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Alert !!!! UK's C4 News Reveals Blairs Legal Advice for War.

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posted on Apr, 27 2005 @ 01:22 PM
Just a heads up to all those interested. Channel Four News have released a leaked copy of the legal advice given to Tony Blair in the run up to the War against Iraq.

This advice was unseen by the UK Parliament or even the cabinet and the Prime Minister has insisted that it would NEVER be published but a summary is quoted below.

Such are the possible legal consequences of publishing this information that the UK government were not told until after it was in the public domain. We can also expect the text to be withdrawn soon.

First the summary of the story as written in the Guardian online.

Tony Blair was told by the government's most senior law officer in a confidential minute less than two weeks before the war that British participation in the American-led invasion of Iraq could be declared illegal.
Lord Goldsmith, the attorney general, spelt out to Mr Blair the dangers of Britain going to war without a second resolution. It is understood that he then went on to warn that British soldiers could be hauled before the International Criminal Court.

He warned that while he could be able to argue a "reasonable case" in favour of military action, he was far from confident a court would agree. Indeed, he added, a court "might well conclude" that war would be found unlawful without a further UN resolution.

In a legal opinion which Mr Blair has repeatedly sought to conceal, the attorney warned the prime minister that Britain might be able argue it could go to war on the basis of past UN resolutions, but only if there were "strong factual grounds" that Iraq was still in breach of its disarmament obligations.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

The document reveals that Lord Goldsmith warned Mr Blair that failure to secure a second United Nations resolution explicitly authorising military action would force the government 'urgently' to reconsider its legal case.

Resolution 1441 had been passed in November 2003 and gave Iraq 'a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations'.

Extract from Lord Goldsmith's summary given on 7th March 2002 to Tony Blair

"26. To sum up, the language of resolution 1441 leaves the position unclear and the statements made on adoption of the resolution suggest that there were differences of view within the Council as to the legal effect of the resolution. Arguments can be made on both sides. A key question is whether there is in truth a need for an assessment of whether Iraq's conduct constitutes a failure to take the final opportunity or has constituted a failure fully to cooperate within the meaning of OP4 such that the basis of the cease-fire is destroyed. If an assessment is needed of that situation, it would be for the Council to make it. A narrow textual reading of the resolution suggests that sort of assessment is not needed, because the Council has predetermined the issue. Public statements, on the other hand, say otherwise.

27. In these circumstances, I remain of the opinion that the safest legal course would be to secure the adoption of a further resolution to authorise the use of force. [...] The key point is that it should establish that the Council has concluded that Iraq has failed to take the final opportunity offered by resolution 1441, as in the draft which has already been tabled.

28. Nevertheless, having regard to the information on the negotiating history which I have been given and to the arguments of the US Administration which I heard in Washington, I accept that a reasonable case can be made that resolution 1441 is capable in principle of reviving the authorisation in 678 without a further resolution.

29. However, the argument that resolution 1441 alone has revived the authorisation to use force in resolution 678 will only be sustainable if there are strong factual grounds for concluding that Iraq has failed to take the final opportunity. In other words, we would need to be able to demonstrate hard evidence of non-compliance and non-cooperation. Given the structure of the resolution as a whole, the views of UNMOVIC and the IAEA will be highly significant in this respect. In the light of the latest reporting by UNMOVIC, you will need to consider very carefully whether the evidence of non-cooperation and non- compliance by Iraq is sufficiently compelling to justify the conclusion that Iraq has failed to take its final opportunity.

30. In reaching my conclusion, I have taken account of the fact that on a number of previous occasions, including in relation to Operation Desert Fox in December 1998 and Kosovo in 1999, UK forces have participated in military action on the basis of advice from my predecessors that the legality of the action under international law was no more than reasonably arguable. But a "reasonable case" does not mean that if the matter ever came before a court I would be confident that the court would agree with the view.

I judge that, having regard to the arguments on both sides, and considering the resolution as a whole in the light of the statements made on adoption and subsequently, a court might well conclude that OPs 4 and 12 do requ1re a further Council decision in order to revive the authorisation in resolution 678. But equally I consider that the counter view can be reasonably maintained.

However, it must be recognised that on previous occasions when military action was taken on the basis of a reasonably arguable case, the degree of public and Parliamentary scrutiny of the legal issue was nothing as great as it is today.

31. The analysis set out above applies whether a second resolution fails to be adopted because of a lack of votes or because it is vetoed. As I have said before, I do not believe that there is any basis in law for arguing that there is an implied condition of reasonableness which can be read into the power of veto conferred on the permanent members of the Security Council by the UN Charter.

So there are no grounds for arguing that an "unreasonable veto" would entitle us to proceed on the basis of a presumed Security Council authorisation. In any event, if the majority of world opinion remains opposed to military action, it is likely to be difficult on the facts to categorise a French veto as "unreasonable". The legal analysis may, however, be affected by the course of events over the next week or so, eg the discussions on the draft second resolution.

If we fail to achieve the adoption of a second resolution we would need to consider urgently at that stage the strength of our legal case in the light of circumstances at the time."

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

The full legal summary given to Parliament on the 17th March 2003

1. In Resolution 678, the Security Council authorised force against Iraq, to eject it from Kuwait and to restore peace and security in the area.

2. In Resolution 687, which set out the ceasefire conditions after Operation Desert Storm, the Security Council imposed continuing obligations on Iraq to eliminate its weapons of mass destruction in order to restore international peace and security in the area. Resolution 687 suspended but did not terminate the authority to use force under Resolution 678.

3. A material breach of Resolution 687 revives the authority to use force under Resolution 678.

4. In Resolution 1441, the Security Council determined that Iraq has been and remains in material breach of Resolution 687, because it has not fully complied with its obligations to disarm under that resolution.

5. The Security Council in Resolution 1441 gave Iraq "a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations" and warned Iraq of the "serious consequences" if it did not.

6. The Security Council also decided in Resolution 1441 that, if Iraq failed at any time to comply with and co-operate fully in the implementation of Resolution 1441, that would constitute a further material breach.

7. It is plain that Iraq has failed so to comply and therefore Iraq was at the time of Resolution 1441 and continues to be in material breach.

8. Thus, the authority to use force under Resolution 678 has revived and so continues today.

9. Resolution 1441 would in terms have provided that a further decision of the Security Council to sanction force was required if that had been intended. Thus, all that Resolution 1441 requires is reporting to and discussion by the Security Council of Iraq's failures, but not an express further decision to authorise force.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

Thankyou Channel 4 News !!!!

[edit on 27-4-2005 by John bull 1]

[edit on 27-4-2005 by John bull 1]

[edit on 27-4-2005 by John bull 1]

posted on Apr, 27 2005 @ 01:33 PM
well done channel 4!!
still reading it though
great find

posted on Apr, 27 2005 @ 01:48 PM
BBC has picked it up.

I *heard* that they all had copies tonight but the BBC were going to break it on the 10. It seems c4 preempted.

I smell conservative fingers.

posted on Apr, 27 2005 @ 01:56 PM
My first thought was the "leak" of Bush's service record in the US elections. But it seems too authentic to me.

Anyone have the Attorney General's statement on the 17th to parliament which purported to be a "summary" of this advice so that our American cousins can understand what the big deal is about this ? I can't find the text of it.

Misleading Parliament is a resigning offence.

posted on Apr, 27 2005 @ 02:29 PM
This justy goes to show tha Blair was determined to push this war through despite all the legal advice to the opposite. Question: why?

posted on Apr, 27 2005 @ 03:05 PM
It's incredible watching Blair time after time insisting that his integrity is intact and he has never lied to the British public. Almost as believable as a prostitute claiming that she's a virgin

Politics and truth are incompatible.

posted on Apr, 27 2005 @ 03:41 PM
It seems some people have a problem understanding the actual words in this advice and some have no idea what this 'advice' is supposed to be.

It's also typical lawyer-speak.

On the one hand this and on the other that.

The gov's opponents will claim " it means....blah blah blah" when it means nothing of the sort.

The British Attoney-General gave a lengthy and complete 'opinion' so where is the surprise that it is full of caveats and mentions opposing points of view?
A proper legal opinion is supposed to be 'complete' and include the alternate points that should be considered.

One will note the 'advice' does not say the gov was acting illegally in persuing the course of action it took.
It only refers to things being either a stronger or weaker basis for action.

The fact remains that at the end of the day the gov took a view.
One may agree or disagree with that view (and the war in general etc etc.....or in the tory case agree with the war but somehow waffle on and on and on about 'how it was done') but will not 'catch them out' on a technicality such as this.

Talk about clutching straws.

[edit on 27-4-2005 by sminkeypinkey]

posted on Apr, 27 2005 @ 03:45 PM
will he have to step down now ?

posted on Apr, 27 2005 @ 03:52 PM

Originally posted by leejones
will he have to step down now ?

- If you mean Tony Blair then the answer is no; he will serve out this term (or, seeing as how he has already said he is stepping down after this term, most of it depending on how the hand-over will actually work).

If you mean the Attorney General Lord Goldsmith?
Well with a general election there is every possibility he was not going to remain in post anyway.
When the next cabinet is announced he may or may not be AG, we shall have to see.

posted on Apr, 27 2005 @ 04:39 PM
I think its a little funny that this happens on the eve of the first televised debate.

Stupid Conservatives. Sigh.

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