Skip to comments.Blair hit by new leak of secret war plan
Posted on 05/01/2005 7:36:17 PM PDT by Lando Lincoln
A SECRET document from the heart of government reveals today that Tony Blair privately committed Britain to war with Iraq and then set out to lure Saddam Hussein into providing the legal justification. The Downing Street minutes, headed Secret and strictly personal UK eyes only, detail one of the most important meetings ahead of the invasion.
It was chaired by the prime minister and attended by his inner circle. The document reveals Blair backed regime change by force from the outset, despite warnings from Lord Goldsmith, the attorney-general, that such action could be illegal.
The minutes, published by The Sunday Times today, begins with the warning: This record is extremely sensitive. No further copies should be made. The paper should be shown only to those with a genuine need to know. It records a meeting in July 2002, attended by military and intelligence chiefs, at which Blair discussed military options having already committed himself to supporting President George Bushs plans for ousting Saddam.
If the political context were right, people would support regime change, said Blair. He added that the key issues were whether the military plan worked and whether we had the political strategy to give the military plan space to work.
The political strategy proved to be arguing Iraqs weapons of mass destruction (WMD) posed such a threat that military action had to be taken. However, at the July meeting Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, said the case for war was thin as Saddam was not threatening his neighbours and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran.
Straw suggested they should work up an ultimatum about weapons inspectors that would help with the legal justification. Blair is recorded as saying that it would make a big difference politically and legally if Saddam refused to allow in the UN inspectors.
A separate secret briefing for the meeting said Britain and America had to create conditions to justify a war.
The papers, the second sensitive leak close to the election, appear to be an attempt by disaffected Whitehall insiders to attack Blairs integrity. They are likely to fuel claims he misled the country on Iraq.
One reason for the secrecy is that the minutes record discussion of US plans for invasion; another is that at the time Blair had given no indication that plans were so advanced.
He had not revealed to MPs or the public that in April 2002 he had told Bush the UK would support US military action to bring about regime change, as recorded in the Foreign Office briefing paper. Both before and after the July meeting Blair insisted in public no decision had been made.
The July meeting was later mentioned by Lord Butler in his report on the use of intelligence on WMD as a key stage in the road to war; but its details have never been revealed until now.
The minutes show Goldsmith warned Blair eight months before war started on March 19, 2003 that finding legal justification would be difficult. The attorney-general only ruled unambiguously war was lawful a few days before the war started after Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, chief of the defence staff, demanded unequivocal written confirmation.
Boyce was never shown Goldsmiths more equivocal advice to Blair of March 7, 2003, and says today ministers failed to give him protection from prosecution at the International Criminal Court. I have always been troubled by the ICC, he says, adding that if British servicemen are put on trial, ministers should be brought into the frame as well. Asked if that should include Blair and Goldsmith, he tells The Observer: Too bloody right.
Sir Menzies Campbell, Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, said the leaked minute showed Blair had agreed to an illegal regime change with the Bush administration. It set out to create the justification for going to war. It was to be war by any means.
Downing Street claimed the document contained nothing new.
The secret Downing Street memo
Wait until these shocked liberals find out about FDR's attempted to lure Germany into war by attacking German subs in the Atlantic in 1940...
As opposed to the perfectly legal genocide Blair helped stop.
It has always been about necessary geopolitical change and spreading democracy. That's always been enough for me.
Deposing a tyrant and ending the worthless lives of his villainous progeny were chocolate sprinkles. What more do these people want? Ah, is it the coming cherry?
"A SECRET document from the heart of government reveals today that Tony Blair privately committed Britain to war with Iraq and then set out to lure Saddam Hussein into providing the legal justification."
If this assertion is based upon the document posted then it is simply a BLATANT LIE. There is nothing in that document to suggest that Blair committed the UK to anything in the Summer of 2002. Three options are listed for UK involvement, but there is no indication that Blair was committed to any of them.
As for legal justifications, all the Euro-twits constantly ignore the 12 year history of Saddam violating the cease-fire accord of 1991.... not to mention the 17-18 UN Security Council resolutions which we violated.... We had ample justification to take out his regime at any time since, because we had already tried the naive UN internationalist route and Saddam continued to give the bird to everyone.
The papers, the second sensitive leak close to the election, appear to be an attempt by disaffected Whitehall insiders to attack Blair's integrity.After the fiasco with SeeBS and Rathergate only two questions pop into my mind:
1. How fake?
2. How 'accurate'?
If it isn't, Blair's toast.
Isn't it funny how most major elections in Europe seem to drag the US into the mix. Germany, France, Spain, and now the UK. It's pathetic how Europe is absolutely obsessed with America.
"It's pathetic how Europe is absolutely obsessed with America."
They truly love us.
Actually I recall a newstory about an oil tanker being sunk by a German sub off Galveston around 1940 in full view of civilian witnesses at an amusement park.
"If this assertion is based upon the document posted then it is simply a BLATANT LIE. There is nothing in that document to suggest that Blair committed the UK to anything in the Summer of 2002. Three options are listed for UK involvement, but there is no indication that Blair was committed to any of them."
The fact that none of the mitigating conditions were met and we still took part is fairly conclusive that Blair was committed no matter what.
"As for legal justifications, all the Euro-twits constantly ignore the 12 year history of Saddam violating the cease-fire accord of 1991.... not to mention the 17-18 UN Security Council resolutions which we violated.... We had ample justification to take out his regime at any time since, because we had already tried the naive UN internationalist route and Saddam continued to give the bird to everyone."
The legal advice given to Blair by the Attorney General which us mortals (oh and some cabinet ministers) were finally allowed to see for the first time this week specifically rejects the argument that violations of UNSC resolutions can be decided by anyone other than the UNSC themselves.
The main point here again is not whether Blair could have used other justifications and got away with it (as George Bush did - his view was "who cares if some UN body may not think it legal, I'm going to do it anyway, what you gonna do"). Blair himself set great store by the legality of his actions under International Law and by establishing that basis. In the process he lied to and mislead to the British people, Parliament and even his own cabinet. This is the issue.
The full legal advice from Lord Goldsmith was never shown to members of the Cabinet who had to decide firstly to back Blair. This is a blatant breach of the Parliamentary code which states that all Cabinet officers must have access to any legal advice given. Blair even had his Cabinet Secretary deny on the record that it existed. Well we know that was a lie because he released it this week!
It's not so much about the U.S. - rather it's about the fact that our Prime Minister is a bare-faced liar.
He did not have the guts to say "international law is a pile of horsemanure - getting rid of Saddam Hussein is the right thing for these reasons x, y, z" but rather he lied to the British public, and insisted that Pres. Bush bog down the whole procedure in the U.N. Security Council (which gave credibility to that organisation).
Many of us who have been watching Blair for over ten years are not at all surprised by this.
As an aside, I am delighted to say that this part of the country is the only place to have inflicted electoral defeat of Blair. He stood at a by-election in my constituency in 1983 and lost his deposit (which means he got less than 5% of the vote - the Tories nearly always get over 50%).
International law... Gotta love it.
A mish mash of treaties, agreements, and conflicting documents from present to centuries past.
Sounds like a situation where I could justify genocide more easily than justify deposing the one committing genocide.
If that's the case, international law can suck its thumb while the U.S. and its allies do what should be done, and in the process create a new precedent for yet another international law to add to that prestigious mess of paper work.
A late hit ahead of the election, but how that doesn't benefit the US, I can't imagine. :')
It would have been in '42 or later. And there were amusement parks along the coasts that would be used by the surfaced subs that used the reflected light to spot the oil tankers, merchant and passenger vessels.
You're dead on. First it reads like a lefties wet dream. And because it does it has no mention that I can see of the numerous no fly zone violations. The no fly zone burden was bore by the British and the U.S. With all the complications involved there is no way it is not going to be mentioned in a document like this. I call BS.
Everyone claiming that this is fake should read the original linked article. There is a quote from Downing Street confirming that it is genuine (but saying it contain's 'nothing new').
You'd have to be half cut to imagine that the Times would publish anything like that this close to an election without 100% guarantee of it's authenticity.
I agree. Just so we're clear, Tony Blair was the one who decided that his actions had to be 'legal' under International Law, not me.
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