[Marxism] UK state: Iraq crisis, US diktats

James Daly james.irldaly at ntlworld.com
Mon Mar 1 08:16:24 MST 2004


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Michael Keaney" <michael.keaney at mbs.fi>
To: <a-list at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Sent: Monday, March 01, 2004 12:20 PM
Subject: [A-List] UK state: Iraq crisis, US diktats


US told UK Attorney General to alter legal advice on Iraq war

By James Cusick, Westminster Editor The Sunday Herald, 29 February
2004

The attorney general initially told Tony Blair that an invasion of
Iraq would be illegal without a new resolution from the United Nations
and only overturned his advice when Washington ordered Downing Street
to find legal advice which would justify the war.

The devastating claim will be made by eminent QC and Labour peer
Baroness Helena Kennedy in a television interview today.

It is one of a series of attacks which put Blair under renewed and
increasing pressure to reveal full details of the legal backing for
the war against Iraq.

Lawyers, including one from Cherie Blair's legal chambers, Matrix,
will demand improved compensation and an inquiry into the deaths of
Iraqi civilians killed by British troops, which could raise the
spectre of the government being forced to disclose its advice on the
legality of the war.

It is widely believed that the government's reluctance to do this was
behind its decision to drop all charges against GCHQ whistleblower
Katherine Gun last week. The environmental group, Greenpeace is also
demanding access to Lord Goldsmith's advice in order to defend 14
activists due to appear in court in connection with anti-war protests
carried out last year.

Former cabinet minister Clare Short continued her relentless attack on
Blair when she described the way attorney general Lord Goldsmith's
"truncated opinion authorising war appeared at the very last minute"
as "very odd".

Together, the new developments signal that the legal case for the
allied invasion of Iraq without a specific UN instruction authorising
them to do so has become the most dangerous threat to the Prime
Minister and is unlikely to go away.

Kennedy's claims, which will be made this morning in an interview on
GMTV, are arguably the most damaging. Her position as a member of the
highest echelons of the legal community will add credence to her
claims that the British government could find only two senior lawyers
in the UK prepared to back the case for the invasion.

Baroness Kennedy points out that Lord Goldsmith was a commercial
lawyer with no experience of international law and initially relied
heavily on the advice of lawyers within the Foreign Office in the
months before the war. It is widely believed that advice
overwhelmingly warned against invading without a UN resolution.

She claims that when Washington was told of this advice their response
was succinct: find a new lawyer.

Goldsmith then turned to Professor Christopher Greenwood of the London
School of Economics, who was known to support the invasion. Greenwood
was already on record as stating: "It would be highly desirable to
have a second UN resolution because that puts the matter beyond
serious question. But if that's not possible, I would support the use
of force without the resolution.''

After consulting Greenwood, Goldsmith told the cabinet an invasion
could take place within international law without the new UN
resolution.

However, sacked Labour MP George Galloway insisted yesterday that
Goldsmith warned ministers that his advice relied on the accuracy of
intelligence information that Saddam posed a serious threat to British
interest - information which has since been discredited.

Baroness Kennedy says Blair is being "haunted" by the fallout of a war
"that will just not go away".

Clare Short yesterday said Foreign Office lawyers disagreed on the
legality of war and that senior officials in Whitehall were "worried
that they were being asked to prepare for illegal action".

After her disclosure that she had seen transcripts of material taken
in bugging operations conducted inside the office of the secretary
general of the UN, Kofi Annan, it remained a possibility she would
either be prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act or even be thrown
out of the Labour Party.

Yesterday the chairman of the Labour party, Ian McCartney, appeared to
rule out any party censure. "I'm not going to make her a martyr," he
told BBC Scotland. Lord Alexander of Weedon QC, a leading peer and
lawyer, yesterday described the content of Lord Goldsmith advice as
"the most important legal opinion of the last 50 years". He said
without it the war would not have gone ahead and
20,000 Iraqis would not have been killed.

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