Good news : UK : airman challenges war legality


Richard Moore

Date: Fri, 4 Nov 2005 20:53:37 -0800
To: •••@••.•••
Subject: Justice International - Empire Burlesque:  A Question of Law: 
            "Refusenik" Shakes British War Resolve 
From: "•••@••.•••" <•••@••.•••>

Posted by: lex on Friday, November 04, 2005
- 08:47 PM

Empire Burlesque - Chris Floyd - Last week, a legal
thunderbolt struck at the heart of the grubby conspiracy
that led the United States and Britain into an illegal war
of aggression against Iraq. But this searing blow didn't
fall in Washington, where a media frenzy raged over a
White House indictment, but in the deeps of southern
England, in a military courtroom, where a lone soldier
stood against the full force of the great war-crime
enterprise, armed only with a single, rusty, obsolete
weapon: the law.

The Philosopher's Stone
Chris Floyd

Empire Burlesque
03 November 2005  

[Published in Nov. 4 edition of The Moscow Times]

While Potomac courtiers and town criers were reading the
entrails of the cooked goose of Scooter Libby -- the first
Bushist honcho caught in the slow-grinding gears of
special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's continuing
investigation -- in Wiltshire, Flight Lieutenant Malcolm
Kendall-Smith faced a court martial after declaring that
the Iraq war was illegal and refusing to return for his
third tour of duty there, the Guardian reports.

He has been charged with four counts of "disobeying a
lawful command." But Kendall-Smith, a decorated medical
officer in the Royal Air Force, says that his study of the
recently-emerged evidence about the lies, distortions and
manipulations used to "justify" the invasion has convinced
him that both the war and the occupation are "manifestly
illegal." Thus any order arising from this criminal action
is itself an "unlawful command," the Sunday Times reports.
In fact, the RAF's own manual of law compels him to refuse
such illegal orders, Kendall-Smith insists.

The flight lieutenant is no ordinary war protestor, and no
shirker of combat - unlike, say, the pair of prissy
cowards at the head of the Anglo-American "coalition."
Kendall-Smith, who has dual New Zealand-British
citizenship -- and dual university degrees in medicine and
Kantian moral philosophy -- has served three tours at the
front in Afghanistan and Iraq. He is not claiming any
conscientious objections against war in general, nor do
religious scruples play any part in his stance. It is
based solely on the law.

Central to his case are the sinister backroom legal
dealings between Washington and London in the last days
before the invasion. Less than two weeks before the
initial "Shock and Awe" bombings began slaughtering
civilians across Iraq, Lord Goldsmith, the UK's attorney
general, gave Prime Minister Tony Blair a detailed
briefing full of doubts and equivocations about the
legality of the coming war, adding that Britain's
participation in an attack unsanctioned by the UN would
"likely" lead to "close scrutiny" by the International
Criminal Court for potential war crimes charges, the
Observer reports.

But Blair and Goldsmith withheld this report from
Parliament, the Cabinet and British military brass, who
were demanding a clear-cut legal sanction for the
impending action. Then, just three days before the
bloodletting began, Goldsmith suddenly produced another
paper, this time for public consumption: a brief, clear,
unequivocal statement that the invasion would be legal.
This statement was almost certainly crafted in Washington,
where Goldsmith had recently been "tutored" by the Bush
gang's consiglieres, including the legal advisers to Colin
Powell, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice.

Leading this pack of war-baying legal beagles was George
W. Bush's top counsel, Alberto Gonzales, who had overseen
the White House's own efforts to weasel out of potential
war crimes charges by declaring -- without any basis in
Anglo-American jurisprudence or the U.S. Constitution --
that Bush was not bound by any law whatsoever in any
military action he undertook: a blank check for
aggression, murder and torture that Bush has gleefully
cashed over and over. Alberto and the boys leaned hard on
Goldsmith, who finally caved in and replicated the
Americans' contorted and specious legal arguments for
launching the attack.

Of course, Kendall-Smith knew none of this during his
first two tours in Iraq: Goldsmith's Bush-induced backflip
was only divulged in April 2005. Nor did he know then of
the "Downing Street Memos," the "smoking gun" minutes that
record Blair's inner circle dutifully lining up behind
Bush's hellbent drive for war - as far back as 2002 - and
their conspiracy with the Bush gang to manipulate their
countries into war. The memos -- which emerged in May 2005
and have never been denied or repudiated by the UK
government -- show Blair's slavish acquiescence in Bush's
criminal scheme to "fix the facts and the intelligence
around the policy" of unprovoked military aggression.
Confronted with this newly revealed evidence -- and the
revelations about the mountain of doubts and caveats
expressed by American intelligence before the invasion but
deliberately ignored by the Bushist war party --
Kendall-Smith took the only honorable course for a soldier
who has been duped into serving an evi! l cause.

The moral rigor of his defiance has sent tremors through
the British military establishment, already shaken by the
strange, unexplained shooting deaths of two military
inspectors investigating atrocity allegations in Iraq, the
Guardian reports. British brass are panicky about the
Goldsmith revelations; indeed, the leader of the UK
invasion force, Admiral Michael Boyce, said he now
believes the British military does not have "the legal
cover necessary to avoid prosecution for war crimes," the
Observer reports. Boyce added that if he and his officers
are eventually put on trial for such crimes, he'll make
sure that Blair and Goldsmith are in the dock beside them.

Bush, Blair and their minions have committed a monstrous
crime, and they know it -- hence all the convolutions,
before the war and after, to inoculate themselves from
prosecution. But with Kendall-Smith and Patrick
Fitzgerald, the long-moribund figure of the law is
re-awakening. It's weak, it's bleary, it certainly might
fail. But now the conspirators will have to live cowering
in its shadow for the rest of their days. .

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Chris Cook, Senior Editor
PEJ News - Peace, Earth & Justice News

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