Press Review

UK Chilcot Inquiry: “The Iraq War Was Unlawful”. Unanimous Legal Opinion of Foreign Office Lawyers

Cameron Government is blocking publication of their “official” report The UK Cameron government is blocking publication of their “official” report on Iraq war until perhaps 2014 or later, according to the UK’s most popular newspaper website. Perhaps this delay is in part because the Blair government was advised before the war by all 27 attorneys in their Foreign Affairs Office that war on Iraq was unlawful . That would mean armed attack on Iraq would be an unlawful War of Aggression, with identical criminal implication on US armed attack on Iraq. Unlawful war requires US military to refuse all war orders and arrest those who issue them (more documentation here ). Public understanding that current wars “on terror” are not...

Lord Falconer: Blair government's role in Iraq war "undermined democracy"

The Blair government's role in the war against Iraq " absolutely undermines the basis of our democracy " according to Lord Falconer, one of the ex-prime minister's closest allies during the build up to war in 2003. Speaking before the 10th anniversary of the September dossier, which contained the infamous claim that Saddam Hussein could mobilise long distance weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes and which formed the backbone of the case for invasion, the former lord chancellor said: "I think it [the run-up to war] has had a hugely damaging effect on politics. I supported and continue to support the use of force. "But in terms of people's trust in politicians the impression is that the government misled...

MSPs back war crimes move on Blair

Independent MSP Margo MacDonald lodged a motion at the Scottish Parliament seeking "a simple amendment making illegal the waging of aggressive war with the intention of regime change so that Tony Blair could be brought to trial in Scotland". It gained early support from SNP backbenchers Annabelle Ewing, Gordon MacDonald, John Finnie, Chic Brodie and Jim Eadie. Ms MacDonald, a former SNP deputy leader, said Scotland has a unique opportunity to incorporate international criminal law into Scots law which is historically distinct. Her husband Jim Sillars , another former SNP deputy leader, has called on " Alex Salmond's government or a bold backbencher" to "introduce retrospective legislation to indict the former prime minister on war crimes". Writing in The Scotsman...

Desmond Tutu: "Why I had no choice but to spurn Tony Blair"

I couldn't sit with someone who justified the invasion of Iraq with a lie. The immorality of the United States and Great Britain's decision to invade Iraq in 2003, premised on the lie that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, has destabilised and polarised the world to a greater extent than any other conflict in history. Instead of recognising that the world we lived in, with increasingly sophisticated communications, transportations and weapons systems necessitated sophisticated leadership that would bring the global family together, the then-leaders of the US and UK fabricated the grounds to behave like playground bullies and drive us further apart. They have driven us to the edge of a precipice where we now stand – with the...

Australian politicians demand inquiry into Iraq invasion

Former PM and defence chiefs call for independent investigation into Australia's role in lead-up to the war. They are demanding an independent investigation, along the lines of the Chilcot inquiry in Britain, into their country's role in the invasion of Iraq. They say an independent inquiry must investigate the circumstances that led the then National-Liberal coalition to participate in the US-led invasion in 2003 in which Australia contributed 2,000 troops, including special forces. It must also conduct a review of the war powers of the government, and draw lessons for the future. Demands for an inquiry are led by former Liberal prime minister, Malcolm Fraser , former defence secretary, Paul Barratt , and former chief of the Australian Defence Force,...

Letter by Stephen Plowden to the Guardian

"Business as usual" You report that the attorney general, Dominic Grieve, has vetoed the information commissioner's ruling that the minutes of the cabinet meeting before the Iraq war should be disclosed ( Tony Blair's Iraq cabinet meeting to stay secret , 1 August). Mr Grieve should not have done that. Tony Blair says that the decision to go to war was fully discussed in cabinet; Clare Short says that it was not. The nation is entitled to know who is right.

Blair-Bush Iraq war transcript may be suppressed

Government may block information tribunal ruling that ordered record of phone conversation to be released, sources confirm. An explosive transcript of one of Tony Blair 's final conversations with George Bush before the invasion of Iraq may be suppressed by the coalition government, Whitehall sources have confirmed. Dominic Grieve , the attorney general, believes there is "a case to answer" in favour of blocking an information tribunal ruling that ordered the former leaders' telephone exchange to be released in the public interest. The then British prime minister and US president reportedly discussed the opposition of the the then French president, Jacques Chirac , to military action that he had voiced in a television interview two days earlier. The proposed veto...

Iraq Inquiry report publication delayed further: by the middle of 2013

Sir John Chilcot has written to the Prime Minister to inform him of the Inquiry’s progress and to indicate when the Inquiry may complete its work. The Iraq Inquiry has concluded its public hearings and is currently analysing the written and oral evidence it has received and drafting its report. Pulling together and analysing the evidence and identifying the lessons, for a report that covers so wide and complex a range of issues and a time period of some nine years, is a significant task. Very considerable progress has already been made, but there is still much to be done. As well as drafting the report, the Inquiry is negotiating with the Government the declassification of a significant volume of...

Alastair Campbell reveals: Tony Blair did hide Iraq War legal advice

Former PM rejects spin doctor's claim that Attorney General's doubts kept from Cabinet Tony Blair dismissed his former spin doctor's account of what his Cabinet was told about the Iraq War's legality as "absolutely not true" yesterday. In the latest volume of his diaries, Alastair Campbell claims Lord Goldsmith , then Attorney General, was prevented in 2002 from telling the Cabinet about his "doubts" on the legal basis for war. But in an interview with the BBC's Andrew Marr, Mr Blair denied he had intervened to stop Lord Goldsmith giving the Cabinet the "reality" of the legal position Britain faced if it went to war against Saddam Hussein's regime without the backing of the United Nations. According to Mr Campbell's...

Assad may be offered clemency by Britain and US if he joins peace talks

Britain and America are willing to offer the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad , safe passage – and even clemency – as part of a diplomatic push to convene a UN-sponsored conference in Geneva on political transition in Syria . The initiative comes after David Cameron and Barack Obama received encouragement from Russia 's President Vladimir Putin in separate bilateral talks at the G20 in Mexico. A senior British official said: "Those of us who had bilaterals thought there was just enough out of those meetings to make it worth pursuing the objective of negotiating a transitional process in Syria." With daily reports of civilian deaths and the conflict apparently taking on an increasingly sectarian hue, Britain is willing to discuss...