Sir Michael Wood Damns Blair, Straw and Croney Goldsmith 68

Sir Michael Wood confirmed today that the consistent advice from the FCO’s Legal Advisers was that it was illegal in international law to invade Iraq without a second Security Council Resolution following UNSCR 1441. He also made plain that he consistently over two years advised both Blair and Straw direct that the war would be illegal.

Everything Sir Michael Wood said was 100% consistent with my contention that Straw was lying throughout his testimony on the key point of whether it was believed in the FCO that UNSCR 1441 made the war legal. As I stated, every one of the scores of telegrams of instructions to posts between UNSCR 1441 and just before the March invasion clearly was predicated on a second resolution being necessary, and we were telling security council members in asking them to vote for UNSCR 1441 that it conained “No automatic triggers”. Michael Wood confirmed that too.

Yesterday I wrote this querying why a political appointee mate of Blair can overrule our foremost expert on international law:

A Politician Should Not Rule on the Legality of War

Tomorrow morning, Sir Michael Wood, former Foreign and Commonwealth Office Legal Adviser, gives evidence to the Chilcott Inquiry. To my mind, this is the most important evidence to be given so far. Michael’s then deputy, Elizabeth Wilmshurst, who resigned over the war of aggression, will give evidence in the afternoon, I believe speaking in public for the first time since her resignation.

The Legal Adviser at the Foreign Office is a very grand person indeed. You should understand it is a full time position. The FCO has a big department, named Legal Advisers. It is staffed by the cream of public international lawyers. There are assistant and deputy legal advisers,serving in the FCO in London and sometimes being posted to large Embassies abroad. Then there is THE Legal Adviser, who is a very grand personage indeed, with a palatial office overlooking St James’ Park.

I have no doubt at all that both Wood and Wilmshurst will rebuke Starw’s appalling lie that UNSCR 1441 was considered sufficient to justify an invasion, at the time that it was adopted. Wilmshurst’s resignation letter made it perfectly plain that was not true.

But the question is, whether the Committee will manage to hide that truth by leading the lawyers away from it in their questioning. I have previously described their method as obscuring all the key points in a comfortable fog of chuminess. Expect every possible use of the lateral tangent, the chairman’s intervention and the friendly assumption.

I am very sorry that until now Sir Michael Wood has perhaps been best known to a wider public as the man that the FCO wheeled in to tell me that it was perfectly legal to obtain intelligence from torture, as long as somebody else did the torture.

As I explain in Murder in Samarkand I was shocked by this because I knew Michael and he is a nice man. Even though he made a point in the meeting of indicating moral disapproval of a policy of using torture, it seems to me there should be a limit to which a lawyer is prepared to advise what the government can get away with.

I am hoping that Michael will redeem himself in the eyes of decent people tomorrow, and I believe that he will.

One of the most important structural questions that the Chilcott Inquiry must ask, is this:

Why does the Attorney General have the power to overrule the Legal Adviser on a point of international law?

The answer is not that the Attorney General has a democratic mandate. Nobody has ever voted for Lord Goldsmith. His only qualification was that he was a buddy of Tony and Cherie Blair.

Here is a select list of some of Sir Michael Wood’s internationally accepted publications on international law:

“The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons, including Diplomatic Agents”, 23 International and Comparative Law Quarterly (1974)

“The European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism”, 1 Yearbook of European Law (1981)

“The Legal Status of Berlin” (1987, with I. D. Hendry)

“Participation of Former Yugoslav States in the United Nations and in Multilateral Treaties”, 1 Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law (1997)

“The Interpretation of Security Council Resolutions”, 2 Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law (1998)

“International Seabed Authority: the First Four Years”, 3 Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law (1999)

“Northern and Western European Maritime Boundaries”, in: Colson/Smith, International Maritime Boundaries, Vol. V (2005)

“Towards New Circumstances in which the Use of Force may be Authorized? The Cases of Humanitarian Intervention, Counter-terrorism, and Weapons of Mass Destruction”, in: The Security Council and the Use of Force: Theory and Reality – A Need for Change? (eds. N. Blokker/N. Schrijver, 2005)

“The United Kingdom’s Acceptance of the Compulsory Jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice”, in: Festskrift til Carl August Fleischer (eds. O Fauchald/H Jakhelln/A Syse, 2006)

“N?cessit? et l?gitime d?fense dans la lutte contre le terrorisme: quelle est la pertinence de l’affaire de la Caroline aujourd’hui?”, in: La n?cessit? en droit international Soci?t? fran?aise pour le droit international, Colloque de Grenoble, 2006

“The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and General International Law”, 22 International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law (2007)

“The Selection of Candidates for International Judicial Office: Recent Practice”, in: Law of the Sea, Environmental Law and Settlement of Disputes: Liber Amicorum Judge Thomas A. Mensah (eds. T M Ndiaye/R Wolfrum, 2007)

Three lectures on “The UN Security Council and International Law” (2006), available on the website of the Lauterpacht Centre for Intenrational Law, University of Cambridge. An expanded version of these lectures will be published in due course by Cambridge University Press as a book within the Hersch Lauterpacht Memorial Lectures series

“The Law on the Use of Force: Current Challenges”, 11 Singapore Yearbook of International Law (2007)

“The Security Council and International Criminal Law”, 5 Romanian Journal of International Law/Revista Rom?na de Drept International (2007)

“The International Seabed Authority: Fifth to Twelfth Sessions (1999-2006)”, 11 Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law (2007)

“The General Assembly and the International Law Commission: What Happens to the Commission’s Work and Why?”, in: I Buffard, J Crawford, A Pellet, S Wittich (eds.), International Law Between Universalism and Fragmentation. Festschrift in Honour of Gerhard Hafner (2008)

“The Principle of Non-Intervention” (with Maziar Jamnejad), 29 Leiden Journal of International Law (2009)

“Detention during International Military Operations: Article 103 of the Charter and the Al-Jedda case”, 47 Revue de Droit Militaire et de Droit de la Guerre/The Military Law and the Law of War Review (2009)

Entries in R Wolfrum (ed.), Max Planck “Encyclopedia of Public International Law” (online edition 2008), including:

Committee of Legal Advisers on Public International Law (CAHDI) International Courts and Tribunals, Discontinuance of Cases Final Act International Seabed Authority Legal Advisers Macedonia Peace, Breach of State Practice Teachings of the Most Highly Qualified Publicists United Nations Administrative Tribunal, Applications for Review (Advisory Opinions) United Nations Charter, Enemy State Clauses United Nations Security Council Use of Force, Prohibition of Threat

Here is the complete list of all of Lord Goldsmith’s internationally accepted publications on international law


Which is why the Legal Adviser is paid more than the Attorney General.

So the government spends a very great deal of public money on employing a whole cadre of the best public international lawyers in the world, but takes its legal advice on matters of war and peace from a shifty barrister mate of Tony Blair.

The decision whether to go to war is a political question. But the legal advice should come from the most qualified source, not the source most likely to agree with the Prime Minister.

Even that commonsense observation is going to be much too radical for the stuffed Establishment shirts of the Chilcott Committee.

Last week I published this on Straw’s testimony. Michael Wood’s testimony absolutely confirms that I was telling the truth and Straw was lying:

Jack Straw’s Biggest Lie

I was a British Ambassador at the time of the events covered by the Iraq Inquiry. I know many of the witnesses and a great deal of the background. I can therefore see right through the smooth presentation. Jack Straw was the smoothest of all – but he told lie after lie.

Straw’s biggest and most important lie goes right to the heart of the question of whether the war was legal. Did UN Security Council Resolution 1441 provide a legal basis for the invasion, or would a second resolution specifically authorising military action have been required? The UK certainly put a massive amount of diplomatic effort into obtaining a second resolution.

Here is Straw’s argument that the invasion was legal without a second resolution:

SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: Then you make a point very strongly in your statement and this has been confirmed by Sir Jeremy Greenstock that you did not believe that military action thereafter, in the event of noncompliance, would depend on a second resolution. It would be desirable but it wasn’t dependent on that. We are not, today, going into the legal arguments on that. Sir Jeremy’s basic contention was that he had got the Americans and British into a comparable position as before Desert Fox in December 1998. So I think that’s quite important, that your understanding, at least of the position, was that it wasn’t absolutely essential to have a second resolution.

RT HON JACK STRAW: I was not in any doubt about that and neither was Jeremy Greenstock, and for very good reasons, which is that there had been talk by the French and Germans of a draft which would have required a second resolution, but they never tabled it. We tabled a draft, which, as I set out in this memorandum, and which Sir Jeremy Greenstock confirms in his memorandum, was aimed to be selfcontained, in the sense that, if very important conditions were met through failures by the Saddam regime, that of itself would provide sufficient authority for military action, and no doubt the next time we will get into the wording of the resolution, which, as I say in this memorandum, I can virtually recite in my sleep, but there are reasons why in OP12 we use the language that we do, and serious consequences are mentioned in OP13 and so on. For sure, we wanted a second resolution after that and well, again, I set out

SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: We will come on to that in a moment.

As Ambassador in an Islamic country, I was copied all or nearly all of the telegrams of instruction on the diplomatic efforts to secure a second resolution. I can tell you these facts as an eye-witness.

Straw argues that the proof that no second resolution was needed is that

I was not in any doubt about that and neither was Jeremy Greenstock, and for very good reasons, which is that there had been talk by the French and Germans of a draft which would have required a second resolution, but they never tabled it.

But they did not table it because we gave assurances to the French and Germans (and Russians and Chinese) that our draft of UNSCR 1441 did not authorise military action. The instructions were to inform those governments that UNSCR 1441 contained “no automatic trigger” which would lead to military action. I remember the phrase precisely “no automatic trigger”. Rod Lyne on the committee must remember it too, because he was one of the people, as Ambassador in Moscow, instructed to give that message.

It is the most perverse of lies by Straw to argue that the fact that the Germans and French did not table their draft proved that 1441 authorised war, when we had told them not to table their draft because 1441 did not authorise war.

I read with enormous care and in real time every single word of the scores of telegrams on the effort to secure the second resolution. Not one word gave any hint at all that a second resolution might not be necessary to authorise war. There was absolutely no mention in telegrams to Embassies of the notion that UNSCR 1441 was a sufficient basis for war, and no second resolution needed, until many weeks after 1441 was passed, just before the invasion.


In response to New Labour hacks questioning my word, I can offer you irrefutable evidence to back up my own evidence that all the FCO material at the time of the adoption of UNSCR 1441 and for weeks afterwards right up until March, took the view that UNSCR 1441 did not provide legal grounds for the invasion.

It is the resignation letter of Deputy FCO Legal Adviser Elizabeth Wilmshurst in which she stated:

“I cannot agree that it is lawful to use force against Iraq without a second Security Council resolution to revive the authorisation given in SCR 678. I do not need to set out my reasoning; you are aware of it.

My views 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. (The view expressed in that letter has of course changed again into what is now the official line.) ”

All FCO instructions in the period to which I refer would have had to be in line with the view expressed by FCO legal advisers at that time. That view was precisely as I have stated it above.

This part of Straw’s evidence is therefore a huge lie.

There were numerous other minor lies from Straw. It is completely untrue that we had persuaded the three African security council members to support a second resolution authorising war. Baroness’ Amos mission to Francophone states we had ignored for years was a miserable failure. That was clear from reporting telegrams from posts.

It’s a small point, but Straw’s lie that upset me most personally was:

I don’t in the least mind people disagreeing with me, indeed I encourage it, but I do ask them to be loyal, because, otherwise, you can’t operate any kind of governmental system.

I disagreed with Straw, over the issue of the use of torture to gain intelligence in the “War on Terror”. I was very loyal. I kep my disagreement entirely internal and argued it in top secret telegrams and internal policy meetings. As a result of my disagreeing, Straw attempted to have me framed on false charges, destroying my health in the process and leaking false accusations to the tabloids to ruin my reputation too. When my name was finally cleared, they had to give me six year’s salary to settle.

I defy anyone to read Murder in Samarkand and say Straw is not a liar.

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68 thoughts on “Sir Michael Wood Damns Blair, Straw and Croney Goldsmith

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  • Apostate

    Ed Teague,one of the finest bloggers on the block until is untimely death from cancer last year,always prefaced his references to Straw with the phrase:WAR CRIMINAL.

    If there is a God,Teague will be bathing in the holy waters of sweet vindication today.How right he was.

    Teague’s blog,Postman Patel,took its name from Straw’s tendency to rely on an electoral machine run by a man called Patel.Said Patel had the uncanny knack of getting muslim heads of household in Blackburn to make sure that every(I mean-every)all their families voted for Straw.

    Said fixer,Patel was knighted for his services to Jack Straw….sorry,I mean to fair elections!

    Those on this blog with unrealistic expectations about British “democracy” and politicians of Straw’s ilk need to wake up.Even mainstream political commentators like Peter Oborn,before he did the programme on the British Israeli Lobby,had fingered Straw,Mandelson,and Denis(ADL)MacShane as being some of the biggest liars in politics.

    The power of the Israeli Lobby in British and American politics is conveniently for its practitioners and beneficiaries completely underestimated.When commentary on issues of war and foreign policy fail to factor in the role of the Lobby they have usually caved as the left is especially prone to do to Lobby pressure proscriptions against “anti-semitism”.

    Let’s de-Zionize the “gamer” schmucks on this site-Larry,angri,technicoler et al- while we’re about it!

  • Craig

    It has become plain for some weeks that there is a concerted effort to by angrysoba, larryfromstlouis and others to divert every thread into a discussion of 9/11. I am deleting any comment about 9/11 by anyone, unless on a post about 9/11 – and I have no plans for one of those.

  • Clark

    Hi Technicolour,

    yes, I had a little difficulty wording the comment above, but it was definately me! Actually, I haven’t been gone; I’ve been reading all the posts and comments, but felt had nothing to add.

    I hope you’re feeling better.

  • Steelback

    Where are those Hasbara divvies tonight?

    Great post,Apostate.

    Just cringe at the list of hacks who will probably be justifying Straw’s deceptions in the media tomorrow.

    Melanie (Very Loony Zio Party)Phillips

    David (Agressive Zio-War Party)Aaronobitch

    John (Lobby brown-noser)Rentool

    It’s pretty obvious to anyone familiar with the Protocols that this is the script Straw,Mandelson,Goldsmith and MacShane(aka.Cohen)are following.

    1:8 Politics have nothing in common with morals…He who wants to rule must have recourse to cunning and hypocrisy(in spades preferably).The great human qualities of sincerity and honesty become vices in politics.

    This is the Straw/Mandelson understanding of the vocation of politics.Truth is an impostor to such people-wherever it raises its head it must be denied and extinguished.

    Those still in the vice-like grip of Frankfurt School conditioning will insist that the Protocols are an “anti-semitic forgery” from which we should all shrink in terror!

    Bollocks!The Protocols explain the game-plan of former communists and trots like Straw and Mandelson to the letter.

    If you can’t stomach the Protocols,Sir Arthur Ponsonby’s recipe for WW1 propaganda might be included in your further research.

    “Facts must be distorted,relevant circumstances concealed,and a picture painted which by its crude colouring will persuade the ignorant people(he means angri,Larry et al) that their government is blameless and that the indisputable wickedness of the enemy has been proven beyond question.”

    Straw and the war mongers seem to have supplemented their Protocol game-plan with Ponsonby’s WW1 prescriptions above.

    The “indisputable wickedness” of our “enemies” has been less proven in the latest take-down of Iraq than that of our leaders and their Lobby puppeteers in Whitehall.

  • Sam

    And now the Met Police have stopped Stop the War from exercising their democratic right to peacefully protest outside the QEII conference centre in London whenMr Blair gives his evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry.

    The Met told STW that they had been ‘trying’ to facilitate the protest. Reading between the web of entangled lines, the police (ever ready to do the gvt’s bidding) have fallen to their political masters.Yet again.

    You just wonder when the police are actually ever again going to uphold the laws of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

    Here’s more from STW: &

    And, on a tangent though part of a piece, just one word for St Louis Larry (who appears to believe that ad hominem attacks somehow prove his opinions right) …’Northwoods’.

  • Larry from St. Louis

    Craig, so I see that you’ve passed on the merits of Apostate’s statements about the Protocols.

    I would have thought you would have deleted such vile references at least for the sake of appearances, but you’re not even concerned with that.

    It’s going to be interesting to see what you choose to delete and what you choose to keep.

  • arsalan

    Craig, so AngryLArry can claim a victory by removing one of the topics from your board that they are here to remove?

    You do know they/he is only here to cause problems don’t you?

    Clark what I meant was the law is just some words on some bits of paper. People who are above the law have nothing to fear by going against it. The only reason Iraq and Afghanistan were invaded were they didn’t have the power to resist the invasion. having the power to fight back does not mean constant war. It would mean a constant peace because no one will gain from war.

  • arsalan

    just delete all of angrylarry’s post. they never say anothing of use here anyway.

    Larry can go to Angry’s blog and there they can slag us all as much as they like.

  • Craig


    I don’t read all this stuff! Just did a search on 9/11 and 911.

    You know very well you have been deliberately derailing all the threads onto 9/11. You then pot that this is a site for “truthers” so nobody should take the main posts seriously.

    It would in a sense be more honest if you yourself believed in some weird theory and were expounding it, rather than attempting to goad a fringe into postulating such theories so you can mock them.

    I would much rather people did not post nonsense about the Protocols of Zion, Jewish plots in the Federal Bank, Freemasons and the Templars. You would much rather they did, so you can mock. You are the weird one, not me.

  • technicikour

    i don’t get this, arsalan. why are you calling for people to be deleted?


    how did your salmon go?

  • Jon

    @merkin. I guess that would be anticant – if so, tell him his input is missed. It’s still a madhouse in here, but the fringe is easily ignored 😉

  • tungsten

    There appears to be some confusion about the Protocols.

    It has been suggested that they are in fact the minutes of a B’nai B’rith meeting.

    It seems highly likely therefore that they are a reflection of the modus operandi of the early Israeli Lobby.

    Who are B’nai B’rith?

    An exclusively Jewish fringe freemasonic group intimately connected to ADL.B’nai is big in Chicago along with the Moshepoche network responsible for putting Barack (from Hebrew,Baruch meaning “blessed”)Obama where he is today.

    Who are the moshepoche?

    Ask Hilary Clinton or Rahm Emanuel or go to

    No vile conspiracy there then!

  • Oliver

    Here is the Key Point:

    “THE CHAIRMAN: You mentioned earlier that there is no

    18 comprehensive system of courts to determine issues of

    19 legality in international law terms, and we heard just

    20 a bit this morning regarding the crime of aggression,

    21 not, we were told, I think by Michael Wood, deemed to be

    22 part of English law following a House of Lords’, as it

    23 then was, judgment but there are courts with some

    24 jurisdiction, clearly the ICC.

    25 Can you say how far the ICC may come into relevance


    1 in the context of a crime of aggression?

    2 MS ELIZABETH WILMSHURST: Yes. The ICC does have

    3 jurisdiction over the crime of aggression, but it can’t

    4 exercise that jurisdiction until the states’ parties to

    5 the ICC statute have agreed on a definition of the crime

    6 and the conditions for its exercise. They have been

    7 negotiating for years and they are going to have

    8 a review conference in May and June at which they will

    9 either decide on this or not.

    10 THE CHAIRMAN: If they were to decide, is it possible to

    11 speculate whether it would have retrospective

    12 application?

    13 MS ELIZABETH WILMSHURST: It wouldn’t have retrospective

    14 application.

    15 THE CHAIRMAN: It would not?


  • Craig


    Wrong, because 9/11 is not a subject on the board. I do in fact get very frustrated by people posting off-topic stuff about 9/11, Jews and Freemasons – and the nutty argument that it is not off-topic because Jews and Freemasons and 9/11 explain everything.

    I just don’t need arses like Larry deliberately provoking more of it.

  • Oliver

    What happens at the Chilcott inquiry doesn’t matter a damn…it’s a PR damage limitation exercise.

    What is key as that an international ‘crime of aggression’ has not been defined or agreed upon and won’t be until May or June if at all according to Ms.Wilmshurst testimony.

    Even when a definition is agreed upon…it won’t be retroactively applied.

    This means Blair and his cronies will walk away from all of this free men as no crime has been committed.

    Sickening as it is…that’s game set and match!

  • Craig


    You fall back on the Blairite doctrine that as a court has not yet been constituted to try the crime of aggression, it is not illegal. That is not true as any international lawyer will tell you, and Wilmshurst and Wood just did.

  • Oliver


    I’m not falling back on anything here….what I see happening is a catastrophic injustice…guilty, murdering, lying scumbags in suits walking free.

    What truly disgusts me is that people like Ms Wilmshurst and Woods…deeply impressive, intelligent individuals who seem to embody integrity…had rings run around them by the likes of Bliar and his political toads, at the moment when their views needed to be heard most.

    Where do you think these people are going to stand trial?

    What court is going to punish them?

    I hope so desperately that these people get what they deserve.

  • KingofWelshNoir


    It seems to me by issuing a blanket ban on 9/11 comments you are handing a victory to the troublemakers like Larry because clearly he thus achieves his intention of disrupting the blog. Surely it makes more sense to block the troublemaker?

    This feels like we’re all being gagged.

  • Richard Robinson

    “This feels like we’re all being gagged.”

    Personally, I felt that it was a non-conversation, with no effects except to make it harder for those that wanted to speak with each other. So I welcome Craig’s blowing his top for once. I’ve been thinking for a while that his patience is positively superhuman.

  • tony_opmoc


    Where there’s a will there’s a way. The logic of your argument doesn’t stand up, or all of the war criminals who have been prosecuted since WWII wouldn’t have been.

    Of course the real problem here, is that there isn’t the political will for prosecution – in the UK, US or EU, but that really is because the political class has been hijacked at the highest levels, and the lower levels such as MP’s just do as they are told and are kept in ignorance.

    In the UK, the old establishment, where there at least was a degree of honour and integrity amongst some of its members of the political elite has long since gone.

    It does however still exist, in other powerful areas, but it remains to be seen if the courage exists for that power to be used to clean up what has now become a horrendously corrupt and evil system.

    A google search of the UK Press reveals demands from extremely senior figures across the spectrum of the justice system, royalty and the military demanding that Blair stands trial for war crimes

    There are literally hundreds of articles, and the screaming for justice is growing much more intense

    I’ve actually found this quite surprising and encouraging

    It may take time, but the issue is not going away, because it is so vitally important.

    The rule of law has already been lost in the US.

    It is the duty of a large number of Senior, Influential People to demand that the rule of law is upheld in the UK. If we lose the Law, then we have lost our children’s future and the entire world is likely to descend into total chaos.


  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq


    Let me say again with respect, I frequented David Cameron’s board WebCameron from it’s inception to it’s death. It was killed by the ‘Larry’s’ of this world – killed dead – forgotten, even after attempts to save it with another similar board. Therefore I respect Craig’s call and refuse now to discuss 9/11 simply for that reason. In private and with other investigators I do provide input – but not here.

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