My Secret Evidence to Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee 138


I have been summoned to give evidence before Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee on 20 October, in a secret session. It ought not to be secret as my evidence goes to illegality at the heart of government and collusion in torture. It will be based around the evidence I gave to the Metropolitan Police, which you can read here.

We are now in the ludicrous position where the FCO is considering whether I can be allowed to see documents I actually wrote myself, communications which were sent to me and minutes of meetings I was at, or whether I should be asked to give evidence without any access to the written evidence. I am also waiting to hear whether I shall be allowed to be accompanied by my counsel, the great lawyer Gareth Peirce. I need help and support in preparing and organising my evidence, and I need moral support in appearing in a secret meeting where the large majority of the committee have been chosen specifically as security service “trusties” with an unquestioning neo-con world view. I expect to receive a very hostile reception.

I have just sent this email to the committee:

Dear James,

I have been considering my appearance before the Committee.

As you will know, there has been very substantial doubt in the human rights community about the good faith of your committee’s inquiry. I have been prepared to give the benefit of the doubt and offer to cooperate.

However if the committee really are genuine, they should wish me to be able to prepare and give the best evidence that I am able to do. There is no doubt that something went very wrong in terms of the UK government’s collusion with overseas torture programmes. The Feinstein report made plain that the CIA was very wrong in what it did, and your committee know very well that the CIA was sharing with SIS the intelligence obtained by torture. The British government has settled with large payments cases where the British government was involved more actively.

To the best of my knowledge, I am the only member of the senior civil service in the UK who attempted to raise a red flag and stop what was happening. My evidence is therefore of some weight. I will also testify there was a deliberate policy of not writing down the policy on accepting torture. I was told this directly and can point to documentary evidence of senior level unminuted policy meetings on the specific subject.

At the time I blew the whistle, Jack Straw denied the existence of the extraordinary rendition programme and I faced 18 trumped-up disciplinary charges, some of them criminal in nature, which resulted in the destruction of my career and my health. I attach a letter from the government to Lord Jones of Cheltenham which confirms I was cleared of all the original charges (but found guilty of revealing their existence). To the best of my knowledge this letter tells a direct untruth that the charges against me arose from formal complaints from members of my staff. I was never told this during the disciplinary process and no such formal complaint was ever put to me.

You will therefore understand that it is essential I am given every facility to give the best evidence to the committee. That means I must be allowed to see the paperwork I have requested already, to refresh my memory. It would make a farce of your inquiry were I not allowed to see communications which were sent to me, minutes of meetings I was at, and even correspondence I wrote myself.

I am not prepared to appear before the committee in a position where the members of the committee have the appropriate documents before them, and I do not. Still less when nobody has the relevant documents.

Similarly, I wish to prepare my evidence with my counsel, Gareth Peirce, and to have her alongside to support and advise me in giving my evidence. If the best evidence to get at the truth is the genuine desire of your committee, I am sure you will decide to allow this.

I should be grateful if you could pass this email and its attachment, which I am publishing, to all members of the committee.

Craig


138 thoughts on “My Secret Evidence to Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee

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  • fedup

    the FCO is considering whether I can be allowed to see documents I actually wrote myself

    Nothing surprises me any more in this nightmare Kafkaesque world!

    It is a wonder that the FCO have not filed for a permit/order to lobotomise you for the fear of you remembering what you wrote or what you learned!

    I fear this committee is a yet another whitewash committee with a difference; to learn how did the last “trouble maker” got in, and introduce better belt and braces to weed out any potential conscientious objector to the total immorality of torture and obscene oppression of the human beings all under the guise of “security”, hence the secret proceedings.

    Good luck Craig.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    The impossibility of finding out what the ISC will actually be investigating here is no doubt due to its being secret, although I see the last acknowledgement on its website that it does anything at all was in July.

    Good luck anyway. And please report what you can: It’s obviously not going to be on News at Ten.

  • nevermind

    Wow, this will be the most publicised secret meeting of the ISC I feel. Will they interview Jack Straw and D. Milliband?
    The fact that its secret and that they are picking on you, very likely to threaten and to shut you up, is very relevant to their policy kept today.
    I do not believe that the UK has ceased torturing people they suspect of being terrorists or sympathisers, if they would be genuinely interested in stopping such inhumane treatments, they have this meeting in public, and they’ll be inviting J. Straw and D.Milliband to answer to these charges by you.
    Please take you own sandwiches and tea, one would not like to see you succumb to anything you caught in that dank secret place.
    Good luck from all the family.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    I think posting this is ill-advised, especially sending the email to James, whoever he is, though I hope I am wrong.

    Did you seek legal advice before doing so?

    Good luck in any case.

  • John Goss

    You did the right thing to make knowledge of this meeting public and in requesting any ancillary documents which may be brought before the committee, especially those written by you which are not in your possession. You and your counsel (yes, a great lawyer) need to be briefed on what form this “secret session” will be taking and what its intent is (though you may not be allowed to pass such details on).

    If this is a genuine effort to uncover the full extent of extraordinary rendition in the light of Chilcot and to suggest measures to bring those responsible to task, then I applaud it. My suspicion is it could be an attempt at entrapment. Since your departure from the Diplomatic Corp you have built up a staunch following of supporters on this blog alone but have alienated certain government and media departments. Beware then, especially after US power-wielders tried to bar your entry to their land of the free and the British bulldog (lapdog) is blood-brother to Uncle Sam, that this is not the first step in trying to bring you to task. They do not like whistleblowers. They want to be free to act in any way they see fit regardless of the law without anyone questioning their actions or motives.

    Good luck anyway.

    • Alcyone

      On reflection, yours is one of the wisest comments on this board. Is it too simple for TZGC people to appreciate.

  • MJ

    Problem is that if they refuse to meet your demands they have a ready-made excuse to disinvite you.

  • Fuddlededee

    I seem to remember Clement Freud being asked to miss his train in return for agreement to move his Freedom of Information Private Members Bill to the next stage in 1979. He didn’t and walked into the appropriate lobby that saw the Callaghan government of the day lose their Confidence Vote. Therefore I very much suspect the method of transport chosen to deliver you to the committee will be delayed, or breakdown, causing you to miss the allotted timeslot. Any attempt to rearrange the deckchairs will be denied of course.

    I sincerely hope that you get the chance to appear and be respectfully listened to. Documentary evidence is not enough to understand the nuances or the reasoning behind some of points you raise in the evidence and the questions inevitably arising from the committee.

    Let us hope there are no unexplained muddy footprints leading to your apartment in the meantime.

    Good luck to you and your counsel in assembling and organising the material.

  • RobG

    Sounds a bit like putting your head into the mouth of a lion, but best of luck with it.

    Talking of which, did anyone see yesterday’s Andrew Marr Show and the interview with Michael Fallon? Whatever your feelings about Putin and Russia, the blatant lies and propaganda being put out by the nation’s broadcaster was quite breathtaking…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nq8nTG_mh6g

    I’ve never seen anything like, even during the worst days of the Cold War.

    • Bran 1

      Thank you, RobG, for the link. From the moment Marr opened his mouth I took offense at the blatant neocon propaganda which issued from his lips. It was a disgraceful performance with absolutely no pretense of fairness or impartiality. The only good thing that I can say of it is that it displayed such obvious lies that the comments shown below the item were almost universally hostile to what had been shown. You simply cannot fool the people all of the time.

      • RobG

        My apologies, Sharp Ears. I didn’t follow you up on your comment and link in the previous thread because usually, as someone who lives outside the UK (in France), you’re blocked from seeing BBC video, you can only listen to BBC radio; but the BBC video you linked to worked for me, having only just tried it now. Strange that. I wonder what’s going on here?

        Maybe we can try a little experiment: I’ll repeat Sharp Ear’s BBC video link of Marr’s interview with Fallon…

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04bgpf7

        Maybe if you’re tuning in from North America, or South America, or Russia, etc, etc, you can tell us if this BBC link works for you?

          • RobG

            Alcyone, I would say that I’m not the one who’s “bottles are being opened earlier and earlier”, since you fail to comprehend what I said clearly and precisely in my post.

          • Alcyone

            I didn’t? I think I understand what MJ is saying clearly. Is that not accurate?

            Anyway, autumn is here, winter is coming, the tourists are staying away, so you have enough reasons to spend more time in escaping into alcohol. Another good example of a TZGC (type zero globalisation civilisation) man. And then you people want a transformation. Fuggedaboutit.

  • Republicofscotland

    “where the members of the committee have the appropriate documents before them, and I do not. Still less when nobody has the relevant documents.”

    _________

    Yip no documents, no show, otherwise you’ll be like a lamb to the slaughter, unable to confirm or deny posers thrown at you.

  • John WIlliamson

    Dear Craig.
    You do not know me, I have read very little of your previous posts and blog, but I am aware of who you are and in some way what you stand for.
    Being an ex-government official, it should be clear to you that those in government office are in there to fulfil an obligation to their masters of wealth, and supporters or sponsors, in the various secret groups such as the Freemasons, Zionist groups, Common Purpose donors and the unfortunately named, Public School donor system.
    Knowing this and what you do, it should also be clear to you that there will be no justice in the network of collusion that is the establishment, including the political theatre, elitist hierarchy, the justice system, as these are all just mechanisms for gaining the illusion to the general public that are completely fooled by the pantomime that is this western system of ideological abuse on society.
    You will find no justice there, as all participants are in the same game, they are a;; part of the collusion and all will seek to find the correct outcome that fits their agenda.
    Surely you are clever enough to realise this, and stop using their tools, instead would it not be more appropriate to publicise the deceit, corruption, collusion, and web of evil that they have spun, and show them for what they are outwith their arena of theatrical bullshit.
    Use whatever means you have to expose this sickening and centuries of manipulation of all societies, show them for what they are, murdering, genocidal, greedy, megalomaniacs, intent on nothing but self serving voracious desire for more and more, and an unnatural poisonous disease that will destroy this earth if they get their way.

    • Krief

      “Being an ex-government official, it should be clear to you that those in government office are in there to fulfil an obligation to their masters of wealth, and supporters or sponsors, in the various secret groups such as the Freemasons, Zionist groups, Common Purpose donors and the unfortunately named, Public School donor system.”

      There’s a logical inconsistency in there which bothers me.

      Craig is definitely one of a kind, but I don’t believe that he’s unique to the point of being the only honest person to ever have worked for the “powers that be”.

  • Leonard Young

    Any committee hearing on almost any subject is worthless, futile and pointless if it is in secret. Transparency, especially years after events, is the cardinal requirement of any useful enquiry. In its absence, any hearing will have massaged, foregone conclusion. Good luck though.

  • Loony

    Secret committees, secret evidence and no doubt secret agenda’s.

    What is the point in playing their rigged games? Mike Ashley is a much maligned figure but at least he has the honesty to treat these people with the contempt they deserve.

  • Alcyone

    Why are so many people here wishing Craig good luck etc. It’s not as if he’s being tried or something. Am I missing something?

    I have no doubt that Craig will ‘perform’ brilliantly particularly as he speaks about something that he is so passionate about.

    • Old Mark

      Alcyone- I’m sure your prediction, namely, that Craig will sparkle at the Committee IF they provide him with the same facilities as his interviewers, is correct. However, that could be a pretty big IF; I certainly hope Craig keeps his readers informed of the reply his email elicits- and suspect it will not be positive.. but we can only hope otherwise.

    • Oliver Williams

      I think the “good luck” thing is to wish Craig well in getting up in a good frame of mind and getting to the venue without too much bother.
      The meeting seems important, so it’s good to get a clear head and to express things well. Hopefully the questions and answers will spread light on the subject for those involved.

      • Alcyone

        I should think that Craig is good at this sort of thing, after all this is what he is most passionate about, although he may benefit from a stfif shot of whisky before it. So i still don’t get it, unless people think that this is akin to a game of football?

  • Alcyone

    Craig, good note you sent to them though in the interest of building confidence on matters of sensitivity, I would’ve kept a lid on this note, unless and until I got a negative answer.

    My guess is that they will in the end be persuaded to share limited documents with you, after all it is in their interest to hear you. Particularly post-Chilcot there is at least a nuanced change from the Blair era if not, which it is in my opinion, a very substantial and better atmosphere on these kinds of issues.

    I’m out on a limb here and it’ll be interesting to watch developments but I think you should keep your cards close to your chest for the time being.

    On the counsel, I’m not so sure about and not clear what is customary.

    • craig Post author

      My calculation in publishing the note is to deter them from refusing access to the papers, on the grounds they will look silly.

      • Courtenay Barnett

        Craig,

        On the most fundamental principles related to a fair trial, a fair hearing in a judicial and/or quasi-judicial process or hearing the following seems evident:-

        i) A right to disclosure.
        ii) Adequate time to prepare.
        iii) A right to legal representation.

        What comes to mind is some of the positions adopted by Lord Denning when the state’s interests were involved, he somersaulted from other good he did and bent over to shield the state.

        By all means attend. No doubt, your lawyer will be squarely in your corner to ensure a fair hearing.

        All the best.

      • Alcyone

        Fair enough Craig, understand and I am glad I gave you the opening to make that crystal clear; I hope now it works. It’s good you have Gareth Peirce with you and you could not have had a better sounding board. Remember you wanted to be an MP so I do believe you should follow parliamentary protocol, without discounting your rights, that is all.

  • Ruth

    If it were in public fine, but with the secrecy element you shouldn’t be attending. It gives the impression you condone secrecy. Also,
    having you attend makes it appear they’ll be considering all angles. They’re basically using you.

    • Courtenay Barnett

      Ruth,

      As I said above ( or at least implied with my reference to Lord Denning – deceased) the excuse of ‘national security’ is the easiest one that the establishment and judges who more times than not cover for the establishment use. There is a book by Professor J.A.G, Griffiths entitled ‘Politics of the Judiciary’. In that book he specifically mentions Denning and exposes other Judges. I was at London University at the time the book was published and it was then and is still now quite revealing. This is a parliamentary committee – but – the overall idea and processes relate to what both you and Professor Griffiths through his own carefully documented research had placed in his best seller book.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Perhaps they will only allow you to speak through an actor, with subtitles. Or a glove puppet like Sooty, or basil Brush.

    I guess the fact that they are calling you at all is good but there is no point calling someone and then hobbling them. It’s a secret committee meeting, you signed the OSA. You are the author of presumably restricted/secret/top secret/beyond top secret/for eyes only/whatever. Since you are the author and you signed the OSA, what possible reason could there be for not allowing to access to your own words? Are they afraid you might speak your own words? The Tetragrammaton! You will cause the world to dissolve in the blink of an eye! Perish the thought!

    Oh, and say hi to The Most Hon. the Marquess of Lothian QC PC.

    I always thought a marquee was something you erected in the mud of your back garden in the hope of one single Scottish summer’s day.

    • Alcyone

      Good to see you back Suhayl. At least you are jsut being cynical about the weather and humorous about the rest.

      But, haven’t we had just about the best of weather all year, including summer, and including today’s Indian Summer (which btw for the uneducated others has nothing to do with India.

      • Suhayl Saadi

        True, Alcyone, true. I’m still sporting summer suits. Too few men up here wear them, even in summer. All those dark business suits – an army of Ebenezer Scrooges! All I need now is a Panama hat and a Cuban cigar. 🙂

        • kailyard rules

          How pukah brahmin of you. Don’t forget your rolled umbrella and pocket handkercief.

  • RobG

    American politics makes professional wrestling look like an amateur act, so I’m not going to comment on yesterday’s latest total charade in the presidential election; but Wikileaks have released their next batch of the ‘Clinton e-mails’…

    https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/785474021211140096

    This does relate to Craig being summoned to the Intelligence and Security Committee: NSA, CIA, MI5, MI6, et al, they are all totally corrupt and are in essence criminal organisations who are funded by the tax payer.

  • anti-hypocrite

    Don’t go personally. They will murder you.

    Tell them you will only appear by videolink.

    Bring this to the attention of the European Commission on Human Rights and the EU Humans Rights Commissioner immediaitely.

    • RobG

      And there’s no real parliamentary control over any of the security services. To quote from the 2015/2016 report that Sharp Ears links to…

      “The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (ISC) is a statutory committee
      of Parliament that has responsibility for oversight of the UK intelligence community.
      The Committee was originally established by the Intelligence Services Act 1994, and has
      recently been reformed, and its powers reinforced, by the Justice and Security Act 2013.
      The Committee oversees the intelligence and security activities of the UK, including the
      policies, expenditure, administration and operations
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      of the Security Service (MI5), the
      Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) and the Government Communications Headquarters
      (GCHQ). The Committee also scrutinises the work of other parts of the UK intelligence
      community, including the Joint Intelligence Organisation and the National Security
      Secretariat in the Cabinet Office; Defence Intelligence in the Ministry of Defence; and
      the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism in the Home Office.

      The Committee consists of nine Members drawn from both Houses of Parliament. The
      Chair is elected by its Members. The Members of the Committee are subject to Section
      1(1)(b) of the Official Secrets Act 1989 and are routinely given access to highly classified
      material in carrying out their duties.”

      In otherwords, the UK security services are monitored by nine members of the Establishment, whose interests are carried out by the self same security services.

      You-couldn’t-make-it-up.

  • Mick McNulty

    You should take a politician’s oath. “I promise to tell some truth, nothing like the truth and anything but the truth. God help you all.”

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