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Iraq Inquiry: Legal Advice On War Released

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by ngoshwe, Jun 30, 2010.

  1. ngoshwe

    ngoshwe JF-Expert Member

    Jun 30, 2010
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    Classified documents containing advice for Tony Blair on the legality of the Iraq war have been made available for the first time.

    The release of the documents, including the advice of former Attorney General Lord Goldsmith, had been blocked by the previous Labour government.
    But the Cabinet Office has now agreed to de-classify the documents due to the "very exceptional" nature of the inquiry.
    Comments included in the papers support Lord Goldsmith's statement to the Iraq inquiry that despite initially believing military intervention would be illegal, his opinion "evolved" ahead of the March invasion.


    The main argument about the legality of the war centres on whether a second UN resolution was needed before military action could be taken.
    In correspondence with the former prime minister in January 2003, Lord Goldsmith stated: "I remain of the view that the correct legal interpretation of resolution 1441 is that it does not authorise the use of military force without a further determination by the Security Council."

    He continues that arguments can be made that paragraph 12 of the resolution simply required a council discussion of the issue rather than a solid decision.
    "But having considered the arguments on both sides, my view remains that a further decision is required," he concludes.

    However, within three months of the correspondence, Lord Goldsmith had changed his opinion and decided a case could be made that other existing resolutions authorised military action.

    The former Attorney General denied that he changed his opinion due to political pressure, despite visiting Washington in that time.
    Campaigners have long asked for documents outlining the legal advice given to the government be released.

    Sir Gus O'Donnell, head of the civil service, explained that normally legal advice to ministers was not published so as not to compromise their ability to provide "full, frank and candid advice".

    But he acknowledged the arguments about the Iraq war gave it a "unique status".

    Iraq Inquiry Releases Documents Containing Legal Advice For Tony Blair On The Iraq War | Politics | Sky News
  2. ngoshwe

    ngoshwe JF-Expert Member

    Jun 30, 2010
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    Iraq Inquiry Hears Of Police Force Chaos

    British and American efforts to rebuild Iraq's police after the 2003 invasion were under-funded and unrealistic, the inquiry into the war has been told.

    Public hearings into the war in Iraq resumed after the General Election forced the inquiry to take a four-month break.
    The panel heard from the first UK chief police adviser in Baghdad, who said there was an assumption that an efficient Iraqi police force would simply "rise like a phoenix" within months.
    Douglas Brand, former deputy chief constable of South Yorkshire Police, criticised the lack of support he received, including the Foreign Office's failure to give him bodyguards for his first three weeks in Iraq.
    He also highlighted a missed opportunity to model Iraqi intelligence on British lines because the UK would not send out an experienced Special Branch manager.
    The ex-director general of MI5, Baroness Manningham-Buller, former deputy prime minister John Prescott and Hans Blix, who used to be the UN's weapons inspector, will give evidence over the next few weeks.


    Sir John Chilcot's panel will also call two former heads of the Army, General Sir Mike Jackson and General Sir Richard Dannatt.
    Despite speculation former prime ministers Gordon Brown and Tony Blair would be recalled to give more evidence, their names do not appear on a list of the 35 witnesses expected over the coming weeks.
    Mr Brown's evidence to the official inquiry sparked controversy when he suggested defence spending had risen in real terms every year under Labour. He later said he had made a mistake.
    The hearings were put on hold during the election campaign to make sure the inquiry did not become embroiled in party politics and inquiry members used the time to interview key figures in France and the United States.

    Gordon Brown said he made a mistake during his evidence

    During the current session, the panel is examining the period between 2001 and 2009 which covers the lead-up to the war, the invasion itself and the aftermath.
    It has interviewed a string of senior diplomats, military officials and Whitehall figures as it tries to piece together Britain's involvement in the conflict.
    A final report is expected at the end of the year or in early 2011.