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Thread: The legal advice on Iraq (UK)

  1. #1
    Rat Faced's Avatar Broken
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    The Iraq Facts

    26 April 2005
    Unpublished legal advice haunts Blair




    "It's not a question of changing his mind. The legal advice of the Attorney General was very clear."
    Tony Blair, 25 April 2005
    The legality of the Iraq invasion returned to haunt the Government when a newspaper published what it said was the full advice given by the attorney-general in the weeks before war.

    According to the paper, Lord Goldsmith's full advice on 7 March 2003 raised doubts about the legality of going to war, giving six reasons why it could be open to challenge.

    The advice was written just ten days before he gave a written answer in the House of Lords which stated that the war would be legal.

    The warnings in the leak revolve around United Nations resolutions that date back to the 1991 Gulf War after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.

    The UN Resolutions

    The first, resolution 678, passed in November 1990, authorised the use of force against Iraq unless it complied with earlier resolutions requiring it to withdraw from Kuwait after the invasion of August 1990. The resolution authorised the use of "all necessary means" to ensure compliance.

    After Iraq was driven out of Kuwait, the terms of the ceasefire were set out in 1991 in resolution 687, and included the verifiable destruction of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

    A decade later in November 2002, UN Resolution 1441 held that Iraq was in "material breach" of its disarmament obligations and warned of "serious consequences" if violations continued.

    This is what it said:


    "Holding Iraq in 'material breach' of its obligations under previous resolutions, the Security Council this morning decided to afford it a 'final opportunity to comply' with its disarmament obligations, while setting up an enhanced inspection regime for full and verified completion of the disarmament process established by resolution 687 (1991)."
    UN Resolution 1441
    "By the unanimous adoption of resolution 1441 (2002), the Council instructed the resumed inspections to begin within 45 days, and also decided it would convene immediately upon the receipt of any reports from inspection authorities that Iraq was interfering with their activities. It recalled, in that context, that the Council had repeatedly warned Iraq that it would face 'serious consequences' as a result of continued violations."
    UN Resolution 1441
    "The Council ... further decided that, within 30 days, Iraq, in order to begin to comply with its obligations, should provide ... a complete declaration of all aspects of its programmes to develop chemical, biological and nuclear weapons&.Any false statement or omission in the declaration will be considered a further material breach of Iraq's obligations, and will be reported to the Council for assessment."
    UN Resolution 1441
    The resolution did not go as far as the 1990 resolution, and did not include the concept of "automaticity" where a breach by Iraq would trigger the use of force. Instead the Security Council would convene immediately once a breach was reported.

    Commons analysis

    A House of Commons library analysis of resolution 1441 in November 2002 spelt out the arguments over the options open to member states if the Security Council did not agree on enforcement action.

    It said: "An argument might be made out ... that Iraq's persistent breaches of the ceasefire terms invalidate that ceasefire, and that a return to the use of force authorised in Resolution 678 might be countenanced.

    "Prior to the adoption of Resolution 1441 a range of views had been expressed as to the reactivation of Resolution 678.

    "Some commentators argued that the objective of removing Iraq from Kuwait had been secured, and therefore the authorisation of the use of force was no longer current.

    "Others argued that the ceasefire was conditional and if Iraq breached those conditions then the authorisation of the use of force had to be seen as live."

    Attorney-General's advice

    Lord Goldsmith's advice, as given in the Parliamentary written answer of 17 March 2003 follows the second argument, taking the view that Resolution 1441's statement that Iraq was in breach of Resolution 687 did revive the authorisation to use force granted in Resolution 678.

    The leak to the Mail on Sunday of his earlier advice, which the government has refused to publish, suggests he was less convinced of that argument 10 days earlier According to the paper, he argued it could be difficult to revive authority for the use of force under Resolution 678 because that applied to the removal of Iraq from Kuwait, not an invasion of Iraq.

    He is also said to have warned that Resolution 1441 on its own was not enough justification because its warning of "serious consequences" fell short of "all necessary means"- the legal definition needed to authorise war.

    Lord Goldsmith is also said to have raised four other issues:

    There was a case that it was for the Security Council to decide if Iraq had made another breach, not member states.

    It would be safer to have another resolution in addition to 1441

    The legal position in the US - where Congress had given President Bush authority to act without UN backing - did not apply in Britain.

    UN weapons inspectors led by Hans Blix were still ongoing.

    Source


    The facts are that on 7th March the Attorney-General issued a 13 page document filled with caviots and saying that it was unsafe to assume the war was legal.

    The Military told the Government that it would not go, unless there was a clear legal case.. the 13 page document mysteriously shrank to a 9 paragraph statement... and this is what was shown to the Military, the Cabinet and Parliament.

    For me, its now immaterial whether it was legal or not.. its happened and we cant turn the clock back.

    However the fact remains that in effect the Prime Minister of this country took the decision of going to war, without giving the full legal advice to his Cabinet or the Military.


    To elect someone with such meglomaniac tendancies for another term is for me a non-starter... It saddens me therefore that he will be re-elected, albeit people will be voting for our Chancellor to keep his job, and not Blaire.

    An It Harm None, Do What You Will

  2. The Drawing Room   -   #2
    sArA's Avatar Ex-Moderatererer
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    Clearly someone was being a cunt....would you vote for that cunt?

  3. The Drawing Room   -   #3
    Biggles's Avatar Looking for loopholes
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    I fear the choice is limited. Whilst I believe Blair was extremely "economical with the actualite" regarding the advice on the Iraq war there is no other realistic alternative for Government. In fact this has been Blair's strongest card since he took over leadership of the Labour Party. Major was in charge of a disintegrating party, Hague was forced to the far right by the nutters, Dunkin Doughnut was stabbed from within his own party by the nutters and now they have Howard the old Thatcher Dispatcher. Howard has more control and the nutters are hidden from view but it is obvious they are avoiding central issues that divide them (like Europe) - anybody seen Redwood or Clark .

    I love Bremner's impersonation of Howard "you can vote for us, we won't hurt you .... not this time *scary smile*"

    Sadly, I think Tone will ride out the storm. I also have mixed feelings about Brown becoming PM - will the next Treasurer be as good?
    Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum


  4. The Drawing Room   -   #4
    Illuminati's Avatar Simple Bystander BT Rep: +7BT Rep +7
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    The main issue for voters wasn't whether the war on Iraq was legal or not or even whether it was right to go to war or not. The main reason for bringing it up is because it's unsure whether we can trust our Prime Minister & the word of the government, whether they will bring us down in any way and who exactly our Prime Minister seems to base his decisions on.

    It's only a shame that the three main candidates only pick the saccharin issues to argue over and appeal to voters.

    Personally, Brown would be the only potential leader I could really vote for in Labour now - Blair's lost my respect over Iraq but also the top-up fees issue. As for the Conservatives, I couldn't vote for them at all - Especially as I come from a railway family who saw the privatisation of British Rail and the cock-ups of the railways as we know them now.

    TBH Kennedy would get my vote, simply for the fact that the Lib Dems are not Labour nor Tories. Shame I'm at uni when the election comes round


  5. The Drawing Room   -   #5
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    Blair stands firm on legality of Iraq war

    Last Modified: 28 Apr 2005
    Source: ITN

    Prime Minister Tony Blair has dismissed the "smoking gun" of leaks of legal advice on the Iraq war as a "damp squib".

    And in a surprise move, transcripts of Attorney-General Lord Goldsmith's advice on the legality of the conflict have been released following the publication on Channel 4 News of a leaked summary.

    Mr Blair told reporters: "You have probably got it all anyway. I see no reason not to publish it.


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    "It does not matter what I do, what I publish or what I say - there will be some people who will always want to re-try this argument again in terms of my integrity.

    "I had a decision to take and I took it. That is leadership. There will be people who will forever more dispute that. So be it."

    Opposition parties launched renewed attacks on Mr Blair over the legality of the war after leaked documents showed Lord Goldsmith initially had reservations about the case for conflict.

    But the Prime Minister insisted the advice he received was that the war would be legal. He said: "The key thing was the Attorney-General's advice that it was lawful to proceed.

    "This so-called smoking gun has turned out to be a damp squib because he did advise it was lawful to proceed. How many times have we been over this? People go on about honesty and integrity.

    "The truth is that people going on about the Attorney-General's advice and trying to suggest to the public that he advised it was unlawful, when he did not, are people opposed completely to the war.

    "They were opposed at the time. They are opposed now. I don't disrespect their position. I just wish they would understand I took a different view and instead of trying to frame this debate in terms of my integrity and my character, understand it was a decision this leader had to take for this country.

    "The people are the boss at this election. They will have to make their minds up about it and about my character and my integrity."

    But the Tories and the Liberal Democrats are determined to make more political gain over the controversy.

    Conservative leader Michael Howard said: "When Mr Blair said 'I have never lied' he was not telling the truth."

    His Liberal Democrat counterpart Charles Kennedy said it was time for Mr Blair to "come clean" with the British public.

    The row erupted with the leak of a previously secret document which showed that just days before the conflict, Lord Goldsmith could not be sure the case for invasion would stand up in court.

    His legal advice was given to the Prime Minister on March 7. It lists a number of concerns, including that UK troops risked prosecution in the international courts.

    In the document, Lord Goldsmith said the "safest legal course" would be to secure a new UN Security Council resolution authorising war.

    Yet on March 17, he gave the go-ahead in a statement to Parliament, saying that the war was legal.

    In the March 7 document, he said he believed that the UK and US would need "strong factual grounds" and "hard and compelling evidence" of Iraqi breaches of UN resolutions before any military action was taken.

    "In these circumstances, I remain of the opinion that the safest legal course would be to secure the adoption of a further resolution to authorise the use of force," it said.

    None of the caveats appeared in Lord Goldsmith's much briefer legal case which was presented to Parliament just days before the war began.

    Mr Howard said: "We've been told by Mr Blair that on March 17 - just ten days later - the advice given by the Attorney General to Cabinet was clear and it hadn't changed.

    "We now know beyond any doubt that it had changed.

    "So the first question Mr Blair has to answer is: why did he say advice hadn't changed when we know it had?

    "The second question that needs to be answered is: what or who changed the Attorney General's legal advice?

    "The issue of Iraq boils down to one very simple question: if you cannot trust Mr Blair on the decision to take the country to war, the most important decision that any Prime Minister can take, how can you trust Mr Blair on anything else, ever again?"

    Lord Goldsmith has issued a statement saying he was standing by his opinion that it was legal for Britain to go to war.

    He said the document showed how he had gone through the complex arguments over the legality of military action before concluding that, in his judgement, it would be lawful.
    Source

    On the Channel 4 news tonight they also told that 16 out of the 17 top International Lawyers in the UK had no doubt that the war was illegal.

    The position seems to have changed because the USA interpreted that member states of the UN can now decide if a country is in "Material Breach" of a UN resolution, rather than the Security Council, which is what the rules say.

    This is a dangerous precedent, in that now that it has been set.. any country can now legally attack Israel, which is known to be in material breach of many UN resolutions, as an example.

    The USA would then be in the position of showing its double standards to the world again or letting Israel go it alone... My bet is Double Standards dont trouble the US Government.


    Edit:

    Now that this paper has been released, at least 2 families of soldiers killed are taking Blaire to court. Things are gonna get interesting now, when it finally reaches there.
    Last edited by Rat Faced; 04-28-2005 at 06:49 PM.

    An It Harm None, Do What You Will

  6. The Drawing Room   -   #6
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    Today, a document was delivered to 10 Downing Street giving Mr Blaire 14 days to announce an independant review of he legality of the Iraqi war.

    If this has not been anounced by that time, the familiesof those soldiers killed will force a Judicial Review and also independant Legal Action on Mr Blaire himself.

    On TV tonight, Mr Blaire has already dismissed the possibility of such a review.. and so it looks like this issue is now going to Court.

    In the same interview, he would not deny that British Soldiers can be brought before the ICC for their actions in Iraq... thus virtually admitting that it was illegal under "International Law".

    He also, very stupidly in my opinion, said that it was because of Regime Change that he made his decision... oops, that's specifically outlawed under the articles of the UN, and he said it on a TV interview, therefore its now in the Public Domain and no "Security" legislation to stop that going to court as evidence.

    Seems to be under more pressure than he tries to let on... wouldnt normally expect a Lawyer to make such an elementary mistake.


    An It Harm None, Do What You Will

  7. The Drawing Room   -   #7
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    Blair also said today that there was absolutely no chance of an attack on Iran.

    Hope they've dug those bunkers deep enough in Teheran.
    .
    Political correctness is based on the principle that it's possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

  8. The Drawing Room   -   #8
    GepperRankins's Avatar we want your oil!
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    Blair also said today that there was absolutely no chance of an attack on Iran.

    Hope they've dug those bunkers deep enough in Teheran.
    i wonder if he'll be saying the same thing next week

  9. The Drawing Room   -   #9
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    At least let us get all those treasures of the Persian Empire into the British Musuem first

    An It Harm None, Do What You Will

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