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Iraq Legal Advice - Should Blair Resign?

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Squiffy, Apr 28, 2005.

  1. Squiffy

    Squiffy
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    I believe that Tony Blair should resign over two issues relating to the legal advice given over the Iraq war.

    1) Was Tony Blair in breach of the Ministers Code of Conduct?

    http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/pro..._code/page2.asp
    23. When advice from the Law Officers is included in correspondence between Ministers, or in papers for the Cabinet or Ministerial Committees, the conclusions may if necessary be summarised but, if this is done, the complete text of the advice should be attached.

    Blair and Lord Goldsmith did NOT ensure that the complete text of the Iraq legal advice was included in papers for the cabinet. Therefore it seems unarguable that they are in breach.

    Given that :
    a) Tony Blair himself is meant to enforce this code
    b) This was not an irrelevant omission - the cabinet may have taken a different decision if they'd seen the full advice

    Isn't this reason enough for him to go?

    2) Was the War Legal?
    Quite simply, even as a legal layman it seems plain that the initial advice given by the Attorney General on the conditions required for a legal war were not met.

    The full text of the advice is here - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/vote_2005/frontpage/4491801.stm

    There was no second resolution.

    So this leaves the argument over whether resolution 1441 revived resolution 678.

    The relevant text is :

    29. However, the argument that resolution 1441 alone has revived the authorisation to use force in resolution 678 will only be sustainable if there are strong factual grounds for concluding that Iraq has failed to take the final opportunity.

    In other words, we would need to be able to demonstrate hard evidence of non-compliance and non-cooperation.

    Given the structure of the resolution as a whole, the views of UNMOVIC and the IAEA will be highly significant in this respect.

    In the light of the latest reporting by UNMOVIC, you will need to consider very carefully whether the evidence of non-cooperation and non- compliance by Iraq is sufficiently compelling to justify the conclusion that Iraq has failed to take its final opportunity.


    Were there strong factual grounds for concluding that Iraq had failed to take the final opportunity? Was there demonstrable hard evidence of non-compliance and non-cooperation? Did UNMOVIC or the IAEA report non-compliance and non-cooperation?

    No - the final report from Hans Blix reported that co-operation was improving, but more time was required to verify compliance.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/2867913.stm
    Mr Blix, who headed the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (Unmovic), said he was very disappointed that inspections were aborted.

    "We had made rapid start," he said. "We did not have any obstacles from the Iraqi side in going anywhere. They gave us prompt access and we were in a great many places all over Iraq."


    And we now know of course that Iraq had complied - they had no WMD.

    It is now clear why the government was so keen to suppress publication of this legal advice as it makes a mockery of their statements that the legal case for war was clear and unequivocal.

    In our lawful democracy, shouldn't Blair take responsibility for his duplicity and step down?
     
  2. Nobber22

    Nobber22
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    A week before an election he is sure to win? Can I have some of what you are smoking? ;)
     
  3. Squiffy

    Squiffy
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    Aren't you drinking what I'm drinking? :D
     
  4. Rock Da Bass

    Rock Da Bass
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    There's really no such thing as 'legal' or 'illegal' when it comes to war. Tony Blair took a difficult decision as is is responsibility as PM and now he has to face the electorate. It's called democracy (something the Iraqi's had no chance of getting without intervention).

    RDB
     
  5. Squiffy

    Squiffy
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    Yes there is.

    Why else is Slobodan Milosevic facing war crime charges?

    Why did the Nuremburg trials happen?

    It is very possible that Tony Blair could face all sorts of charges related to the Iraq war.
     
  6. Miyazaki

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    Did you see the debate the other night? Paxman was class, to David Davies "You know you are playing with fire don't you" in responce to the asylum and immigration issue. He then went on to say, in response to their slogan, "what is it that you are thinking that you are incapable of articulating".

    Absolute genius. He gave Martin McGuiness a spanking last night too. :clap:
     
  7. Rock Da Bass

    Rock Da Bass
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    Sorry squiffy, but you are wrong. If there's a legality involved, who is the authority to decide the legality?

    The examples you quote are for crimes against humanity, not the actual wars themselves.

    RDB
     
  8. Squiffy

    Squiffy
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    You are wrong on several counts.

    The initiation and prosecution of an illegal war can make those with command responsibility subject to war crimes charges.
    The Nuremberg Tribual on the Trial of the Major German War Criminals stated in 1946 that, "To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, 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."

    "Preparing and planning an aggressive war" is one of the crimes of which Nazi leaders were convicted at Nuremberg after the Second World War.

    Blair could face war crimes charges. Of course while Britain & the USA are so diplomatically dominant such an outcome is almost impossible to contemplate.

    Conspiracy to Incite to Murder
    Potentially Blair could face charges of "conspiracy to incite to murder" under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. This charge is based on giving orders to soldiers to invade Iraq when the invasion is against international law. Such orders would therefore be unlawful and would not give troops the protection against prosecution they would rightly have in a legitimate war:

    Blair could also face prosecution for malfeasance in public office, impeachment as well as war crimes charges if the actions of soldiers in the field was disproportionate and inconsistent with the Geneva Conventions.

    Oh, and there are various legal authorities that could take the lead.

    Britain is signed up to the International Criminal Court. The International Court of Justice could also take action, and if directed by the UN a War Crimes Tribunal could be setup.
     
  9. mrtbag

    mrtbag
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    Who cares about this anymore? Within a year or so, our troops will be home, and Iraq will be enjoying it's new government. Can anybody recall a 'wartime' Prime Minister that has not lied or hidden truths about certain aspects of a conflict? Thatcher did (The belgrano incident), and she didn't resign.
     
  10. Nobber22

    Nobber22
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    I do! I have family in Iran. Are US/UK troops going to march in there next because Bush/Blair "Have to make a tough decision and we are going to make it...and the rest of you must just accept it!"

    :thumbsdow
     
  11. michaelm

    michaelm
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    So they have "democracy" now then? Only political parties and individuals sanctioned by the US may stand in elections and any elections may only take place with the approval of Washington. True "democracy" at work.
     
  12. Rock Da Bass

    Rock Da Bass
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    Of course they don't have true democracy yet. I didn't say that.

    They are certainly a lot closer tho.

    RDB
     
  13. Rock Da Bass

    Rock Da Bass
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    PS My refernce to democracy was in regard to TB having to face the electorate.
     
  14. la gran siete

    la gran siete
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    Nah! he'll resign in two years time when the war will be forgotten
     
  15. mrtbag

    mrtbag
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    With all respect Nobber, we could list lots of countries that Blair/Bush 'might' invade (North Korea/Sudan/Iran etc) but that has absolutely no bearing on this thread. Should blair resign beacuse of what he has done? Maybe, and I could understand arguments for and against. Should he resign because of conflicts he may or may nor start in the future? Of course not.

    My point was, what are we going to achieve by continually analysing the legal aspect of this war? I think we are all in agreement that nobody is going to start legal action against the US or UK. So I just don't see the point in going over this ground again.
     
  16. Nobber22

    Nobber22
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    I don't see Blair admitting to doing anything wrong, especially not in an election week. Like Thatcher he probably will never admit that he was wrong. But I am also afraid that this war in Iraq will set a precedent that no (civilised) country has had to deal with in over 200 years:

    If a King/Prime Minister/President of a nation decides to invade another country, they can just do it. :rolleyes:

    Never mind that the intelligence community, UN, half your cabinet and The International Courts of Justice say it's wrong/illegal/you have no grounds - he'll just go in and blame it on "the War on Terror" or the next "Big Threat to this Nation" - talk about (in you words) "future conflicts/threats that might or might not exist!" ;)

    The War on Terror is BS. So was Weapons of Mass Destruction. Give a politician an inch and he'll take a whole region. :thumbsdow
     
  17. mrtbag

    mrtbag
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    They have already admitted that the intelligence they used as a basis to go to war was poor, they have set-up enquiries, and from those changes have been made to ensure intelligence is more accurate.
     
  18. Desticado

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    So by that argument im guessing you'll be similarly support impending military action against, China, Korea, Saudi Ariba, Kuwait, Pakistan....

    Im sure the peoples of those countries would love democracy too and they also have no chance of getting it at the moment.
     
  19. Nobber22

    Nobber22
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    When questioned about Iraq again this week Blair said: "We rescued Iraq. The people of Iraq are free. I'm glad Saddam is in jail."

    No mention of not doing it again.

    Just saying we'll make sure

    "intelligence is MORE ;) accurate" - close enough to the truth alright for you Tone?

    "we've set up enquiries" - yeah, they ALWAYS get to the truth. :rotfl:

    Iraq is better off, but the end DOES NOT justify the means! :lesson:

    "Freeing the Iraqi people" - which is what Blair said was the result of Operation Desert Shield, was illegal. Period. He knew it too.

    Of course we got all sorts of other WMD BS in the days leading up to the war instead. :mad:
     
  20. mrtbag

    mrtbag
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    Is it normal for people to mention what they are NOT going to do?

    Would you go to the pub and say 'I'll have a pint of Stella' or 'I'll have a pint of stella, but not a vodka, gin, whisky, guinness or coke.'
     
  21. Nobber22

    Nobber22
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    Apologies, let me be more clear: He has made no mention of not going about another invasion in the same way = illegally, based on bad intelligence and the greed of a chimp over the water. :nono:

    P.S. Any mention of not going to consume all the above alcoholic beverages in the pub shall also be regarded as blatant lies! :D
     
  22. overkill

    overkill
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    First class post Mr TBag. As an example Eden only resigned after the Americans had humiliated him, not because he had been caught taking the UK into a totally illegal assault on Egypt. Even the reasons for going to War in 1914 were a mixture of lies and defence of a treaty that had lapsed. Anyone think we were wrong to go in then? We didn't aid the French under similiar circumstances in 1870. Before we go into treaties, they were secret, and had no legal binding either.

    Having read the text, I'm not even sure I agree with Squiffy on his judgements either. Although in this instance I'd like to.

    Again good points. Blair like it or not ( I don't) has followed precedent, one, interestingly, followed by his political opponents in the past. Do we have an 'all change now' because it's Blair? Hardly.
     
  23. Nobber22

    Nobber22
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    Are you saying that there is never a time to change? Should the rich nations continue to plunder the Third World of all their natural resources?

    I thought you Brits were ashamed of the Empire and never wanted to go down that road again? :hiya:
     
  24. Miyazaki

    Miyazaki
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    I think it is a shame that the opposition haven't capitalised on it. It looks like a 1% swing to the cons at the best in the election.
     
  25. overkill

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    Absolutely not. However, so far we've not seen to much evidence of this "plunder" going on in Iraq. At least no more than the dodgy contracts the French, Russians, Germans etc had going before the war. Of those, hard evidence exists.

    Sadly nobber, no leader of the Western nations however idealistic (and Blairs a lot more up on this than c(h)oward), is going to dismantle a system that's keeping prices down for big business, and as a result, the mass of consumers. If they did the US might just have a few words.......... and we know how painful that can be! :rolleyes:
     
  26. Desticado

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    Howard nailed himself to the wall when hi completely endorsed the war... Hasnt left himself much room.

    Irrespective of political affiliations I'd like to see a 3% shift to the cons so as to reduce the labour majority. At leat that way Blaire would actually have to listen to his MP's and party as opposed to just running rough shod over them. I think most people would be shocked to discover just how LITTLE power the average backbencher has when a party has such a large majority.
     
  27. overkill

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    How can they? Howards lot actually attacked the govt for not going in sooner, regardless of evidence, while everytime Kennedy goes for this issue he wins voters over alright - for the Tories! :D
     
  28. Squiffy

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    Astonishing.

    Whether you agree with my assessment or not, I cannot understand how anybody believes our leaders should be above the law! :nono:

    The point in analysing the legal aspect of the law is to ascertain if the government deliberately lied to parliament and to the British people. The rule of law must be absolutely paramount. EVERY Briton should be concerned over issues such as this.

    We cannot allow a situation where the government of the day can take any action they please without accountability or responsibility to the law and Parliament.
     
  29. overkill

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    Good point. The only time we've seen any back bench power since 1979, is after the 92' election. Even then the Unionists mean that the Tory backbenchers couldn't inflict too much damage on Major. I would agree we need a smaller majority to force Blair to listen more often. Anything over 70 makes any govt arrogant.

    I agree Squiffy, but they have done for years. Thatcher, Major and Blair have all cut far too fine a line at times. Mind you, so did Eden & Wilson.
     
  30. Squiffy

    Squiffy
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    As someone whose opinion I greatly respect, I'd be very interested in your comments. :thumbsup:
     

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