Friday, October 15, 2004

Blair warned a year before that Iraq regime change would be illegal

Now it's out. Blair knew all along that invading Iraq to take out Saddam would be illegal and was advised he needed to invent a legal reason.

Cape Times

London: Secret government documents show that Tony Blair was warned by his own advisers a year before going to war that there was no growing threat from Saddam Hussein and that invading Iraq would be illegal.

Confidential papers, including a secret memo from Jack Straw to the prime minister, say that Iraq had not "stepped up" its weapons programmes and that invading Iraq would be "legally very difficult".

They advised that the threat from Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programme should be emphasised to help make the legal case for war even though intelligence showed "the pace of Saddam Hussein's WMD programme" had not speeded up. . . .

"A legal justification for invasion would be needed. Subject to Law Officers' advice, none currently exists," says a paper marked Secret UK Eyes Only, prepared by Cabinet Office experts on March 8. "This makes moving quickly to invade legally very difficult." . . .

The secret papers also show that law officers warned a year before Britain went to war that it was up to the UN Security Council to assess whether Saddam Hussein had breached UN resolutions and that this was not a judgment that could be made by an individual state such as Britain or the US.

But the prime minister was also warned repeatedly that regime change would be illegal under international law and that, a year before the Iraq war, there were no legal grounds for invading Iraq at all. . . .