Jack Straw, Tony Blair, and the ‘truth’ about torture

This entry was posted on
Saturday, December 31st, 2005
12:37 pm and is filed
under It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!.

Just some thoughts to aid those who may be swayed by seemingly strong denials from the Foreign Office and Downing Street in the coming days….

Jack Straw’s Oral FAC Evidence (Tuesday 13 December 2005): I have never had piece of paper produced before me where on the rubric it says, “We believe this has been obtained under torture.”

And here’s why…

Paragraph 9 of Letter #3 from Craig Murray (July 2004): I understand that the meeting decided to continue to obtain the Uzbek torture material. I understand that the principal argument deployed was that the intelligence material disguises the precise source, ie it does not ordinarily reveal the name of the individual who is tortured. Indeed this is true – the material is marked with a euphemism such as “From detainee debriefing.” The argument runs that if the individual is not named, we cannot prove that he was tortured.

So, no names given, no questions asked. Hooray for plausible deniability. More on this in a moment.

First, it needs to be pointed out that both Jack Straw and Tony Blair can truthfully claim that they have seen no evidence based on torture if that data is instead classified as ‘intelligence’. Neat, huh?

Second, they can truthfully claim that they have seen no piece of paper produced before them where on the rubric (header) it says, “We believe this has been obtained under torture.” – because it would appear that this information – along with any names – is removed from such documents before they see them.

Third, these paragons of virtue and justice may (I stress may) actually be able to truthfully claim that “we don’t do torture” or “we don’t encourage torture” because they are using the present tense.

Oh, and I’m not just talking about Uzbekistan here. Abu Ghraib is in the past, too:

Observer – British quizzed Iraqis at torture jail: British military intelligence officers were interrogating prisoners in the notorious Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq even as the first reports of abuses at the prison came to light, The Observer can reveal. The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that three ‘military personnel’ were stationed at the prison, outside Baghdad, between January and April this year. Coalition sources in Iraq say MI6 also visited the jail regularly.

Now we get back to (and close with) plausible deniability… and the fact that Jack Straw does not enjoy this privilege.

He may claim to be a busy man and unable to read all correspondence from all ambassadors.

Like Geoff Hoon, he may even claim to be unaware of the many press reports on the matter because he was out of town at the time.

But he cannot claim to be unaware of the issue of torture in Uzbekistan, because he had to work his butt off to fight, refute or suppress these claims as part of a bloody election campaign.

He knew. He always knew. And if there’s any justice, he’ll be done for this and for his blatant misuse of power in trying to shut Craig Murray up.

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