On April 21st this year, The Slog publicly called David Miliband a liar on torture. Now – and not before time – the truth is catching up with this duplicitous man: for yesterday, the Cabinet was briefed by security services – and (I’m led to understand) told that at least some of the charges brought by detainees are justified.
We ran a piece immediately after the then Foreign Secretary told the Commons that neither Britain nor he was complicit in torture. We said he was lying. And LibDem sources today suggest that what Nick Clegg heard yesterday was certainly enough to convince him that the man who is the leading contender for the Labour leadership lied to the House. Whether this leak is true or not, however, we can be left in little doubt about some guilt, given the Prime Minister’s statement soon afterwards, which contained the words:
This is more than enough to suggest complicity; in fact, it is carefully crafted PM’s Office-speak for ‘at least some agents are guilty, and at least some Ministers lied’.
This is not a moral high-horse we’re mounting here: only an idiot would be picked up by security forces during hostilities, and then be surprised by torture or (at the very least) being knocked about a bit. Further, only a total naif would fail to see the same ‘Gaza flotilla’ agenda behind the prisoners’ allegations as Hamas have been handing out to a gullible media set in recent weeks.
But that’s not the point. There are two principles at stake: first, if we blanket deny any wrongdoing, then we sink as low as the enemy – becoming simply another set of truth-benders; and second, no major political Party should even consider electing a man who has lied to Parliament….let alone one who lied about torturing people.
As for the wails about trial secrecy, I share the doubts of human rights campaigners about the likelihood of getting to a truth that has been established behind closed doors. But the security sensitivities are, frankly, obvious. And anyway, I understand that Ministers involved may well give evidence in public.
David Miliband is, it’s clear, a bloke who believes in nothing except himself. He shows little loyalty to colleagues, and none whatsoever for our institutions. Thirty years ago the very association with this sort of nasty understain would have ended a career in public life forever. It will be interesting to see what effect it has on his support in the Labour Party.
Having said all that, the Slog will also be following up the other side of this coin: the distinct possibility of a ‘Get Miliband and destroy Labour’ plot by the Tories and/or the security services.