Blair had no factual evidence of “material breach”

by Chris Lamb

I have finally received a reply from the Cabinet Office to the freedom of information request I first made in June relating to disclosure of information that would show evidence for Tony Blair’s “unequivocal view”, on 15 March 2003, that Iraq was in “further material breach” of its treaty obligations under UN Security Council Resolution 1441. This was one of the key decisions that committed this country to military force.

The reply shows that no official record was made of the factual evidence upon which Blair’s “unequivocal view” – conveyed in a letter from his private secretary Matthew Rycroft – relied. It holds no such records. As the Cabinet Office is connected to the Office of the Prime Minister, this would also apply to the Prime Minister’s Office.

It should be remembered that the Chilcot Report made it clear that Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, emphasized the necessity for “strong factual evidence” to corroborate any such alleged ‘further material breach’. The basis for legal force under the US revival argument (which was drafted into Operational Paragraph 4 (OP4) of UNSCR 1441), in Goldsmith’s view, required such strong factual evidence.

Here is a transcript of the chronological narrative from Section 5 of the Chilcot Report which directly addresses these issues:

Lord Goldsmith’s view that resolution 1441 authorised the use of force relied on the conclusion that OP4:

“… constituted a determination in advance that if the particular set of circumstances specified in it arose, so that Iraq failed to take the final opportunity it had been given,that would constitute a further material breach.

“The resolution therefore constituted authority for the use of force provided that such a factual situation had occurred, namely that Iraq had failed to comply with and co-operate fully in the implementation of the resolution. In that event a Council discussion would need to take place.

“I had concluded that in any such Council discussion the assessment contemplated by OP4 was not an assessment of the quality of the breaches, since the Council had already resolved that any failure on Iraq’s part would constitute a material breach, but rather an assessment of the situation as a result of those breaches having occurred … Accordingly, the Council did not need to conclude that breaches had taken place (though I believe that at the discussion no member of the Security Council took the view that they had not occurred).

“Nonetheless the authorisation in resolution 678 could not revive unless in fact breaches had occurred. We needed therefore to be satisfied that this factual situation existed, and to be in a position if necessary to justify that to a court.

“That was why I said … that there would have to be strong factual grounds for concluding that Iraq had failed to take the final opportunity.”

Lord Goldsmith wrote:

“As I explained giving my oral evidence, this was an issue on which I wanted the Prime Minister consciously and deliberately to focus, hence my request for written confirmation that he had reached this view.”

Mr Blair’s view

The Review of Intelligence on Weapons of Mass Destruction  (‘The Butler Report’) records it was:

“… told that, in coming to his view that Iraq was in further material breach, the Prime Minister took account both of the overall intelligence picture and of information from a wide range of other sources, including especially UNMOVIC information.”

[“The Butler Report”], 14 July 2004, HC 898, paragraph 385.

Mr Blair told the Liaison Committee on 21 Ja nuary 2003 that, if the reported breach was a pattern of behaviour rather than conclusive proof would require “more considered judgement”.

As the Inquiry indicates in Sections 3.7 and 3.8, Mr Blair and his advisers in No.10 had been very closely involved, particularly since the beginning of March, in examining the reports of the UN weapons inspectors and had access to advice from the JIC on the activities of the Iraqi regime.

In his 7 March advice Lord Goldsmith had advised that Mr Blair “would have to consider extremely carefully whether the evidence of non-co-operation and non-compliance by Iraq [was] sufficiently compelling to justify the conclusion that Iraq had failed to take its final opportunity”.

But Mr Blair did not seek and did not receive considered advice from across government specifically examining whether the evidence was “sufficiently compelling” to provide the basis for a judgement of this magnitude and seriousness.

In mid-March, UNMOVIC was reporting increased co-operation, and the IAEA had confirmed that Iraq had no nuclear weapons or nuclear weapons programmes.

The Inquiry has not seen any evidence of consideration of whether the reports by UNMOVIC and the IAEA to the Security Council during January to March 2003 constituted reports to the Council under OP11 of resolution 1441; or whether the subsequent Security Council discussions constituted “consideration” as required by OP12.

There was clearly no majority support in the Security Council for a conclusion that the process set in hand by resolution 1441 had reached the end.

The Report states that the evidence underpinning Blair’s unequivocal view was never made available to the Inquiry.

The Cabinet Office parried my freedom of information request for this evidence for a considerable time. Consequently, I modified my request to seek the official record which should have been made by Blair’s senior civil service advisors (e.g. Rycroft) to provide an audit trail necessary to hold this decision making to account. This is particularly important as, in Goldsmith’s admission, it could be brought before a court.

The absence of any such record denies vital evidence to any investigation by a court of this particular decision making process- working to a civil or criminal prosecution.

It would appear an unarguable example of misconduct by either Blair or his senior civil servants (or both).

 


147 comments to this article

  1. Lee

    on January 20, 2017 at 11:00 am -

    “Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has called for a full investigation into the 2003 US-led invasion of his country that was assessed as unjust by the UK’s Iraq War inquiry last year.

    Reports on Wednesday quoted Abadi as saying at a press conference on Tuesday that he would like to see a “thorough investigation” of America’s decision-making that led to its troops “occupying” Iraq.”

    https://hiram1555.com/2017/01/19/iraq-urges-full-inquiry-into-2003-us-led-occupation/

  2. Lee

    on January 20, 2017 at 5:37 pm -

    It is my honour to report to you the Presidential Inaugural in Washington DC, my home for 25 wondrous years. Alas I had to watch live TV coverage, which took us to the heart of DC, with its stunning architectural marvels.

    The Inaugural gave us everything we could hope for, aside from good taste, style and intelligence, but hey, nothing’s perfect.

    For those of us in doubt, the preliminaries conducted by fine orators, assured us that America is indeed God’s chosen nation, which will come as somewhat of a shock to Israelis and Third Reichers. We were reminded on a few moments of awesome revelation that America (and Americans) is (are) the greatest nation (greatest people) on earth.

    In a widely unexpected speech, Mr Trump adopted Obama’s portentous delivery where the style runs a marathon length ahead of the content. This must have been soothing to crushed Liberals, and the Obama family itself, that Donald will try his darnedest to lie like Barack.

    We were assured that under Donald, America will no longer force other nations. The US will lead by example, until and unless other nations fail to learn from America’s example. He didnt say whether this included America’s style of policing. Probably an accidental omission.

    Trump surprised us by assuring the audience that everyone, regardless of colour (he gave only three but I am sure they are the ones that count) will enjoy the fruits of God’s nation (moving forward)

    The intrepid revolutionary mob, consisting of a few scattered yobs, dealt a death-blow to capitalism by breaking a Starbucks’ window, WITH PEOPLE STILL INSIDE.

    On the few occasions that the camera panned around the area, readers will be comforted to know that the ratio of selfie sticks to people present, was close to One-to-One.

    It was truly moving to witness the peaceful passing of power, the essence of a democracy, which happens nowhere else in the world. But there is now an opportunity for God’s lesser children to learn by America’s example.

    All round a miraculous day, and did you know they actually have Nandos in Washington DC. O how I would have loved to be a fly on the wall to listen to real Americans celebrate this remarkable event.

  3. Peter Beswick

    on January 20, 2017 at 5:50 pm -

    Quite Lee

    But the New POTUS emphasised time and time again in his speech that any ally of the US; present or future are not / will not be equal partners.

    So is he going to be a great President? No!

    I wished him well but for the first 20 minutes of his tenure he proved he is indeed as stupid as some of the most stupid other 44.

    Such a shame!

  4. Peter Beswick

    on January 20, 2017 at 10:38 pm -

    Just who was it that persuaded Trump to make an utter arse of himself? I can believe he wrote it all by himself, it did sound like twitterisms.

    “From this day forward a new vision will govern our land, from this day forward it’s going to be only America first, America first,”

    The US population 324 million

    The Vatican City population 801

    Does Trump propose to come First over the Vatican (I suspect the odd “1” might disapprove).

    Rest of World populations here

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_population_(United_Nations)

    EU population 743 million

    EU population 510 million (at the moment)

    Could put lots more GDP and wealth / capita or oil reserves but none of this matters.

    Trump will only consider putting the US first.

    They already do it with the law, they infected the UN, they infected the ICC and now Trump is going to bully the Mexicans and persecute Muslims.

    Just lets be clear, it was the US that got Muslims to fight Muslims, and the US that created Muslim terrorism. And the Mexicans have allowed the US to drive cheap cars. These people that Trump is going to grind into the ground have done the US’ bidding, they put the US first and look at the results

    Clinton Bush and Obama have been putting the US first, that is the root of all US problems.

    If the US don’t want to be a member of Global Society then please Fuck Off, you won’t be missed. But please stop doing harm to other nations.

    Load the Tubes Vladimir these parasites don’t deserve oxygen.

    And please Mrs May put the US nukes on a ship home to the US, Trump needs them more than the UK.

    That would be good wouldn’t it? For the first time in my lifetime, a British PM putting the UK’s interests first before the US.

    The Middle East is burning, Europe is crumbling and the US want to say “we’re looking after ourselves now”.

    So no chance of the US taking their fair share of Libyan, Iraqi and Syrian refugees. No! That problem belongs to the rest of the world.

  5. Lee

    on January 21, 2017 at 8:22 am -

    Yup.

    We are children of 11 September 1973, the day Allende was massacred by the CIA and its Chilean allies. Thereafter, all UK and US leaders have been Reaganite neo-cons/neo-liberals. If only Gorbachev had retained power.

  6. Lee

    on January 23, 2017 at 10:58 am -

    The sun rose and is still shining, so I know the world has not ended. But what of the digest. Could Chris A sum up where things stand and where he believes they will go next ? We know there are pending civil suits against Straw in the UK, and Bush in the US. I have no idea what is the status of the Families suing Blair in the UK.

    Are there any significant broader efforts ?
    I assume the parliamentary censure is dead.
    Similarly, things have gone quiet on Alex Salmond’s efforts to have Blair indicted in Scotland.

    ****************************************
    Here is my contribution for today, Philippe Sands devastating attack on the Chilcot Report:

    “Chilcot Inquiry Fraudulent Content – Severely Compromised by the Old Boy Network – Report Should Be Subject to a Judicial Review Chaired By Independent Judge”

    https://caltonjock.com/2017/01/23/chilcot-inquiry-fraudulent-content-severely-compromised-by-the-old-boy-network-report-should-be-subject-to-a-judicial-review-chaired-by-independent-judge/

    A much fuller account in London Review of Books:

    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v38/n15/philippe-sands/a-grand-and-disastrous-deceit

    Isnt this at least worth discussing ? Seems to me Sands’ assessment should keep the issue alive, although it is now Chilcot himself and his collaborators who are under indictment.

    ************************************

    Interesting analysis, although its not really an “economic” analysis but rather a financial analysis:

    https://www.thebalance.com/cost-of-iraq-war-timeline-economic-impact-3306301

  7. Peter Beswick

    on January 24, 2017 at 9:09 am -

    “With no lawyer among its members, and no legal counsel to assist it, the inquiry chose to sidestep this delicate matter, claiming it was best ‘resolved by a properly constituted and internationally recognised court’ (a parallel inquiry in the Netherlands, the Davids Commission, which reported in January 2010, concluded that the war had no basis in international law)”

    Philippe Sands, London Book Review of Chilcot’s monumental tome @ Lee’s link above (6)

    Perhaps no Counsel but one of the best legal advisors around, Dame Rosalyn Higgins,it a pity Call Me Tom, Bingham wasn’t available who contemporaneously gave his unequivocal verdict; Britain’s part in the destruction of Iraq was illegal.

    What legal advice did Higgins give?

    Chris L, have you put this FOIR in yet?

    https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=37mjBQAAQBAJ&pg=PR12&lpg=PR12&dq=dame+rosalyn+higgins+chilcot&source=bl&ots=svTJRSHhsB&sig=T1jO4sP9sHclaQjieWBD8IO_EQ0&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwism5u4t9rRAhVlK8AKHVOYAAo4ChDoAQgoMAM#v=onepage&q=dame%20rosalyn%20higgins%20chilcot&f=false

  8. Peter Beswick

    on January 25, 2017 at 9:32 pm -

    I’ve come to this conclusion late, and apologise

    The new President is absolutely right

    Water Boarding works 100% of the time

    Unfortunately

    The information it mines

    Is 100% fucking useless

  9. Lee

    on January 27, 2017 at 9:13 am -

    The way the British media is dealing with May/Brexit/Trump is more than dismal. Here is May, almost as clueless as Trump, pretending she has plans, power, influence, choices. She doesnt. Its an amazing media display of pretense and posturing. May has a good reason to keep her “plan” secret”. While the EU is openly laughing at her, perhaps the smooth and unconfrontational Joseph Muscat, current EU Prez, can whisper sweet somethings into her ear.

    If in this ultra-weak condition, she isnt despatched by Corbyn, even with his wet noodle, then he too will become powerless having exhausted a god-sent opportunity.

    Is what I posted regarding Philippe Sands so inconsequential that there is nothing to discuss ?

  10. BobM

    on January 27, 2017 at 5:56 pm -

    Lee:

    There is, indeed, nothing to discuss on Sands.
    -Silence indicates assent (mine, anyway).
    –I think we all agree.

    Regarding May and Trump, in a detail uncommented on elsewhere, as far as I can see, May was shown very very briefly on arrival in Washington, descending from a blue RAF big jet.

    From my limited research this can only have been one of these:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbus_A330_MRTT

    which is a dual-purpose tanker/troop carrier.

    Lord knows how much it cost to use this machine to get the PM and her advisers to Washington.

    But the basic, visual, message is in the absurdity of May’s play, and Trump’s laying on a virtual head of state reception.

    “Come into my parlour, said the spider to the fly..”

    Corbyn is, indeed, embarrassingly out of his depth.
    But May seems to be playing the most desperate hands.

  11. Lee

    on January 27, 2017 at 6:57 pm -

    Bob Thanks for your response.

    Obviously I thought there was merit in discussing the Sands intervention, otherwise I wouldnt have posted it. But maybe I am wrong, that Sands is trying to grab history by its tail and drag it back when it is all too late. I have also wondered why he left his intervention so late. He knew what was happening. Maybe everything Sands says has already been said. Anyway, I would be curious to hear your reason for not being interested.

    I agree with everything you said about Ms May’s air voyage to kiss the Donald’s shoes. I loathed Thatcher, but she was relatively substantive (attitudes aside). May seems vapid…like a hockey mistress. I dont see the US being enchanted by her. Trump will do everything and cobble together something that is intended to display a strengthened special relationship. But imagine, a special relationship in which May and Trump represents the two nations. Its rather early for pantomime time.

  12. Peter Beswick

    on January 29, 2017 at 1:43 pm -

    Who holds the power in the US and UK?

    Non-elected civil servants and special advisors assisted in making Blair’s psychotic nightmare become a reality.

    The public said No, the UN said No, the Law said No, but Blair’s advisors except two out of thousands (Cook and Wilmshurst) said ok we will make this madness happen.

    The SIS said without adequate security the region would collapse into vicious internecine conflict that would suck in disenfranchised fighters from every border. SIS also said the terrorist threat to mainland Britain would be amplified by a thousand times. But they stayed and helped it happen.

    Blair and Co have never been held legally to account for their actions but that doesn’t matter because an Authority above the High and Supreme Courts acquitted Blair from any guilt of deliberately deceiving Parliament and the Public. The Highest legal Authority in the land in fact in the world, Chilcot an ex civil servant could do what the ICC couldn’t. He absolved Blair.

    And its happening in the US, again, at this very moment. The public Servants are advising Trump its ok to do what ever stupid thing that comes into his head next. There will be no resignations, for one very simple reason.

    When Trump has buried himself so deep in trumpy stuff, the political and special advisors will take over. Trump will be under the impression that they are carrying out his dimwitted Orders whilst they go about their usual business with Trump’s full support because they saved his Presidency and Country from Civil War and him becoming a global pariah. (Good luck with that one)

    Look at Heywood, he didn’t resign when he told Blair that there was no plan for reconstruction in Iraq and even if there were there was no money to enable it. Heywood helped Blair to achieve his plan (both their plans).

    He didn’t tell Brown that it was a stupid idea to set up an Iraq Inquiry, he encouraged it, he even went to the trouble of organising it in a way that Blair, Brown and the Sofa elite came out stinking like a rotting corpse upon a dung heap. He managed to get Campbell off the hook and put SIS chiefs on it.

    Once Heywood was in control his nominal bosses were powerless and so it is with Trump. From This Moment Forth he will be under thumb of the Real Controllers.

  13. Lee

    on January 29, 2017 at 7:30 pm -

    I dont think there is much similarity betwen the ways the May government operates and the Trump administration is operating.

    There is a similarity: the way May attempted to exercise sheer power. There have been occasions when British PMs have tried to behave presidential. Mostly they failed, or failed in retrospect. However, in the UK, the quality of the PM matters. And the UK and the Tories have come to a rapid assessment that May is clueless, plodding, and extraordinarily unpleasant. She wont be allowed to do anything Presidential, and she will be lucky to survive until the next election.

    Trump is entirely different. He sits in one of his two offices (similarly equipped) with constant TV coverage of Congress and its committees, and via C-Span, all important political gatherings. He uses what amounts to his civil service, to spy and tweet. They dont sit in offices and write white papers. They are an active squad

    In the past when Congress and the President disagreed, the ubiquitous solution was for the “congressional leaders” to trek downhill to the White House, where they would meet in disputatious shouting matches.

    No longer ! Congress decided to do something really stupid: to outlaw the Congressional Ethics Office. Trump disagreed. Was there a meeting in the oval office with the idiots who proposed this abolition ? Of course not. I dont even know where Trump was physically present, but it no longer matters. He tweeted them to stop, and guess what, they did so instantly. Now that is real power. Trump can reach any group he wishes and use them to give him support. He can call people onto the streets just with a tweet, and cause havoc in the twittersphere.

    So no, there is no similarities between the way Trump and May are governing. If he says he wants a “solid relationship” with the UK, he will decide what it will be and May will hasten to oblige (if she can understand the issues, but I guess Boris is always there to explain it to her).

  14. Peter Beswick

    on January 30, 2017 at 12:02 pm -

    “So no, there is no similarities between the way Trump and May are governing”

    The facade of government’s power relies on such interpretations.

    But when one digs deeper the truth is revealed that the facades have no foundations.

    The “special” relationship in my view refers to the CIA and SIS being one organisation, not two.

    There have been disagreements; during July 2003 Straw had a public spat with the CIA, the CIA won. And Dr David Kelly died. And “British” security services covered up the true circumstances.

    Nice helicopter shot of the road beside the Kelly home the day his body was discovered, 8 Black SUV’s parked outside the house.

    Serendipity has come to my aid in the form of an article in a important if unloved blog.

    http://robertlewis.com/blog/christopher-steele-david-kelly-and-the-hutton-inquiry/

    Whose tune are the security services and governments dancing to?

    Israel? The Vatican? Banks? The Pharma’s? The Oil Companies? The Arms Manufacturers? International Aid Organisatios (where lots of dosh is laundered and divvied up).

    Yes! Pretty much anyone with a Lobby which can; buy, extort or kill.

    And that is why an empathetic intellectual with strong ethics and and reforming talents will never get to be POTUS or UK PM. Easily Led, Easily Fed – that’s all that is required.

  15. Lee

    on January 30, 2017 at 4:25 pm -

    My goodness. I know Trump is ugly and overall bad. Is he any worse than the Presidents since Reagan ? He is uglier. Ugly = fascist. Lots of scrambled thinking.

    Its not nice to ban muslims from entering the US. He has banned citizens temporarily from 7 countries, not all muslim countries. In fact there are far more muslims in countries that are not banned. And it turns out that the ban is simply a tweak of an executive order OBAMA issued, heavily clamping down on entry from exactly the same seven countries. Why werent American cities full of protests when Obama issued his order ? He’s not ugly.

    Trump has issued a life-time ban on revolving door appointments: politicians to lobbyists. Should have been done decades ago. But Trump is ugly. He also (I think quite reasonably) is insisting that two existing regulations need to be withdrawn for each new regulation Congress issues. That should get them working. But Trump is ugly, fascist, and Hitler. Putin is also Hitler.

    I dislike all these triple-standards almost as much as I dislike Trump.

  16. Peter Beswick

    on January 30, 2017 at 5:29 pm -

    I share your frustration Lee

    But I think Trump missed a trick.

    He shouldn’t have said anything publicly (or tweeted) and just ordered a Secret Executive Order, thereby getting the bastards before they blow up the White House, Poisoning the Water Supply and Cybermessing everything up.

    Simply let them in, invite them into a sideroom at the Air / Sea Port, hand them an Orange overall and send them on a all expenses paid holiday to Cuba.

    USA, USA, USA!

    Democracy at work!

  17. Peter Beswick

    on January 30, 2017 at 5:31 pm -

    Note to Trump

    There are more Muslims in the USA than Iraq and Syria combined.

  18. Lee

    on January 30, 2017 at 9:41 pm -

    Peter: I dont know whether you have noticed. We are gathered around a death bed, and apparently everyone else has agreed to switch off the life support, except you and me. They are waiting for us to agree. The way we show our assent is to keep quiet, go down the stairs, and leave the way we entered.

  19. Peter Beswick

    on January 31, 2017 at 10:51 am -

    Lee its not just the corpse of the Iraq Inquiry that has become a bit smelly, I think nose gays around our parliament and law courts might be useful too.

    Democracy broken, there is nothing more to say. Except for Tom Mangold, I was surprised that he wasn’t dead.

    Anyway I got less than half way into it when the inaccuracies and historical adjustments bored me and I stopped reading but it might be of interest to someone suffering from insomnia.

    We learn that Kelly was a Nuclear WMD expert and shortly after the invasion some trucks headed for Syria and they could have had WMD on board, and some planes took off for Russia and they could have had WMD on board but this intelligence didn’t go into the dossiers because it wasn’t certain what cargo was being shipped.

    Yeh and the fact that the two dodgy dossiers were written before the invasion.

    https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/tom-mangold/do-you–remember-what-happened-to-david-kelly

    I wonder if Mangold knows why Mike Smith was able to tell Gilligan that Kelly was dead before the body had been found and how the director of news at the BBC knew that painkillers were involved in the death……… several hours before the forensic team found the blister packs in Kelly’s coat pocket.

  20. Lee

    on January 31, 2017 at 6:26 pm -

    Peter: Much as I enjoy our interchanges, the Digest requires a lot more. Based upon the contents of previous threads, there is more than enough happening to have headline posts. To me, the Sands intervention deserves treatment. Even if he is wrong. He is one of the most distinguished commentators on international law, not just in the UK but universally. The fact that he wants to put the Chilcot process under scrutiny, is bold and significant. Because of his high profile, the points he has made should at least be debated here.

    So the fact that there is no expressed interests strikes me as contrived. Either there is a tacit agreement to shut the digest down, or to shut us down, or to wait until something “really significant” happens, or there may be another explanation. But it seems contrived, and it would be great to have a candid and transparent explanation.

  21. Peter Beswick

    on February 2, 2017 at 2:24 am -

    Lee

    I think there are a number of issues as to why the thing is grinding to a halt

    1) The site still appears to be hacked

    2) Chris A,s aims have been satisfied

    3) Chilcot reported and parliament thus far has refused to hold those responsible to account for taking the UK into the US destruction of Iraq

    4) Most if not all aspects of the Inquiry have been discussed/argued over/analysed by the Digest, that is to say; its all been said

    But what you, I and millions of reasonable people want is for Justice to be done and seen to be done. I don’t think the Digest was ever a vehicle that could achieve that end.

    I understand that there are still efforts by individuals and groups to attempt bringing those suspected of crimes to account. Sands is eminent in his field but the idea of a JR into the Chilcot process could (in my unqualified opinion) only end in a ruling that Chilcot performed the role he was asked to carry out.

    Whatever remnants there were of trust in politicians and the justice system that Hutton failed to kill, Chilcot has succeeded in finishing off.

    The Digest however remains an important historical document, much more so than Heywood’s botch.

    The Digest had to come to an end even if the bloodshed in Iraq continues to flow and sadly that has no end in sight.

  22. Peter Beswick

    on February 2, 2017 at 12:24 pm -

    Trump’s plan for the New Iraq and its “beautiful”

    http://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/02/01/taking-iraqs-oil-trump-edition

    Ban Innocent Iraq’s displaced by US bombs and those that assisted the US mission from entering the US, whilst continuing to send more US forces to kill more innocent Iraqi’s and secure the oil.

    And the taxpayer helped him do it.

  23. BobM

    on February 2, 2017 at 10:07 pm -

    Lee:

    “There is, indeed, nothing to discuss on Sands.
    -Silence indicates assent (mine, anyway).
    –I think we all agree.”

    This is what I wrote, recently; which you, then, graciously accepted.

    I am very sorry if general agreement isn’t, now, good enough.
    Apologies

    Bob

  24. Lee

    on February 3, 2017 at 6:20 pm -

    “There is, indeed, nothing to discuss on Sands.
    -Silence indicates assent (mine, anyway).
    –I think we all agree.”

    This is what I wrote, recently; which you, then, graciously accepted.

    **********************************************************

    In fact, Bob, I said: “There is, indeed, nothing to discuss on Sands.
    -Silence indicates assent (mine, anyway).
    –I think we all agree.”

    This is what I wrote, recently; which you, then, graciously accepted.
    **********************************************************
    In fact Bob what I said was somewhat different:

    “Maybe everything Sands says has already been said. Anyway, I would be curious to hear your reason for not being interested.”

    I conceded that perhaps you are correct, but for reasons I dont understand.

    “I am very sorry if general agreement isn’t, now, good enough.”

    I dont know whether there is general agreement on anything. Silence can be interpreted many different ways. I imagine if there is some type of “general agreement”, Peter and I can only guess what it is. Hopefully, eventually, Chris A will make a statement, for which I would be very grateful.

  25. Lee

    on February 4, 2017 at 9:12 am -

    “Struck off in disgrace: Lawyer who hounded British soldiers with false murder and torture claims is found GUILTY of dishonesty and misconduct”

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4184066/Human-rights-lawyer-Phil-Shiner-GUILTY-dishonesty.html

    “The biggest shocker came with the revelation that Tony Blair was complicit with Soros from the day the he assumed control of Number 10 Downing Street, the headquarters of the United Kingdom (UK) government. Equally shocking was the revelation that the ex-premier was the brains behind a multifaceted conspiracy to sabotage 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund.”

    “GEORGE SOROS & TONY BLAIR WANTED TO BANKRUPT 1MDB:”
    http://malaysiansmustknowthetruth.blogspot.com.mt/2017/02/evil-george-soros-tony-blair-wanted-to.html

    “Bush, Blair and Howard – Three reckless adventurers in Iraq”
    [6 parts: interesting commentary from an Oz point-of-view

    https://olddogthoughts.com/2017/01/10/bush-blair-and-howard-three-reckless-adventurers-in-iraq-part-41-the-australian-independent-media-network/

    “Professor Philippe Sands (UCL Laws) is interviewed about UK Attorney General Jeremy Wright setting out for the first time the legal basis for British military strikes against targets overseas.”
    http://www.ceelbas.ac.uk/news/headlines/0117/110117-drone-strikes

    “Initial Thoughts on the UK Attorney General’s Self-Defence Speech”
    http://www.ejiltalk.org/initial-thoughts-on-the-uk-attorney-generals-self-defence-speech/

    “A Rejoinder to John Bellinger on the Chilcot Report”
    http://www.ejiltalk.org/a-rejoinder-to-john-bellinger-on-the-chilcot-report/

    “LESSONS FROM THE IRAQ WAR: A REAPPRAISAL” (another Oz view)
    https://jamesoneill.com/2017/01/08/lessons-from-the-iraq-war-a-reappraisal/

    “Chilcot examined: the legal and intelligence justification for war”
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p040w5dy

    “Chilcot: Six Months On” 16th February 2017, 7.00pm
    https://www.innertemplelibrary.com/2017/02/event-national-army-museum-chilcot-six-months-on/

    “TONY BLAIR IN ISRAEL AFTER ‘SIGNIFICANT’ NETANYAHU-EGYPT FM MEETING”
    http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/Tony-Blair-in-Israel-after-significant-Netanyahu-Egypt-FM-meeting-460070

    “Director Ang Lee blames Blair and Bush for Iraq ‘mess'”
    http://news.sky.com/story/director-ang-lee-blames-blair-and-bush-for-iraq-mess-10751590

    “Tony Blair spoke to European Parliament of ‘shame’ over anti-Semitic crimes in Barnet”
    http://www.borehamwoodtimes.co.uk/news/15052883.Blair__ashamed__of_anti_Semitic_hate_crimes_in_north_London/

    “At long last, an end to the era of Blair follies as Theresa May calls a halt to Anglo-American military adventures”
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4162424/Theresa-calls-halt-Blair-s-military-follies.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490

    “Oscar winning documentarian eyes Tony Blair: The Movie”
    https://uk.movies.yahoo.com/oscar-winning-documentarian-eyes-tony-blair-the-movie-195548934.html?src=rss

    ‘Blair Is a Better Candidate for NATO’ Than ‘Arrogant’ Cameron – Security Expert’
    https://sputniknews.com/europe/201701181049734717-uk-cameron-nato-candidate/

    “Was Blair’s “sweatshops for Palestine” agenda shaped by a Labour donor?”
    https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/david-cronin/was-blairs-sweatshops-palestine-agenda-shaped-labour-donor

    “Belhaj ruling brings fresh scrutiny on Blair-Gaddafi ‘deal in the desert'”
    http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/belhaj-ruling-brings-fresh-scrutiny-blair-gaddafi-deal-desert-1226755718

    “BBC ‘nearly brought down’ in row with Tony Blair’s No 10 over ‘John Humphrys problem'”
    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/uk/bbc-nearly-brought-down-in-row-with-tony-blairs-no-10-over-john-humphrys-problem-35359391.html

  26. Peter Beswick

    on February 8, 2017 at 11:56 am -

    “The death of Dr David Kelly in 2003 has not been explained to the satisfaction of everyone in Britain.”

    It has to those that decide these things; Hutton, Thames Valley Police and most Members of Parliament.

    The conspiracy theorists, tin foil hat and green ink brigades will continue to oppose the fake facts Establishment assisted in their rejection of the lies by honest, intelligent and reasonable taxpayers for one simple reason.

    The lies didn’t make sense.

    And here’s where Chilcot did learn a lesson which shines a a light on the difference between Hutton to Chilcot.

    Where Hutton didn’t ask the right questions Chilcot didn’t listen to the truth that was being communicated to him.

    Chilcot heard Blair lied, time and time again, the dodgy dossiers were deliberately misleading.

    But Chilcot was able to rule that Blair did not purposely mislead Parliament.

    He did his duty, as Hutton did to protect his “friends” at the expense of truth and justice.

    And that is the lesson that the public took away from those diseased inquiries.

    The result? Well who knows where it will lead but Iraq has already made its global footprint known. Hutton and Chilcot helped that come about.

  27. Peter Beswick

    on February 11, 2017 at 5:21 pm -

    ‘Our legal system is broken!’

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4214846/Trump-tweets-against-travel-ban-ruling-citing-refugees.html

    Yes and because of the US influence over the UK’s miserable politicians our legal system is broken too.

    Thank you USA, you fucked the Middle East, you fucked the UK, you fucked Europe, no one is surprised you fucked your own bankrupt, corrupt, worthless piece of shit land that could have delivered peace and prosperity to the rest of the world.

    You chose not to.

    Enjoy!

  28. Peter Beswick

    on February 13, 2017 at 4:33 pm -

    This is justice UK style.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4219712/Tony-Blair-hauled-courts-Iraq-War.html

    Public generosity, shame and vengeance pays for legal opinions.

    Public generosity etc etc pays for civil prosecutions.

    Assuming Blair and Heywood are found guilty, their legal fees and fines will be paid for by the tax payer.

    That is not justice, that is taking the piss out of those killed in the needless carnage.

    These are criminal matters, furthering civil proceedings is an abomination and those lawyers responsible should be struck off.

  29. Peter Beswick

    on February 13, 2017 at 4:59 pm -

    Perhaps there are Digesters out there that can explain why private criminal prosecutions cannot be brought.

    The matters are of the most serious and criminal nature, they are on a scale of those heard at the Nazi Nuremberg trials.

    If Heywood advised Blair how to sell the lies to parliament and the public, and that was his job (or rather his job was to tell Blair no you can’t do that because it is illegal)

    Heywood advised Blair that there was no reconstruction plan for Iraq and even if there were there was no money (from the US nor UK to fund it – the unmetered oil money went to line pockets – still does).

    Heywood should have resigned, he should have said I will not be part of this .
    miserable illegal enterprise. He didn’t, he stayed and was handsomely rewarded.

    Blair, Straw, Brown, Goldsmith, Campbell, Heywood, Aldred, Powell, Dearlove, Scarlett and many more have extremely serious criminal charges to answer.

    The reason they haven’t is because the UK is a depraved lawless waste ground run by perverts and crooks.

  30. Peter Beswick

    on February 20, 2017 at 11:29 am -

    Misfeasance vs Misconduct

    http://www.lawcom.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/apb_tort.pdf

    Crowd Justice target today £440 short of £22k

    These civil / criminal / tort things are complicated stuff much simpler in my unqualified opinion would be a private criminal prosecution for murder or manslaughter.

    Bringing a civil action against Blair and his helpers won’t punish anyone except the taxpayers.

    And Goldsmith did advise Blair the charge of murder being brought to bear was a distinct possibility if proper legal backing was not obtained.

    Blair ignored that warning, Straw also rejected the advice in writing, they went forward knowing the risks to themselves and others. Blair’s “unequivocal view” may not see him hanged but it could see him spending the rest of his life in prison.

    www (dot) bbc.co.uk/news/uk-36738086

  31. BobM

    on February 23, 2017 at 4:11 pm -

    I very much enjoyed this exchange on the Today programme:

    http://www.medialens.org/index.php/alerts/current-alert.html

    And I read this obit with grim amusement, and some admiration.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/21/vitaly-churkin-obituary

    I must look and see if there is a you tube recording of Churkin, with his perfect English, sticking it to Rycroft. (One doubts that Rycroft has perfect Russian with which to respond.)

    If he has, it would be good to hear from him, here.

  32. Lee

    on February 24, 2017 at 5:53 am -

    I agree with Peter, that these civil prosecutions are bullshit. Why should the British taxpayer compensate families of a mercenary army Blair employed to commit war crimes. This is a morally reprehensible concept. It doesnt even have the merit of increasing public abhorrence of Blair. Parliament has already given him absolution, the majority of Labour MPs still worship Blair. Even Corbyn wont attempt to have him expelled from the party. The BBC and the Guardian fete Blair whenever he farts. And he continues, unabashed, to accumulate millions through his dealings with disgusting tyrannical regimes. The suspicion with which Britain is held throughout most of the world is the direct result of the protection governments have accorded to one of the worst war criminals of our time.

    It is ironic and somehow fitting that the Chilcot smoke-screen is being used as the basis for this ridiculous legal farce.

  33. Lee

    on February 24, 2017 at 6:00 am -

    And the idea that the public should financially contribute to an action that could pass on the bill to the tax-payers, is doubly outrageous. But that is the Daily Mail ethos. Its no longer just a matter of fake news. We are in the Age of Fake Thinking on a grand scale. I have never before seen such hopeless intellectual depravity.

  34. Peter Beswick

    on February 24, 2017 at 10:40 am -

    Hear hear

    Fake News, Fake Thinking…………FAKE RULE OF LAW!

  35. Lee

    on February 24, 2017 at 6:06 pm -

    Thanks Peter. I am so tired of the hypocrisy, the dissembling, and the cliches. I am so tired of the minute attention given to Chilcot’s largely irrelevant and inconsequential pronouncements. We are being drowned in bullshit, not permitted to look at the fundamental facts, diverted by irrelevancy and pedantry. And there is hardly any anger or outrage. Well, I profess outrage. I know that is not the “done thing” here. On the other hand, I am not longer sure what this digest is about. Maybe its little more than an opportunity for MI6 and the CIS/NEA to collect data on nutters.I gladly admit to being, in this weird world, to being a nutter. You, Peter, have admitted to that a long time ago. Our views really dont matter. So what exactly are we doing ?

  36. Peter Beswick

    on February 24, 2017 at 8:26 pm -

    To explain what we are doing (whether we mean to or not) is mapping a route through the dissembling of truth.

    Hutton sets the standard (1 volume), Chilcot has stretched the UK record to 12 Volumes.

    These volumes tell four dimensional stories, the real world passing through time. Superimposed on these stories are fictional accounts passing through non – coherent time frames,

    These stories are poured into a single system then shaken, spun, and jumbled and then released into something we are told is the real world but is actually a fantasy (a most evil and malevolent fantasy) bounded and guarded by the Establishment’s lackeys.

    A stooge is then employed to narrate what it is that we are seeing.

    What me and you do (Lee) where we can is remove from the Fake world using logic, evidence, analysis and a trust in truth; we strip back the fantasy, piece by piece and when we can see the truth we say “there it is!”.

    The lackeys say “so what?” we make the rules in our world and if you don’t like it you are free to leave.

    Kafka would not be comfortable in this world, its too weird.

    Where we win is that the lackeys don’t realise that with every increase in the number and thickness of volumes of the Fake story the substance of the story becomes thinner.

    Let me give you an example.

    Blair goes on the telly and says we have discovered evidence that Saddam continues to kill his own people etc etc etc so I have authorised British troops to join US forces to occupy Iraq and end the ongoing humanitarian crisis. The evidence we have is concrete but highly classified because of where it originated.

    So few words, he’d have got away with it.

    In his weird shit world, 12 Volumes and he didn’t get away with it; the lie.

  37. Lee

    on February 27, 2017 at 8:49 am -

    Blair gets away with it at the levels that matter. Outside the palace of westminster, the Guardian and BBC, and the World Of Rentoul, Blair is widely regarded as a war criminal. He cant change that perception. But he doesnt have to because our culture has rendered that perception irrelevant. At least in Blair’s World. He wants money; he gets it. He wants to make the headlines, the Guardian and BBC oblige.

    He wants a peerage ? Who knows. May may grant it once she is fully engaged in her own war crimes.

    After reflection, I do think Fake Thought is far more insidious than Fake News. Example. Obama says he has concrete and irrefutable evidence that Putin is…… responsible for the Malaysian air liner crash; for Syrian sarin gas; for Russian Olympic Doping; for Trump’s electoral victory. On the latter, he then announces that he has classified the evidence, so he cant reveal it because he has classified it. The majority accept this.Is it astounding ? Nope.

    Truman said he had to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end the aggression of a defeated Japan. Almost unanimous agreement in the US.

    The D-Day landings won the war, a joint US-UK victory against a defeated and decimated German army hobbling back from the Russian Front. Almost unanimous agreement in the west and its allies.

    We can survive climate change because its either not occurring or is not as bad as it is made out.

    The Conquistadors and the Crusaders, like the American Army is, were on the side of God. America brings freedom.

    Chilcot remains insignificant in the annals of Fake Thinking.

    I still dont know what we are doing. But (acknowledgements to Eccles from the Goonshow), everyone has to be doing something.

  38. Lee

    on February 27, 2017 at 9:27 am -

    And while Trump has sufficiently rattled the Political Correctness Brigade, that Moonlight won an Oscar, dont see this as a real change. The White Helmets propaganda flick won an award at the same ceremony

  39. Lee

    on March 1, 2017 at 9:30 am -

    I wrote earlier about the “intellectual depravity” that dominates the “think-waves” This fine article by Robert Parry is his own presentation of the issue.

    The US has successfully exported its “good guy-bad guy” vision of human affairs [I am sure its existed in other forms for eons, and I dont have the energy to research this, but even if the US adopted a degenerate paradigm from history, its no less corrosive and disabling]. According to this mindset, you cannot sustain opposition to both sides. It is your duty to decide who are the good guys, and that is a decision taken at the highest levels of the Deep State.

    If anything, McCarthy Phase Two is more dangerous and psychotic than McCarthy Phase One-The original.

    The US and most of the UK actively peddle and celebrate the cretin dualism. The coming generations have been propagandised by Facebook’s “Like” click mechanism. As Orwell told us, in the confusion of world affairs, its Big Brother who determines what is true and good. As far as I can recall, Orwell didnt equate Big Brother with Corporate Power. That is the bridge to today.

  40. Peter Beswick

    on March 1, 2017 at 11:49 am -

    Successful export?

    From the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) comes a list of the top 15 military spenders;

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures

    Here’s the top 4 in $Billions

    1 United States 596.0
    2 China 215.0
    3 Saudi Arabia 87.2
    4 Russia 66.4

    Forget for a moment that Trump in his bottomless delusional and narcissistic stupidity has decided that the US has to spend 10% more this year / next year on killing equipment. Trump thinks the US has to pay an extra amount almost equal to Russia’s total.

    Look at no. 3!

    The reason its there (AND has no nuclear capability) is that the US and UK buy oil from SA and pay in arms.

    Saddam did not fund terrorism SA does.

    No lessons learnt there!

    The problem with fighting stupidity is that the inflicted don’t know why they are fighting.

  41. Lee

    on March 3, 2017 at 12:39 pm -

    And so the doomsday clock relentlessly clicks its way to midnight

  42. Lee

    on March 3, 2017 at 8:49 pm -

    “The problem with fighting stupidity is that the inflicted don’t know why they are fighting.”

    As my son says, everything has been turned on its head. Liberals are now vicious anti-Russian neo-cons. The Us President wants peace with Russia and paid maternity leave for both parents (unprecedented in US history).

    It appears as if we are in global SNAFU mode.