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UK's GCHQ Whistle-blower case also impacts Greenpeace protesters (Katherine Gun)



 
 
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  #1  
Old February 28th, 2004, 07:42 PM
Oelewapper
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Default UK's GCHQ Whistle-blower case also impacts Greenpeace protesters (Katherine Gun)

GREENPEACE.ORG.UK STATEMENT ON IRAQ WHISTLE-BLOWER CASE:

Government faces further headache over legal case for Iraq war
Last edited: 28-02-2004

Whistle-blower case has 'huge implications' for Greenpeace protesters

Tony Blair faces further embarrassment in less than a fortnight, when
fourteen Greenpeace volunteers appear in court on charges relating to an
anti-war protest. Their case has taken on great significance since the Crown
Prosection Service (CPS) claimed the case against Katherine Gun was dropped
because they could not "disprove the defence of necessity" -- that is to
say, they could not counter the defence that her actions were justified to
save lives.

The so-called Marchwood Fourteen occupied tanks at the Southampton military
port in February last year. Throughout their case the defendants - all
Greenpeace volunteers - have argued that their actions were necessary to
prevent loss of life. With the CPS now saying they could not have disproved
such a defence in the Gun case, Greenpeace lawyers wonder how the CPS will
proceed against the fourteen.

In a further development Greenpeace has today written to the CPS asking it
for the Attorney-General's full advice to government on the legality of the
war. Lawyers for the group claim access to the full advice is vital if the
defendants are to be allowed a proper defence. Greenpeace has given the CPS
24 hours to produce the full advice, otherwise the group will renew its
request for the advice in court on the first day of the trial, set for March
9th.

Greenpeace legal adviser Kate Harrison said, "The protesters thought the war
was illegal. We think it is essential for a fair trial that they see the
full Attorney General's legal advice and the basis on which it was made."

"Since the Katharine Gun trial it would appear that the Attorney General
probably thought at the time of the protest that the war would be unlawful
and that the Foreign Office and other advisors thought so too."

The case against the fourteen will be held at Southampton Magistrate's court
from March 9th.

Further information
Greenpeace opposed the war in Iraq and campaigned actively to prevent it. We
joined the Stop the War coalition and made submissions to the Foreign
Affairs Select Committee on the illegality of the war, see
http://www.the-hutton-inquiry.org.uk...0219to0222.pdf

For more information contact the Greenpeace press office
on 020 7865 8255 or 07801 212967 or 07801 212968
http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/Multime...eport/6206.pdf


  #2  
Old February 29th, 2004, 08:40 AM
Oelewapper
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default UK's GCHQ Whistle-blower case also impacts Greenpeace protesters (Katherine Gun)


"Oelewapper" wrote in message
...
GREENPEACE.ORG.UK STATEMENT ON IRAQ WHISTLE-BLOWER CASE:
Government faces further headache over legal case for Iraq war
Last edited: 28-02-2004
Whistle-blower case has 'huge implications' for Greenpeace protesters


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

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.

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


Whistle-blower case has 'huge implications' for Greenpeace protesters

Tony Blair faces further embarrassment in less than a fortnight, when
fourteen Greenpeace volunteers appear in court on charges relating to an
anti-war protest. Their case has taken on great significance since the

Crown
Prosection Service (CPS) claimed the case against Katherine Gun was

dropped
because they could not "disprove the defence of necessity" -- that is to
say, they could not counter the defence that her actions were justified to
save lives.

The so-called Marchwood Fourteen occupied tanks at the Southampton

military
port in February last year. Throughout their case the defendants - all
Greenpeace volunteers - have argued that their actions were necessary to
prevent loss of life. With the CPS now saying they could not have

disproved
such a defence in the Gun case, Greenpeace lawyers wonder how the CPS will
proceed against the fourteen.

In a further development Greenpeace has today written to the CPS asking it
for the Attorney-General's full advice to government on the legality of

the
war. Lawyers for the group claim access to the full advice is vital if the
defendants are to be allowed a proper defence. Greenpeace has given the

CPS
24 hours to produce the full advice, otherwise the group will renew its
request for the advice in court on the first day of the trial, set for

March
9th.

Greenpeace legal adviser Kate Harrison said, "The protesters thought the

war
was illegal. We think it is essential for a fair trial that they see the
full Attorney General's legal advice and the basis on which it was made."

"Since the Katharine Gun trial it would appear that the Attorney General
probably thought at the time of the protest that the war would be unlawful
and that the Foreign Office and other advisors thought so too."

The case against the fourteen will be held at Southampton Magistrate's

court
from March 9th.

Further information
Greenpeace opposed the war in Iraq and campaigned actively to prevent it.

We
joined the Stop the War coalition and made submissions to the Foreign
Affairs Select Committee on the illegality of the war, see
http://www.the-hutton-inquiry.org.uk...0219to0222.pdf

For more information contact the Greenpeace press office
on 020 7865 8255 or 07801 212967 or 07801 212968
http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/Multime...eport/6206.pdf




  #3  
Old February 29th, 2004, 08:42 AM
Oelewapper
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default UK's GCHQ Whistle-blower case also impacts Greenpeace protesters (Katherine Gun)


"Oelewapper" wrote in message
...
GREENPEACE.ORG.UK STATEMENT ON IRAQ WHISTLE-BLOWER CASE:
Whistle-blower case has 'huge implications' for Greenpeace protesters


Whistleblower

For the first time, The Observer can reveal the truth behind Katharine Gun's
alarming revelations of spying at the UN which have plunged the Government
into crisis

It was a routine start to what should have been another day for Katharine
Gun. Clicking through her e-mails after arriving at the government's
top-secret GCHQ eavesdropping centre in Cheltenham, the Mandarin translator
thought she would spend that Friday ploughing through screeds of often banal
intercepts thousands of words long.

What happened next was to change the 29-year-old's life. Opening one email,
Gun stiffened as she saw the contents. She could not believe what she was
reading. Trying not to panic, Gun looked round the office. None of her
colleagues had seen her. She took off her headset and walked casually as
possible to the ladies' lavatory, where she locked the door and sat in
silence, trying to take it all in.

'I was trying not to reveal my emotions to my colleagues as I read it,' Gun
told The Observer in an exclusive interview this weekend. 'My heart was
beating very fast.'

What she had just read was an email from Frank Koza, head of regional
targets at the US National Security Agency, asking for British help in an
intelligence 'surge' at the United Nations - an intensification of spying
operations to give the United States 'the edge' in forthcoming negotiations.
Koza said the US was conducting an operation to discover the voting
intentions of Security Council members in the crucial resolution to
authorise war in Iraq.

When she returned to her desk, Gun knew she had a big decision to make. 'It
was so controversial, in my opinion, that it seemed like something that
could maybe prevent the war,' she said.

She told no one about what she had seen and spent the weekend at her home in
Cheltenham wrestling with her conscience. As her legal team would later
argue, Gun believed the email was so shocking that, if made public, it could
potentially force the six nations targeted in the operation - Chile,
Pakistan, Guinea, Angola, Cameroon and Bulgaria - to pull the plug on a
second resolution to authorise war. Like many other people at the time,
including the Foreign Office legal advisers and possibly even the Attorney
General himself, Gun believed that any intervention without UN backing would
be illegal under international law.

The Observer has discovered that the memo was circulated widely in GCHQ to
help clarify what was expected of analysts working on the operation. But it
was not just sent to those directly involved in the espionage at the UN.

Gun was sent the email in the course of her work and her name is on the list
of original recipients. GCHQ was aware that staff were worried that they
were being asked to carry out illegal activities. So great was their concern
that they sent a memo to all staff reassuring them that 'the United Kingdom
would not commit troops to military action in Iraq without a second UN
resolution if to do so would be contrary to international law'.

Over that weekend, Gun spoke to no one about her dilemma. Instead, alone,
she took a decision which she believed would save the lives of innocent
Iraqis and British and American service personnel. Returning to work on
Monday, she printed out the Koza email and took it home. At this stage, she
could still have pulled back from the brink and no one would have been any
wiser, but she decided to follow her conscience and pass the email on to a
friend who was in contact with journalists.

Three weeks later, news of the UN spying operation was splashed on the front
page of this newspaper, triggering, over the course of a year, events that
have plunged Tony Blair into a fresh crisis over Iraq.

The Kofi connection

Adolfo Aguilar Zinser followed the British diplomat down the maze of
corridors deep inside the UN's headquarters in New York. They passed through
secured door after secured door, each one only able to be opened by security
staff on the inside. They slammed shut behind them. Finally, they were
inside a hermetically-sealed room far from the spring sunshine outside. It
was at last safe to talk about Iraq.

For Zinser, Mexico's ambassador to the UN during the frantic diplomacy that
failed to prevent the invasion of Iraq, it was impossible to be paranoid.
Impossible, simply because you knew the other side were out to get you.
Britain's spying operation had been obvious to him since last March when the
US and Britain frantically tried to persuade six wavering members of the
Security Council to back a second resolution bringing Saddam Hussein to
task.

After one evening meeting when the six countries had met in private to
attempt to thrash out an agreement, Zinser received a phone call from an
American diplomat informing him that the US would veto their proposals. It
was clear someone had been listening in. 'I wasn't surprised,' he told The
Observer. 'But I was annoyed.'

Now the sheer scale of that spying operation is coming to light. In recent
weeks, Mexico and Chile have both complained to Britain that they were being
spied upon. But we now know the spying operation went beyond just gathering
information on the waverering nations, which we now know included Mexico,
but also on top UN officials. As Kofi Annan sat in his spacious office on
the 38th floor of the UN building, his phone conversations were being
secretly recorded. Transcripts were being fed back to London and, almost
certainly, Washington. At the time there was an almost permanent queue of
ambassadors and ministers outside Annan's door. His phones were almost
permanently engaged. If they had known they were being spied on inside his
office, few would have bothered to show up or call.

It was an astonishing breach of protocol. Annan is seen as a vital bastion
of impartiality. His ability to keep private conversations secret is key to
his work. 'Everything he tries to do can be undermined if the people he is
speaking to don't have confidence that what they say to him will be kept
confidential,' said Fred Eckhart, Annan's spokesman.

But last March that was far from the case. The reason for the surveillance
was simple: Britain and Blair were playing for huge stakes. Thousands of UK
troops were preparing to invade Iraq, but Blair desperately needed a second
UN resolution on Iraq to approve the attack. Without it, his political
career could end up in tatters as he took a reluctant nation - and Labour
Party - on to the battlefield.

During the week up to 16 March, negotiations were at a fever pitch. The UN
witnessed unprecedented drama, focused on the six wavering nations of the
Security Council. There were surreal scenes. UN corridors and lobbies would
be packed with TV crews and journalists milling about in search of the
latest tit-bits of information leaking out of the private diplomatic
meetings. It threw a spotlight on a curious cast of characters, especially
Guinean ambassador Mamady Traore,who wore the flowing yellow tafetta robes
of Guinean national dress and a white hat as he stalked the building.
Countries used to being ignored suddenly found themselves at the centre of
attention. At one stage a bizarre rumour spooked the UN that Guinea was
going to vote against the US on the advice of the presidential witch doctor.

Amid all the meetings it was obvious that diplomats knew they were being
spied on. 'We were all aware it was happening in our offices and outside in
the UN premises,' Zinser said. The spying psychosis also meant many
diplomats were uncomfortable talking in rooms with windows because of
sophisticated surveillance equipment that can record conversations from the
vibrations of the glass. 'Those are the kind of things we talked about at
the time,' said Zinser.

The spying operation kept the US and Britain one step ahead in the game of
diplomacy. It allowed them to second-guess their opponents moves and - as in
the case of the planned agreement by the six waverers - not waste time with
surprise initiatives. The operation went hand in hand with more traditional
diplomacy in the guise of incentives. In the previous weeks, extra aid had
been promised to Guinea and Angola, while trade incentives were dangled in
front of Chile and Mexico.

But, in the end, neither the spy nor the diplomat could help Britain and
America win their doomed fight at the UN. In the final frantic week of
negotiations, it gradually became clear that the wavering nations - far from
being bought off - were determined not to support a resolution. By Thursday
morning, 13 March, after a desperately unsuccessful final bout of talks,
British UN ambassador Sir Jeremy Greenstock was taking a phone call from
Blair. The Prime Minister asked Greenstock how many votes were secure.
'Four,' he replied, meaning the US, Britain, Spain and Bulgaria. None of the
waverers had come over. 'Crumbs,' said Blair. The spies had failed. A week
later, Britain was at war.

Enter the professor

If the United Nations was fevered, then in Westminster, political tensions
over the war had made the atmosphere near-hysterical. The air around
Whitehall was full of chat about ministerial resignations and a full-blooded
revolt appeared on the cards. In front of an intensely agitated House of
Commons on 12 March, Blair rose at Prime Ministers' Questions and attempted
to placate his angry backbenchers. He declared: 'We would not do anything
that would not have a proper legal basis to it'.

Yet The Observer can reveal that even at this late stage, with war just over
a week away, the legal basis of committing soldiers to Iraq was still
uncertain. The key question was that without a second UN resolution would
Ministers and military commanders be breaking international law by ordering
the troops into battle.

If the answer was yes, then Ministers, generals and even soldiers could face
the possibility of being prosecuted for war crimes. Britain could also face
multi-million pound claims from international businesses who might claim
financial loss caused by any illegal invasion. It is no understatement to
say that the issue of legality was one of the momentous decisions of law for
a generation.

The man on whose shoulders this historic question rested was Peter
Goldsmith, the 53-year old millionaire barrister Blair chose to be his
Attorney-General in 2001. As the Government's chief in-house lawyer,
Goldsmith's duty was to advise Ministers on the legality of their actions.

Yet what did Goldsmith know about international law? Before he was
appointed, this bespectacled QC was one of the select club of barristers
earning a £1m-a-year the lucrative field of banking and commercial law. Few
apart from his close acquaintances even knew that he had Labour Party
sympathies and it was only when he emerged as a party donor in the general
election year of 1997, that his political interests surfaced. He was made a
peer two years later and welcomed into the inner sanctum of Blair's
administration.

There was no doubt that this son of a solicitor from Liverpool who was
educated at Cambridge was one of the brainiest corporate lawyers of his
generation. But he had earned his formidable legal reputation and his
fortune dissecting complex financial matters not United Nation resolutions.

Now his legal brain would be turned to making a judgment that would seal the
fate of thousands of lives and Blair's political legacy. For Goldsmith, the
stakes could not have been any higher. Rumours were circulating that the
Labour peer was on the brink of resigning because he believed it was
necessary for Blair to obtain a second UN resolution. His private political
secretary, the Labour MP Michael Foster, was about to tender his resignation
over this issue.

Yet even more troubling for Goldsmith was the legal advice from a formidable
legal team working within the bowels of the Foreign Office. Deputy legal
adviser Elizabeth Wilmshurst, a government lawyer for 29 years and an expert
on international law, had no doubts about the need for a second UN
resolution: 'I did not agree that the use of force against Iraq was legal,'
she has told friends.

Wilmshurst was not alone in that view - it was shared by the entire legal
team of the Foreign office. Yet this highly-respected lawyer, who is now
head of the International Law Programme at the Royal Institute of
International Affairs, was alone in what she chose to do next. So outraged
at what she believed was the inevitable decision to go to war despite her
legal advice, she quit.

According to highly-placed Whitehall sources, the Foreign Office legal team
was aware that Goldsmith's original advice was not as certain as the final
version presented to Cabinet. It is alleged to have been much more of a
'sitting on the fence' opinion. He was 'prevaricating' said the source.
Rumours circulating through both the legal world and Westminster at the time
was that Goldmsith's original advice was 'unhelpful'.

The Observer has now learnt that only days before military action was due to
begin, the Attorney-General's original advice was not deemed strong enough
for senior figures in the armed forces. Sir Michael Boyce, the Chief of
Defence Staff, is understood to have warned Blair that some of his senior
military chiefs had serious doubts about the legality of the war and were
unhappy about sending in troops on Goldsmith's original advice. For Blair
this was a crisis of monumental proportions. Britain already had its troops
in Kuwait prepared for battle and had given George Bush a promise that
British troops would join US soldiers in toppling Saddam Hussein.

The exact details of what happened next is not known. But one key figure
that emerged is Professor Christopher Greenwood, a leading international
lawyer at the London School of Economics and a barrister at Essex Court
Chambers. He has already made his views public that he did not believe a
second UN resolution was necessary and the right to use force against Saddam
derived from UN Security Resolution 678, the resolution that first
authorised force to expel Iraq from Kuwait in 1990.

His argument was that as Saddam was thought to have weapons of mass
destruction he had not disarmed according to terms of the ceasefire agreed
with Iraq more than a decade ago. Greenwood believed that because the
unanimous UN resolution 1441 passed in November 2002 declared Iraq in
'material breach' of its ceasefire obligations, the original resolution 678
was revived, permitting US and Britain to use any 'necessary means'. This
was a highly controversial view, rejected by many leading international
lawyers who insisted that any use of force required a new resolution.

Greenwood confirmed to The Observer that he did advise the Government along
these lines, but refused to say when. 'Like all barristers, I have a duty of
confidentiality to my client,' he said.

Yet it now appears that Greenwood's advice played a key role. On Monday 17
March, Blair called an emergency Cabinet meeting. Robin Cook, the former
Foreign Secretary and Leader of the House of Commons, had just announced his
resignation. With the doors to the Downing Street garden opened to cool the
heated atmosphere, Goldsmith took the seat of Cook and circulated two sides
of A4 spelling out the the legal authority for going to war with Iraq. No
discussion was allowed. Former Cabinet Minister Clare Short tried to ask why
the legal advice had emerged so late and whether there was any doubt, but
she was not allowed to speak. Goldsmith's final legal advice closely
followed Greenwood's and it was clear the the military chiefs were now
happy. 'Shock and Awe' was less than two days away.

Breaking the story

When the story finally broke in The Observer on 2 March, Gun had almost
given up hope of ever seeing details of the UN spying operation made public.
What she did not know is that journalists on this newspaper had received the
Koza memo three weeks earlier and spent that time verifying its contents.

This paper was passed the Koza email by Yvonne Ridley, a former Observer,
Sunday Times and Sunday Express journalist, who was was just beginning to
rebuild her life in Britain after being captured by the Taliban in
Afghanistan just months before. After one of the talks that she was giving
around the country about her experiences, she was approached by someone who
said she could provide her with evidence that the US was attempting to fix
the vote in the United Nations. She agreed to use her contacts to get the
story out.

Feeling that her own position was desperately exposed, and knowing that she
was liable to prosecution under the Official Secrets Act, Ridley called The
Observer 's Martin Bright, one of her former colleagues, who agreed to meet
her at a café close to her home in Soho, central London in early February.

It was clear to this newspaper from the outset that if the contents of the
memo were true, then the news of the operation could be potentially
devastating to Britain's credibility at the UN and undermine the case for
war. Although, at this stage, there was no evidence that GCHQ had acceded to
the American request, it was evidence, at the very least, that someone
within the intelligence services was deeply unhappy with the attempts to
compromise the deliberations of the Security Council.

The language of the memo suggested that it was genuine, but all original
information about the sender and the recipients has been stripped from top
of the email to protect the source of the leak. But clues remained: Ridley's
source had written Frank Koza's name on the back of the printed-out email,
his job title (head of regional targets) and various details about the
classification of the document (the highest possible level of secrecy).

All calls to the National Security Agency drew the stock answer that
intelligence matters were never discussed and the identity of the head of
regional targets could not be divulged. GCHQ was also, understandably
silent.

Intelligence sources who were shown the email confirmed the language was
consistent with that used by the NSA, but that was still not enough to go
on. At one point there were even attempts by the British intelligence
services to suggest that the document might be a sophisticated Russian
forgery.

In one last attempt to get confirmation from the NSA, The Observer called
the switchboard of the American spy centre in Baltimore, Maryland and asked
to be put through to Koza's office. Astonishingly, the telephonist did not
ask who was calling and simply put us through to the head of regional
targets. An assistant answered, confirming that this was indeed Koza's
office we asked if he was prepared to talk to The Observer about spying at
the UN. At this point we were told we had the wrong number and that there
was no one of that name at this office. But it was crucial proof of the
man's existence.

Further inquiries with sources close to the intelligence services revealed
that the existence of the email was common knowledge within the spy
community and that there was some surprise it had not come to light
previously. We knew from the outset that at least one other newspaper had
been shown the document and it would only be a matter of time before the
story broke.

The decision to publish was, strictly speaking, in serious breach of the
Official Secrets Act in itself. But this was the brink of war and at the
time, even the Prime Minister was indicating that Britain would not go to
war without a second resolution. This public-interest argument for
publishing evidence of the bugging was clear.

When The Observer story appeared, the report reverberated around the rest of
the world, particularly in South America. It became front-page news in Chile
and was deeply embarrassing for Ricardo Lagos, the left-wing President and
close political ally of Blair. The words 'US dirty tricks' have a particular
resonance in a country still nursing wounds from the the American-backed
dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. The revelation of the spying made any
Chilean backing of the war deeply problematic. In the United States, the
right-wing Internet scandal sheet, the Drudge Report, suggested that the
memo was a fake and invited readers to send 'flame' email messages to The
Observer.

Finally proof, as if it were needed, came with the arrest of a young woman
at GCHQ, just days after the first Observer story. Tough security interviews
of every recipient of the email - literally dozens of people - began on
Monday 3 March and continued into the Tuesday when Gun was called in to see
her vetting officer. Initially she denied any knowledge of the leak, but the
next day she went in to see her line manager and confessed to disclosing the
document. Her bosses called in Special Branch and she was arrested and held
in a police cell overnight.

By the time she came out of police custody, she realised that her attempt to
stop the war had failed: 'It seemed pretty evident that war was the ultimate
goal. There was pretty much nothing anyone could do to prevent it
happening.'

Short steps in

To the commuters grabbing a morning caffeine fix on the way into the office,
they must have seemed an incongruous couple. But Lord Falconer, the rotund
Constitutional Affairs Secretary, and Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell are
probably the two most loyal Blairites in the Cabinet. The sight of them
emerging grim-faced from the Westminster branch of Starbucks coffeshop on
Thursday morning was the first sign of serious trouble. There was certainly
plenty for them to discuss.

Less than an hour earlier, breakfast tables across London had reverberated
to the startling sound of a first for British national broadcasting: the
sound of the Official Secrets Act being broken live on air. Researchers from
Today had called the former Cabinet Minister Clare Short the night before,
after spotting a short piece tucked away in the previous day's Independent
newspaper in which she suggested that when she had tried to discuss
Goldsmith's legal advice in Cabinet she had been silenced, adding that
'there had clearly been some shenanigans going on'. Would she like to expand
on what she meant?

The programme was hoping for a scoop on the legality of the war. Instead, to
the audible shock of her interviewer, John Humphries, Short veered off on
far wilder tangent, confiding that the office of UN Secretary-General Kofi
Annan had been bugged by British spies in the run-up to the war and that she
had read transcripts of his private conversations. She had even, she went
on, worried at times when she was talking to Annan that her own conversation
was being reported back to Government.

It could not have been a graver charge for Downing Street: an illegal spying
operation on a friendly international diplomat, apparently conducted in a
desperate attempt to circumvent the UN's deliberations in the run-up to the
war. Worse, it was impossible to tackle without breaking the Whitehall
convention that prime ministers do not discuss intelligence operations.

'Tony's in a position where he cannot actually comment directly on what the
security service does or doesn't do, but we want to be in a position to say
that what Clare's saying is absolute nonsense,' said one Downing Street aide
despairingly. 'It's a difficult one to work out.'

If it could not have anticipated Short's bombshell, Downing Street was,
however, far from unprepared for trouble over the Gun case. Behind the
scenes there had been frantic negotiations over the case, stretching back to
the beginning of the month and culminating on Tuesday, when Goldsmith had
held a secret meeting with the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, at which it is
understood he confirmed it would be dropped.

And officials had already noticed that Wednesday's Whitehall 'grid' of
announcements was suspiciously crowded: sweeping new powers against
terrorism to be unveiled by David Blunkett, a speech on the future of the
BBC by Tessa Jowell, pronouncements from the health secretary John Reid on
fertility treatment for childless couples. Was someone hoping to crowd the
Gun story off the front pages?

By 4.30 that afternoon, when the prosecution officially announced the case
was being dropped, televisions across Whitehall were tuned to mob scenes
outside the court as Katharine Gun, clutching a small cone of
cellophane-wrapped roses and looking dazed, emerged to her freedom. The
Daily Mail 's front page rolled off the presses that night bearing the
headline, over a picture of a beaming Gun: 'What war secrets are you still
hiding, Prime Minister?'.

But even at that stage, Downing Street was hoping the row could be blown
away by a strong enough performance from the Prime Minister at his monthly
press conference the next day - designed to showcase a new initiative on
Africa, and a crackdown on anti-social behaviour.

After Short's intervention, all that changed. Goldsmith was deployed that
morning to make a statement to Parliament on why the Gun case had been
dropped - a calculated risk, since it exposed him not only to uncomfortable
questions about precisely why, and when, he had decided the war was legal
but to possible questions about Kofi Annan.

And the file the Prime Minister leaves discreetly on his podium in the
briefing room at the Foreign Press Association was hastily updated to cover
such niceties as the Vienna Convention - which forbids spying on diplomatic
missions. Cracking a nervous smile as he began the conference at midday,
Blair pleaded to be allowed to say a little about Africa before the
questions started, but it was a forlorn hope. There was only one topic for
questioning: had he broken international law by authorising the bugging of
the UN? And would Short be prosecuted for leaking official secrets?

Blair's coldly contemptuous description of Short as 'deeply irresponsible'
was a clear invitation to journalists to focus on the personal bitterness
between the two, not the potentially more damaging and persistent questions
about the legality of the war - as was the hasty announcement, rushed out
three hours later at the regular Downing Street afternoon briefing, that
reform of the Official Secrets Act was now being officially considered.

But his white-lipped anger when asked about the damage to the security
services was real. It is not so much that Short had jeopardised operations
in the field: it is not news to UN personnel that their office was, as one
self-professed former intelligence officer said in a letter to the Today
programme yesterday, 'the most bugged place on the planet'.

But what she has put under severe strain is the exchange of intelligence
between the US and the UK on which the joint war against terrorism depends.

Any secret service is only as secure as its partners: and twice within the
space of a year - through Gun and now through Short - the British Government
has been left looking like it cannot keep America's secrets. If even a war
Cabinet cannot guarantee discretion, can Downing Street continue to expect
the White House to swap the most sensitive information?

No wonder that, asked if she should continue to serve as an MP, Blair paused
and said deliberately that he would have to 'reflect' on her future.

If he had hoped that would shut her up, it had the opposite effect. Sitting
in her Commons office with her researchers planning her next move, Short was
already being bombarded with demands for television interviews. She decided
to come out fighting. By the time the Home Secretary, David Blunkett - one
of her fiercest critics - was taking the stage in a trendy bar just off
Oxford Street that night to crack some near-the-knuckle jokes at the leaving
do for his former special adviser Nick Pearce, Short was on Channel Four
accusing the Prime Minister of being 'pompous' and defending the 'journey of
her conscience'.

Yet the bugging allegations - sensational as they were - are in danger of
becoming a red herring. For the debate is circling back to something far
more dangerous for Blair: the still unresolved question of how his
Attorney-General came to decide that the invasion of Iraq was legal under
international law, and Short's original claims of unknown 'shenanigans'. And
there is little chance of it fading.

Three days after next month's Budget - on which Labour could normally rely
to force the spotlight back on to domestic, not troublesome foreign,
events - comes the anniversary of the Iraq invasion, prompting fresh debate
over whether it was justified and fears of an upsurge in attacks against
allied soldiers posted in Iraq.

In May, the first of two major US Congressional inquiries into
intelligence - in this case into why the intelligence services failed to
predict and prevent the 11 September attack itself - is due to report. And
June marks 'Super Thursday', the first serious test of Blair's mid-term
blues as Britain goes to the polls in local, European and London mayoral
elections.

A month later, Downing Street is braced for the findings of the Butler
inquiry, hastily established to examine intelligence failings in the run-up
to the war on Iraq. The risk is now of the inquiry running on into summer -
raising the disastrous prospect for Labour of it reporting just before their
party conference in September, allowing that to be dominated by more
soul-searching over the absence of weapons of mass destruction.

Meanwhile, the parallel inquiry promised by George Bush into American
intelligence gathering on Iraq will continue throughout the autumn. The
danger for Downing Street now is the sheer unpredictability of events
unfolding on two sides of the Atlantic. An unexpected bombshell dropped by
an obscure official in Washington can be transformed within hours into an
explosive question to a Minister caught unawares in London.

'What happens in Washington and in London will continue to bounce off each
other in ways neither can control over the next year,' says Lord Wallace of
Saltaire, the Liberal Democrat peer and a leading expert on Anglo-American
relations. 'Blair may want to say "Let's move on", yet it may be that we
simply cannot.'

Downing Street's main hope now is that the public will simply become too
bored with Iraq to keep following every twist and turn of the debate - while
Labour activists will become too frightened, as the election looms closer,
to risk damaging him by pursuing the argument. 'We have got a big set of
elections coming up and have to hope that focuses minds,' said one party
figure.

Meanwhile, at the heart of it all, is 'the blonde who dropped a bombshell on
Blair', as one newspaper described Gun. Looking back on the affair
yesterday, she said the British government has only itself to blame.

'They wanted [to get get a second UN resolution] to maintain as much
international credibility as possible. We did go ahead without a UN
resolution and therefore they lost a lot of credibility.'

She may have failed to stop the war, but Gun's combination of fierce
principle and naivety has this weekend plunged the Prime Minister into
perhaps his deepest crisis yet.

Martin Bright, Gaby Hinsliff, Antony Barnett, Paul Harris in New York, Joe
Tuckman in Mexico City and Ed Vulliamy
Sunday February 29, 2004
The Observer





Tony Blair faces further embarrassment in less than a fortnight, when
fourteen Greenpeace volunteers appear in court on charges relating to an
anti-war protest. Their case has taken on great significance since the

Crown
Prosection Service (CPS) claimed the case against Katherine Gun was

dropped
because they could not "disprove the defence of necessity" -- that is to
say, they could not counter the defence that her actions were justified to
save lives.

The so-called Marchwood Fourteen occupied tanks at the Southampton

military
port in February last year. Throughout their case the defendants - all
Greenpeace volunteers - have argued that their actions were necessary to
prevent loss of life. With the CPS now saying they could not have

disproved
such a defence in the Gun case, Greenpeace lawyers wonder how the CPS will
proceed against the fourteen.

In a further development Greenpeace has today written to the CPS asking it
for the Attorney-General's full advice to government on the legality of

the
war. Lawyers for the group claim access to the full advice is vital if the
defendants are to be allowed a proper defence. Greenpeace has given the

CPS
24 hours to produce the full advice, otherwise the group will renew its
request for the advice in court on the first day of the trial, set for

March
9th.

Greenpeace legal adviser Kate Harrison said, "The protesters thought the

war
was illegal. We think it is essential for a fair trial that they see the
full Attorney General's legal advice and the basis on which it was made."

"Since the Katharine Gun trial it would appear that the Attorney General
probably thought at the time of the protest that the war would be unlawful
and that the Foreign Office and other advisors thought so too."

The case against the fourteen will be held at Southampton Magistrate's

court
from March 9th.

Further information
Greenpeace opposed the war in Iraq and campaigned actively to prevent it.

We
joined the Stop the War coalition and made submissions to the Foreign
Affairs Select Committee on the illegality of the war, see
http://www.the-hutton-inquiry.org.uk...0219to0222.pdf

For more information contact the Greenpeace press office
on 020 7865 8255 or 07801 212967 or 07801 212968
http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/Multime...eport/6206.pdf




  #4  
Old February 29th, 2004, 08:46 AM
Oelewapper
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default UK's GCHQ Whistle-blower case also impacts Greenpeace protesters (Katherine Gun)


"Oelewapper" wrote in message
...
GREENPEACE.ORG.UK STATEMENT ON IRAQ WHISTLE-BLOWER CASE:
Whistle-blower case has 'huge implications' for Greenpeace protesters


The GCHQ connection

· GCHQ, founded in 1946, was based on the Government Code and Cipher School
(GC&CS), which began in 1919 with 25 cryptologists in Bletchley Park,
Buckinghamshire. It was here that the supposedly unbreakable Enigma codes
were broken. It moved to Cheltenham in 1952.

· Its staff patrol global cyberspace 24 hours a day to eavesdrop on millions
of telephone conversations, emails, faxes and coded messages.

· Two-thirds of Britain's intelligence comes from this single building.

· Last year GCHQ moved into its new Cheltenham headquarters which cost £337m
to build and is big enough to house the old Wembley. It is nicknamed 'the
doughnut'.

· Many of its 4,500 staff are skilled mathematicians and linguists.

· Until 1983, when one of its officers, Geoffrey Prime, was charged with
spying for the Russians, the Government had refused to reveal what GCHQ 's
real role was.

· In the 1990s 'Echelon', an American system, was given to GCHQ, enabling it
to tap into any telephone conversation anywhere across the globe.

· GCHQ is accountable to Parliament and senior members of the judiciary and
its activities are governed by the Intelligence Services Act 1994, amended
recently by the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 and the
Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.


Leader

We must have the truth on Iraq war
Secrecy is poisoning the body politic

Exactly a year ago, The Observer published a story that the United States,
whose plans for war were in full swing, had requested British assistance to
bug the United Nations as it deliberated about the crisis in Iraq. Our
report was followed up across the world, in countries whose ambassadors had
suffered the indignity of learning that their phones and emails had been
bugged and their private conversations passed on to the US Administration.

In London, the report was officially ignored, meeting the routine government
response that the authorities never comment on intelligence matters. Large
sections of the British media also remained uninterested, driven partly by a
widespread cynicism that such operations are to be expected, particularly
given the tensions of that pre-war time. However, the dramatic collapse of
the case brought under the Official Secrets Act against Katharine Gun, the
GCHG translator, raises concerns that that cynicism cannot easily dispel.

It now seems incontrovertible that, in the period running up to the invasion
of Iraq, the US spied on the UN Secretary-General, on key members of the
Security Council, and on Hans Blix, head of the Iraq Weapons Inspection
team, all in apparent contravention of the 1946 Vienna Convention that
designates the UN a spying-free zone. Moreover, it seems likely that Britain
colluded in this effort. The email we published a year ago detailing the US
request for British assistance is powerful evidence; the insistence of
former Minister Clare Short last week that she saw transcripts of Kofi
Annan's conversations, though compromised by her enmity towards the Prime
Minister, adds weight to the claims.

Last week, the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, withdrew the threat hanging
over Ms Gun because, he said, there was no realistic chance of conviction.
As she celebrates her freedom, she deserves our thanks and congratulations
for her bravery and powerful commitment to the public interest.

Not only did she risk imprisonment to put critically important information
into the public domain, she established the breakthrough precedent that
defendants in Official Secrets Act trials can argue that the contested
action was necessary in order for the defendant to avoid being forced into
an illegal act. As a result the draconian machinery protecting official
secrets is now looking increasingly unworkable; a review has been set up and
reform seems inevitable. Ms Gun has been an important agent for change.

But though the case will now not go ahead, the questions raised by her
actions and her strong belief that Britain was being dragged into an illegal
war, still require answers.

A trial, though personally harrowing, would have flushed out more crucial
detail about the circumstances surrounding the Iraq war. In order to press
home the 'necessity' case, Ms Gun's lawyers would have forced the Government
to release Lord Goldsmith's advice to the Prime Minister about the legality
of the Iraq war in the absence of a second, supportive UN Resolution.

We now know, following a statement last week from Elizabeth Wilmshurst, the
former deputy legal adviser at the Foreign Office who resigned on the eve of
war, that the legal team believed that the war was illegal. Her statement
adds weight to the growing evidence that the Government may have been
advised that it was launching an illegal war and that the Attorney General
was reluctant to continue with the prosecution of Ms Gun because a trial
would have revealed evidence of this advice.

Many were implacably opposed to war with Iraq on any grounds. But many who
supported war were reassured that it was within the envelope of legality,
even in the absence of a second UN Resolution. It is vital to the health of
political life in this country that the air is now cleared over this
question. Lord Butler, charged with investigating intelligence in the wake
of the Hutton inquiry, must follow the trail of intelligence documents into
the Attorney General's office if his investigation is not to be seen as a
whitewash.

Few would dispute the necessity of spies or of bugging in the war against
terrorism. Even spying on allies may sometimes be deemed necessary though
those who sanction it must be prepared to defend their disregard for treaty
commitments. But the real poison in the body politic, undermining the
authority of government, is a growing belief that the Government has not
been telling the truth. As a nation we need to move on from the war that
divided us. That can only happen following full disclosure of the
circumstances surrounding Britain's decision to go to war.

Sunday February 29, 2004
The Observer





Tony Blair faces further embarrassment in less than a fortnight, when
fourteen Greenpeace volunteers appear in court on charges relating to an
anti-war protest. Their case has taken on great significance since the

Crown
Prosection Service (CPS) claimed the case against Katherine Gun was

dropped
because they could not "disprove the defence of necessity" -- that is to
say, they could not counter the defence that her actions were justified to
save lives.

The so-called Marchwood Fourteen occupied tanks at the Southampton

military
port in February last year. Throughout their case the defendants - all
Greenpeace volunteers - have argued that their actions were necessary to
prevent loss of life. With the CPS now saying they could not have

disproved
such a defence in the Gun case, Greenpeace lawyers wonder how the CPS will
proceed against the fourteen.

In a further development Greenpeace has today written to the CPS asking it
for the Attorney-General's full advice to government on the legality of

the
war. Lawyers for the group claim access to the full advice is vital if the
defendants are to be allowed a proper defence. Greenpeace has given the

CPS
24 hours to produce the full advice, otherwise the group will renew its
request for the advice in court on the first day of the trial, set for

March
9th.

Greenpeace legal adviser Kate Harrison said, "The protesters thought the

war
was illegal. We think it is essential for a fair trial that they see the
full Attorney General's legal advice and the basis on which it was made."

"Since the Katharine Gun trial it would appear that the Attorney General
probably thought at the time of the protest that the war would be unlawful
and that the Foreign Office and other advisors thought so too."

The case against the fourteen will be held at Southampton Magistrate's

court
from March 9th.

Further information
Greenpeace opposed the war in Iraq and campaigned actively to prevent it.

We
joined the Stop the War coalition and made submissions to the Foreign
Affairs Select Committee on the illegality of the war, see
http://www.the-hutton-inquiry.org.uk...0219to0222.pdf

For more information contact the Greenpeace press office
on 020 7865 8255 or 07801 212967 or 07801 212968
http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/Multime...eport/6206.pdf




  #5  
Old February 29th, 2004, 08:48 AM
Oelewapper
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default UK's GCHQ Whistle-blower case also impacts Greenpeace protesters (Katherine Gun)


"Oelewapper" wrote in message
...
GREENPEACE.ORG.UK STATEMENT ON IRAQ WHISTLE-BLOWER CASE:
Whistle-blower case has 'huge implications' for Greenpeace protesters


Revealed: Attorney General changed his advice on legality of Iraq war

Lord Goldsmith believed that a 'further UN resolution was needed'. Blair
under increasing pressure to publish full legal case for Iraq war

The Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, changed his advice in the run-up to
war in Iraq to declare that the conflict was legal, The Independent on
Sunday has learnt.

Lord Goldsmith's full opinion on the legality of the war has never been made
public. The desire to keep it secret is believed to be the main reason why
the Official Secrets Act prosecution of Katharine Gun, a 29-year-old former
employee of GCHQ, the Government's monitoring centre, was abandoned at the
Old Bailey last week.

The case could have revealed that in November 2002 the Attorney General
believed Britain required specific authorisation for war from the UN
Security Council, but that he later changed his stance.

Ms Gun admitted leaking an email from the National Security Agency, the US
equivalent of GCHQ, which called for British help in spying on diplomats at
the United Nations in January last year. At the time, the US and Britain
were seeking a Security Council resolution, later abandoned, specifically
authorising the use of force against Iraq.

Although Ms Gun acknowledged she had broken the Official Secrets Act, her
lawyers were preparing to argue that she had acted to prevent British
casualties in an illegal war, and to demand that the Attorney General's full
opinion be made public. An "advance notice of defence statement" filed in
court highlighted differences in the Government over the legality of
committing British troops without a UN resolution.

Elizabeth Wilmshurst, a deputy legal adviser to the Foreign Office, resigned
on the eve of war in protest at Lord Goldsmith's opinion that the resolution
was unnecessary. "Some agreed with the legal advice of the Attorney
General," she said later. "I did not."

But the IoS has learnt from sources connected to the Gun case that in
November 2002, when the Security Council passed resolution 1441, threatening
"serious consequences" if Iraq did not "comply with its disarmament
obligations", Lord Goldsmith agreed with the Foreign Office view that a
further resolution would be needed to make war legal. As the possibility of
war without such a resolution loomed, Britain's military chiefs of staff
argued that they needed a clearer legal basis on which to proceed.

Between November and the end of January 2003, the IoS was told, the Attorney
General's staff produced a paper dealing with the issues raised by the
military chiefs, but it fell short of the legal authorisation the chiefs of
staff wanted. "The military said they needed something harder if they were
to commit troops," a legal source said. Lord Goldsmith's advice argued that
a UN resolution from 13 years ago remained in force.

Clare Short, the former International Development Secretary whose UN spying
claims caused a sensation last week, said even the Cabinet had not been
allowed to see the full advice, but it is believed that Ms Gun's defence
team was aware of its contents. Lord Goldsmith later said the decision to
drop the case had been taken before the document was filed.

The Government continued to insist yesterday that it would not publish the
Attorney General's full advice. But further court cases are pending in which
lawyers are expected to mount a similar defence to Ms Gun's, and prosecution
may be hampered if the advice remains secret.

Fourteen Greenpeace supporters face trial for a demonstration at a
Southampton military base in February 2003, and five peace activists are
charged with criminal damage at RAF Fairford. In all cases, the defence is
expected to argue that, like Ms Gun, they were acting out of "necessity", to
prevent an illegal war.

* A Labour peer today raised questions about the way in which the Attorney
General came up with the advice he gave on the legality of war following
reports it changed in the run-up to the conflict.

Baroness Helena Kennedy QC said the "vast majority" of lawyers thought the
conflict without a second UN resolution would be unlawful.

She said in a GMTV interview: "The vast majority of lawyers were of one
view.

"It was interesting that out of probably only two lawyers who would have
argued for the legality of going to war, one of those was the person to whom
the Attorney General turned."

She added: "I think the lesson from this is that actually law matters.
Before you make those commitments to your friend or ally you have to talk
about law because it is not some side issue. It is the way we have tried to
civilise the world and we must not forget that."

By Raymond Whitaker and Robert Verkaik
The Independent newspaper
London, United Kingdom
29 February 2004

---

The whistleblower, the loose cannon and the case for war

A week that began with extraordinary and embarrassing revelations about
British spying at the UN in the run-up to the Iraq war has ended with the
far more damaging suspicion that the Government is attempting to withhold
evidence that may reveal there was no legal justification for the invasion
in the first place. A special report by Foreign Editor Raymond Whitaker and
Political Editor Andy McSmith

Katharine Gun and Clare Short have never met. One is 29, the daughter of
Christian missionaries still living in Taiwan, with no strong political
attachments. The other is twice her age, a lifelong Labour activist who
spent six years in the Cabinet as Secretary of State for International
Development.

Yet together they have not only blown a huge hole in the Official Secrets
Act, but they have also plunged Tony Blair back into a nightmare. Just when
the Prime Minister thought that he might be succeeding in his efforts to put
the Iraq war behind him and refocus the political debate on domestic issues
such as the revival of a "Thatcherite" Conservative Party threatening huge
public spending cuts, all the unanswered questions about the war have
resurfaced.

When did Mr Blair agree to join President George Bush's crusade to oust
Saddam Hussein? Was Britain's participation in the war legal? And is it
possible to justify the tactics employed in the run-up to the war, from the
use of intelligence about Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction to
claims that friends and allies were spied upon?

Mr Blair has been here before, of course. Only a month ago Lord Hutton's
report appeared to exonerate the Government entirely of the charge of
"sexing up" its September 2002 dossier on Iraqi WMD, only for the report to
be seen as so one-sided that it actually hurt the Government. That was
followed by further uncomfortable revelations about the notorious claim that
Iraq could deploy chemical and biological weapons within 45 minutes, the
issue over which No 10 and the BBC fought themselves to a standstill.

Yet by the beginning of last week it must have seemed to the Prime Minister
that Iraq was at last receding, not so much into the background, but to the
point where it was possible to discuss other questions without it seeming
like an attempted diversion. His staff were delighted when they got through
the usual Monday morning lobby briefing without a single question on Iraq,
possibly for the first time in more than a year.

Mr Blair would have known that the legal authorities were about to drop
their case against Ms Gun, charged with breaking the Official Secrets Act by
leaking an email from the National Security Agency in the US, which asked
Britain to help to spy on other countries' diplomats at the United Nations.
He was aware that on Thursday morning, when he was due to hold his monthly
televised press conference at Downing Street, the papers would be full of
the collapse of the Gun case at the Old Bailey the previous day.

But he would have his answers ready, and the prospect of a few difficult
questions was a lot better than a drawn-out hearing during which Ms Gun's
lawyers, with maximum publicity, would question the Government's entire
legal basis for the war. The plan was to get the matter out of the way as
swiftly as possible and move on to a more palatable topic, a new aid
initiative for Africa. The Prime Minister had not bargained, however, on Ms
Short.

Mr Blair, not surprisingly, did not have his ear to the radio when Clare
Short made her live appearance on the Today programme, just after 8.10am on
Thursday, but staff in the Downing Street press office did. Within minutes,
the Prime Minister's director of communications, David Hill, was on the
line, delivering the bad news.

Ms Short was invited on to the Today programme to discuss the decision not
to prosecute Ms Gun. In the middle of an answer about the events of early
2003, she mentioned almost casually: "The UK in this time was also spying on
Kofi Annan's office, and getting reports from him about what was going on."

The sentence hung in the air for a moment until her interviewer, John
Humphrys, returned to the subject, suggesting that spying on the UN was an
odd thing to do. "These things are done, and in the case of Kofi's office it
has been done for some time," she replied.

Asked whether she believed that Britain was involved in this spying, she
replied: "Well, I know. I have seen transcripts of Kofi Annan's
conversations. In fact, I have had conversations with Kofi in the run-up to
war thinking: 'Oh dear, there will be a transcript of this and people will
see what he and I are saying'." She was asked, again, whether British spies
had been carrying out operations in the UN on people like Mr Annan. "Yes,
absolutely," she said, adding: "I read some of the transcripts of the
accounts of his conversations."

We do not know what the Prime Minister's immediate reaction was, but it is
very likely that he or one of his staff will have immediately picked up the
telephone to ring John Scarlett, the chairman of the Joint Intelligence
Committee, and Sir Richard Dearlove, head of MI6. We know that when the
45-minute claim was attacked in the famous broadcast by Andrew Gilligan on
the Today programme last May, Mr Blair's first reaction was to clear his
lines with the intelligence chiefs.

It is probable that what he heard from the intelligence chiefs this time was
not altogether helpful to the Prime Minister. He had to go and face
searching questions in front of the cameras in a couple of hours. They
almost certainly told him that they did not want him to make any public
comment on the activities of intelligence agencies, whether British or
American, because of the precedent it would set.

Those who watched the Prime Minister's public performance noticed how
confident and clear he was in handling questions about the collapse of Ms
Gun's trial - and how awkward he looked when discussing Ms Short. He could
not say whether his former colleague's claims were true or false, falling
back on the convoluted statement: "I'm not going to comment on the work that
our security services do, [but] don't take that as an indication that the
allegations that were made by Clare Short are true. Simply understand, I am
not going to comment on the operations of our security services."

Then, having denounced Ms Short for being "totally irresponsible", he was
wrongfooted by a question from the Daily Express: "Have you only just woken
up to the nature of Clare Short, and what does it say about your own
judgement that you could allow someone like that in the Cabinet?"

The furore over Ms Short's allegations, which went round the world, had
scarcely anything to do with the issue in Ms Gun's trial, and arguably
distracted attention from it. This might have been a help to Mr Blair, but
for one fact. Both the leak for which Ms Gun was charged, and the spying
claims of Ms Short, concerned a period the Prime Minister would prefer to
forget: the fraught weeks in late 2002 and early 2003 as we headed for war
with Iraq.

By mid-October 2002, President Bush had an open mandate from both houses of
Congress to go to war with Iraq. The attacks on New York and Washington were
only just over a year in the past, and the White House had used the time in
between to convince the American public that Saddam Hussein was somehow
linked to them. With mid-term elections due the following month, few
Democrats wished to seem unpatriotic by voting against the President,
something which is now coming to haunt Senator John Kerry, the Democratic
front-runner in this year's Presidential race.

The threat of force from the US was in the background as the UN Security
Council passed Resolution 1441 on 8 November, warning of "serious
consequences" if Iraq did not take a "final opportunity to comply with its
disarmament obligations". As far as Washington was concerned, that would
mean war. In London, however, things were different.

The Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, was advising, as was the Foreign
Office, that another UN Security Council resolution would be required for
war to be legal. Tony Blair said of Resolution 1441: "In the event of Saddam
refusing to co-operate or being in breach, there will be a further UN
discussion." It seemed clear that Britain would have trouble going to war
unless the Security Council specifically mandated the use of force.

By the start of 2003, however, the pressure from Washington to go to war was
mounting by the day. It was all Mr Blair could do to persuade a sceptical
Bush administration to seek a second UN resolution. From the American point
of view it was always understood that the whole UN effort was a favour to
George Bush's closest ally.

Lord Goldsmith, meanwhile, was confronted by the concerns of Britain's
military chiefs of staff, who were arguing that they needed a clear legal
basis for committing British troops to a new kind of pre-emptive war, in
which it was far from clear that Britain itself was under imminent threat.
The only other grounds for war permitted by the UN Charter is an explicit
authorisation of force by the Security Council.

It is understood that Lord Goldsmith and his staff produced a paper
addressing this question, but the military chiefs said its careful balance
of arguments did not meet their need for legal clarity. With a new UN
resolution looking hard to achieve, it was about this time that the Attorney
General began searching through earlier resolutions for a justification for
war.

But the all-out diplomatic effort in New York continued, and on 31 January
Ms Gun, a translator of Chinese at GCHQ, the government's communications
monitoring organisation in Cheltenham, came across an email from Frank Koza,
a senior official of the National Security Agency, GCHQ's (much bigger)
equivalent in the US. It sought British help in spying on the UN delegations
of six nations which were temporary members of the Security Council. Their
votes were seen as potentially making the difference between success or
failure for a second resolution.

Whether Britain complied with the request or not is unknown, but the email
found its way to a Sunday newspaper after Ms Gun showed it to a friend with
journalistic contacts. Once it was published, she immediately confessed her
part and acknowledged having breached the Official Secrets Act. Why the
Government dropped its case against her, therefore, can be explained only by
looking at her planned defence, which was that the war was illegal. The only
way this could have been countered was by making public Lord Goldsmith's
final opinion, the one on which Britain went to war.

Last week Lord Goldsmith said he had decided to drop the case before Ms
Gun's lawyers presented a document outlining their strategy. But Barry
Hugill, spokesman for Liberty, the civil rights organisation backing Ms Gun,
said it had been "obvious for months that it would become a trial of the
legality of the war".

According to Ms Short, not even the Cabinet was allowed to see the Attorney
General's legal opinion. On 17 March last year, with less than 72 hours
before the bombs began falling on Baghdad, she says a document consisting of
two sheets of paper was displayed, but not circulated. When she tried to
initiate a discussion on it, she was cut off.

At this point Elizabeth Wilmshurst, a member of the Foreign Office's legal
team for nearly 30 years, abruptly resigned as deputy legal adviser. With
war imminent, her departure attracted little attention at the time, but it
now seems clear that she at least had seen the Attorney General's full
opinion, and found it unacceptable. Last week, as speculation mounted, she
spelled it out, saying: "I left my job because I did not agree that the use
of force against Iraq was lawful."

All that the rest of us know, from Lord Goldsmith's brief summary, is that
he is relying on a 12-year-old Security Council resolution which authorised
the use of force to expel Iraqi forces from Kuwait in 1991. How he justifies
such a seemingly thin argument remains a secret, one guarded by the claim
that there is no precedent for publishing legal opinions drawn up for the
Government.

But other cases are pending, including those of 14 Greenpeace supporters who
occupied tanks at a Southampton military base in February last year, and
five peace activists charged with criminal damage at RAF Fairford. Their
lawyers are expected to demand the full opinion as well.

The only legal step Downing Street is contemplating in the wake of the
Katharine Gun fiasco is a review of the Official Secrets Act, which would
appear to be all the more urgent following Clare Short's trampling of the
same law. But a spokesman shed little light, describing the review as "the
normal process that you go through after the outcome of a case", and said
that it would be carried out "by the normal people in the normal way". One
possibility is that government lawyers will try to write into the act a
precise definition of the concept of "necessity" which cropped up during the
case of the former MI5 agent David Shayler, who was jailed for selling
information to a Sunday newspaper.

When Mr Shayler appealed to the House of Lords, Lord Woolf raised the
possibility that a defendant might be acquitted of a breach of the Act if he
could show that he had revealed secrets in order to avert a threat to human
life, before dismissing this possibility in Mr Shayler's case.

Ms Gun's lawyers intended to argue that she was seeking to save lives by
exposing skulduggery at the UN which could lead to war, and the Attorney
General decided that the prosecution could not answer that claim. This might
be seen, absurdly, to give immunity to anyone who wants to leak secrets in
the run-up to a war.

In some ways the uproar over spying at the UN, though highly embarrassing
for the Government, is easier to deal with by stonewalling: nobody seriously
expects any government to confirm that it is eavesdropping on its supposed
friends and allies, even though everyone knows it goes on.

Even anti-war MPs on the left wing of the Labour Party, who refused to join
in the condemnation of Clare Short, were saying yesterday that whether or
not British agents spied on Kofi Annan was not the political issue of the
moment. "All of this is a massive distraction," said Alan Simpson, chairman
of the left-wing Campaign Group. "I don't think we should be surprised at
bugging operations. When you talked to UN officials, they presumed they were
being bugged.

"The issue is not about Clare's loyalty or disloyalty. It's about this
assumed, untrammelled right of the Bush administration to go to war. The
obsession was not about whether Saddam posed a threat to the West, but about
whether the UN posed a threat to America's determination to have a war."

Experts say that electronic eavesdropping is an accepted, if rarely
acknowledged, part of life at the UN and one of the reasons why the US was
so willing to allow the body to establish its headquarters in New York in
April 1945 - a move that gave America a head start in its spying efforts.

Indeed, in the aftermath of Ms Short's allegations diplomats said it was
almost a matter of pride to be spied on. Spain's ambassador to the UN,
Inocencio Arias, told The Washington Post: "In my opinion everybody spies on
everybody, and when there's a crisis, big countries spy a lot. I would not
be surprised if this Secretary-General and other Secretary-Generals have
been listened to by a handful of big powers, and not only the ones you are
thinking."

No wire-tapping is allowed on UN premises. Three treaties are supposed to
ensure the protection of the UN from spying, and yet experts say that among
diplomats it is a given that spying takes place. Under an agreement by the
so-called Spoke countries - the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand -
spying on US territory is carried out by America's National Security Agency
and then shared.

Jim Atkinson is an expert in electronic surveillance and is regularly
contracted by countries and private companies to sweep buildings for bugs
and provide protection against electronic eavesdropping. He told an
astonishing story about spying at the UN. Travelling between jobs in New
York in his mobile laboratory - one of a number of vehicles fitted with
detectors and anti-bug equipment - he recently made several passes of the UN
headquarters. The equipment in his vehicle was deliberately left on. "The
equipment immediately started logging on to bugs that had the frequencies of
[bugging equipment routinely used by] various countries," he said. "I can
even pick out specific bugs in specific offices."

Mr Atkinson declined to identify the countries whose equipment he detected
that day, but he said: "Britain and America do this stuff all the time. They
have scores of people who do this ... they do it to everybody. Everybody
does it to them. Everybody in the diplomatic community does not trust
anybody else." He claimed that in addition to Britain and America, he
expected that Iraq would have bugged Mr Annan's office, and that Saudi
Arabia and Israel would also have been electronically eavesdropping.

The Prime Minister's phrase of the moment is that he wants to "move on",
which means that he would like the public to forget the Iraq war and pay
attention to political questions such as the sharply focused differences
between Labour and the Conservatives.

Yet thanks to three women - Katharine Gun, Clare Short and Elizabeth
Wilmshurst - Mr Blair has spent another week on the back foot. Comment from
around the world on the former minister's sensational revelations emphasised
that the Prime Minister still suffers lingering damage to his reputation
from the Iraq war. Whether he can answer the questions which remain from
that conflict, and dispel the clouds of mistrust that remain, is likely to
determine how his premiership is judged.

Tony Blair: Trapped in the Iraq storm

The Prime Minister's phrase of the moment is that he wants to "move on",
which means he would like the public to forget the Iraq war. At the start of
the week, Mr Blair really thought he was getting somewhere. Interest in Iraq
seemed to be fading at last. The decision not to prosecute Katharine Gun
took away the possibility of a long, highly publicised trial. He had an
announcement about aid to Africa at the ready for his monthly Downing Street
press conference on Thursday, and on Friday he would be delivering a speech
on domestic politics to the Scottish Labour Party conference. Then Clare
Short's sensational revelations ruined his week, leaving his advisers
wondering if he will everrid himself of this feisty Labour rebel, or repair
the damage the Iraq war has done to his reputation.

Lord Goldsmith: Little-known lawyer thrust into the front line after 9/11

It is possible to serve for years as Attorney General without making the
news. Even the average lawyer would struggle to recall who occupied the post
as recently as five years ago. The answer is that it was held for the first
two years of the Blair government by the veteran MP John Morris, and for the
next two years by Gareth Williams before he became Leader of the House of
Lords.

Peter Goldsmith, who took over the post after the 2001 election, is an
experienced lawyer but a virtual unknown in the political world. Yet since
his appointment, he has been involved in one political controversy after
another, most of them arising from the 11 September attacks. He has
negotiated on behalf of Britons detained in Guantanamo Bay; warned David
Blunkett that lowering the standard of proof required to convict suspected
terrorists could be a breach of the law; and - most controversially - was
asked for a judgement on the legality of the Iraq war. Why the full text of
that judgement has to be kept secret is now a hot political issue. Similar
judgments have been made public, although there was a famous case in 1986
when the then Trade and Industry Secretary, Leon Brittan, had to resign
after ordering the leak of an Attorney General's letter.

Clare Short: Former minister who fell out with her colleagues

Clare Short was never a politician to hold back or speak softly. She is also
impulsive, and has made enemies where her friends ought to be, on the left
wing of the Labour Party. They have not entirely forgiven her for staying in
the Cabinet during the Iraq war, only to resign afterwards. Those with
longer memories recall her part in expelling or disciplining members of the
left in the 1990s.

Having entered the Commons at the same time as Tony Blair, in 1983, Ms Short
served for years on the National Executive Committee, the body that may yet
bring her to book for her outspokenness. She held the post of International
Development Secretary for six years, and was generally thought to have run
her department well. Now she has aroused the anger of the party leadership
like no other former minister.

Andy McSmith

Katharine Gun: Translator who had to follow her conscience

A fluent Mandarin speaker and daughter of an English literature professor,
Katharine Gun was a low-level translator for GCHQ, the government's
top-secret eavesdropping centre in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

But last March, she leaked the now infamous memo from a very senior US
intelligence official at the National Security Agency, asking for British
help to bug delegates of six countries at the United Nations.

Sacked from GCHQ in June 2003, she has always admitted disclosing the email,
written by the NSA's Defence Chief of Staff (Regional Targets), Frank Koza.
But she has insisted she had "only ever followed her conscience" to prevent
an "illegal war against Iraq". Ms Gun, aged 29 and married to a Turk, learnt
Mandarin as she grew up in Taiwan where her father, Paul Harwood, teaches at
Tunghai University.

After moving to Eastbourne, East Sussex, to study for her A-levels, Ms Gun
went on to read modern Chinese with Japanese at Durham University where she
was described as a capable, "lively" student who would always speak out if
she had something to say.

Professor Harwood and Ms Gun's mother, Jan Harwood, have declared that they
were "deeply proud" of their daughter's decision to breach the Official
Secrets Act.

Elizabeth Wilmshurst: FO specialist believed that the war was illegal

The former deputy legal adviser to the Foreign Secretary, who resigned over
the legality of the Iraq war last year, Elizabeth Wilmshurst is seen as one
of Britain's leading experts on international criminal and diplomatic law.

While little known outside diplomatic and legal circles, Ms Wilmshurst spent
29 years in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office legal department before
becoming deputy head of legal affairs in 1997.

Ms Wilmshurst is now head of the international law programme at the Royal
Institute of International Affairs in London and a visiting professor at
University College London. In 1998 she was made a Companion of St Michael
and St George, one of the highest honours for diplomats.

She had resigned her post in March last year because she believed the Iraq
war was illegal - a view many Foreign Office experts are said to share.

Before resigning, Ms Wilmshurst had led the UK delegation to set up the
International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, served as legal counsellor
to the UK's mission to the UN, and given evidence for the Foreign Office to
the House of Commons International Development Committee on the legality of
sanctions. She played a controversial role in the setting-up of the ICC,
when, as a Foreign Office negotiator, she supported a US attempt to block
the court from prosecuting US citizens. Despite this, she is now an adviser
to the ICC.

There was speculation that Ms Wilmshurst might have appeared as a witness
for Katharine Gun, the former GCHQ translator whose trial for leaking an
email concerning a UK-US spying operation collapsed last week.

Ironically, Ms Wilmshurst was due to have co-chaired with Clare Short a
conference on the US-UK occupation of Iraq at the British Institute of
International and Comparative Law last Thursday - the day Ms Short revealed
Britain's bugging of the UN.

---
Severin Carrell
The Independent newspaper
London, United Kingdom
29 February 2004



Tony Blair faces further embarrassment in less than a fortnight, when
fourteen Greenpeace volunteers appear in court on charges relating to an
anti-war protest. Their case has taken on great significance since the

Crown
Prosection Service (CPS) claimed the case against Katherine Gun was

dropped
because they could not "disprove the defence of necessity" -- that is to
say, they could not counter the defence that her actions were justified to
save lives.

The so-called Marchwood Fourteen occupied tanks at the Southampton

military
port in February last year. Throughout their case the defendants - all
Greenpeace volunteers - have argued that their actions were necessary to
prevent loss of life. With the CPS now saying they could not have

disproved
such a defence in the Gun case, Greenpeace lawyers wonder how the CPS will
proceed against the fourteen.

In a further development Greenpeace has today written to the CPS asking it
for the Attorney-General's full advice to government on the legality of

the
war. Lawyers for the group claim access to the full advice is vital if the
defendants are to be allowed a proper defence. Greenpeace has given the

CPS
24 hours to produce the full advice, otherwise the group will renew its
request for the advice in court on the first day of the trial, set for

March
9th.

Greenpeace legal adviser Kate Harrison said, "The protesters thought the

war
was illegal. We think it is essential for a fair trial that they see the
full Attorney General's legal advice and the basis on which it was made."

"Since the Katharine Gun trial it would appear that the Attorney General
probably thought at the time of the protest that the war would be unlawful
and that the Foreign Office and other advisors thought so too."

The case against the fourteen will be held at Southampton Magistrate's

court
from March 9th.

Further information
Greenpeace opposed the war in Iraq and campaigned actively to prevent it.

We
joined the Stop the War coalition and made submissions to the Foreign
Affairs Select Committee on the illegality of the war, see
http://www.the-hutton-inquiry.org.uk...0219to0222.pdf

For more information contact the Greenpeace press office
on 020 7865 8255 or 07801 212967 or 07801 212968
http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/Multime...eport/6206.pdf




  #6  
Old March 4th, 2004, 11:36 AM
Oelewapper
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Posts: n/a
Default UK's GCHQ Whistle-blower case also impacts Greenpeace protesters (Katherine Gun)


"Oelewapper" wrote in message
...

Sarin Nerve Agent Leaks From Ala. Bunker - AP

ANNISTON, Ala. - A trace amount of sarin nerve agent leaked from a weapons
storage bunker at Anniston Army Depot, but no one was injured.

Workers were conducting routine checks for leaks Tuesday when a monitor
detected the agent outside the airtight bunker where the weapons are stored.

Sarin did not escape the area, and the concentration was not enough to hurt
anyone, said Cathy Coleman, a spokeswoman Anniston Chemical Activity, which
oversees the stockpile.

Tons of munitions are stored in dirt-covered, concrete igloos at the depot
50 miles east of Birmingham.

Since 1982, the Army has found 897 leaking chemical weapons in storage at
the depot, where the military is using an incinerator to destroy the aging
weapons.

---

GREENPEACE.ORG.UK STATEMENT ON IRAQ WHISTLE-BLOWER CASE:

Marchwood 14 demand Attorney General's advice

Last edited: 04-03-2004

Following Lord Goldsmith's declaration that he would stand up in court to
defend his advice to go to war in Iraq, Greenpeace has asked the
Attorney-General to appear as a witness in a case against 14 of our
activists in Southampton next week.

If Lord Goldsmith refuses, we will ask the trial judge to issue a summons
against him.

During the build-up to war, Lord Goldsmith said on record: "I don't just
give advice to Government behind closed doors. I'm prepared to stand up and
defend that advice in the courts."

The 14 Greenpeace volunteers are facing criminal charges relating to their
occupation of tanks at Southampton's Marchwood military base in February
2003. Throughout their case they have argued that the war was illegal and
that their actions were necessary to prevent loss of life.

The Attorney General's evidence is thus crucial to their case, which has
taken on great significance since the Crown Prosection Service (CPS) claimed
the case against whistleblower Katherine Gun was dropped because they could
not "disprove the defence of necessity" - that is to say, they could not
counter the defence that her actions were justified to save lives.

Greenpeace's lawyers have been asking for the Attorney General's full advice
for nearly a year.

This week we called on him to honour his pledge when our lawyers wrote to
asking him to appear at the trial. He is yet to reply, but the trial judge
does have the power to force his attendance if the defence team demands it.

Greenpeace also placed an open letter in national, local and legal
publications asking Lord Goldsmith to give evidence at the trial.

Speculation suggests that the advice Lord Goldsmith gave to Tony Blair
changed in the days before the March 20th invasion. Greenpeace lawyers want
to know if his advice in February, when the Marchwood occupation took place,
was different from his final advice.

---

US told UK Attorney General to alter legal advice on Iraq war

The attorney general initially told Tony Blair that an invasion of Iraq
would be illegal without a new resolution from the United Nations and only
overturned his advice when Washington ordered Downing Street to find legal
advice which would justify the war.

The devastating claim will be made by eminent QC and Labour peer Baroness
Helena Kennedy in a television interview today.

It is one of a series of attacks which put Blair under renewed and
increasing pressure to reveal full details of the legal backing for the war
against Iraq.

Lawyers, including one from Cherie Blair's legal chambers, Matrix, will
demand improved compensation and an inquiry into the deaths of Iraqi
civilians killed by British troops, which could raise the spectre of the
government being forced to disclose its advice on the legality of the war.

It is widely believed that the government's reluctance to do this was behind
its decision to drop all charges against GCHQ whistleblower Katherine Gun
last week.

The environmental group, Greenpeace is also demanding access to Lord
Goldsmith's advice in order to defend 14 activists due to appear in court in
connection with anti-war protests carried out last year.

Former cabinet minister Clare Short continued her relentless attack on Blair
when she described the way attorney general Lord Goldsmith's "truncated
opinion authorising war appeared at the very last minute" as "very odd".

Together, the new developments signal that the legal case for the allied
invasion of Iraq without a specific UN instruction authorising them to do so
has become the most dangerous threat to the Prime Minister and is unlikely
to go away.

Kennedy's claims, which will be made this morning in an interview on GMTV,
are arguably the most damaging. Her position as a member of the highest
echelons of the legal community will add credence to her claims that the
British government could find only two senior lawyers in the UK prepared to
back the case for the invasion.

Baroness Kennedy points out that Lord Goldsmith was a commercial lawyer with
no experience of international law and initially relied heavily on the
advice of lawyers within the Foreign Office in the months before the war. It
is widely believed that advice overwhelmingly warned against invading
without a UN resolution.

She claims that when Washington was told of this advice their response was
succinct: find a new lawyer.

Goldsmith then turned to Professor Christopher Greenwood of the London
School of Economics, who was known to support the invasion. Greenwood was
already on record as stating: "It would be highly desirable to have a second
UN resolution because that puts the matter beyond serious question. But if
that's not possible, I would support the use of force without the
resolution.''

After consulting Greenwood, Goldsmith told the cabinet an invasion could
take place within international law without the new UN resolution.

However, sacked Labour MP George Galloway insisted yesterday that Goldsmith
warned ministers that his advice relied on the accuracy of intelligence
information that Saddam posed a serious threat to British interest -
information which has since been discredited.

Baroness Kennedy says Blair is being "haunted" by the fallout of a war "that
will just not go away".

Clare Short yesterday said Foreign Office lawyers disagreed on the legality
of war and that senior officials in Whitehall were "worried that they were
being asked to prepare for illegal action".

After her disclosure that she had seen transcripts of material taken in
bugging operations conducted inside the office of the secretary general of
the UN, Kofi Annan, it remained a possibility she would either be prosecuted
under the Official Secrets Act or even be thrown out of the Labour Party.

Yesterday the chairman of the Labour party, Ian McCartney, appeared to rule
out any party censure. "I'm not going to make her a martyr," he told BBC
Scotland.

Lord Alexander of Weedon QC, a leading peer and lawyer, yesterday described
the content of Lord Goldsmith advice as "the most important legal opinion of
the last 50 years". He said without it the war would not have gone ahead and
20,000 Iraqis would not have been killed.

SundayHerald - 29 Feb 2004
By James Cusick, Westminster Editor


  #7  
Old March 5th, 2004, 09:25 AM
Oelewapper
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Posts: n/a
Default Blix: Iraq war was illegal ( GCHQ Whistle-blower also impacts Greenpeace protesters (Katherine Gun))


"Oelewapper" wrote in message
...

GREENPEACE.ORG.UK STATEMENT ON IRAQ WHISTLE-BLOWER CASE:
Government faces further headache over legal case for Iraq war


Blix: Iraq war was illegal

Blair's defence is bogus, says the former UN weapons inspector

The former chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix has declared that the war in
Iraq was illegal, dealing another devastating blow to Tony Blair.

Mr Blix, speaking to The Independent, said the Attorney General's legal
advice to the Government on the eve of war, giving cover for military action
by the US and Britain, had no lawful justification. He said it would have
required a second United Nations resolution explicitly authorising the use
of force for the invasion of Iraq last March to have been legal.

His intervention goes to the heart of the current controversy over Lord
Goldsmith's advice, and comes as the Prime Minister begins his fightback
with a speech on Iraq today.

An unrepentant Mr Blair will refuse to apologise for the war in Iraq,
insisting the world is a better place without Saddam Hussein in power. He
will point to the wider benefits of the Iraq conflict, citing Libya's
decision to give up its weapons of mass destruction, but warn that the world
cannot turn a blind eye to the continuing threat from WMD.

But, in an exclusive interview, Mr Blix said: "I don't buy the argument the
war was legalised by the Iraqi violation of earlier resolutions."

And it appeared yesterday that the Government shared that view until the eve
of war, when it received the Lord Goldsmith's final advice.

Sir Andrew Turnbull, the Cabinet Secretary, revealed that the Government had
assumed, until the eve of war in Iraq, that it needed a specific UN mandate
to authorise military action.

Mr Blix demolished the argument advanced by Lord Goldsmith three days before
the war began, which stated that resolution 1441 authorised the use of force
because it revived earlier UN resolutions passed after the 1991 ceasefire.

Mr Blix said that while it was possible to argue that Iraq had breached the
ceasefire by violating UN resolutions adopted since 1991, the "ownership" of
the resolutions rested with the entire 15-member Security Council and not
with individual states. "It's the Security Council that is party to the
ceasefire, not the UK and US individually, and therefore it is the council
that has ownership of the ceasefire, in my interpretation."

He said to challenge that interpretation would set a dangerous precedent.
"Any individual member could take a view - the Russians could take one view,
the Chinese could take another, they could be at war with each other,
theoretically," Mr Blix said.

The Attorney General's opinion has come under fresh scrutiny since the
collapse of the trial against the GCHQ whistleblower Katharine Gun last
week, prompting calls for his full advice to be made public.

Mr Blix, who is an international lawyer by training, said: "I would suspect
there is a more sceptical view than those two A4 pages," in a reference to
Clare Short's contemptuous description of the 358-word summary.

It emerged on Wednesday that a Foreign Office memo, sent to the Foreign
Affairs Select Committee on the same day that Lord Goldsmith's summary was
published, made clear that there was no "automaticity" in resolution 1441 to
justify war.

Asked whether, in his view, a second resolution authorising force should
have been adopted, Mr Blix replied: "Oh yes."

In the interview, ahead of the publication next week of his book Disarming
Iraq: The search for weapons of mass destruction, Mr Blix dismissed the
suggestion that Mr Blair should resign or apologise over the failure to find
any WMD in Iraq.

But he suggested that the Prime Minister may have been fatally wounded by
his loss of credibility, and that voters would deliver their verdict. "Some
people say Bush and Blair should be put before a tribunal and I say that you
have the punishment in the political field here," he said. "Their credibilit
y has been affected by this: Bush too lost some credibility."

He repeated accusations the US and British governments were "hyped"
intelligence and lacking critical thinking. "They used exclamation marks
instead of question marks."

"I have some understanding for that. Politicians have to simplify to
explain, they also have to act in this world before they have 100 per cent
evidence. But I think they went further."

"But I never said they had acted in bad faith," he added. "Perhaps it was
worse that they acted out of good faith."

The threat allegedly posed by Saddam's WMD was the prime reason cited by the
British government for going to war. But not a single item of banned
weaponry has been found in the 11 months that have followed the declared end
of hostilities.

Mr Blair will argue that similar decisive action will need to be taken in
future to combat the threat of rogue states and terrorists obtaining WMD.

By Anne Penketh in Stockholm and Andrew Grice
The Independent - 05 March 2004

---

Government thought UN mandate was needed for Iraq war

Until the eve of war on Iraq, the Government had assumed it needed a
specific United Nations mandate to authorise military action, Sir Andrew
Turnbull, the Cabinet Secretary, revealed yesterday.

Britain's most senior civil servant admitted there was no "plan B" beyond a
fresh UN resolution, and Downing Street changed its stance only when it
became clear no diplomatic agreement was likely.

Sir Andrew said Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney General, was asked to decide
whether an invasion was "still legal" without a further UN mandate. He also
raised the possibility that the Attorney General's full legal advice may yet
be passed to Parliament's watchdog.

Sir Andrew, appearing before the Commons Public Administration Select
Committee, insisted it was his idea to send a letter to Clare Short warning
of possible prosecution for revealing Government secrets.

He also rejected charges that he had been "the invisible man" in Downing
Street's handling of Dr David Kelly, but conceded that the Government could
learn lessons from criticism of its controversial dossier on Iraq's weapons
of mass destruction. In a two-and-half hour evidence session, Sir Andrew
became the first Whitehall official to admit Tony Blair was advised weeks
before the war that he needed a further UN resolution for legal authority.

"This was a moving situation because for a long time we were thinking this
might have been authorised by a specific UN resolution, in a way because it
would have been clear cut," he told MPs. "We worked hard to get it and
worked on the assumption that we probably would. I'm not aware of a plan B.
It only became apparent when that resolution was not forthcoming that advice
was needed."

Mr Blair has said that it was only on 10 March, when President Jacques
Chirac said he may veto a new UN resolution, that it was clear no further
progress could be made.

Sir Andrew's remarks backed claims in the New Statesman magazine yesterday
that Lord Goldsmith had advised Mr Blair he would prefer a further UN
mandate even after UN resolution 1441 was passed in November 2002.

Resolution 1441 gave Saddam Hussein a last chance to comply with disarmament
obligations but made clear that no further action could be taken without the
approval of the UN. A further resolution would make Britain's position
"absolutely watertight".

Sir Andrew denied he had been "worried" about the lack of legal cover, but
conceded that he and Admiral Boyce, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS),
depended on legal cover for their staff. "I was aware of the fact that I on
behalf of the Civil Service and the CDS on behalf of the Armed Forces needed
the assurance that what was being done was legal," he said.

He revealed that assurance of the war's legality came only when the Attorney
General gave a summary of his advice on 17 March, three days before the
UK-US invasion began.

Sir Andrew said there were "discussions" going on with Anne Abraham, the
Parliamentary Ombudsman, about whether Lord Goldsmith's opinion could be
released.

By Paul Waugh, Deputy Political Editor
The Independent - 05 March 2004


  #8  
Old March 6th, 2004, 03:41 PM
Oelewapper
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default UK's GCHQ Whistle-blower case also impacts Greenpeace protesters (Katherine Gun)


"Oelewapper" wrote in message
...

Why Blair was convinced by the intelligence in his fight against evil :

In this extract, Hans Blix casts light on the PM's crucial role. From the
autumn of 2002, Hans Blix, the UN's chief weapons inspector, was engaged in
an increasingly frantic round of diplomatic talks, in London and Paris as
well as Washington and at the UN headquarters in New York. In November, UN
inspectors went to Iraq for the first time for four years. The Bush
administration said they would not be allowed to do their job - Blix shows
that many around the president did not want Saddam to allow them to do their
job.
As war seemed increasingly inevitable with the build-up of US and British
troops in the Gulf, Blix was confronted with an increasingly hostile
American administration. He describes how he became a victim of smears and
dirty tricks.
As Blix came under growing pressure from Washington, he describes how Tony
Blair - convinced by claims from the intelligence agencies - made
increasingly desperate attempts to get a new UN resolution.

2002
September
I saw Tony Blair in London. All seemed at this time to favour inspection
rather than invasion ... In his preface to a report of September 2002, Blair
advocated inspection first. He wrote that "the inspectors must be allowed
back in and to do their job properly; and that if he [Saddam] refuses, or if
he makes it impossible for them to do their job as he has done in the past,
the international community will have to act."
Had Mr Blair talked the president into a period of UN action while the
military - not yet ready for invasion - increased the pressure?

October 4
We were invited to the State Department in Washington. Quite an array of US
luminaries attended the primary meeting the Colin Powell [the secretary
of state], Condoleezza Rice [the national security adviser] and Paul
Wolfowitz [the deputy defence secretary], plus people in uniform like
General Peter Pace, vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and people
from the National Security Council and the office of the vice-president ...
The following discussion was brisk, with Ms Rice and Mr Wolfowitz taking
fairly tough lines. The latter asked me if I did not believe that Iraq had
weapons of mass destruction. I replied that I had read the recent paper
which the British government had published - the one that claimed Iraq could
deploy weapons of mass destruction in 45 minutes. I thought it was a good
paper but was struck that all the way through it stated that "intelligence
suggests" or "intelligence tells". This was not evidence.

November 19
[In Baghdad] I announced that the first inspection team would arrive around
November 25 ... On the way back to New York we stopped over in London, where
I was invited to see Blair. He was kind but did not seem to expect that Iraq
would in the end declare very much. It would fall to the inspectors to
search, he feared, and there was a risk that the Iraqis would fall back into
their old cat-and-mouse game.

2003
January 17
Mohamed ElBaradei [head of the International Atomic Energy Agency] and I
went to the Elysée Palace to see President Chirac. I said the situation was
tense. Iraq's cooperation - prompt access, etc - had regard more to process
than to substance. So far there had been little genuine effort by Iraq to
solve outstanding disarmament issues. A number of intelligence services,
including the French, were convinced that weapons of mass destruction
remained in Iraq, but we had no evidence showing it. More time was needed to
bring clarity on a number of issues.
Chirac said France did not have any "serious evidence" that Iraq retained
proscribed weapons. Having met people from French intelligence and listened
to them, I registered with keen interest that Chirac did not share their
conclusions on Iraq. The intelligence services sometimes "intoxicate each
other", he said. War was now the worst solution. It would fuel anti-western
feelings in the Muslim world ... Chirac said that Saddam Hussein was "locked
up in an intellectual bunker". His entourage did not dare to tell him the
truth.
When we arrived at Heathrow, British intelligence personnel briefed us
during the ride to Chequers. There, Blair greeted us cheerfully. The prime
minister said he thought the issue of private interviews with Iraqis was
important. I wondered if he genuinely thought this was an important and
realistic way of getting information, or whether he - and the US - thought
this was a case in which the Iraqi regime might balk and might be pinned to
a violation of the resolution, a material breach?
Blair noted that he was concerned about an "elongated timeline". If there
was no specific incident and if the findings of the inspectors were of a
"lower order," there would be a dilemma. The military pressure was important
to get Iraq to cooperate - a concept with which I agreed - but the US could
not keep troops idling in the area for months. Iraq had a duty to cooperate
actively, and to reveal. A period of Iraqi reluctance could not be tolerated
.... If there were to be a continued lack of "honest cooperation", serious
decisions might have to be taken around March 1.
I was not sure whether this reflected a US/UK understanding or if the prime
minister thought that my awareness of this thinking would lead me to present
a sufficiently ominous picture to my counterparts in Baghdad a few days
later - a picture that might move the regime into more active cooperation.
It further struck me from comments he made that his awareness of the
horribly brutal, evil nature of the Baghdad regime weighed heavily in his
thinking.
Perhaps Blair and Bush, both religious men, felt strengthened in their
political determination by the feeling they were fighting evil, not only
proliferation.
In the absence of finding weapons of mass destruction in occupied Iraq, the
two leaders have [since] not surprisingly focused on the terror argument,
about which they may have felt strongly but did not much rely on before the
armed action.
In responding to Tony Blair, I did not reference the terror nature of
Saddam's regime but said simply that the risk of a long period of "insincere
cooperation" by Iraq could not be excluded. If, on the other hand, Iraq
extended full and active cooperation, progress could be made in a matter of
months.
Blair took me and Torkel Stiernlof, my personal assistant, on a tour of some
of the rooms of the mansion. He showed us a Rubens painting which Churchill
had tried to improve with some brushstrokes, a fact that was discovered only
when it was sent for restoration. It was a warm and focused meeting.

February 5
In our meetings with Tony Blair and Jack Straw, I could not detect any trace
of the critical tone about our trip to Baghdad that had come out of the
recent Bush-Blair meeting in Washington. We were all aware of the need for
Iraq urgently to do more to present any remaining weapons and/or provide
evidence accounting for them. It was too late in the day for the Iraqis to
practise brinkmanship and bazaar bargaining. I thought one reason why Blair
had invited us to stop for a few hours might have been to strengthen our
hand in Baghdad by showing that we had political support for our mission, as
well as to convey to the English public some sense of restraint before
committing to a military solution. At the luncheon that followed with
Foreign Office and intelligence people, we learned that the British were
drafting a resolution that would demand action by Iraq before a specific
date.

February 20
Using the secure telephone line in Ambassador [Sir Jeremy] Greenstock's
office, I had a long conversation with Blair about his initiative. The prime
minister said that the Americans had been disappointed with my February 14
report. It had undermined their faith in the UN process. Well, yes, I
thought, their faith that the UN process would lead to the authorisation of
the military route might have been undermined.
The Americans, he said, were attracted by a second security council
resolution, up to a point, but did not feel they needed one. There was a
risk of the UN being marginalised and the international community split. He
wanted to offer the Americans an alternative strategy, a type of ultimatum
that would include a deadline for attaining the resolution of some
disarmament issues and impose a duty on Saddam to cooperate actively.
Failure to do so would constitute a breach of the November resolution.
The conversation suggested to me that Blair was positive both to the
position that a clear change of heart was the only way Saddam could avoid
armed action and to the idea that benchmarks could be set which would show
that change of heart. He said we needed to define cooperation, perhaps by
listing categories by which it could be assessed. The Americans were talking
of taking action by the end of the month.
I said I was attracted by the concept of a timeline - an ultimatum. Indeed,
I had included it in the papers I had given to the UK ambassador. Full
cooperation, I told Blair, could be defined - or as he had just put it,
listed by categories. I mentioned, as examples of issues that had already
been resolved, interviews outside Iraq, non-interference with surveillance
flights by U-2 and other planes, and destruction of Al Samoud 2 missiles. I
further mentioned that Unmovic [the UN Monitoring Verifying and Inspection
Commission] would by the following week have a catalogue of actions required
of Iraq - the cluster document. I also said that the Iraqis had become much
more active. I was receiving a "flow of half promises". Maybe the Iraqis
were starting to panic. I said I needed more time. Condoleezza Rice had
assured me that weather was not a factor in the American planning. I said
there should be some room for compromise in the American position; they were
going ahead too fast.
Blair said the Iraqis could have sig nalled a change of heart in the
December 8 declaration, but had not done so. The US did not think Saddam
would cooperate. Nor did Blair. But, he said, we needed to keep the
international community together.
I said that I had asked Colin Powell about setting a deadline of April 15
and that he had responded this was too late. I thought it really too early.
Blair said he would pursue the ultimatum/deadline route and try to get me as
much time as possible. It should be possible to assess whether Saddam was
cooperating.
Part of my conversation with Blair touched on the role and quality of
intelligence. I said - as I had to Condoleezza Rice - that while I
appreciated the intelligence we received, I had to note that it had not been
all that compelling.
Personally, I tended to think that Iraq still concealed weapons of mass
destruction, but I needed evidence. Perhaps there were not many such weapons
in Iraq after all. Blair said that even the French and German intelligence
services were sure there were such weapons; the Egyptians too.
I said they seemed unsure, for instance, about mobile biological weapon
production facilities. I added that it would prove paradoxical and absurd if
250,000 troops were to invade Iraq and find very little.
Blair responded that the intelligence was clear that Saddam had
reconstituted his weapons of mass destruction programme. Blair clearly
relied on the intelligence and was convinced.

March 10
At 8am I had a call from a member of the British mission. He apologised for
disturbing me at such an undiplomatic hour and asked if I could come to his
mission in half an hour to take a call from his prime minister.
Blair said they needed five or six items on which the Iraqis could
demonstrate their compliance with Unmovic's work programme. Along with the
declaration by Saddam, items the Brits had been considering included
accounting for anthrax, the chemical agents VX and mustard, Scud missiles
and remotely piloted vehicles; and promising genuine cooperation with
Unmovic's plan to take scientists (along with their families) for interviews
outside Iraq. The process could not go on until April/May but perhaps it
could extend a few days beyond March 17. I sensed he found it hard to
persuade the US to go along.
The final list of benchmarks on which the British settled included the items
Blair had mentioned, with the modification that instead of accounting for
mustard gas, Iraq was to account for and surrender mobile facilities for
production of chemical and biological agents. We had looked long and in vain
for these facilities, which western intelligence agencies were very sure
existed.

March 13
In informal council consultations, Sir Jeremy Greenstock tried to win
support for the British benchmark paper. If he got "traction" on it, he
could be flexible on a number of points, even altogether dropping the whole
draft resolution, which looked like an ultimatum.

March 14
All efforts to reach an agreement in the council had collapsed. The draft
prepared by Chile and five other elected members was withdrawn, the European
Union ambassadors met without any convergence, and a meeting of the five
permanent members was cancelled. There was no traction except under the
tanks in Kuwait.

March 16
As we were sitting in my office, the telephone rang. It was [the US]
assistant secretary of state, John Wolf, in Washington, calling to advise me
that it was time to withdraw our inspectors from Iraq. No further notice
would be issued.

----
Main players

Sir Jeremy Greenstock
Career diplomat. At the time, Britain's ambassador to the UN in New York,
and at the heart of UK attempts to broker a UN resolution to legitimise the
invasion of Iraq. Now Britain's senior envoy in Baghdad

John Stern Wolf
Career diplomat. At the time, US assistant secretary of state for
non-proliferation, and a deputy to Colin Powell. Now US peace envoy in
Palestine

John Negroponte
US ambassador to the UN in New York

Paul Wolfowitz
Arch-hawk in Bush administration. Deputy defence secretary and a vociferous
enthusiast for "regime change" in Iraq

Condoleezza Rice
US national security adviser. Blix liked her: "She relied on her rational
arguments and not on the authority of her position. She is an intellectual"

Mohamed ElBaradei
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, responsible
for the hunt for Saddam's nuclear weapons.

The Guardian newspaper, London - 06 March 2004



GREENPEACE.ORG.UK STATEMENT ON IRAQ WHISTLE-BLOWER CASE:

Government faces further headache over legal case for Iraq war
Last edited: 28-02-2004

Whistle-blower case has 'huge implications' for Greenpeace protesters

Tony Blair faces further embarrassment in less than a fortnight, when
fourteen Greenpeace volunteers appear in court on charges relating to an
anti-war protest. Their case has taken on great significance since the

Crown
Prosection Service (CPS) claimed the case against Katherine Gun was

dropped
because they could not "disprove the defence of necessity" -- that is to
say, they could not counter the defence that her actions were justified to
save lives.

The so-called Marchwood Fourteen occupied tanks at the Southampton

military
port in February last year. Throughout their case the defendants - all
Greenpeace volunteers - have argued that their actions were necessary to
prevent loss of life. With the CPS now saying they could not have

disproved
such a defence in the Gun case, Greenpeace lawyers wonder how the CPS will
proceed against the fourteen.

In a further development Greenpeace has today written to the CPS asking it
for the Attorney-General's full advice to government on the legality of

the
war. Lawyers for the group claim access to the full advice is vital if the
defendants are to be allowed a proper defence. Greenpeace has given the

CPS
24 hours to produce the full advice, otherwise the group will renew its
request for the advice in court on the first day of the trial, set for

March
9th.

Greenpeace legal adviser Kate Harrison said, "The protesters thought the

war
was illegal. We think it is essential for a fair trial that they see the
full Attorney General's legal advice and the basis on which it was made."

"Since the Katharine Gun trial it would appear that the Attorney General
probably thought at the time of the protest that the war would be unlawful
and that the Foreign Office and other advisors thought so too."

The case against the fourteen will be held at Southampton Magistrate's

court
from March 9th.

Further information
Greenpeace opposed the war in Iraq and campaigned actively to prevent it.

We
joined the Stop the War coalition and made submissions to the Foreign
Affairs Select Committee on the illegality of the war, see
http://www.the-hutton-inquiry.org.uk...0219to0222.pdf

For more information contact the Greenpeace press office
on 020 7865 8255 or 07801 212967 or 07801 212968
http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/Multime...eport/6206.pdf




  #9  
Old March 7th, 2004, 12:14 PM
Oelewapper
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default UK's GCHQ Whistle-blower case also impacts Greenpeace protesters (Katherine Gun)


"Oelewapper" wrote in message
...


WAR CHIEF REVEALS LEGAL CRISIS

Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, who led Britain's forces to war in Iraq last
year, has dramatically broken his silence about the legal crisis which
engulfed the Government on the eve of battle.

In an extraordinary interview which will reignite the controversy over the
run-up to the conflict, the former Chief of Defence Staff has revealed how
Britain went to the brink of a constitutional crisis after he demanded
'unequivocal... legal top cover' before agreeing to allow British troops to
fight.

His demand for a formal assurance that a war would be legal came on 10 March
2003, even as British forces massed on the Iraq border, and the advice
finally giving the all-clear came on 15 March, only five days before
fighting began.

Speaking to The Observer, Boyce, who was made a life peer after he retired
last May, refused to rule out the possibility that he might have resigned
over the issue, which he described as a 'crunch point'.

He said his concerns were 'transmitted' to the Attorney-General Lord
Goldsmith through the Prime Minister. This disclosure adds weight to a
suggestion that Tony Blair pressed Goldsmith to change the legal advice at
the last minute.

Boyce demanded an unambiguous, one-line note from the Attorney-General
saying the war was legal to ensure military chiefs and their soldiers would
not be 'put through the mill' at the International Criminal Court.

His comments will fuel pressure on Blair to release full details of how
Goldsmith came to his decision. The fact that it still took several days
during this critical period to give Boyce his assurance provides further
evidence of uncertainty in Government about the legality of the war.

It emerged last week that an earlier draft of the advice, produced around 7
March , prevaricated on whether an invasion of Iraq was legal without a
second United Nations resolution. The Attorney-General was then 'sitting on
the fence', said a senior Government legal source. He was forced to redraft
this advice as the countdown to war continued.

The Observer has discovered that Goldsmith flew to Washington in early
February for a crisis meeting with his American counterpart, John Ashcroft,
to discuss the war's legality. Their closed meeting on 10 February last year
left the British Minister still undecided as he flew home.

In his first interview since he retired, Boyce said: 'My views were clear
and made very formally both in Cabinet and in the view I had transmitted to
the Attorney-General through Number 10. I required a piece of paper saying
it was lawful... Now if that caused them to go back saying we need our
advice tightened up, then I don't know.'

Boyce said he fully supported the ousting of Saddam Hussein and did not
believe a second UN resolution was necessary. He still believed weapons of
mass destruction in Iraq might have been 'squirrelled away or destroyed at
the last moment'.

He said: 'The justification in my own mind was that I was convinced that
Saddam had chemical and biological weapons. I knew he used them in the past
and I believed he was capable of using them in the future. Given what
happened since 9/11 it was even more likely.'

Yet he was concerned that, without the legal cover from Goldsmith, military
personnel could be prosecuted for war crimes. Boyce hinted that if Goldsmith
had not provided him with this, he might have resigned, which would have
precipitated a major political and military crisis, with 60,000 British
troops stationed in Kuwait prepared for war.

Boyce admitted the 'personal' difficulty he would have faced if such
'unequivocal' reassurance had not been forthcoming: 'It would have to be for
people around me, the Prime Minister, the Secretary of State [for Defence]
to know what sort of person I was and draw their own conclusion about what I
might have done if I didn't get what I wanted... I'm not prepared to say
what that was because this is extremely personal.'

Asked if this meant he might have resigned, he said: 'I really am not
prepared to say ... All I would say is that it was an important milestone.'

He said: 'I never said to anybody, not even to myself, "if I don't get this,
this is what I am going to do"... and I'll tell you why, because I was
reassured I would get what I asked for and I was prepared to take that at
face value. '

Legal approval was needed to protect everyone involved: 'It would have been
difficult for our people in the field, for the families of the troops and
our commanders if we had not had the reassurance that what they were about
to do was legal. Their doubts - if they had doubts - would have been
exacerbated by the fact that we were signatories to the ICC [International
Criminal Court].'

Last night, a senior Whitehall insider told The Observer that Ministers were
reluctant to disclose the Attorney-General's advice, fearing that this would
lead to 'a stream of lawsuits against the Government'.

Lawyers acting for Greenpeace activists on trial this week for alleged
criminal damage to tanks on their way to the Gulf are to call Boyce as a
witness. They claim his evidence could help prove their actions over a
potentially illegal war were justified.

Boyce told The Observer he did not want a lengthy legal paper from the
Attorney-General, but a simple yes or no if the proposed actions in Iraq
would be legal. He said: 'If I had been presented with a 30-page document
telling me the pros and cons and then a conclusion telling me it was lawful,
certainly it would be of interest but it wasn't the crunch point.

'I asked for unequivocal advice that what we were proposing to do was
lawful. Keeping it as simple as that did not allow equivocations, and what I
eventually got was what I required... something in writing that was very
short indeed. Two or three lines saying our proposed actions were lawful
under national and international law.'

Last night Downing Street denied Boyce had raised concerns about the timing
of the legal opinion before the beginning of the war. A Number 10 official
said Boyce had made a formal request for a legal opinion between 10 and 11
March and that he received the advice four days later, on 15 March.
Operations began on 20 March.

'He felt he got the advice in a timely fashion and he was perfectly content
with that,' the official said.

Antony Barnett and Martin Bright
Sunday March 7, 2004
The Observer

---

Malcolm Rifkind: It is now clear that the Prime Minister took us to war on a
false prospectus

While the guns are blazing and troops are fighting in a war, it is a
necessary and honourable principle that opposition parties give unequivocal
support to those who are risking their lives on behalf of their country. But
once the guns fall silent the Opposition has an equally strong duty to hold
the Government to account, expose its failures and inconsistencies, and
demand the fullest investigation of its errors. That is why Michael Howard
and the Shadow Cabinet have been obliged to speak on behalf of the public in
the growing demand for frankness from Tony Blair on the way in which he took
this country to war.

Of course most, though not all, Conservatives supported the war. Like the
public, they read the Government's intelligence dossier and assumed that
Blair knew what he was talking about when he described Saddam Hussein as "a
serious and current threat". But it is now clear that he took Britain into
war on a false prospectus and the Iraq war will, rightly, haunt Blair for
the rest of his premiership.

Over the next few months the focus of criticism for the Opposition should be
in three areas. The first must be the gross misuse of the intelligence
agencies to provide a character reference for the Prime Minister. There has
been much comment on the content of the "dodgy dossier" but this is
secondary to the decision to use the agencies and the Joint Intelligence
Committee to try to enhance the credibility of the Government's case for
war.

In his introduction to the September 2002 dossier, the Prime Minister
admitted that it was "unprecedented" for the Government to publish that kind
of document. I trust it will never happen again. I was in receipt of
top-secret documents for five years, both as Minister of Defence and as
Foreign Secretary. Neither I nor any previous Labour or Tory minister would
have dreamt of publishing material in the name of the Joint Intelligence
Committee.

That would have been to politicise the JIC on an issue that divided the
nation. It would have been like asking the Queen to call for war against
Iraq.

The second issue must be the 45-minute claim on which Blair only recently
made the extraordinary admission that he had been unaware that this applied
solely to battlefield weapons with a range of a few hundred yards. This is
not good enough. The claim was not buried away in the dossier. In his own
introduction, in a paragraph referring to Saddam's goal of regional
domination, Blair refers to the claim that some Iraqi WMD could be launched
in 45 minutes. If the Butler inquiry does not investigate how the Prime
Minister was as ignorant on such a vital matter as was, with more
justification, the rest of the nation, it will fail in its duty.

The third area where the Opposition and the country must demand action is on
the need for a Franks-style inquiry into the whole decision to go to war.
The case for such an inquiry is powerful. After the Falklands War such an
inquiry was set up although the nation was almost totally united and the war
had been an unqualified success. The Iraq war, in contrast, has bitterly
divided the country and its aftermath continues to involve massive loss of
life, mainly to Iraqis but also to coalition troops.

A decision to go to war is the most difficult but also the most serious
decision that any prime minister will ever take. When it is done without UN
endorsement, dividing the country and on an intelligence basis that is
subsequently found to be unjustified, to deny a full inquiry becomes
perverse.

It is also the best way of resolving the question of the Attorney General's
advice on the legality of the war. Legal opinions, whether to private
citizens or to governments, are usually private matters for good reasons. To
publish them does create an uncomfortable precedent. But we live in
uncomfortable times. If Blair concedes a full inquiry into the war, the
Attorney General's advice could be part of the evidence submitted and could
be kept confidential if need be. What the Government cannot do is refuse
both publication and a full inquiry.

Tony Blair's henchmen have taken to calling Michael Howard opportunist
because of his trenchant criticisms of both the Government's Iraq policy and
the way that the committee under Lord Butler seems likely to address its
responsibilities. Methinks it doth protest too much. Howard is doing just
what a leader of the opposition should be doing. He is reflecting the
public's concerns and holding the Government to account.

It is not just the Iraq war that will be seen as the fault line of this
government. It will be the way it politicised the intelligence agencies; the
45-minute shambles; and its refusal hold a comprehensive inquiry into its
actions. It's not exactly what we thought an ethical foreign policy would be
all about.

The Independent - 07 March 2004

Sir Malcolm Rifkind was Foreign Secretary in John Major's government and is
Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate for Kensington & Chelsea

---

GREENPEACE.ORG.UK STATEMENT ON IRAQ WHISTLE-BLOWER CASE:

Government faces further headache over legal case for Iraq war
Last edited: 28-02-2004

Whistle-blower case has 'huge implications' for Greenpeace protesters

Tony Blair faces further embarrassment in less than a fortnight, when
fourteen Greenpeace volunteers appear in court on charges relating to an
anti-war protest. Their case has taken on great significance since the

Crown
Prosection Service (CPS) claimed the case against Katherine Gun was

dropped
because they could not "disprove the defence of necessity" -- that is to
say, they could not counter the defence that her actions were justified to
save lives.

The so-called Marchwood Fourteen occupied tanks at the Southampton

military
port in February last year. Throughout their case the defendants - all
Greenpeace volunteers - have argued that their actions were necessary to
prevent loss of life. With the CPS now saying they could not have

disproved
such a defence in the Gun case, Greenpeace lawyers wonder how the CPS will
proceed against the fourteen.

In a further development Greenpeace has today written to the CPS asking it
for the Attorney-General's full advice to government on the legality of

the
war. Lawyers for the group claim access to the full advice is vital if the
defendants are to be allowed a proper defence. Greenpeace has given the

CPS
24 hours to produce the full advice, otherwise the group will renew its
request for the advice in court on the first day of the trial, set for

March
9th.

Greenpeace legal adviser Kate Harrison said, "The protesters thought the

war
was illegal. We think it is essential for a fair trial that they see the
full Attorney General's legal advice and the basis on which it was made."

"Since the Katharine Gun trial it would appear that the Attorney General
probably thought at the time of the protest that the war would be unlawful
and that the Foreign Office and other advisors thought so too."

The case against the fourteen will be held at Southampton Magistrate's

court
from March 9th.

Further information
Greenpeace opposed the war in Iraq and campaigned actively to prevent it.

We
joined the Stop the War coalition and made submissions to the Foreign
Affairs Select Committee on the illegality of the war, see
http://www.the-hutton-inquiry.org.uk...0219to0222.pdf

For more information contact the Greenpeace press office
on 020 7865 8255 or 07801 212967 or 07801 212968
http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/Multime...eport/6206.pdf




  #10  
Old March 8th, 2004, 02:58 AM
Oelewapper
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default UK's GCHQ Whistle-blower case also impacts Greenpeace protesters (Katherine Gun)


"Oelewapper" wrote in message
...


Scientist 'gagged' by No 10 after warning of global warming threat

Downing Street tried to muzzle the Government's top scientific adviser after
he warned that global warming was a more serious threat than international
terrorism.

Ivan Rogers, Mr Blair's principal private secretary, told Sir David King,
the Prime Minister's chief scientist, to limit his contact with the media
after he made outspoken comments about President George Bush's policy on
climate change.

In January, Sir David wrote a scathing article in the American journal
Science attacking Washington for failing to take climate change seriously.
"In my view, climate change is the most severe problem we are facing today,
more serious even than the threat of terrorism," he wrote.

Support for Sir David's view came yesterday from Hans Blix, the former
United Nations chief weapons inspector, who said the environment was at
least as important a threat as global terrorism. He told BBC1's Breakfast
with Frost: "I think we still overestimate the danger of terror. There are
other things that are of equal, if not greater, magnitude, like the
environmental global risks."

Since Sir David's article in Science was published, No 10 has tried to limit
the damage to Anglo-American relations by reining in the Prime Minister's
chief scientist.

In a leaked memo, Mr Rogers ordered Sir David - a Cambridge University
chemist who offers independent advice to ministers - to decline any
interview requests from British and American newspapers and BBC Radio 4's
Today .

"To accept such bids runs the risk of turning the debate into a sterile
argument about whether or not climate change is a greater risk," Mr Rogers
said in the memo, which was sent to Sir David's office in February. "This
sort of discussion does not help us achieve our wider policy aims ahead of
our G8 presidency [next year]." The move will be seized on by critics of Mr
Blair's stance over the Iraq war as further evidence that he is too
subservient to the Bush administration. It will also be seen as an attempt
to bolster the Prime Minister's case for pre-emptive strikes to combat the
threat of international terrorism, which he outlined in a speech on Friday.

Sir David, who is highly regarded by Mr Blair, has been primed with a list
of 136 mock questions that the media could ask if they were able to get
access to him, and the suggested answers he should be prepared to give. One
question asks: "How do the number of deaths caused by climate change and
terrorism compare?" The stated answer that Sir David is expected to give
says: "The value of any comparison would be highly questionable - we are
talking about threats that are intrinsically different."

If Sir David were to find himself pushed to decide whether terrorism or
climate change was the greater threat, he was supposed to answer: "Both are
serious and immediate problems for the world today." But this was not what
Sir David said on the Today programme on 9 January when the Science article
was published.

Asked to explain how he had come to the conclusion that global warming was
more serious than terrorism, Sir David replied that his equation was "based
on the number of fatalities that have already occurred" - implying that
global warming has already killed more people than terrorism.

The leaked memo came to light after a computer disk was discovered by an
American freelance journalist, Mike Martin, at the annual meeting of the
American Association for the Advancement of Science in Seattle, where Sir
David gave a lecture.

"The disk was lying on the top of a computer in the press room and I popped
it into the machine to see what was on it," said Mr Martin, whose own
article is published on the ScienceNow website, an online service operated
by Science.

Mr Rogers' memo, written a few days before the Seattle conference, was aimed
at limiting his exposure to questions from US and British media. While in
Seattle, Sir David sat on a panel of scientists at one carefully
stage-managed press conference, but his press office said he was too busy to
give interviews afterwards to journalists.

Lucy Brunt-Jenner, Sir David's press officer, said she could not comment on
internal government documents but said it would be wrong to suggest that Sir
David was in any way muzzled. "Sir David had a press conference and he was
available to the media at three times," Ms Brunt-Jenner said.

But Norman Baker, the Liberal Democrats' environment spokesman, said: "It's
a clear attempt by the Prime Minister to keep Sir David quiet. The
Government's chief scientist is the nation's chief scientist and I'd expect
him to say what he thinks."

By Steve Connor and Andrew Grice
The Independent, London - 08 March 2004

---

How chief scientist attracted heat from No 10

When Sir David King, Tony Blair's chief scientist, wrote a guest editorial
for the journal Science there was little doubt that his message was directed
at the US government and in particular the advisers behind President George
Bush who led America out of the Kyoto agreement to limit global warming.

The article, published on 9 January, was a frank denunciation of American
policy on climate change, which Sir David said was more serious than
international terrorism in terms of the potential loss of human life and
damage to the environment.

It is rare for a British civil servant to be outspoken about the policy of a
friendly government but Sir David, a scientist at Cambridge University,
comes from a culture of academic freedom; a culture at odds with the
Whitehall machinery of official secrets.

In his article, Sir David did not spell out why he thought climate change
was more serious than terrorism but it was clear that he was concerned about
the deaths that global warming could cause in the future and, indeed, may
have already caused.

He said: "Last year, Europe experienced an unprecedented heatwave; France,
alone, bearing around 15,000 excess or premature fatalities as a
consequence. Although this was clearly an extreme event, when average
temperatures are rising, extreme temperature events become more frequent and
more serious.

"As a consequence of continued warming, millions more people around the
world may in future be exposed to the risk of hunger, drought, flooding, and
debilitating diseases such as malaria.

"Poor people in developing countries are likely to be most vulnerable. For
instance, by 2080, if we assume continued growth rates in consumption of
fossil fuels, the numbers of additional people exposed to frequent flooding
in river delta areas ... and from coastline cities and villages ... would be
counted in hundreds of millions assuming no adaptation measures were
implemented."

America, the world's greatest polluter, produces 20 per cent of the global
emissions of greenhouse gases but accounts for 4 per cent of the world's
population. Sir David said it should not shrink from its responsibilities to
the international community. "As the world's only remaining superpower, the
United States is accustomed to leading internationally co-ordinated action.
But, at present, the US Government is failing to take up the challenge of
global warming.

"The Bush administration's current strategy relies largely on market-based
incentives and voluntary actions ... But the market cannot decide that
mitigation is necessary, nor can it establish the basic international
framework in which all actors can take their place."

Sir David's comparison of the dangers of climate change to global terrorism
irked Downing Street. When Mr Blair was questioned on 3 February about Sir
David's comments before a House of Commons committee, he said that, while
terrorism and climate change were both of "critical urgency, I think you can
get into a rather cerebral debate about which is more important than the
other".

Seven days later, Ivan Rogers, the Prime Minister's principal private
secretary, wrote to Sir David telling him to avoid media interviews and to
tone down his previous pronunciation that action on climate change was more
important than the war on terrorism.

By Steve Connor, Science Editor
The Independent, London - 08 March 2004


GREENPEACE.ORG.UK STATEMENT ON IRAQ WHISTLE-BLOWER CASE:

Government faces further headache over legal case for Iraq war
Last edited: 28-02-2004

Whistle-blower case has 'huge implications' for Greenpeace protesters

Tony Blair faces further embarrassment in less than a fortnight, when
fourteen Greenpeace volunteers appear in court on charges relating to an
anti-war protest. Their case has taken on great significance since the

Crown
Prosection Service (CPS) claimed the case against Katherine Gun was

dropped
because they could not "disprove the defence of necessity" -- that is to
say, they could not counter the defence that her actions were justified to
save lives.

The so-called Marchwood Fourteen occupied tanks at the Southampton

military
port in February last year. Throughout their case the defendants - all
Greenpeace volunteers - have argued that their actions were necessary to
prevent loss of life. With the CPS now saying they could not have

disproved
such a defence in the Gun case, Greenpeace lawyers wonder how the CPS will
proceed against the fourteen.

In a further development Greenpeace has today written to the CPS asking it
for the Attorney-General's full advice to government on the legality of

the
war. Lawyers for the group claim access to the full advice is vital if the
defendants are to be allowed a proper defence. Greenpeace has given the

CPS
24 hours to produce the full advice, otherwise the group will renew its
request for the advice in court on the first day of the trial, set for

March
9th.

Greenpeace legal adviser Kate Harrison said, "The protesters thought the

war
was illegal. We think it is essential for a fair trial that they see the
full Attorney General's legal advice and the basis on which it was made."

"Since the Katharine Gun trial it would appear that the Attorney General
probably thought at the time of the protest that the war would be unlawful
and that the Foreign Office and other advisors thought so too."

The case against the fourteen will be held at Southampton Magistrate's

court
from March 9th.

Further information
Greenpeace opposed the war in Iraq and campaigned actively to prevent it.

We
joined the Stop the War coalition and made submissions to the Foreign
Affairs Select Committee on the illegality of the war, see
http://www.the-hutton-inquiry.org.uk...0219to0222.pdf

For more information contact the Greenpeace press office
on 020 7865 8255 or 07801 212967 or 07801 212968
http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/Multime...eport/6206.pdf




 




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