March 24th, 2005


Tony Blair vs. the truth.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair came under renewed opposition today after the resignation letter of a government legal advisor became public, making it clear that advice was given to Mr. Blair that launching a war on Iraq was, infact, illegal.

The letter was released under the Freedom of Information Act, but a key section was blacked out by the government. Fortunately, Britain's Channel Four released that information to the public. The blacked out section reads as follows:

"My views (on the illegality of a war with Iraq) accord with the advice that has been given consistently in this Office before and after the adoption of UN security council resolution 1441 and with what the Attorney General gave us to understand was his view prior to his letter of 7 March."

As she says in the letter...

"I cannot in conscience go along with advice - within the Office or to the public or Parliament - which asserts the legitimacy of military action without such a resolution, particularly since an unlawful use of force on such a scale amounts to the crime of aggression; nor can I agree with such action in circumstances which are so detrimental to the international order and the rule of law."

Basically, the letter establishes that the advice given to the government regarding the legality of the war was that it was illegal without a new UN resolution. Infact, British Attorney General Lord Goldsmith told Blair on March 7th 2003 that it would be legally far safer to have a second resolution. Goldsmith didn't, however, tell the British Parliament about his concerns during his speech on March 17th. It is further damaging to the Blair government that the section blacked out in the initial release of this document is the same section which damages his government so severely, establishing that Lord Goldsmith and the legal advisors to the Blair government had clearly established that such a war would be illegal.

There are only three possible conclusions -- either Ms. Wilmshurst lied in her resignation letter, Goldsmith was leaned on by Blair, or Blair deceived Goldsmith about the rationale for war by lying about the unequivocable nature of the evidence. Both Blair and Goldsmith are in hot water however... Goldsmith for violating the ethical guidelines of his profession, and Blair for being dishonest, a poor representative of his party, and -- by strict definition -- a criminal.

As for Ms. Wilmshurst, what a brave, ethical move she made. She did what a lawyer should do, essentially -- she didn't knowingly support a client who expressed intent to commit a crime, nor did she violate her client's privacy by going public herself. Her actions clearly point out the problems inherent in governments recieving self-justifying, partisan legal advice that allow them to evade the rule of law.

Let us hope that one day, justice is served.