Comment

If you would like to make any comment about the Inquiry or this project, please add it to the appropriate page or posting.

If you would like to pass something on to the Digest directly, please contact us.

(We regret that this particular page as well as some of the other more permanently linked pages will now no longer carry individual facility for readers to leave further comments on them, and have therefore become effectively archived. This is because they have became specific targets for unrelated spam postings directed towards this website. All main posts will continue to carry commenting facilities, these can be found by clicking on the main title bar of any specific posting.)

Iraq Inquiry Digest Posting Guidelines:

We welcome comments across this website but would ask posters to please respect the following rules:

Please be polite to other users of this website. We will not tolerate outright rudeness, flaming, spamming or other serious breaches of good netiquette practice. Likewise, instances of trolling, baiting and the issuing of unjustified ‘challenges’ to other posters may result in disciplinary action being taken.

Please do not use offensive language. If you feel the need to use an expletive, we would prefer the occasional use of asterisks (****) instead.

Please post in the English language. We have received a number of posts in Russian, but it takes us time and effort to translate these, and we have found that due to regional variations in vocabulary many online translation programmes cannot resolve these differences.

Please do not cut and paste large chunks of text when a summary with a link would be sufficient. A precis is far more suitable, and avoids potential copyright issues. If you use the work of others, please ensure you acknowledge the identity of the original writer, and also include a link in your post.

We reserve the right to moderate posts and to ban individuals who repeatedly breach the above guidelines. We operate a yellow and red card system, first offences will usually merit a yellow card, other yellow cards may follow dependent on the circumstances of the offence(s), a red card can also be used at any time and will result in a permanent denial of the use of the posting and/or commenting facility here to any person so censured.

We regret having to take these actions when such situations arise, however no further discussion will be entered into about any of these decisions as and when they occur.

We also reserve the right to amend these conditions at any time without further notice.


The following code can be used to format comments:

Blockquote:

<blockquote>text</blockquote>

Bold:

<strong>text</strong>

Emphasis:

<em>text</em>

Links will automatically be made by posting a URL, but please make sure there is a clear space at each end of the address.

Although the comment posting facilities request a user website as well as an e-mail address this is not specifically necessary. Many spam postings carry such website addresses specifically to gain page ratings on search engines, and are usually subject to moderation and deletion. If a website address appears with a comment and it does not seem applicable to the posted content it is unlikely to appear on this website.

47 comments to this article

  1. chris lamb

    on October 22, 2009 at 9:51 pm -

    Did Bush and Blair’s military invasion of Iraq breach Articles 39-47 of the UN Charter 1945

    The United Nations was originally created to secure collective peace and security which is why collective responsibility is emphasized so strongly in the constitution or Charter for its main international tribunal, the Security Council.

    As some of your other contributors have pointed out, the US/UK military invasion of Iraq in March 2003 signally broke with this convention of collective responsibility, using Security Council Resolution 1441 especially as a purported justification for bilateral belligerant action against Iraq’s alleged WMDs.

    The Iraq Inquiry should investigate whether this departure from internal collective responsibility and security signalled serious breaches with Articles laid down in the UN Charter of 1945- its fundamental constitution.

    Articles 39-47 in Chapter 7 of the Charter defines the collective approach to dealing with international peace and threats to security through the Security Council. Article 47 specifies a Military Staff Committee made up from army, navy and airforce high commands as the route through which military action should be directed and administered if sanctioned by the Council.

    Article 39 stipulates that “the Security Council…shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression and shall make recommendations or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42”.

    Article 41 deals with non-military economic and trade sanctions. If the Security Council should deem these inadequate, the Council collectively decides “the measures and takes such action by our sea or land forces as may be necessary to restore international peace and security”(Article 42).

    Article 47 clearly lays down in the constitution of the UN that a Military Staff Committee “shall be establised…to advise and assist the Security Council on all questions relating to the Security Council’s military requirements for the maintenance of international peace and security, the employment and command of forces placed at its disposal, the regulation of armaments and possible disarmament.

    “The Military Staff Committee shall consist of the Chief of Staffs of the permanent members of the Security Council or their representatives. Any Member of the UN not permanently represented on the Committee shall be invited to the Committee to be associated with it when the efficient discharge of the Committees responsibilities requires the participation of that Member in its work.

    “The Military Staff Committee shall be responsible under the Security Council for the strategic direction of any armed forces placed at the disposal of the SEcurity Council. Questions relating to the command of such forces shall be worked out subsequently.

    “The Military Staff Committee, with the authorization of the Security Council and after consultation with appropriate agebcies, may establish regional sub committees”.

    Under Article 51 of the Charter, unilateral or bilateral military action is only permitted for purposes of self-defence in the event of an actual attack.

    Clearly, the founders of the United Nations had the wise intention that the principle of collective responsibility for international security and peace should pervade all its institutions and structures to prevent the kind of biliteral belligerant military action undertaken by the Bush and Blair governments against Iraq.

    The Military Staff Committee was formed in 1947 and has been a part of the United Nations, submitting annual reports to its parent body, since the 1940s. In July 2007, the P5 military high commands participating were from the Republic of China, the Russian Federation, the UK, the USA and France.

    Unfortunately, however, the role of this key UN body seems to have become dormant.

    The Iraq Inquiry will need to determine whether the way in which it was bypassed and sidelined in the route taken to war with Iraq represents a serious breach of the UN Charter and fundamental constitution.

    Chris Lamb

  2. Lee Roberts

    on November 24, 2009 at 7:48 pm -

    Well, the first day of Chilcot was whitewash. Establishment figures only go as far as saying “war drums for war” were sounding in Washington when Bush took over, but British resolve (by gum !) remained firm. If Chilcot was serious about this being a proper inquiry, he would have said:

    “War drums ? I read the papers on the Project for a New American Century about plans to remove Saddam, and these were backed by Dick Cheney who was to become the Vice President of the United States.

    War drums ? I read an account from US Treasury Secretary, Paul O’Neil, that Bush announced the plan to get rid of Saddam at his first cabinet meeting on taking power”

    But Mr Chilcot did not make these statements. He was quite happy with “war drums” because that allows the whole matter to slip under the carpet without further probing. How can you blame Tony Blair for missing a few “war drums” ?

    So the style for this whitewash has been set. It wont be by ignoring evidence completely; but rather by the trick of euphemism, generalised speak, and diplomatic understatement, that Chilcot will steer Tony Blair to innocence. Why am I not surprised !!

  3. rose gentle

    on November 25, 2009 at 8:09 pm -

    i was at the inquiry and will be going back
    still say there is a lot more that they have to look at

  4. Lee Roberts

    on November 26, 2009 at 1:46 pm -

    I know what is going to happen, now that Blair is becoming exposed as supporting regime change (utterly illegal) very early in his relationship with Bush.

    When he is called to give evidence, he will say that of course he had a personal opinion, and wouldnt in any way deny that he was attracted by the idea of regime change because he was convinced, along with Bush, that the world would never be safe as long as Saddam remains in power. HOWEVER !, he will add, all politicians have opinions…there is nothing at all wrong or unusual about that. These exposes prove nothing. As the British Prime Minister, he understood perfectly well the difference between having and discussing opinions with an ally, and acting on such opinions. He will say that he ACTED ONLY when he was presented with intelligence that Saddam had and was going to use WMDs. The intelligence convinced him; it wasnt his fault that the intelligence proved faulty.

    And Chilcot will endorse that such an explanation is perfectly reasonable, that these exposes of Blair’s early discussions with Bush are of no real consequence and do not prove anything, and that Blair acted honourably as he felt best based on what he knew at the time.

    So I hope that Chilcot watchers do not get too excited about these revelations, because I honestly believe they will just be hit back over the net, and will become inconsequential. WE will know Blair is lying; his allies will insist he isnt, the enquiry will close, and that will be that. I cannot see how anyone will be able to find a smoking gun.

  5. Mark Heeley

    on November 26, 2009 at 3:21 pm -

    The only way I can reconcile why Britain agreed to go to war with Iraq and Tony Blair was able to remain so single minded, is as follows. Could there be any truth in my theory?…

    It is my belief that after 9/11, George Bush and his hawkers were set on orchestrating a military strike far worse than invading Iraq. A limited strategic nuclear strike on Afghanistan and/or Iraq?

    Tony agreed with George that Britain would get behind America only in a conventional war and to go after Saddam, creating the story of WMD’s as a legitimate excuse for war. America would get to see blood, but not devastation.

    I believe Tony Blair knew this was the best of two terrible options, neither which, in his heart, he probably agreed to, but as PM had to choose.

    What does anyone think?

  6. andrewsimon

    on November 26, 2009 at 5:50 pm -

    Mark –

    Sorry but I think that your thoughts here go just one step too far. Bush wanted Saddam gone full stop. This dated back to well before 9/11. I also think others were pulling Bush’s strings for their own reasons. Maybe he had something on Tony Blair that we don’t know about, so that he could do some of his own puppeteering too?

  7. Lee Roberts

    on November 26, 2009 at 6:44 pm -

    Andrew is right…Paul O’Neill exposed the fact that Bush placed Saddam’s removal on the agenda of his first cabinet meeting on taking office, and that Dick Cheney participated in drafting the plans for the invasion of Iraq as part of the Project for the New American Century, prior to coming to power. Bush didnt have to work that hard on Blair. Blair was already infatuated by Clinton. Blair has a serious character flaw, a deep sense of inadequacy and effeteness, as John Pilger noted many years ago. He had challenged Chirac for leadership of Europe, failed hopelessly, and sought personal confirmation through an alliance with whichever administration was in charge in the USA. As a totally value-free and amoral, hollow man, it did not at all alarm Blair that he had become a lapdog to a neo-con administration. In fact, Blair became obsessed with allthings American, bringing over to the UK many of America’s worst policies: academies, privatising the welfare state, private prisons, deregulating the financial sector. Throughout Blair’s premiership, almost his entire policy agenda was a mirror image of the policies of Clinton and Bush.

    Bush didnt have to “have something on Blair”. He realised very quickly that Blair was desperately needy of confirmation and attracted to macho right-wing swagger (hence Blair’s similar infatuation with buffoon Berlusconi). Blair was already a poodle when Clinton was President. The transition to Bush caused him no difficulty.

  8. Lee Roberts

    on November 27, 2009 at 12:54 pm -

    Please read Scott Ritter’s article on CIF. This is the real challenge to Chilcot. Bet he will find a way of evading it !

  9. Charles

    on November 28, 2009 at 3:08 pm -

    Blair is one of that small breed of British which is totally enchanted by American windbag rhetoric and unfortunately for Iraqi citizens at the time rolled on his back to have his tummy tickled by the Americans.In reality I think some Americans in high office were waiting for an outsider to say “No stop!this plan to invade Iraq is insane”

  10. Chris Bradley

    on November 28, 2009 at 6:53 pm -

    Due to the entirely toothless ‘Endeavour’,of the people(in-house hand picked),presiding these inquiries. Levels of apathy and cynicism are running riot.Without people of TRUE integrity,from whichever background, the truth will never be acknowledged fully.What is unilaterally accepted is that indescribable deriliction of duty,or “Mistakes”,were made and in any estimation they may be honest,but nonetheless criminal in terms of administration and repercussion to the victims.
    Our country has an opportunity to lead now, and show the world at large that we don’t wrap ourselves in bureaucrat ettiquette,that we WILL acknowledge, at least in Britain, that those responsible should pay. If I go out in my car tomorrow and my foot slips on the brake, It will be an obvious mistake,if I run down a child,killing that child,my “mistake”,would be rightly punished by a prison sentence,for ‘careless driving’. Difference is,my mistake was caused in a split-second of cranial malfunction.An enquiry which is presided over by the WORLD may be fantasy, but any questions should start at PNAC then Bush,Blair et al,not as a provincial finger pointing session among minions,the world had unanimous opinions about it’s leaders and their “Mistakes”, in 1945.

  11. Lee Roberts

    on November 28, 2009 at 9:38 pm -

    Chris: I think you are being far too generous to Blair to conclude that these were honest mistakes for ehich he is nevertheless culpable because of carelessness. I have lived with the facts of the invasion intensively since it happened, and I see no evidence that persuades me that Blair was well-intentioned but derelict. He seems to have been quite deliberate and instrumental in what he did. I cannot even accept the argument that he had a huge internal conflict of conscience but had neither the will nor the skills to overcome America’s resolve. I see him, at every stage, as an enthusiastic cheerleader and participant. His ownly concern was whether he could cover his arse. I do realise that what you are advocating is a “fall-back” position in the event that Blair is declared by Chilcot (as I think most of us suspect because that odjective is part of his terms of reference) “in error” but not deliberately criminal. My hope is that enough may emerge, despite Chilcot’s efforts to prevent it, to make Blair’s intentional culpability evident.

  12. Lee Roberts

    on November 29, 2009 at 9:03 am -

    My greatest fear now is that Chilcot will deliberately steer the inquiry away from Blair’s lies, the secret deal with Bush, the bullying of Goldsmith, and the question of the illegality of the invasion. To do so, he will give inordinate attention to the failure to make proper preparations, failure in providing equipment, failure to “win the peace”. This will be a clever tactic on his part, because it may seduce the families of soldiers killed away from the war crimes aspect of the Iraq invasion. Even although Blair may not savour the prospect of having to defend himself on these charges, he will welcome the trick of moving the enquiry away from the criminal aspects of his behaviour to the derelict aspects. The media will also fall for this trick. Chilcot may have been quite clever to deal with the questions of illegality and lies first, and then allow the “dereliction” stuff to take over, and spend a great amount of time on it, so that by the end of the enquiry, the reasons for going to war will have faded and everyone will be (rather ridiculously) jumping up and down about inadequate body armour. This may turn out to be Chilcot’s special “whitewash weapon”, allowing Tony to escape as a poor planner instead of a war criminal.

  13. Chris Bradley

    on November 29, 2009 at 4:19 pm -

    Lee : While my earlier point perhaps lacks some of your refreshing candour,it is no less pointed in terms of getting these people into a criminal court.Taking into account your comment of this morning- views which I do indeed share.It IS fair to say the enquiry will be shaped and directed in various ways,and Blair’s apparent but unsubstantiated mis-truths will be the first big do-nut in the car park. I’m saying that the enquiry,while not being able to address the sorest points at hand,the most embarrassing for Britain.Could still take the tax-evasion route as did Eliot Ness. Incidentally the Goldsmith letter of 2002-on his findings for legality,could prove interesting when broached at the turn of the year.

  14. Lee Roberts

    on November 29, 2009 at 6:31 pm -

    Chris: One thing Chilcot is demonstrating is how easy it is to reduce the potency of potentially incriminating evidence by the way in which it is treated. I get the distinct feeling of an outcome such as “jolly fishy, no smoke without fire, but nothing really proven”. If there is a consensus in the inquiry, whether within the panel or among the witnesses, that giving Tony a damn good shock is sufficient, it seems that the edge can be easily shaved off what might otherwise be evidence. I try now to imagine what telling evidence could be. I imagine Goldsmith will save face and say he really did change his mind after further consideration…so that one will bite the dust. The stuff about Blair agreeing with Bush on regime change ? Blair will say, sure that’s how he felt personally, but didnt go to war on that basis. After all he ordered two WMD dossiers. There wont be a definitive independent conclusion regarding 1441…there will simply be competing opinions. Evidence that Saddam didnt have WMDs wont help…Blair will say he acted on what he was told. Blair lied to parliament and the public ? Big deal…since Blair became PM that is now the norm, and Blair will simply disagree that he lied. Someone testifying that Blair knew the WMD stuff was phony ? Without documentation it will be hearsay, possibly politically motivated.

    I dont imagine Philippe Sands would want at this stage to say what kind of standard really incriminating evidence would have to satisfy. That would help Blair’s defense.

  15. Chris Bradley

    on November 29, 2009 at 8:19 pm -

    It’s likely that any integrity(swearword for this inquest), will be at an absolute premium in the coming months. However the esteemed Lord Goldsmith would have to deliver reasons of EPIC substance in order to explain,litigiously,what amounted to an assent for war.If HIS purported mindset of July 2002 was so categorically changed in an eight month period, during which the reluctance of other security council members was becoming more steadfast. Then such a learned man, on such an important matter as legality of war, can satisfactorily explain what happened to his need of written assurances as well as the actual cataclysmic evidence presented to prompt his bi-polar episode.Obviously this does not take into account exactly what Blair’s predecessor deems fit for the great unwashed to know.But I live in hope that the conscientious and fair-minded element in our ranks-politically and in all walks,will demand that the transparency Chilcot speaks of is upheld,probably a very forlorn hope.It could ultimately mean that any chance of truth comes by way of leaks unless the inquiry is so well orchestrated as to dispel Brown’s need to drip-feed the public.In any case if it’s about the electorate being satisfied,let’s sit and see if we like what is served up. N.B. Yes Lee- the drier Phillipe Sands powder stays for now the better.

  16. Lee Roberts

    on November 30, 2009 at 6:36 am -

    Its clear that despite the fact that he should stay out of it, even in his own interests, Brown continues to act as puppet master, trying to control the flow of information and impede insight that could harm Blair. Why exactly would Brown, at this stage and with an election pending, want to go down with Blair, or be exposed as trying to save Blair ? Is it now too late for Brown to detach himself from Blair and make up a story (not entirely unbelievable) that Blair lied to him too and kept him in the dark ? In theory Brown lies outside the framework of this inquiry; but in fact he is there, right at the center, even if he is not the person whose actions are under scrutiny.

  17. Lee Roberts

    on November 30, 2009 at 10:52 am -

    I see the Guardian now has an article saying that Newlabour is worried that the revelations and manipulations could hurt Labour’s election chances. To which I pinch myself and ask: “And they have only realised that now ??”

  18. Lee Roberts

    on November 30, 2009 at 8:32 pm -

    Another point that is not receiving sufficient attention. Supposing Saddam had WMDs. Why should that matter ? Israel has WMDs. If Blair’s pretext was self defense, then simply demonstrating thet Saddam had WMDs, would not in itself justify preemptive aggression. So where is the evidence that Saddam intended to use them against Britain.They could simply have been a deterrant, the same as Israel, USA, and Britain claim. You have to show that you are about to be attacked; not simply that Saddam has the capacity to attack you in 45 minutes.

  19. Lee Roberts

    on December 1, 2009 at 9:05 am -

    Today, David Miliband, like his idol Tony Blair, claimed that the Taliban is about to attack Britain. If the lie works once, why bother to make up a new one ?

  20. Christine Stead

    on December 1, 2009 at 11:08 am -

    I’m an ordinary member of the public who listened intently to the session with Sir David Manning yesterday. Even I could identify areas where the most elementary forensic questioning should have been used by the panel and was not. Why not?

  21. Lee Roberts

    on December 1, 2009 at 7:54 pm -

    Christine:

    YOu choose

    * They are incompetent and ignorant

    * They are operating under a “nod-and-wink” agenda

    * They have such a strong establishment bias, they dont even notice things that may be unfavourable to the establishment

    * You are imagining that David Manning gave evidence yesterday

  22. Lee Roberts

    on December 3, 2009 at 7:20 am -

    I am sorry I am becoming a bore.

    Can anyone show me any evidence put forward by Blair, the government, anyone, that Saddam was about to attack Britain ? If they didnt put forward that evidence, it is irrelevant whether or not Saddam had WMDs which he could deploy in 45 minutes. So has Israel.

  23. andrewsimon

    on December 3, 2009 at 8:11 am -

    Lee –

    No need to apologise. As far as I am aware there is no such evidence. Tony Blair said the weapons would threaten not only his immediate neighbours in the Middle East, but pose a direct and fundamental challenge to world peace, and Jeremy Greenstock referred to the threat which Saddam Hussein and his regime might pose to the vital interests of the United Kingdom. That’s about as far as it went.

  24. Lee Roberts

    on December 3, 2009 at 6:46 pm -

    Andrew
    Is there anything in the UN Charter which allows for a country to become the surrogate for others threatened ? Can Britain invade Iraq because Iraq poses a threat to countries other than Britain ? It is hard to believe that would be legal

  25. andrewsimon

    on December 4, 2009 at 1:11 am -

    Lee –

    Welcome to the complexities of international law. I hate to say it, but sorry, I cannot answer your questions in simple paragraphs because there is (in actual fact) no one single set of answers to give. Experts far beyond my wisdom will have to judge upon these important questions at some point in the (hopefully near) future. As yet, there is no definitive answer to them. IMO the legality should be judged in different terms, whether or not Iraq was in deliberate breach of R.1441.

  26. Lee Roberts

    on December 4, 2009 at 8:21 am -

    Andrew, thanks..that is what I suspected. I have read the chapters in the UN Charter many times and believe I understand them. But at the end of the day, its how the lawyers argue the case, which has the more convincing argument, and who decides that. I cant see that being done as part of Chilcot because there is no judicial adjudicator. The arguments of the two (or more) sides will be presented, the media will fluff them up, we will be part of a national and maybe international debate about the arguments, Chilcot will draw his conclusions that mistakes were made but no laws broken and that everyone behaved honourably, and the arguments will be left rusting in the field. Even at the legal edges of this inquiry, the testimony of Goldsmith, it doesnt seem to me that Goldsmith had or has much judicial authority. He cannot define whether this act is legal or illegal because his jurisdiction is limited to the UK, and unless Blair is on trial in the UK, Goldsmith’s pronouncements are nothing more than internal to the Blair administration. He can show that Blair lied but he cannot determine Blair’s guilt either way. A judgment about how the UN charter was used can be made, as far as I can see, only in an international court, and certainly not Chilcot. And there seems no prospect that such an international court will ever hear the case.

    I realise that there is no simple core to this debate; but I have always felt that the most telling issue is whether or not Blair required specific Security Council approval for the invasion. And right now I find it difficult to imagine how that would be definitively adjudicated.

  27. chris lamb

    on December 7, 2009 at 10:57 pm -

    Andrew

    The issue is not whether the Iraqi regime was in breach of SCR1441, as Blix’s Weapons Inspector team was not given sufficient time to report and complete its verification of Iraq’s disarmament, but whether the UK Government was in breach of Paragraph 2, Paragraph 10 and most importantly Paragraph 12 of the Resolution which states that all matters arising from the disarmament process and Iraqi compliance must be referred back for consideration and decision making by the Security Council. This was agreed by Greenstock for the UK at the vote on the Resolution.

    Jack Straw’s legal briefing paper presented to the Chair of the Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee, amounts to nothing less than legal chicanery.

    There is no doubt that Chilcot needs to invite Blix (and former Foreign Office senior legal advisor Elizabeth Wilmshurst) to give evidence.

  28. andrewsimon

    on December 8, 2009 at 12:08 am -

    Chris –

    I think we’ll have to agree that there are more than one issue. I noticed Greenstock tried sliding around some of these paragraphs by stating:

    This is where diplomacy gets clever and, as you can see from the outcome, from 1441, too clever for its own good, but diplomacy got clever and it produced a text in 1441 that was equivocal on two issues: one, what should happen if Saddam Hussein and his regime did not complywith the terms of 1441; and who should be the judge of whether or not Iraq was complying with the terms of 1441. We found language to express a consensus that meant that the inspectors would normally be expected to declare whether or not Saddam Hussein was in compliance, but there could also be a report from other sources that there was noncooperation or noncompliance. If you compare operative paragraphs 11 and 12 of the resolution, you will see my point.

    Secondly, that if there was a report that there was noncompliance, the Security Council would meet to assess what that meant, and that was the only requirement of the resolution. It was not expressly stated in any operative paragraph of 1441 that the Security Council should meet and decide what to do in the case of noncompliance, and that was where the French and the Americans met, that there should be a further stage of consideration but that further stage of consideration should not necessarily mean that there would be a further decision of the Security Council if force had to be used under the terms of the whole corpus of resolutions up to that point.

    After the resolution was adopted, things began to drift in two directions; that the US and the UK took the terms of 1441 absolutely literally, which is the fair and just thing to do with a resolution that takes on the force of a legal declaration, whereas the French and others interpreted the resolution as meaning that there was scope for the Security Council to meet, and, if the Security Council met, under normal Security Council practice, since the Security Council was responsible for international peace and security, only the Security Council should take a decision on whether or not force should be used. We never were active enough after the adoption of 1441 to try and clear up that ambiguity because we thought we had won the point in 1441.

    and:

    There were three channels of reporting. One was the Iraqi declaration, which is very obvious; one is the inspectors, which is very obvious, but operative paragraph 4 has a less clear statement. It said: “… decides that false statements by Iraq or failure by Iraq to comply will be reported to the Council for assessment in accordance with paragraphs 11 and 12 below.” It doesn’t say by whom, nor does it exclude anybody.

    As you say, there is work for Chilcot & Co here. I only worry that a lot of people are not going to get heard.

  29. Lee Roberts

    on December 8, 2009 at 8:38 pm -

    “As you say, there is work for Chilcot & Co here. I only worry that a lot of people are not going to get heard.”

    Chilcot will claim that the correct or incorrect interpretation of 1441 is not a matter for his inquiry. He is concerned only with evidence about what happened, and the evidence of what happened in relation to 1441 has been given, and that further questions are not required by his mandate.

  30. chris lamb

    on December 8, 2009 at 10:21 pm -

    Thanks Andrew for pointing out these quotes from Greenstock. It is depressing how far diplomats as well as politicians can obfuscate and dissemble after the event.

    The issue of a “report of non-compliance” from other sources is not confirmed from a close reading of the Resolution. The reporting process in Paragraph 4 (according also with Pargraphs 11 and 12) quite clearly specifies UNMOVIC and the IAEA (in the persons of the Director General of the IAEA and the Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC)as the sources. No authority is given for Member States to submit their own reports.

    Greenstock’s comments on Paragraph 12 in the quotation you present should really be submitted to an international court to decide. The US and UK position he cites certainly appears inconsistent with the wording of the Paragraph. I am sure that many international lawyers would disagree with him.

    It is interesting in this context to quote from former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s comments as recorded in UN Press Release SC/7564 (concerning UNSCR1441):

    “The Security Council Resolution (UNSCR1441) adopted today has strengthened the cause of peace and given new impetus to the search for security in an increasingly dangerous world. The adoption represented an example of multilateral diplomacy serving the cause of peace and security. (Annan) urged the Iraqi leadership to seize the opportunity and thereby begin to end the isolation and suffering of the Iraqi people.

    Annan said “If Iraq’s defiance continues, however, the Security Council must face its responsibilities”.

    Note: the Security Council, not delegated Member States, should face its responsibilities.

    Close inspection of relevant Articles in Chapter 7 of the UN Charter (eg. Chapters 42-47), show that delegation of responsibility to individual countries for initiating armed force is entirely inconsistent with the legal framework laid down for the UN Security Council.

    The only reference to Member States in UNSCR1441 is in Paragraph 8 which;

    “Decides further that Iraq shall not take or threaten hostile acts against any representative or personnel of the United Nations or the IAEA or any Member State taking action to uphold any Council Resolution”.

    Certainly clarification under international law is needed for what “taking action to uphold any Council Resolution” means, but it is highly unlikely to mean delegated Member State action to initiate armed force. This can be taken because, if so, it appears to deny Iraq the right of self defence as embodied in Article 51 of the UN Charter.

    Interstingly also, UNSCR1441 reaffirms the international recognition of Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

    A delegated military invasion would appear to breach that.

  31. Lee Roberts

    on December 9, 2009 at 5:46 am -

    Chilcot is playing a clever and deliberate game. His final conclusion has already been written, and was probably in his terms of reference as well as the criteria against which he was selected:

    “Mistakes were made. There were questionable instances of judgment, and less than transparent communications and process. However, this committee is satisfied that there are many lessons to be learnt, no illegal acts were committed and everyone concerned behaved with the most honourable of intentions.”

    So, given that this conclusion has already been written and frozen in concrete, Chilcot has three tasks:

    (a) To steer the enquiry to this conclusion

    (b) To prevent any evidence that could lead to an indictment

    (c) To satisfy the public mood by beating up Blair as well as he can short of any indictment and in line with the already agreed conclusion.

    To do this, he is running a deliberate and strenuously non-judicial, non-prosecutorial process. It is, as described, a chat in the club with chaps who know one another, with no need to get heavy or detailed on anything in particular. Its a “lets just get a sense of this stuff” approach. He will not probe beyond a certain point; he will not follow “witnesses” into any dangerous territory; he will not compare what they say to documents he has in his possession unless he can limit the harm to some mild embarrassment. He will work hard to keep everything at the level of hearsay and deniability….your word against Blair’s. Blair loves this kind of stuff, and will eat it up for breakfast. He will be devastatingly withering about hearsay claims, and point out how in the context at the time, such claims are ridiculous. He will have the whole tapestry laid out. Chilcot will allow him to see all the documents and any really problematic will be found to have security status and wont be published. That will allow Blair to make things up, as he has always done, without any danger of perjury. In fact, he will seduce the media and the public by telling never-before revealed “facts”, that put him in the best possible light and make others look like ass-covering liars (which most of them are).

    If I am correct, and this is what is happening, then it is NOT an iterative process, but a carefully executed plan; and it means that all the exhortations from pundits and columnists that Chilcot probe more, reveal documents, hire a lawyer etc, will be irrelevant, because these are outwith the plan.

    See if I am not correct. This will be an entirely hearsay enquiry which will lead to the conclusion decided at the outset.

  32. Lee Roberts

    on December 13, 2009 at 9:42 am -

    Before Chilcot started, I predicted here that they would use the inquiry to classify evidence against Blair to place him beyond the reach of the law. In fact, I believe that is the prime reason for the inquiry. It was set up to protect Blair, and all the other stuff is distraction. Blair doesnt mind if he is rubbished a bit, which is all that Chilcot will do. It will increase his hero status in America and significantly boost his income. I wouldnt be at all surprised if following Chilcot, Hollywood makes a movie from which Blair will earn millions as a “special advisor” to the producer. We could even see Blair in Hollywood handing out the Oscars.

    I have a lot of time for Chris Ames and his colleagues, but isnt it about time to call a duck a duck ?

  33. J>Bowyer

    on December 22, 2009 at 2:16 pm -

    From what I have seen on TV and from what I have read it is quite apparent this is not a searching enquiry which is badly needed to get to the bottom of this very serious matter. After all what can be more serious than taking a country to war, the deaths of our soldiers and innocent Iraqis. Only an experienced leading counsel acting on behalf of the citizens of this country can ask the searching questions that is needed to get at the truth. There are probably a number of high ranking officials and politicians who are culpable, but Blair is the one who falsely convinced some of us that he had sufficient reason to go to war. Including me. After all, he was the British Prime Minister and I trusted him. This enquiry must establish the truth, however unpalatable, to everyone”s satisfaction or the charge of whitewash will stick for ever.

    I presume this comment will be passed to the enqiry chairman ?

  34. andrewsimon

    on December 22, 2009 at 2:31 pm -

    Mr (?) Bowyer –

    I presume this comment will be passed to the (I)nquiry chairman ?

    We are an independent website with no official standing in the Inquiry process. Whilst we broadly agree with your sentiments as expressed here, we can only hope that the members of the Inquiry committee will take the time to visit these pages and read for themselves all has been written here.

  35. Lee Roberts

    on January 3, 2010 at 8:17 pm -

    The problem here is a psychological one. I had no doubt, the moment Chilcot was selected, seeing that he had already participated in an official inquiry and by the simplest rules of due process, was ineligible, and given his utterly uncontroversial record, that this inquiry was planned as a whitewash. The more Chilcot protested his independence, the clearer it became that he was prevaricating and misleading, because the facts are that the Government can, at a whim and with no explanation or accountability, veto whatever it wishes. So here was a man demanding that he was fully independent, when the facts were saying “No you’re not.” A man who wishes to be fully independent would have protested at his lack of independence. Chilcot did the opposite. Which meant that from the time he was selected, he has been carrying out orders.

    Chilcot has been behaving perfectly consistently with the whitewash goal set for him. The goal is not to find Blair blameless, but to ensure he cannot be indicted. Chilcot will deliver on that mandate. So the area of interest in this inquiry has now been squeezed into a tiny focus on what might leak. Brown is right up there with the most incompetent administrators in British political history, and David Miliband is so busy gazing in rapture at his own reflection, that there is every chance something will leak. I am already sure in my own mind it will be leagues short of what would be required to indict Blair.

    So here is the psychological problem for me. I am not interested in Blair’s reputation being sullied, because when a man is so deep in the shit as Blair, anything further Chilcot can do is simply placing a cherry on top of the turd. Now that I am sure that the goal, to ensure that he can never be indicted, will be achieved, this inquiry has taken on the character of gossip. Chilcot even runs it that way, to ensure that nothing more than gossip emerges.

    Goebbels the grand master of propaganda methodology, building on Machiavelli’s insights, taught us that the constant repetition of a lie works because it induces psychological exhaustion. The first five times the lie is spoken, it may induce outrage. By times 20, it induces only nausea and a desire for self protection. We simply withdraw because the brain can stand only so much repressed outrage.

    Chilcot is working by the same principle… wearing down our outrage, until we are psychologically incapable of listening any longer. Day after day he will, despite the efforts of Chris Ames and other good and sincere souls here, avoid probing, allow witnesses to waffle, accept what is said with no reference to the documents he isnt allowed to make public. He will continue the same chummy, plum in the mouth chatties with the chaps who belong to his own circle, missing whatever could be dangerous to Blair and focusing huge attention on marginal trivia. And so he will wear us down. It doesnt matter what we write here. It doesnt matter what the Daily Telegraph says about this charade. He will continue as agreed and as instructed judging how much should be covered before the election and ensuring that if Brown looks like winning, he will have Blair off the hook before the election, and have only ceremonial mopping up to do afterwards.

    That is why, dearly beloved, I am backing away from this inquiry. If the headlines scream, I will dip back in, probably to find that there is no scandal, no backs against the wall, and that things are progressing exactly as planned.

    For those who are going to risk their sanity by remaining glued to this charade in the hope that truth or god may intervene, let me offer one simple standard: this inquiry is NOT intended to rehabilitate Blair. Brown loathes him, quite rightly, and will be quite happy if Blair emerges stinking even more than he does now. The goal is to ensure that Blair will never be indicted. That is all. And Brown and Straw are doing that for themselves, not for Blair.

    So when you get excited about some stray piece of gossip spilling over the edge of the whitewash, ask yourself one thing only: “Can this help lead to Blair’s indictment ?” If the answer is “No”, then the inquiry is continuing absolutely on course towards its predetermined goal.

  36. Lee Roberts

    on January 14, 2010 at 7:04 am -

    The general tenor of the commentaries here recently is that Blair is in deepening trouble because of the gaffs of Campbell and doubts on Blair’s sincerity expressed in recent witness statements. I see the opposite. Because Chilcot is a pre-arranged whitewash exercise that has already stated that it will not allocate blame (which means Blair is scot-free) it has become nothing more than a PR platform for anyone to say the most outrageous things, as Campbell did. There is no come-back, and I believe Chilcot will allow triumphalism to triumph. The New Statesman agrees with me:

    “Alastair Campbell, Chilcot and snow
    Peter Wilby

    Published 14 January 2010

    One of the drawbacks of putting those accused of war crimes on trial is that they can use the occasion as a public platform. I fear the Chilcot inquiry is doing just that. Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s director of communications and the guiding hand behind the dossiers that supposedly made the case for the Iraq war, showed no contrition, no admission of the slightest error, not even a hint of embarrassment. He said Britain should be “proud” of what it did in Iraq. I’m not sure even Blair would dare to say that.

    Faced with a negative story, Campbell’s technique was always to divert it by going on the attack. It was shown to brilliant effect when, with criticism of the war growing, Campbell went for the BBC and its reporter Andrew Gilligan over the claim that the September 2002 dossier was “sexed up”. What ought to have been a story about Blair’s errors became one about the BBC’s. Campbell dealt similarly with Chilcot’s questioning about the dossier’s claim that Saddam Hussein could launch weapons of mass destruction in 45 minutes.

    “We wouldn’t be having this conversation,” he said, “if it weren’t for the controversy that subsequently ensued” – “controversy” being code for the dreaded Gilligan. He went on to insist, quite implausibly, that he had no idea newspapers would come up with such headlines as “45 minutes from doom” and that nobody had bothered about this preposterous exaggeration until Gilligan highlighted it.

    Campbell gave us a masterclass in how to defend the indefensible. Expect the same from Blair. Unfortunately, Chilcot is not actually a war crimes trial and cannot provide us with the satisfaction of knowing that the miscreants will eventually be punished. It is, as I feared from the start, a win-win for Blair and Campbell.”

  37. brian bilingden

    on January 14, 2010 at 12:03 pm -

    It was interesting that at the end of Turnballs evidance that he decided to enlighten us with the wise thoughts of the captured ,deluded ,hopeless Sadam . It would of been far more interesting to have heard the words of the late Dr kelly

  38. Lindsay Hiscox

    on January 29, 2010 at 10:28 am -

    Emphasis has been consistently made that everything changed after 9/11 and Blair has made this point today.
    9/ll did not involve WMD and, as far as I understand it, Al Quaeda did not have proven links with Saddam Hussein so why does the panel not challenge this as a justification for the subsequent decisions that led us to going to war as being based on that event?

  39. michael shaw

    on January 30, 2010 at 7:31 pm -

    The context in which Lord Goldsmith uses the word ‘reasonable’ to describe the (revivalist) case for war suggests that (in his opinion) it was no more than a reasonably arguable case, not even a prima facie case in favour of legality. This is no basis for launching a full-scale invasion of another sovereign territory, which is why specific UN authorisation (absent from 1441) had to be obtained.

  40. andrewsimon

    on February 3, 2010 at 9:11 am -

    Lee –

    There has been almost nothing posted here on the overseas response…

    This is because there really hasn’t been an overseas response other than a small amount of news coverage. Actually, the article you link to was published in almost identical form in the Independent the day before it was posted at CounterPunch.

  41. Lee Roberts

    on February 4, 2010 at 2:46 pm -

    Actually, Andrew, there is quite a lot of foreign media comment.

    Here is just a smattering of the foreign coverage:
    Canada: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/editorials/iraq-retrospective/article1451432/

    Pakistan:
    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/world/19-blairs-impudence-hh-02

    Lebanon:
    http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=5&article_id=111328

    http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&article_id=111273&categ_id=17

    Ireland:
    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2010/0201/1224263502484.html

    Iran:
    http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=213495

    Arab News:
    http://www.arabnews.com/?page=7&section=0&article=132156&d=31&m=1&y=2010

    Malaysia:
    http://thestar.com.my/columnists/story.asp?col=behindtheheadlines&file=/2010/1/31/columnists/behindtheheadlines/5585193&sec=Behind%20The%20Headlines

    Bulgaria:
    http://www.sofiaecho.com/2010/01/30/850349_weekend-blog-lions-led-by-donkeys-tony-blair-gives-evidence-to-the-chilcot-inquiry

    Australia:
    http://www.smh.com.au/world/press-shocked-at-blairs-lack-of-regret-20100130-n55g.html

    Al Jazeera:
    http://blogs.aljazeera.net/imperium/2010/01/29/tony-blair-poodle-or-bulldog

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxSDWQ3ziec ( a must watch !)

    Palestine:
    http://www.paltelegraph.com/columnists/peter-eyre/3897-blair-comes-out-clean-with-no-regrets

    Brazil:
    http://sport.repubblica.it/news/sport/rio-2016-paulo-coelho-contro-la-consulenza-di-blair-%3Cbr-%3E/3752141

    Italy:
    http://www.newnotizie.it/2010/01/30/inchiesta-iraq-i-giornali-inglesi-contro-tony-blair/

    http://www.terranews.it/news/2010/01/quei-sinistri-presagi-di-blair

    Spain:
    http://www.nortecastilla.es/agencias/20100203/mas-actualidad/mundo/profesor-acusa-blair-complicidad-crimenes_201002031125.html

    http://www.adn.es/internacional/20100204/NWS-1529-Blair-Hans-mantenido-tuviera-mala.html

    France:
    http://www.lemonde.fr/opinions/article/2010/02/01/tony-blair-fictions-et-memoires-par-virginie-malingre_1299571_3232.html

    South Africa:
    http://en.afrik.com/article16861.html

  42. David Hankey

    on February 5, 2010 at 9:51 am -

    I wonder if those who have given evidence would say the same if they had been “under oath”?!!

  43. Lee Roberts

    on February 6, 2010 at 7:18 pm -

    Comment from David Hankey
    Time February 5, 2010 at 9:51 am

    I wonder if those who have given evidence would say the same if they had been “under oath”?!!

    No, they would include the phrase “in a sense” at least twice in every sentence, “as it were”.

  44. David Hankey

    on February 8, 2010 at 6:19 pm -

    Will Hans Blix be called and if not why not?

    I would think he would be a very useful person for the Inquiry to hear evidence from, truthful and non-political.

  45. Lee Roberts

    on February 14, 2010 at 8:47 am -

    No he wont. Brown and Chilcot have decided to do whatever they can to limit the harm and risk to Blair (and by extension, to Brown and Straw), and so they have decided that no foreign witnesses can be called. If this “inquiry” was a farce before this decision was made, I am not sure now whether there is an appropriate word that describes it now. “Pantomime” sounds too enjoyable.

  46. Andrew Watt

    on March 5, 2010 at 9:52 am -

    One of my main concerns is about the legality of the Iraq War in terms of UK Law.

    Here are some questions for Gordon Brown that I would consider as pivotal today, if I were Sir John Chilcot.

    1. Do you accept that the government of Iraq was changed by force in 2003?

    2. Are you aware that Section 2(2) of the Reinsurance (Acts of Terrorism) Act 1993 deems changing a government by force to be “an act of terrorism”?

    3. Are you aware that the acts of the UK armed forces in Iraq in 2003 also constitute “terrorism” in the meaning of Section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2000?

    4. Are you aware that in funding the military action in Iraq in 2003, which as discussed earlier is “terrorism”, that you appear to have committed an offence in the meaning of Section 15 of the Terrorism Act 2000?

    5. Are you aware that the penalty specified for someone convicted of a Section 15 offence is up to 14 years imprisonment?

    6. Are you aware that in December 1999 during the Second Reading of the Terrorism Bill (that later became the Terrorism Act 2000) that it was pointed out to Jack Straw that UK military action in Iraq would correspond to the definition of “terrorism” in what was then Clause 1 of the Terrorism Bill? The point was made to Jack Straw by Tom King.

    7. Are you aware that you have caused UK tax payers to commit offences under Section 15 of the Terrorism Act 2000 in that they funded “terrorism” in Iraq?

    8. Are you aware that as a consequence of your actions, and the actions of other ministers, that the bulk of the UK military personnel who died in Iraq died as “terrorists”, in the meaning of Section 40 of the Terrorism Act 2000?

    9. Do you wish to resign as Prime Minister now, in view of your seeming criminal actions with respect to the Terrorism Act 2000, or would you prefer to do it later?