Powell Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister, 2001 - 2007
claims that there were some misunderstandings.
Blair assured the Inquiry that he
hadn't made any promises
about going to war and that George W Bush was an understanding person.
Which is good because it has to be said that there have been a few misunderstandings
involving Labour Prime Ministers, security
information, the CIA, plots and other such things in the past when UK
and USA foreign policy seemed to diverge a lot from each other but
that's all forgotten about now...
So it is good to know those days are
behind us and the PM is free to make his own decisions.
Anyway ...amongst the most controversial
evidence given to the Iraq Inquiry was, of course, that of Lord
on the legal advice for going to war.
In case you haven't heard it (it took a while to find its way into the
here it is again...
...or is it?
Goldsmith infamously, we learnt with hindsight, changed his mind
from "it isn't
legal" to "it is legal" as the date of the invasion approached.
His explanations for this are extremely long winded (you dont get to be
Attorney General by using one word when a thousand will do). But
comes down to something like this...
...after analysing the syntax of resolution
1441 he decided that a case
could be made that it implicitly sanctioned the use of force even
though it clearly didn't say that explicitly. From
this point he decided that it would be wrong to view the document
"in a vacuum" and that the context and meaning intended by the Security
Council members should be considered.
[be warned Lord G's
video clips are about twice as long at least as anyone else's due to
his extremely turgid verbosity]
As a result
Lord Goldsmith pootled off to the USA to make enquiries
about the negotiations at the time with the other parties to the
negotiation of 1441 and concluded that a case could be made that the
words that might imply force was sanctioned without another new
resolution and that crucial words which could be stretched to intimate
an intention to allow action without another resolution "could not have
been included by accident" and therefore they must have been deliberate.
the key question then is did the other parties to 1441 intend
for it to be a sanction to use military force and had they conceded
this in private negotiations. Jack Straw has some document which
it is vaguely claimed might relate to this matter but cant be shown in
public so Lord Goldsmith agreed with the Inquiry that he had taken this
then asked if he had thought of talking to the French about
what they thought was so important that they had never articulated it
and Lord Goldsmith said he couldn't do that because it would undermine
the diplomatic effort against Iraq.
When it was
perhaps the French could be consulted through diplomatic channels
privately Lord Goldsmith said that this was impossible ...as it
probably was ...given that the French President had just been on French
Television saying that the he saw no way to interpret resolution 1441
as a permission to call to a war against Saddam.
Goldsmith's position was not helped by the fact that both his
underlings clearly thought that this was all drivel... One of them
points out that you can actually
look up what was said about 1441 at the time it was
passed on the internet... and this does not seem to back Lord Goldsmith
up...(a video was lost here due to Xtranormal going financially Pear Shaped) ...and,
indeed, one of them actually resigned rather than agree to
implement his instructions. Maybe it is not an accident that
are so few women interviewed by the Iraq Inquiry. (Another video was lost here due to Xtranormal going financially Pear Shaped - ****s!)
was in charge of liaising with the UN after the
invasion admitted that post invasion UN cooperation was a bit
grudging. But cheerfully added that she doesn't care if it is
grudging as long as people do what she wants.
Ann Clwyd MP
Prime Minister's Special Envoy to Iraq, 2003 - 2009 and
member of CARDRI ("Committee Against Repression and for Democratic
Rights in Iraq") who spent much time before the war drawing attention
to the most sadistic aspects of Saddam's regime (culminating in
article) gave some gruesome testimony about the Iraqi penal
system. Here's a typical extact:
Many of the former members of CARDRI now have senior positions in the
Iraqi Government. Like President Jalal
Talabani the current
Which is nice.
CARDRI members may have their own political incentives for
always deeply substantiated claims but it has to be said that most of
them would seem to be true - certainly the subsequent invasion did
Hussein had some interesting garden
furniture. To many people Uday personifies the worst and most
visible sadism in the Saddam regime. Indeed so legendary was
Uday's sadism that even before the invasion
Saddam himself had his son locked up temporarily. Uday had attacked and
his food taster with a cane and an electric carving knife. A bit of a
PR disaster as it was in public at a party in
honour of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's wife Suzanne
Uday's most brutal sadism was reserved for the Iraqi National
who's members were variously shaved, made to kick concrete balls and
to one report dragged along the ground to make them bleed before being
immersed in a sewage
tank to induce infection. The Olympic Committee also investigated
him over reports that he made a group of track athletes crawl on newly
poured asphalt while they were beaten and threw some of them off a
bridge. Maybe some of these stories have been exaggerated or
embellished but there doesn't seem to be many forms of sadism that Uday
couldn't turn his hand to. Indeed Uday thought of more inventive
ways to kill and maim people than the both James Bond and Saw film
franchises put together ...with possibly a few scenes from Jackass
thrown in. It's as if when Ghandi said that any country would
rather have its own government than any externally imposed one no
matter how bad its own government got ....Saddam and Uday saw
this as a
Due to her
contacts with CARDRI and the placement of key CARDRI members
in the interim transitional regime Tony Blair made Ann Clwyd his
"Special Envoy to Iraq" liaison with the post-Saddam regime.
Who says it is a waste of time writing to your
said that he didn't wish to invalidate Ms Short's
recollection of the cabinet shouting her down but it wasn't his
recollection and also
the Cabinet wasn't exactly full of "wilting violets".
went on to slag off Jaques
Chirac. Taking apart every
of his speech which you can read a detailed analysis of here...
so an almost limitless volume time can be wasted over analysing the
exact syntax, rhetorical emphasise and translations. What he
argues that when Chirac uses the words "this evening" he is
simply commenting that he is talking this evening and not limiting his
statement that whatever the circumstances France will not go to war to
a fixed point in time. No one is quite sure as it is impossible
to determine exact punctuation in a spoken speech but guessing has got
be easier than actually just asking him what he actually meant.
Brown's testimony reveals exactly why he later rose to the top
of the tree. Like the late Jim Hacker he relentlessly uses the
technique of answering one question with the answer to a different
question usually involving his catchphrase "It was the right decision
and it was for the right reasons.". Despite actually living in
Number 10 (Tony
11) Mr Brown insisted that
he didn't know much about the diplomatic and military preparations for
the war because he was as chancellor of the exchequer engrossed in
doing complicated long division sums. If a war crime was
committed Gordon was not there.
He went onto
say that if you look the question of expenditure in
Iraq, you have got to start from this one fundamental truth -- that
every request that the military commanders made to us for equipment was
answered. No request was ever turned down. Unfortunately there is a
difference, of course, between being turned down and being ignored.
So clearly no one requested any UAVs and if they did they
turned down ... the requests simply proceeded very slowly. Of course it
could be that some things were turned down but if they were then they
were turned down for good reason by someone lower down the command
chain than Gordon himself
who was, as he puts it, purely incharge of the finance of the war (not
He was forced to later retract his claims that