Friday, August 19, 2011

The UK Riots and the Criminality of Jack Straw

We live in dangerous times, and I'm not talking about the Iraq war. What I do have in mind is the threat to our civil liberties posed knee jerk reactions by a huffing and puffing ineffectual wanker who is totally out of his depth. Call me, bollocks to due process, or just call me, bollocks Cameron. Jesus H, I should hate to see how this wanker would react to a real crisis.

How are things going in Libya, that Arab Spring thing, the spreading of democracy via the blunt end of NATO bombs? Shame about the casualties though, but then I don't suppose you can have a regime change without a few sand niggers getting blown to pieces. Serves 'em right for living there on top of all that oil.

The UK riots and the criminality of Jack Straw

What price justice when war criminal Jack Straw is free to call for more prisons to be built so young people caught stealing a £3.50 case of water can be jailed for six months?

By Robin Beste
Stop the War Coalition
14 August 2011

Jack Straw, former foreign secretary in Tony Blair's government, was quick to his feet, following David Cameron's speech on the UK riots in Parliament on 11 August.

"We need more prisons," Straw told Cameron and the House of Commons.

He may get his wish, looking at some of the sentences that have already been handed down in the hundreds of cases rushed through emergency courts -- no doubt at the government's bidding, to show that instant retribution will take precedence over justice.

A mother of two, who was asleep at home during the riots, has been given a five-month jail sentence for accepting running shorts stolen by someone else.

A 23-year-old student got six months for stealing a £3.50 case of water from a supermarket.

A 43-year-old man is in jail pending sentence for stealing items worth £1 from a newsagent.

But, if Jack Straw is right and we need more prisons, he should be one of the first inmates, alongside Tony Blair, who he served so loyally throughout the 13 years of New Labour government.

Jack Straw was foreign secretary during the run up to the Iraq war in 2002-3. He was, the Iraq Inquiry tells us, the only member of Tony Blair's cabinet to be fully informed of the prime minister’s discussions, negotiations and plans.

Straw knew that when George Bush and Tony Blair met at Bush's Texas ranch in April 2002, they "signed in blood" a secret deal to invade Iraq, whatever the views of the United Nations or the people of the United States and Britain.

Just prior to that meeting, Straw told Blair in a secret memo that "legally there are two potential elephant traps". Firstly, that "regime change per se is no justification for military action". And secondly, that "the weight of legal advice here is that a fresh mandate [from the United Nations] may well be required".

And it was Straw who was central in the attempt to bounce the United Nations into that second resolution to give a fig-leaf of legality to a war of unjustified aggression. He was rarely off our screens in 2002 telling us how Iraq was not giving access to the UN weapons inspectors, knowing that this simply was not true, as Hans Blix the chief UN inspector has pointed out, noting Straw's "incorrect answers" -- better known as lies -- to the Iraq Inquiry.

And Straw knew it was a lie when on 11 February 2003, a few days before the biggest anti-war demonstration in British history, he said: "We have to strain every sinew, even at this late stage, to avoid war."

Straw had already told Blair in his March 2002 memo that the US was going to war regardless, and later he was left in no doubt by the US secretary of state Colin Powell in March 2003, who told him, "We are going to war whatever Saddam does."

The only sinew Straw was straining was to find a way to justify a war which was going to happen regardless of legality or whether most countries and most people in the world opposed it.

This is why he rejected the advice of his senior legal advisor at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), Sir Michael Wood, who told him in a memo that invading Iraq "would amount to the crime of aggression" and would be illegal under international law. It was the only time in Wood's career, before or since, that his legal advice had not been accepted by a minister.

And this is why Straw was dismissive of Sir Michael's deputy FCO, Elizabeth Wilmshurst, who stated in her letter of resignation in March 2003, " I cannot agree that it is lawful to use force against Iraq without a second [UN] Security Council resolution."

Yet, despite all this evidence to the contrary, Jack Straw told the Iraq Inquiry that he would never "have been a party" to a war of regime change, which he said would be "improper and self-evidently unlawful".

Straw is clearly a congenital liar whose ability to speak untruths is limitless. But he knew what would be the consequences of the war on Iraq, legal or not, because he described them in February 2003: more
Check out Robin Beste's other articles in the sidebar.

Jack Straw: Porkies!
Blair Too Spineless To Confront Bush
Iraq Inquiry: Goldsmith Bottle Going
Blair Roundup: Regrets I've Had a Few

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

walk like an Egyptian, Dave?