insults again now that you’re back again?

            Have you learnt nothing during your absence and did you ever use that insult when you were infesting that substitute website of yours (Life Boat News)?

    • nevermind

      Thanks for another reason why this man should never become PM, his total ignorance of the minutia, of what has happened and or the reality of where this victimising mindset stems from.

      Habby is at it again, stop playing stupid and find out yourself, whydontyou?
      Followed by, at worse, neo colonial comment promoting stereotypes that are in the minority. You must have been talking about yourself re: the ruling clique.

      Nice day out in London, see what the future brings. I heard todasy that the Tory’s are planning a law that allows local Councils to exempt themselves from the Child Protection Act. A ruse to privatise no doubt, and to de humanise public services.

      It puts the constant problems with Inspectors into a Westminster paedophile ring, amongst others, into a different light. What sort of agenda is being followed here and why?

  • JOML

    We all can hope that report will be genuine and accurate, Craig. Thanks for sticking your head above the parapet, as always. I’ll owe you 1/4 gill, if I ever bump into you in Sandy Bells! Slainte

  • Doug Scorgie

    “I perceived no hostility at all. I rather hope, and believe I have grounds to hope, that their eventual report will contain more of both truth and wisdom than is generally expected.”


    I despair at your naivety Craig.

    • Jermynstreetjim

      Doug Scorgie:
      (“I perceived no hostility at all. I rather hope, and believe I have grounds to hope, that their eventual report will contain more of both truth and wisdom than is generally expected.
      I despair at your naivety Craig”.). Doug, I think Craig knows hostility and disingenuous discourse,when he encounters it, don’t you ? After all, he’s (arguably) been in more fraught and feisty situations, than you and I, will have experienced, over the course of his Diplomatic career, and is therefore not inclined to treat injurious insult as welcome compliment, wouldn’t you agree..?

      • Paul Barbara

        Absolutely. Some folks have their bonces so far up their anuses they just can’t get no sunlight.
        Try rereading ‘Murder in Samarkand’ (not you; the scoffers) , and then reply.
        Does anyone think any breakthrough Craig made is gonna ‘save the world’? No; nor does he. He’s given it his best shot, and has at least rattled some cages.
        There is hope for him becoming a ‘Truffer’, but either witch way, he is a diamond, and St. Peter has him listed.

    • Habbabkuk


      You can’t do better than that? You know better than Craig, who was there while you were wombling in Wimbledon? Have you lost the plot entirely?

  • Krief

    Good news Craig, I think.
    However, I fear that you will lose a part of your readership if you start saying things that don’t systematically feed the conspirational narrative.

    Personally, I would encourage you to keep on telling the truth (as you see it), though I’m certain that you don’t need my encouragement!

  • Dave

    I’m sure all those who speak truth to power are nervous and fear the worst, or at least that something bad may happen from doing so, but nevertheless have a compulsion to speak and reassure themselves that if so and so is still alive they wont bother with me and at the same time why should they when they get their way anyway despite everyone knowing the truth. I mean a big majority voted for destruction of Iraq, only 15 MPs voted against the destruction of Libya and still a big majority in favour of destruction of Syria.

    That said the more that speak out openly the safer we are as the truth is known, so better to just ridicule the truth or not report it or smother it with “something must be done” and then say “you voted for WWIII to save lives”!

  • mike




    • michael norton

      I think the Russia Battle Fleet floating through the North Sea, to split The United Kingdom and France is a metaphor
      for what is to come


        • Herbie

          The Russians have one carrier battle group, and this is it, on its way to the Med.

          The US has 12 carrier battle groups, the British, French and others at least one each.

          The smallest of the US carrier battle groups is much larger than the Russian’s one and only.

          Makes you wonder what all the fuss is about, in fact-free British media.

          • Habbabkuk

            “Makes you wonder what all the fuss is about…”


            Why don’t you ask your friend “mike” (21 Oct, 11h16, above) ?

          • Herbie

            “Sooo, what you SEEM to be implying is ‘bring it on’?”


            Just pointing up yet again what a heap of emotive schoolyard propaganda nonsense the media peddles to the population.

            Same nonsense with their anti-Corbyn campaign.

            Anyone who thinks they’re informed by them.


        • Dave Lawton

          “Please don’t make jokes about the Russian Navy and submarines..”

          You take yourself to seriously. Just grow up. As a ex RN submariner we use to make
          jokes about the Russions, Americans,and the Swedes and others.

    • Republicofscotland


      Yes, the panic on the streets is palpable, if you believe the media, we’ll all be under the Shashka, before sunset. In the heat of the moment, however when, brows are fervent, and the terror has sunk in, the media often forget to mention that Russian jets and ships, are inevitably in international waters, and not posing a threat.

  • My Cocaine

    Mr Murray deserves credit for fighting the good fight on this, but as always with HM Government, I fully expect to see two coats of political whitewash being applied to the committee’s findings…

  • Anon1

    I was amazed to see the Admiral Kuznetsov is still seaworthy. Has she rusted away and sunk yet? There haven’t been any sightings for nearly 4 hours.

    • Alan

      At least she didn’t sink on her maiden voyage, unlike a certain infamous British ship. She’s still afloat after 35 years.

          • Habbabkuk

            A comment which could be read as signifying dismay that the UK has none.

            And a strange comment given that you have in occasion expressed disapproval of the UK equipping itself with such carriers (comments passim) ?

            Shurely shome contradiction there?

          • kailyard rules

            There’s rumour of a floating new build with a couple of sopwith camels and a few reconditioned spitfires on loan from the Antiques Roadshow on the flight deck. The 13 frigates promised to be built in Scotland of course will never be seen. Tory dazzle.

    • RobG

      Aircraft carriers are so 20th century (modern missile attack systems have made them just about redundant).

      Russia has just one aircraft carrier, the one you relate to.

      China also has just one fully commissioned aircraft carrier.

      America has 10 ‘super carriers’ and about 15 smaller ones.

      The IRS (Internal Revenue Service – ie, tax collection) is the most ruthless in the world. It’s why Boris the clown renounced his US citizenship, as have many others.

  • Republicofscotland

    China, has developed a child like tantrum with Italy, over the country’s stance to give the Dalai Lama honorary citizenship, officials at the Chinese embassy in Rome are said, to be dismayed and wounded by the honour.

    Oh please give it a rest, China is a bit like Israel, in that any nation proposing honours or links or support, for either Tibet or Palestine, (both pummelled, into submission, one by China the other by Israel) are somehow anti-Chinese or anti-semitic.

  • Republicofscotland

    South Africa, has withdrawn from the (ICC) the International Criminal Court, sparking fears that human rights may be abused. Zuma’s government, are split, over corruption, Zuma himself has faced corruption charges.

    Now South Africa could see, people unfairly targeted, and imprisioned without proper representation from the judicial system, could South Africa, see a mass exodus.

    On a somewhat similar footing, Theresa May wants to withdraw from the ECHR, and impliment a British Bill of Rights. However article 10 of the ECHR, is of particular importance, as it contains the freedom of expression, to hold a opinion, to express ones self through any medium.

    Will the future British Bill of Rights, impinge on our right of expression? If so how far will it go? Who can and cannot be publicly criticised, on this, or any other blog for that matter.

    I’m pretty sure Habb, will see it, as a step in the right direction.

    • Habbabkuk

      I certainly do not see South Africa withdrawing from the ICC as a “step in the right direction”, ELIE.

    • Habbabkuk

      Are you in favour of the complete independence of a country’s Central Bank (as required, inter alia, by the current EU Treaty) ?

      I could have sworn I’ve read you saying you believe that the Central Banks should be under political control?

      Shurely shome contradictiion there (again), ELIE?

  • RobG

    The Podesta E-mails Part 14 has just been released by wikileaks…

    That aside (although it should have seen Hillary prosecuted a long time ago), Wikileaks have also just published a photo that shows “Heavily armed ‘police’ appear outside Ecuadorian Embassy in London”.

    This begs a number of questions, such as why do they waste a huge amount of tax payer’s money on such idiotic stuff? and why aren’t British citizens calling for their politicians to be prosecuted for being totally servile to Washington?

    Just about all of them in the House of Commons are total traitors.

    Britain. The poodle. The vassal state (which is why Brexit is never going to happen).

      • michael norton

        At an emergency session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Friday, Mr Zeid warned that “crimes of historic proportions” were being committed in eastern Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria.

        “The ancient city of Aleppo, a place of millennial civility and beauty, is today a slaughterhouse – a gruesome locus of pain and fear, where the lifeless bodies of small children are trapped under streets of rubble and pregnant women deliberately bombed,” he said.

        So do they think we believe this tosh?

          • bevin

            Not to mention the civilian casualties arising from the siege of Mosul, which are likely to be considerably greater than those predicted in Aleppo.
            The fact that this Jordanian puppet has a job in the Human Rights department of the UN is bad enough-Jordan’s record is pitiful- the way that the media refer to him and the White Helmets is an insult to the intelligence of their readers, who, if they pay for these lies deserve to be insulted.

    • Habbabkuk

      When attempting to read between the lines, ELIE, it is usually advisable to read the lines themselves first, wouldn’t you agree?

  • Doug Scorgie

    Habbabkuk October 21, 2016 at 11:20

    “You can’t do better than that? You know better than Craig, who was there while you were wombling in Wimbledon? Have you lost the plot entirely?”

    Yes Habbabkuk, I could have done better; I should have left the first sentence out when quoting Craig.

    “I perceived no hostility at all. I rather hope, and believe I have grounds to hope, that their eventual report will contain more of both truth and wisdom than is generally expected.”

    To read: “I rather hope, and believe I have grounds to hope, that their eventual report will contain more of both truth and wisdom than is generally expected.”

    Apologies all round.

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