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23 June 2005  |     mail this article   |     print   |   
Downing Street Memo's bewijzen officieel illegaliteit Irakoorlog
Door Daan de Wit
Acht maanden voordat Irak werd aangevallen, kreeg Tony Blair een memorandum waarin stond dat de Amerikanen de informatie van de geheime diensten manipuleerden zodat die de oorlogsplannen zouden ondersteunen. Dit document werd gevolgd door andere memoranda waarvan er nu zes openbaar zijn. De Downing Street Memo's zijn officiële documenten die bewijzen dat Bush en Blair hebben gelogen om de oorlog tegen Saddam te rechtvaardigen. De documenten onderstrepen het illegale proces dat DeepJournal al sinds jaren beschrijft in de serie Waarom oorlog? en kunnen aan de wieg staan van het gedwongen aftreden van het kabinet BushBlairBalkenende.

Anderhalve maand geleden onthulde The Sunday Times het eerste voorheen strikt geheime memo waarop kort daarna DeepJournal hierover een 'Nagekomen bericht' plaatste in deel twee van het artikel Blair loog om oorlog te kunnen voeren met Irak: '[In de memo] staat hoe Blair in juli 2002 wordt verteld dat door de Amerikanen 'the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy'. Desalniettemin bleef Blair bleef met Bush in de leugens volharden'. Inmiddels zijn er meerdere memo's boven tafel gekomen en grijpt een Amerikaans Congreslid ze aan om de onrechtmatigheid van de Irakoorlog aan te tonen. De documenten zijn de officiële bevestiging van de leugens waartegen miljoenen hebben gedemonstreerd in de aanloop naar de Irakoorlog. De neocons waren al vóór 11 september van plan Saddam van de troon te stoten, een plan dat werd herbevestigd door onderanderen staatssecretaris van Defensie Paul Wolfowitz, enkele uren na 11 september. Om dit plan uit te voeren werden met deceptietechnieken die normaalgesproken alleen worden ingezet tegen een vijand, de Westerse bevolkingen opzettelijk misleid teneinde de komende oorlog te ondersteunen.

Amerikanen en Saddam werken Britten tegen
Het verschil tussen de cowboys in de VS en de gentlemen in Engeland, is dat de Britten zich zorgen maakten over de legaliteit van de komende Irakoorlog. Het zat de Britten niet mee: de Amerikanen hijgden in hun nek en Saddam wilde ook al niet meewerken. Ray McGovern, die 27 jaar lang analyst is geweest voor de CIA, beschrijft de moeilijke situatie voor de Engelsen en citeert een voorheen geheim Brits Cabinet Office Paper: ''It is just possible that an ultimatum could be cast in terms which Saddam would reject (because he is unwilling to accept unfettered access)....However, failing that (or an Iraqi attack) we would be most unlikely to achieve a legal base for military action by January 2003.' The British, you see, knew that the summer months in Iraq are uncomfortably hot. Thus, January was the time they thought an invasion would have to begin, or the attack would have to be put off until autumn. As for a possible attack by Iraq, British government documents released to Parliament show that American and British aircraft dropped no bombs on Iraq in March 2002, 10 tons of bombs in July, and 54.6 tons in September. Nevertheless, this failed to provoke Saddam Hussein into the kind of reaction that could be used as an ostensible casus belli. And intrusive inspections? Iraq wound up tolerating the strictest inspection regime in modern history. And when U.N. inspectors found Al Samoud missiles with a range greater than that permitted, Saddam allowed them to be destroyed. One can visualize the British lawyers wringing their hands: Foiled again.' Vader Bush had ook moeten liegen om zijn Irakoorlog voor elkaar te krijgen (over de niet bestaande vermoorde couveusekindjes), maar hij kon tenminste wijzen naar de Irakinvasie in Koeweit (die er was gekomen dankzij de Bushregering zelf). Zoon Bush en vriend Blair hadden niets…

Angst over illegaliteit Irakoorlog resulteert in leugens
'MINISTERS were warned in July 2002 that Britain was committed to taking part in an American-led invasion of Iraq and they had no choice but to find a way of making it legal. The warning, in a leaked Cabinet Office briefing paper, said Tony Blair had already agreed to back military action to get rid of Saddam Hussein at a summit at the Texas ranch of President George W Bush three months earlier', schrijft Michael Smith, de Sunday-Timesjournalist die de Downing Street Memo als eerste publiceerde. '[Blair] knew he was taking a huge political risk at home. He knew the war’s legality was questionable and its unpopularity was never in doubt”, zegt 'Toby Dodge, an Iraq expert who teaches at Queen Mary College, University of London' tegen MSNBC. 'On March 25 [2002] Straw wrote a memo [PDF] to Blair, saying he would have a tough time convincing the governing Labour Party that a pre-emptive strike against Iraq was legal under international law.' Blair zette door en moet nu lastige vragen beantwoorden. Dus ontkent hij alles: 'Facts were not being fixed, in any shape or form at all', zegt hij in dit item van NBC, van vorige week dinsdag.

Britse legerleiding eiste legale oorlogsplannen (maar bond in)
De problemen over de legaliteit van de komende oorlog met Irak maakten de legerleiding zenuwachtig, beschrijft McGovern: 'To his credit, British Admiral Michael Boyce, chief of the defense staff, demanded a straightforward, written opinion from the attorney general [Goldsmith] that attacking Iraq would be lawful, before Boyce would put his troops at risk of subsequent prosecution as war criminals. This put the bite on Attorney General Goldsmith who had long shared the doubts of the legal establishment about the legality of starting a war without unequivocal endorsement by the United Nations. After much equivocation [zeg maar gerust duistere omstandigheden], Goldsmith bowed to Blair and was asked to appear before the cabinet on March 17, 2003, two days before the war began', waarna hij zich afvroeg of hij geen ontslag zou nemen, zoals een collega van hem ook heeft gedaan: 'Elizabeth Wilmshurst, the deputy Foreign Office legal adviser, resigned at around this time. She resigned because she said she could not be part of a government which was participating in what she called, the crime of aggression, an illegal war.' De sfeer zat er nu lekker in, blijkt uit het artikel van McGovern: '[...] Admiral Boyce, [...] now said that if British troops are brought to trial by the International Criminal Court (ICC) [in Den Haag], British ministers should be "brought into the frame as well." The London Observer asked Boyce if Blair and Goldsmith should be included. "Too bloody right," was his answer.'

Downing Street Memo’s zijn deel van geheel aan leugen en bedrog
Onderzoeksjournalist Greg Palast plaatst de Downing Street Memo's in een recent historisch perspectief als hij schrijft over de resultaten van zijn research: 'Here is a small timeline of confidential skullduggery dug up and broadcast by my own team for BBC Television [Newsnight] and Harper's [Magazine] on the secret plans to seize Iraq's assets and oil. [...] March 2001 - Vice-President Dick Cheney meets with oil company executives and reviews oil field maps of Iraq. Cheney refuses to release the names of those attending or their purpose. Harper's has since learned their plan and purpose [...] 2002 - Grover Norquist and other corporate lobbyists meet secretly with Defense, State and Treasury officials to ensure the invasion plans for Iraq include plans for protecting "property rights." The result was a pre-invasion scheme to sell off Iraq's oil fields, banks, electric systems, and even change the country's copyright laws to the benefit of the lobbyists' clients. Occupation chief Paul Bremer would later order these giveaways into Iraq law. [...] March 2003 - What White House spokesman Ari Fleisher calls "Operations Iraqi Liberation" (OIL) begins. (Invasion is re-christened "OIF" -- Operation Iraqi Freedom.)' Zie ook DeepJournal zevendelige serie getiteld Blood for Oil.

Mogelijk juridische gevolgen voor oorlogvoerders
Nu blijkt dat de Irakoorlog ook officieel illegaal is, kan dat juridische gevolgen hebben voor de oorlogvoerders. 'Philippe Sands QC is the Professor of Law at University College in London. [...] He's also an author and his latest book is called Lawless World - America and the making and breaking of international rules.' Vanwege de illegaliteit van de oorlog tegen Irak voorziet hij problemen voor de Australische premier Howard, premier Tony Blair en president George W. Bush. Die problemen hebben hun wortels in het uitleveringsverzoek voor het voormalige Chileense staatshoofd Augusto Pinochet. Sands zegt in een interview [ASX] met Lateline van het Australische ABC: 'The consequences in practical terms are that any Head of State or Head of Government who's engaged in activity which could give rise to a criminal investigation abroad at the level of international crime, it's got to be at that serious level, faces the prospect of investigation when abroad. To give you an example, Henry Kissinger was in Europe not so long ago publicising a new book and he took the decision not to go to Paris, I understand, because there was a credible concern that he might be the subject of a request for extradition in relation to activities he'd been involved with in Chile in the 1970s. Equally, I understand, that Baroness Thatcher after she left office in relation to issues relating to the Belgrano, the sinking of the Argentinian Naval vessel off the coast of the Falklands, the Malvinas, used to take considerable care in determining where she was going to travel.'

Mogelijk juridische gevolgen voor indirecte oorlogvoerders, zoals Balkenende
Het Nederlandse deel van de regering BushBlairBalkenende heeft tot nu toe geweigerd te verklaren op basis waarvan is besloten deel te nemen aan de oorlog. Premier Balkenende is een van de mindere goden van de Irakoorlog, maar niet alle kleine vissen ontsnappen het net. Sands zegt in zijn boek Lawless World te beschrijven hoe bijvoorbeeld de martelpraktijken die voortkwamen uit het tekenen van documenten door oorlogsminister Donald Rumsfeld voor juridische problemen zou kunnen zorgen voor Rumsfeld bij het Internationale Gerechtshof in Den Haag. Ware het niet dat Bush alle Amerikanen aan deze rechtspraak heeft onttrokken. Over de wat grotere vissen zegt Sands: '[...] most people now recognise that the war in Iraq was illegal and under international law, an illegal war amounts to a crime of aggression and in some countries around the world a crime of aggression is one where they exercise jurisdiction. So the possibility really can't be excluded if Messrs Blair and Howard at some point in the future travel after they've left office to a country which, for example, has an extradition agreement with another country where you have an independent prosecutor like the independent prosecutor in Spain who initiated the investigation of Senator Pinochet, a request for extradition or for investigation or questioning has happened in the case of Mr Kissinger could happen. There's precedent for it.'

Congreslid Conyers houdt alternatieve hoorzitting
In de VS worden de memo's aan een groot publiek bekend gemaakt door Congreslid John Conyers Jr. Hij hield vorige week woensdag een alternatieve hoorzitting in het Capitool [video, audio]. Conyers beschrijft in z'n weblog hoe de Bushregering er alles aan heeft gedaan zijn hoorzitting te saboteren. Slechts de kleinste ruimte in het Capitool werd beschikbaar gesteld (meer dan de helft te klein voor de toegestroomde belangstellenden) en er werden opeens allerlei Republikeinse stemmingen gehouden (meer dan ooit in de geschiedenis) die voor Conyers' afwezigheid hadden kunnen zorgen, ware het niet dat hij dankzij collega's en wat heen- en weerspurten aan zijn plichten kon voldoen.

Congreslid Conyers verzamelt handtekeningen collega’s en burgers
De New York Times is aanwezig bij de bijeenkomst voorgezeten door Conyers met onderanderen ex-ambassadeur Joe Wilson, voormalig analist voor de CIA Ray McGovern en 'Cindy Sheehan, mother of a 24-year-old soldier killed in Iraq last year, said the memo "confirms what I already suspected: the leadership of this country rushed us into an illegal invasion of another sovereign country on prefabricated and cherry-picked intelligence." [...] After the hearing, Mr. Conyers and a dozen Congressional colleagues delivered to the White House bundles that they said contained the names of more than 560,000 Americans gathered on the Internet who had endorsed his letter to the president demanding answers to questions raised by the British memo. Some 122 members of Congress also signed the letter. Asked about Mr. Conyers's letter and the British memo, Scott McClellan, the president's chief spokesman, described the congressman as "an individual who voted against the war in the first place and is simply trying to rehash old debates that have already been addressed."' De brief van Conyers kan nog steeds worden ondertekend; 'I will see that every last one is delivered to the president', schrijft Conyers.

Kritiek op Bushregering neemt toe
Hoewel daar in de Nederlandse pers niets van is te merken, blijft de kritiek op Bush in de VS toenemen. De New York Times schrijft: 'A bipartisan group of House members introduced a resolution calling on the administration to announce by the end of the year a plan for the withdrawal of American forces, and more than 40 legislators announced the formation of an "Out of Iraq" Congressional caucus led by Representative Maxine Waters, a California Democrat. Also, a New York Times/CBS News poll being published Friday found that 37 percent of Americans questioned approve of how Mr. Bush is dealing with Iraq, down from 45 percent in February. At an antiwar rally across the street from the White House after Mr. Conyers's hearing, speakers roused a crowd of several hundred people with calls to bring the troops home and to impeach Mr. Bush. The protesters, organized by a group called After Downing Street, called the British memo the "smoking gun" proving their case against the administration.' Een ander initiatief alle misleidingen in de openbaarheid te krijgen is de documentaire Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear & the Selling of American Empire [Stream, RealPlayer]. Aan een deel hieruit zijn beelden toegevoegd over de Downing Street Memo's, wat een korte interessante clip [RealPlayer] tot gevolg heeft.

Initiatieven om Bush tot aftreden te dwingen
Voormalig presidentskandidaat Ralph Nader schrijft in The Boston Globe: 'THE IMPEACHMENT of President Bush and Vice President Cheney, under Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution, should be part of mainstream political discourse. [...] A Resolution of Impeachment would be a first step. Based on the mountains of fabrications, deceptions, and lies, it is time to debate the ''I" word. [...] Een andere voormalige presidentskandidaat mengt zich ook in het debat. The Boston Phoenix schrijft: 'In a statement e-mailed to the Phoenix on Tuesday, Kerry spokesman Setti Warren said, "[...] John Kerry will demand answers in the Senate. Stay tuned." Jeremy Scahill van The Nation schrijft: 'It only takes one member of Congress to begin an impeachment process, and [John] Conyers is said to be considering the option.' Naast de door honderdduizenden ondertekende brief van Conyers aan Bush, zijn er andere initiatieven: 'Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy has a similar petition, and California Rep. Maxine Waters has vowed to introduce daily amendments to pending House legislation demanding Bush answer questions raised by the memo.' Congreslid Maurice Hinchey zegt: '"If the president intentionally twisted the facts about the Sept. 11 attacks and the Iraq war, and lied to Congress about it, and then elicited authorization from Congress to launch a war that's caused the deaths of 1,700 U.S. men and women along with tens of thousands of others, that is definitely an impeachable offense". Ook buiten de politiek komt men in actie; Democracy Now schrijft: 'John Bonifaz [is] lawyer and author of the book "Warrior King: The Case For Impeaching George W. Bush." He is also co-founder of afterdowningstreet.org which is a coalition of various groups urging Congress to begin a formal investigation into whether President Bush has committed impeachable offenses in connection with the Iraq war'.

Downing Street Memo’s: Irakoorlog begon vóór begin
De Downing Street Memo’s tonen ook officieel aan, wat iedereen wel vagelijk wist, dat de oorlog allang voor het officiële begin was begonnen, tijdens wat je de No Fly Zone War zou kunnen noemen. Dit is de niet-officiële oorlog van 1991 tot 2003, dus de periode tussen de oorlogen van vader en zoon Bush. In de maanden volgend op de Downing Street Memo's van medio 2002 werd Irak flink bestookt met raketten, zoals is te lezen in dit artikel voor The Nation van Jeremy Scahill: 'It was a huge air assault [...]. The Pentagon's goal was clear: Destroy Iraq's ability to resist. This was war. But there was a catch: The war hadn't started yet, at least not officially. This was September 2002--a month before Congress had voted to give President Bush the authority he used to invade Iraq, two months before the United Nations brought the matter to a vote and more than six months before "shock and awe" officially began. [... The] attacks were no less than the undeclared beginning of the invasion of Iraq. The Sunday Times of London recently reported on new evidence showing that "The RAF and US aircraft doubled the rate at which they were dropping bombs on Iraq in 2002 in an attempt to provoke Saddam Hussein into giving the allies an excuse for war."' Scahill schrijft: 'On the eve of the official invasion, on March 8, 2003, Bush said in his national radio address: "We are doing everything we can to avoid war in Iraq. But if Saddam Hussein does not disarm peacefully, he will be disarmed by force." Bush said this after nearly a year of systematic, aggressive bombings of Iraq, during which Iraq was already being disarmed by force, in preparation for the invasion to come. By the Pentagon's own admission, it carried out seventy-eight individual, offensive airstrikes against Iraq in 2002 alone.'

Topdiplomaat: Oorlogshandelingen in pre-Irakoorlog illegaal
[Nagekomen bericht van 26 juni: Michael Smith schrijft in The Sunday Times: '... Lieutenant-General Michael Moseley said that in 2002 and early 2003 allied aircraft flew 21,736 sorties, dropping more than 600 bombs on 391 “carefully selected targets” before the war officially started.' Dit werpt volgens Smith de vraag op of deze acties wel legaal waren]. De aanvallen waren onderdeel van een illegale constructie, zegt ' former UN Assistant Secretary General Hans Von Sponeck, a thirty-year career diplomat who was the top UN official in Iraq from 1998 to 2000' tegen The Nation: '"The no-fly zones had little to do with protecting ethnic and religious groups from Saddam Hussein's brutality" but were in fact an "illegal establishment...for bilateral interests of the US and the UK."'


De eerste Downing Street Memo [PDF], tekst.
De Options Paper [PDF].
De Ricketts Memo [PDF].
De Straw Memo [PDF].
De Meyer Memo [PDF].
De Manning Memo [PDF].
Het Cabinet Office paper.
Alle memo's netjes uitgetypt.

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