Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Iraq Inquiry

In the meantime, Greenstock is setting himself up as judge and jury in his own case. Ironically, the key issue is who decides who decides, ie whose opinion was valid as to whether UN security council resolution 1441 required further approval from the council to authorise war. Greenstock says his diplomacy was clever (too clever for its own good, he admits) in negotiating a resolution that did not make this explicit. Any other security council member that agreed the resolution but took a different line – well, they would say that wouldn't they? It surely must have occurred to him that, well, he would take his own particular line, wouldn't he? To say otherwise is would be to undermine himself. Didn't every Foreign Office legal adviser say the war would be illegal without a further resolution?
In a
written statement to the inquiry, Greenstock openly admitted that one of the reasons why Britain could not agree that a further resolution was necessary was that to do otherwise would undermine the basis on which Britain bombed Iraq in 1998.
To have conceded that the use of force against Iraq was not legal under international law unless the security council took a specific, fresh decision would have been to reject the basis under which military action was taken in December 1998.
So we would say that, wouldn't we?
It was a very careful, self-justifying performance from a former ambassador with an admitted propensity to cover his and his country's diplomatic tracks. Prove me wrong, seemed to be his challenge to the inquiry. Despite a mountain of evidence, the committee seemed reluctant to do this. Maybe they feel sympathy for a man who put his heart and soul into seeking Iraqi disarmament, apparently unaware that regime change was the real agenda. I'm not so sure.

The above is from Chris Ames' "Who decides if a war is legal?" (Guardian) and the Iraq Inquiry, regardless of the outcome,, is news and there's much to be learned if, like Ames, you do some work. Others, like William Bowles, prefer to play self-important (with no real reason to puff out their chests) and offer crap like "Stop the Presses: Corporate Media Discovers Iraq War Set Up." For the record, William Bowles, neither BBC nor the Guardian qualify as "corporate media." That Bowles would be ignorant of that is only surprising if you've never read him. Strangely for a London-based person, Bowles citations tend to run to North American (the US or Canada). Does England not have an independent media? Oh wait, Bowles wouldn't know if they did, this is the fool that thinks BBC and the Guardian qualify as corporate media.

The Times of London is corporate media. Rod Liddle explores the hearings thus far and notes 8 things learned last week, of which, we'll include the first six:

First, the government knew all along that there was no evidence whatsoever to suggest Saddam Hussein had any links with Al-Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden or international Islamic terrorism in general, contrary to what was said in America — particularly by Dick Cheney, the vice-president — at the time.
Second, as a perceived threat to the West, Iraq came a long way behind Libya, Iran and North Korea, according to intelligence reports. The government knew in 2002 from these reports that Saddam’s nuclear programme had been destroyed a decade previously and that Iraq had been “effectively disarmed” by sanctions and the threat of military pressure.
Third, while the US and Britain insisted that Iraq posed a “clear and present” threat to its neighbours, none of those neighbours was audibly desirous of an invasion of the country, and most were audibly opposed.
Fourth, the government included details in its infamous “dodgy dossier” of September 2002 that implied Iraq might be pursuing a nuclear programme when it had not the slightest evidence for this, simply an absence of evidence to the contrary. Which is not quite the same thing, is it?
Fifth, the foreword to the dodgy dossier, written by the prime minister at the time, Tony Blair, was an exercise in hyperbole and scaremongering from which the mandarins arraigned in the QE2 centre could not distance themselves more quickly if they tried. In particular, Blair’s assertion that Saddam had “beyond doubt” continued to manufacture chemical and biological weapons was a statement that was “impossible to make”, according to not only Chilcot but two of his interviewees. In other words — to use an appropriate iconic phrase — the document had been sexed up.
Sixth, an intelligence report in March 2003, shortly before the invasion, suggested Saddam had no chemical weapons whatsoever; they were all long since disassembled and useless. This report was taken by the government to imply confirmation that Iraq actually had chemical weapons, even if they were unusable, and the invasion proceeded.

Instead of a bit player with little credit to his name attempting to claim that he said it all years ago, he might try (a) grasping that he's missing a great many revelations as well as lies out of the hearing, (b) the world needs the remedial (for example, the inquiry has again established no link between al Qaeda and Iraq -- needed because on Oct. 27th, Thomas E. Ricks was promoting a false link between them on NPR -- and that's just the most recent liar), and (c) while he's dismissing things he doesn't even comprehend, he gives the world press the cover they need to hide behind for not covering it: "Well it's nothing new!"

Hey, remember November 8th and all the days that followed -- actually drop back to October -- when the press would 'report' that Iraq would hold elections in January. Doesn't look like that's going to happen. Those 'intended' elections. No one knows when they'll be held currently. SICI head, after the death of his father this fall, Ammar al-Hakim is sounding alarms about 'foreign interference' in the Iraqi process. Iran's Press TV quotes him saying of those attempting to interfere, "They are doomed to fail. (There is) a danger of foreign intervention in the electoral process. The election is an internal Iraqi affair. We must strive for consensus among all Iraqis." Meanwhile Micheal O'Brien (The Hill) notes that US Vice President Joe Biden had conversations by phone today with unnamed "Iraqi leaders" on the proposal to resolve the election stalemate. Presumably this would include the KRG leaders. The Kurdistan Regional Government has not registered their opinion of the proposal being bandied about yet but they did issue the following statment (on another topic) this week:

PM Barham Salih’s statement on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
Statement by Prime Minister Barham Salih Kurdistan Regional Government November 25, 2009
On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) reaffirms its commitment to protecting the rights of women and its dedication to increasing the role of women in the political and social spheres. Empowering women and securing their rights and wishes are the major principles of the KRG’s initiatives for women.
We have taken certain measures to ensure that this becomes a reality, and this is reflected in the number of women who are participating in Parliament and the equal opportunities made available them in all sectors of government. Nevertheless, we believe that these steps are only the beginning of finding and benefiting from the potential of this important part of society, which has previously been denied such rights through irrational pretexts.
The KRG therefore feels that it is our duty to eliminate any kind of violence against women in Kurdistan’s society, and to establish an environment where a woman is judged fairly on her skills and abilities. The KRG wants to mark the International Day of the Elimination of Violence against Women by enforcing its message with action.
One of the KRG’s priorities is to give support in particular to women’s efforts to eliminate violence and end so-called ‘honour’ killings. To fulfill this important task, the KRG needs the help and cooperation of all the NGOs and organisations that are working for women’s rights and freedoms. We all must have a hand in establishing and promoting legal and institutional measures to protect and secure those rights.
The KRG intends to form a committee, working directly under the Council of Ministers, charged with finding a mechanism for highlighting women’s issues and coordinating the government’s efforts to prevent discrimination and violations carried out under various pretexts. Furthermore, the KRG will work towards creating social awareness and a legal framework through which women’s rights will be secured.

Community sites posted the following in recent days:

"If you're surprised, who was lying to you?"
"To shop or not and the Iraq Inquiry"
"Influence of the Bully Boy"
"Cause for Alarm!"
"Post-Thanksgiving tips from the Kitchen"
"Shopping kit and more"
"Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang"
"No to shopping (except for kids)"
"newsweek prepares to close shop?"
"the sport of the shop"
"Pre-shopping questions"
"The death of the CD?"
"No on the shopping proposition"
"With Six You Get Egg Roll"
"To shop or not?"
"Easter Parade"
"No to Black Friday"
"Comfort zone"
"Little girls love to play dress-up"
"Who will she give diet tips too?"

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oh boy it never ends