British Deputy PM and leader of the Lib Dems, Nick Clegg, caused a bit of a sensation last week. Answering a question in Parliament, while standing in for the PM, he told the truth about Britain’s involvement in the Iraq war. The Guardian reports:
Nick Clegg’s ‘illegal’ Iraq war gaffe prompts legal warning
Coalition in confusion as deputy prime minister pronounces invasion ‘illegal’ at dispatch box
Nick Clegg was tonight forced to clarify his position on the Iraq war after he stood up at the dispatch box of the House of Commons and pronounced the invasion illegal.
The deputy prime minister insisted he was speaking in a personal capacity, as a leading international lawyer warned that the statement by a government minister in such a formal setting could increase the chances of charges against Britain in international courts. Philippe Sands, professor of law at University College London, said: “A public statement by a government minister in parliament as to the legal situation would be a statement that an international court would be interested in, in forming a view as to whether or not the war was lawful.”
… Clegg threw the government’s position concerning the legality of the Iraq war into confusion when, at the end of heated exchanges with Jack Straw, foreign secretary at the time of the war, Clegg said: “We may have to wait for his memoirs, but perhaps one day he will account for his role in the most disastrous decision of all: the illegal invasion of Iraq.” Clegg’s remarks could be legally significant because he was standing at the government dispatch box in the Commons.
In other breaking news yesterday, Wikileaks (so recently in the news for video footage of video of US troops gunning down Iraqis) has scored it’s biggest coup ever, releasing a huge cache of US military files. There are claims that these files contain evidence of war crimes. The Guardian again:
Afghanistan war logs: Massive leak of secret files exposes truth of occupation
â€¢ Hundreds of civilians killed by coalition troops
â€¢ Covert unit hunts leaders for ‘kill or capture’
â€¢ Steep rise in Taliban bomb attacks on Nato
â€¢ Read the Guardian’s full war logs investigation
A huge cache of secret US military files today provides a devastating portrait of the failing war in Afghanistan, revealing how coalition forces have killed hundreds of civilians in unreported incidents, Taliban attacks have soared and Nato commanders fear neighbouring Pakistan and Iran are fuelling the insurgency.
The disclosures come from more than 90,000 records of incidents and intelligence reports about the conflict obtained by the whistleblowers’ website Wikileaks in one of the biggest leaks in US military history. The files, which were made available to the Guardian, the New York Times and the German weekly Der Spiegel, give a blow-by-blow account of the fighting over the last six years, which has so far cost the lives of more than 320 British and more than 1,000 US troops.
Their publication comes amid mounting concern that Barack Obama’s “surge” strategy is failing and as coalition troops hunt for two US naval personnel captured by the Taliban south of Kabul on Friday.
So, now the truth is out there. Not a good week for warmongers.
PS – Wasn’t one of our own prominent politicians quite keen on joining both of these wars? Help me out here – who was that again?…