UK ambassador Craig Murray wants jack straw to be prosecuted at the Hague for his complicity in torture; blasts Theresa May’s whitewashing

Video and the accompanying article are from RT June 29: ‘Prosecute Blair govt officials at ICC after torture report – ex-diplomat Craig Murray’

The interviewer is quite a tool, especially his panting and gasping over ‘It was just after 9/11; intel was crucial’ or whatever.  Glad Murray set him straight, not that he’ll necessarily believe it.  In a recent 2107 PEW poll of ameriakns torture as ‘ever permissible’ or ‘sometimes permissible’, the respondents were split about 50/50.  I didn’t take time to check the internals and methodology, but they would matter, as most polls are ‘push polls’.  But most of what Craig Murray had said it in the article and on the banners in the video.

In his  29 Jun, 2018 ‘Blair and Brown Governments Gory with Torture’ at craigmurray.com, he fills in the blanks, some of which are:

“Even I was taken aback by the sheer scale of British active involvement in extraordinary rendition revealed by yesterday’s report of the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee. Dominic Grieve and the committee deserve congratulations for their honesty, integrity and above all persistence. It is plain from the report that 10 Downing Street did everything possible to handicap the work of the committee. Most crucially they were allowed only to interview extremely senior civil servants and not allowed to interview those actively engaged in the torture and rendition programme.

Theresa May specifically and deliberately ruled out the Committee from questioning any official who might be placed at risk of criminal proceedings – see para 11 of the report. The determination of the government to protect those who were complicit in torture tells us much more about their future intentions than any fake apology.

In fact it is impossible to read paras 9 to 14 without being astonished at the sheer audacity of Theresa May’s attempts to obstruct the inquiry. They were allowed to interview only 4 out of 23 requested witnesses, and those were not allowed “to talk about the specifics of the operations in which they were involved nor fill in any gaps in the timeline”. If the UK had a genuinely free media, this executive obstruction of the Inquiry would be the lead story. Instead it is not mentioned in any corporate or state media, despite the committee report containing a firm protest:

Despite being hamstrung by government, the Committee managed through exhaustive research of classified documents to pull together evidence of British involvement in extraordinary rendition and mistreatment of detainees on a massive scale. The Committee found 596 individual documented incidents of the security services obtaining “intelligence” from detainee interrogations involving torture or severe mistreatment, ranging from 2 incidents of direct involvement, “13 to 15” of actually being in the room, through those where the US or other authorities admitted to the torture, to those where the detainee told the officer they had been tortured. They found three instances where the UK had paid for rendition flights.” 

Craig displays which part of his testimony did make it into the report, but of course not the parts in which he’d proved that Jack Straw and Richard Dearlove had a deliberate policy approving ‘intelligence’ gathering by way of torture.

“Jack Straw to this day denies knowledge and involvement and famously told Parliament that the whole story about rendition and torture was a “conspiracy theory”.

Unless we all start to believe in conspiracy theories and that the officials are lying, that I am lying, that behind this there is some kind of secret state which is in league with some dark forces in the United States, and also let me say, we believe that Secretary Rice is lying, there simply is no truth in the claims that the United Kingdom has been involved in rendition full stop, because we have not been, and so what on earth a judicial inquiry would start to do I have no idea. I do not think it would be justified.”

Former British foreign minister Jack Straw speaks to a television crew as he leaves a BBC building in central London February 23, 2015. REUTERS/Paul Hackett

“The Blair and Brown governments were deeply immersed in torture, a practice that increased hatred of the UK in the Muslim world and thus increased the threat of terrorism. Their ministers repeatedly lied about it, including to parliament. The British state has since repeatedly acted to ensure impunity for those involved, from Blair and Straw down to individual security service officers, who are not to be held responsible for their criminal complicity. This impunity of agents of the state is a complete guarantee that these evil practices will continue.”

It’s quite a tell that Ambassador Murray said that no British press has requested an interview with him, isn’t it?  But one paper  has covered the report with some interesting tidbits, especially confirming the truth that torture doesn’t bring truthful confessions, just what torturers want to hear:

From the Guardian, June 30: ‘British intelligence officers linked to man waterboarded 83 times ; MI6 put questions to Abu Zubaydah despite knowing of sustained torture, report says’

“In the lead-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, statements made by Zubaydah under torture were cited by the US government as evidence that there was a link between the Ba’athist regime of Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida: a connection that was said to justify the invasion of Iraq. That connection is no longer made.

Zubaydah, a Saudi-born Palestinian national who is still being held in Guantánamo Bay, was also said to have confessed that al-Qaida planned to use an improvised nuclear device to attack Washington DC. This too is now accepted to be a false claim.

The ISC report found evidence that UK intelligence officers had been involved in almost 600 cases in which a prisoner was mistreated in the years after 9/11, and that the British government had planned, agreed or financed 31 rendition operations.

Scotland Yard has said it is studying the report, amid warnings that if the UK does not investigate, the international criminal court may do so.”

“And when one MI6 officer raised concerns that prisoners at a detention facility were being kept in cells approximately 2 metres long, 1.8 metres high and 1.2 metres wide, he felt he was regarded as having “let the side down” by pointing to an “inconvenient” truth. An MI6 lawyer who visited this facility described it as “a torture centre” in which prisoners were held in wooden crates, could neither stand nor lie and subjected to white noise. The location of this US facility is not identified in the report, but it is thought to have been at Balad airbase, north of Baghdad in Iraq.

MI6 lawyers eventually formulated a policy under which nobody captured by UK forces was sent to this facility and officers would not interrogate anyone sent there. In practice, the report said, they would interrogate prisoners in a Portakabin next door to the prison, to which they would be returned once the questioning was complete.”

From a separate piece at the Guardian:

“Theresa May issued a statement saying the lessons of what happened in the aftermath of 9/11 “are to be found in improved operational policy and practice, better guidance and training, and an enhanced oversight and legal framework”.

She added: “We should be proud of the work done by our intelligence and service personnel, often in the most difficult circumstances, but it is only right that they should be held to the highest possible standards in protecting our national security.”

May’s statement did not address the committee’s conclusion that the UK had been in breach of the international prohibition on torture. Nor did she say anything about the recommendation that a fresh police investigation be considered.”

And last, from the Daily Mail rag June 26, but it’s ubiquitous and quotes the Times: ‘Fury as US demands changes to a report on British spies involvement in rendition and torture’

“Dan Dolan, head of policy at Reprieve, the human rights charity, told The Times: ‘It would destroy what remains of this inquiry’s credibility if its findings were influenced by the same US agencies who oversaw the abuses being investigated, and we must urgently find out what changes the Trump administration requested and whether they were accepted.

‘If the government had delivered the full public inquiry it originally promised it would be unthinkable that the Trump administration would be permitted to review this report before members of the UK parliament.

‘To convince anyone she takes these issues seriously, the prime minister must immediately order an independent, judge-led inquiry into UK involvement in torture and rendition.’

The only answer I’d found was at sky.com, FWIW:

“Dominic Grieve, chair of the intelligence and security committee (ISC), dismissed claims there were any significant last-minute changes granted to the document.  Only one word had been redacted from 300 pages “to meet a US security concern”, the MP for Beaconsfield revealed.

“The committee does not agree to redact material in its reports on grounds of embarrassment to anyone. So I can assure you that the US has not made wholesale redactions to the reports, as suggested.”

Mr Grieve also attacked the government, accusing it of acting “unacceptably” by leaking the report to the media.”

(cross-posted at caucus99percent.com)

One response to “UK ambassador Craig Murray wants jack straw to be prosecuted at the Hague for his complicity in torture; blasts Theresa May’s whitewashing

  1. i’d forgotten to include this is the OP:

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