Straw Back At Chilcott 14


Straw has just been questioned on precisely the point I made about the huge gap between his evidence and what was said in the contemporary Foreign Office telegrams.

http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2010/01/jack_straws_big.html#comments

This relates to Security Council Resolution 1441 and what it means. Straw is holding the line that if the Security Council were to meet again “to consider” rather than “to decide”, that meant it was OK to ignore them and invade anyway.

Apart from the logical strangeness of the argument, the committee are suffering from an anglophone blindness that those of us who have negotiated at the UN know to avoid. “To consider” is indeed weaker than “to decide”. But the French language text is equally valid, and the verb there is se prononcer. As in prononcer un jugement – or, in English, to pronounce judgement. The committee should not ignore the other language texts.

I once, incidentally, spent four weeks of my life at a UN Commission arguing on whether to use should, ought to, has to, is to, or must to, in order to convey a duty to register a deep seabed mining concession with the appropriate international authority. That it would be “devoir” in French was agreed on day 1. As it was February in Jamaica it wasn’t a horrible four weeks.


14 thoughts on “Straw Back At Chilcott

  • mary

    Email to Iraq Inquiry from the Editors at Medialens. One commenter would like odds for Chilcot calling Hans Blix!

    aa

    Posted by The Editors on February 8, 2010, 3:21 pm

    Sent to: [email protected]

    Dear Iraq Inquiry

    Former chief UN weapons inspector, Hans Blix, has been making headline news commenting on your inquiry: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8503454.stm

    Has Blix been invited to appear before your inquiry? If not, why not, please?

    Best wishes

    David Edwards

    Dear Mr Edwards

    Thank you for your suggestion that the Iraq Inquiry should hear from the former head of UNMOVIC, Dr Hans Blix. The Iraq Inquiry Committee have not yet announced the full list of people they will wish to speak to during the course of their work. Your suggestion has been noted.

    Amy Harland

    For the Inquiry

  • ediot

    People in the public gallery were openly laughing as Straw wriggled and squirmed.

    I wonder does he look back fondly on his time with Condi, and does he think his efforts to impress her were worth it.

  • Ed

    There’s also Straw ridiculously claiming he did not “ignore” the FCO advice; he says he looked at it but did not agree with it, and this meant he did not ignore it.

    Utter tosh, and Straw knows it. No-one is suggesting Straw did not read the advice, and, especially in the legal context, not following professional advice is commonly referred to as ignoring it.

    Quite remarkable Straw thinks he is able to get away with this dissembling.

  • Ingo

    He also maligned Sir Michael woods as giving him two contradicting messages. His defense is being build on spreading the guilt around him in typical lawyers fashion. He is one man I would like to meet alone,possibly. Alledgedly, given the future conduct on his behalf, I should have kicked his arse when he came out of the Magdalen street studio Question time, some years back, he walked past me, some say I had my chance and missed it.

  • Chris Dooley

    I’ve not had a chance to view the video footage yet, just the quick summary on Radio 4.

    Jack’s rather strange point seems to be that Government ministers (and parliment) need only know the Senior FO’s expert advice if it agrees with his twisted view. Otherwise ministers must read every newspaper to see a varied selection of legal advice.

    Cabinet need not be informed of any advice contrary to Jack’s or Tony’s view.

    I loved the laughter from the gallery when Jack was asked about his e-mail to Cheny in which he pre-empted Goldsmith’s legal advice.

    I shall sit down with a nice drink or two to chuckle at Jack’s mountain of bullshit and legal squirming later in the week.

  • mary

    Medialens Editors to Chilcot Enquiry

    Re: Email to Iraq Inquiry

    Posted by The Editors on February 8, 2010, 7:23 pm, in reply to “Email to Iraq Inquiry”

    Dear Amy Harland

    Many thanks. You should also call former chief UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter. And also former senior UN diplomats Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck.

    Best wishes

    David Edwards

  • haward

    the issue over 1441 is really quite simple. Straw and the Americans argue that it should be interpreted as if it were a difficult real estate transaction except that they add into the equation that the negotiationg history has to be taken into account. As Straw knows and as Goldsmith knows (or should know) the negotiating history of most legal instruments is irrelevant. What matters is what they say and 1441 did not say that if Bush & Blair decided that Saddam was in breach they could launch an invasion. 1441 is a pretty weak excuse as any half decent international lawyer would tell you

  • Strategist

    Straw has argued that as an elected minister he is within his rights to disregard the legal advice he is given, go ahead with a decision, and see it tested in the courts if necessary.

    I agree with this.

    But the logic is that he should answer for his decisions in a court of law, and I suggest the International Court at The Hague.

  • Richard Robinson

    “Straw has argued that as an elected minister he is within his rights to disregard the legal advice he is given, go ahead with a decision, and see it tested in the courts if necessary … But the logic is that he should answer for his decisions in a court of law, and I suggest the International Court at The Hague.”

    Good point. Yes, that looks very much like a logical argument. Justice very much needs to be seen to be done.

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