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At last Jack Straw speaks about his complicity in CIA torture and rendition

Jack Straw's wriggle room seemed to shrink when the Guardian submitted questions to him that would clarify his role in CIA torture.


Following publication of the US Senate's CIA torture report, the Guardian submitted questions to Jack Straw, Tony Blair's foreign secretary at the time Britain was taken into the illegal Iraq war. It received the following responses:

Q: Why did Straw decide in January 2002 that the government should raise no objection to US plans to remove to Guantánamo Bay British nationals and residents detained in Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the grounds that this would be the best way for the UK to meet its counter-terrorism objectives? Was he not concerned that this removal was unlawful or that these individuals were at risk of severe mistreatment?

Straw: “At all times I was scrupulous in seeking to carry out my duties in accordance with the law, and I hope to be able to say more about this at an appropriate stage in the future.”

Q: Did Straw authorise MI6 involvement in two rendition operations of 2004 that resulted in two Libyan men being delivered to the Gaddafi regime, along with the pregnant wife of one man and the wife and four children of the second? What steps if any did Straw take to inquire into the wellbeing of the members of these two families after they had been kidnapped and taken to Libya?

Straw: “At all times I was scrupulous in seeking to carry out my duties in accordance with the law.”

Q: Why did Straw tell the House of Commons foreign affairs committee the following year that any suggestions of UK involvement in renditions were “conspiracy theories” and should be disbelieved unless the committee members were prepared to believe that he was lying?

Straw: “At all times I was scrupulous in seeking to carry out my duties in accordance with the law.”

When asked by UK defence secretary Michael Fallon to reveal what he knew about the CIA's torture and rendition programme, Straw gave another non-answer:

"I was never complicit in any of the CIA illegal processes. I consider it to be revolting, unlawful and also unproductive, as has come out in the Senate report. Of course, when it is possible for legal reasons for full inquiries to take place I will cooperate fully with them, as I always have done."

But it doesn't take rocket science to find out how Jack Straw and his partner in war crimes Tony Blair colluded in CIA torture. Government intelligence sources told The Telegraph:

Both Mr Blair and Mr Straw knew in detail about the CIA's secret programme after the September 11 attacks and were kept informed "every step of the way". "The politicians took a very active interest indeed. They wanted to know everything. The Americans passed over the legal opinions saying that this was now 'legal', and our politicians were aware of what was going on at the highest possible level. The politicians knew in detail about everything – the torture and the rendition. They could have said [to M16] 'stop it, do not get involved', but at no time did they,"

The source’s claims echoed those made publicly by Sir Richard Dearlove, the head of MI6 from 1999 to 2004, who said in a speech in 2012 that MI6’s cooperation with the CIA’s rendition programme was a “political” decision.

“Tony Blair absolutely knew, Dearlove was briefing him all the time. He was meticulous about keeping the politicians informed,” the intelligence source said.

But Jack Straw's criminality goes far beyond secret collusion with CIA torture and rendition. He was shoulder-to-shoulder every step of the way, as Tony Blair's lies took Britain into an illegal war against Iraq that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians and so devastated the country that eleven years later it is still being torn apart.

If there were any justice in the world, Jack Straw would be held to account for his complicty in the supreme war crime, as defined by the Nürnberg Tribunal, set up after World War II, following the trials of leading Nazis:

To initiate a war of aggression ... is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.

In 2009, when he was UK justice minister, Jack Straw -- without a drop of irony -- unveiled a law in parliament which created new powers to prosecute war criminals living in Britain who have committed atrocities dating back to 1991. Introducing the new law, Straw said:

"Those who have committed genocide or war crimes or crimes against humanity during the 1990s must not escape justice. These people must face up to their terrible crimes and we are doing everything in our power to make them accountable for their actions... we are committed to ensuring those guilty of these crimes are punished appropriately and to the full extent of the law in this country."

If this new law was applied with due attention to the facts, there is little doubt that Jack Straw would be among the first to be arraigned under this law for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Source: Stop the War Coalition

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