March 01, 2004

Britain's Army chiefs refused to go to war in Iraq amid fears over its legality just days before the British and American bombing campaign was launched, The Observer can today reveal.

US marines have been used to force the duly elected President of Haiti from office at gun point. Yes, it's true. As TransAfrica founder Randall Robinson revealed on Amy Goodman's Democracy Now! -- "The president asked me to tell the world that it is a coup, that they have been kidnapped. That they have been abducted. I have put in calls to members of congress asking that they demand that the president be given an opportunity to speak, that he be given a press conference opportunity and that people be given an opportunity to reach him by phone so that they can hear directly from him how he is being treated. But the essential point is clear. He did not resign. He was taken by force from his residence in the middle of the night, forced on to a plane, and taken away without being told where he was going. He was kidnapped. There's no question about it."
(http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0301-05.htm_)
Meanwhile, Pakistan's leading news agency Jang reports: "The United States has struck a deal with Pakistan to allow US troops to hunt for Osama bin Laden this spring in the tribal areas, where he is believed to be operating, the New Yorker magazine reported on Sunday. Thousands of US troops will be deployed in return for Washington' support of President Pervez Musharraf' pardon of Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh wrote in the issue that goes on sale on Monday. 'It's quid pro quo,' according to a former senior intelligence official. 'We're going to get our troops inside Pakistan in return for not forcing Musharraf to deal with Khan.'"
(http://jang.com.pk/thenews/mar2004-daily/01-03-2004/main/main3.htm)
Consider this story in its proper context. The US and the UK invaded and now occupy Iraq, under the pretext that it had WMD, which of course it did not have, and because it might have an alliance with Bin Laden, which it did not have. BUT it is Gen. IShotTheSherrif's Pakistan that has both habored Osama bin Laden and now protects its own Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, who has not only developed WMD (i.e. nukes) that are already deployed, but has sold the WMD technology on the black market. Hmm...
NEVERTHELESS, do not be distracted by the outrages of the day...Keep your eyes on the prize...Here is another bombshell from the free press of Britian...Tell me, when will we hear about the fierce internal struggle within the US military?

"Out, out damn spot!"

Guardian/UK: Britain's Army chiefs refused to go to war in Iraq amid fears over its legality just days before the British and American bombing campaign was launched, The Observer can today reveal. The explosive new details about military doubts over the legality of the invasion are detailed in unpublished legal
documents in the case of Katharine Gun, the intelligence officer dramatically freed last week after Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney-General, dropped
charges against her of breaking the Official Secrets Act.

Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies,
Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/iraq/story/0,12239,1158859,00.html

Army chiefs feared Iraq war illegal just days before
start

Attorney-General forced to rewrite legal advice
Specialist unit dedicated to spying on UN revealed

Martin Bright, Antony Barnett and Gaby Hinsliff
Sunday February 29, 2004
The Observer

Britain's Army chiefs refused to go to war in Iraq
amid fears over its legality just days before the
British and American bombing campaign was launched,
The Observer can today reveal. The explosive new
details about military doubts over the legality of the
invasion are detailed in unpublished legal documents
in the case of Katharine Gun, the intelligence officer
dramatically freed last week after Lord Goldsmith, the
Attorney-General, dropped charges against her of
breaking the Official Secrets Act.

The disclosure came as it also emerged that Goldsmith
was forced hastily to redraft his legal advice to Tony
Blair to give an 'unequivocal' assurance to the armed
forces that the conflict would not be illegal.

Refusing to commit troops already stationed in Kuwait,
senior military leaders were adamant that war could
not begin until they were satisfied that neither they
nor their men could be tried. Some 10 days later,
Britain and America began the campaign.

Goldsmith also wrote to Blair at the end of January
voicing concerns that the war might be illegal without
a second resolution from the United Nations.
Opposition MPs seized on The Observer's revelations
last night, accusing Goldsmith of caving in to
political pressure from the Prime Minister to change
his legal advice on the eve of war.

Senior Whitehall sources involved in putting together
critical legal advice on the war told The Observer
that Goldsmith was originally 'sitting on the fence'
and that his initial advice was 'prevaricating'. This
was 'tightened' up only days before the conflict began
after concerns were raised by Sir Michael Boyce, the
then Chief of Defence Staff, who told senior ministers
of his worries. It is believed that Boyce demanded an
unequivocal statement that the invasion of Iraq was
lawful. It is understood that it was only after seeing
Goldsmith's final legal advice, given days before the
outbreak of war, that Boyce gave his approval.

Without this legal reassurace, military leaders and
their troops could have laid themselves open to
charges of war crimes. At the time, UK troops were
already in Kuwait poised for an invasion.

Last week, Goldsmith controversially agreed to drop
the Government's prosecution of the former GCHQ
whistleblower Katharine Gun. Her defence had demanded
documents relating to his legal advice, including
communications with the Prime Minister.

Although Goldsmith denied his decision to drop the
case was political, critics of the war believe the
Government was desperate to prevent these details from
being revealed in open court.

Menzies Campbell, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs
spokesman, said: 'These allegations go to the very
heart of the Government's case for war, and inevitably
its credibility. I have no doubt whatever that if
Parliament had been told these things, the Government
would not have achieved its majority and been unable
to go to war. Public opinion, already deeply divided,
would have swung overwhelmingly against the
Government.'

Opposition MPs have demanded a statement in the
Commons from the Prime Minister and will redouble the
pressure for an explanation. The revelations will also
increase pressure for the Butler inquiry, set up by
the Prime Minister into intelli gence in the run-up to
the war, to study the Gun case and subsequent
revelations. It will take evidence in private.

Last night former Cabinet Minister Clare Short told
The Observer that she knew of military doubts over the
legality the war: 'I was told at the highest level in
the department that the military were saying they
wouldn't go, whatever the PM said, with out the
Attorney-General's advice. The question is: was the AG
lent on?

'This was a very personal operation by Tony Blair. The
Attorney-General is a friend of Tony's, put in the
Lords by Tony and made Attorney-General by Tony.'

The Observer has also established that GCHQ, the
Government's top-secret surveillance centre, has a
specialist unit dedicated to spying on the UN. The
revelation will strengthen claims that the bugging of
Britain's diplomatic allies at the UN was routine and
is likely to trigger a fresh international furore over
the legality of Britain's spying operations abroad.

The former Chilean ambassador to the UN, Juan Gabriel
Valdes, said last night: 'All I can say is what I said
at the time when asked if I had information about
spying on Chile and I said yes, it has been proved.

'It [eavesdropping] was one more element of tension
during some very tense weeks. Nobody was very
surprised. But it is one thing not to be surprised and
another to do clearly illegal things.'

Gun leaked a top-secret email published in The
Observer last March revealing a joint British-American
operation to spy on the UN in the run-up to war. She
claimed she acted to prevent the loss of human life in
an illegal war.

The political furore continued as Short's political
future remains in the balance, with the Prime Minister
reserving a final decision until he has seen the round
of interviews she has planned for this weekend.
'Everyone has talked about the fact that they don't
want her to be a martyr, but of course the only
difficulty is that we are in her hands - what will she
say tomorrow?' said one senior party figure.

However, it remains highly unlikely that she will face
an organised attempt to unseat her, because of the
months of upheaval it would cause in the Labour party.
'The pain of extraction might finish off the patient,'
said one backbencher far from loyal to Short.

Downing Street last night refused to comment on the
allegations. Blair's spokesman also refused to say
whether the White House had been consulted over the
dropping of the Gun case, despite growing conviction
at Westminster that it would have been inconceivable
for the Foreign Office not to have taken its closest
ally's views into consideration.

Despite Blair's refusal to give a statement to the
Commons, the Government is unlikely to escape further
questioning. Both Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary,
and Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary, are already due
to answer questions next week while the Home
Secretary, David Blunkett, will be grilled by a joint
Commons inquiry into homeland security. Labour and
Opposition MPs have also tabled a string of written
questions.

Posted by richard at March 1, 2004 03:24 PM