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Thread: Exclusive: I Can Reveal the Legal Advice on Drone Strikes, and How the UK Establishment Works

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    Default Exclusive: I Can Reveal the Legal Advice on Drone Strikes, and How the UK Establishment Works

    Exclusive: I Can Reveal the Legal Advice on Drone Strikes, and How the Establishment Works

    by Craig Murray on September 9, 2015 2:17 pm in Uncategorized

    This may be the most important article I ever post, because it reveals perfectly how the Establishment works and how the Red Tories and Blue Tories contrive to give a false impression of democracy. It is information I can only give you because of my experience as an insider.

    It is a definitive proof of the validity of the Chomskian propaganda model. It needs a fair bit of detail to do this, but please try and read through it because it really is very, very important. After you have finished, if you agree with me about the significance, please repost, (you are free to copy), retweet, add to news aggregators (Reddit etc) and do anything you can to get other people to pay attention.

    The government based its decision to execute by drone two British men in Syria on “Legal Opinion” from the Attorney-General for England and Wales, Jeremy Wright, a politician, MP and Cabinet Minister. But Wright’s legal knowledge comes from an undistinguished first degree from Exeter and a short career as a criminal defence barrister in Birmingham. His knowledge of public international law is virtually nil.

    I pause briefly to note that there is no pretence of consulting the Scottish legal system. The only legal opinion is from the Attorney General for England and Wales who is also Honorary Advocate General for Northern Ireland.

    So Jeremy Wright’s role is as a cypher. He performs a charade. The government employs in the FCO a dozen of the most distinguished public international lawyers in the world. When the Attorney-General’s office needs an Opinion on public international law, they ask the FCO to provide it for him to sign.

    The only known occasion when this did not happen was the Iraq War. Then the FCO Legal Advisers – unanimously – advised the Attorney-General, Lord Goldsmith, that to invade Iraq was illegal. Jack Straw asked the Attorney General to dismiss the FCO chief Legal Adviser, Sir Michael Wood (Goldsmith refused). Blair sent Goldsmith to Washington where the Opinion was written for him to sign by George Bush’s lawyers. [I know this sounds incredible, but it is absolutely true]. Sir Michael Wood’s deputy, Elizabeth Wilmshurst, resigned in protest.

    In consequence Blair and Straw decided that, again for the first time ever, the FCO’s chief legal adviser had to be appointed not from within the FCO legal advisers, who had all declared the war on Iraq to be illegal, but from outside. They had to find a distinguished public international lawyer who was prepared to argue that the war on Iraq was legal. That was a very small field. Blair and Straw thus turned to Benjamin Netanyahu’s favourite lawyer, Daniel Bethlehem.

    Daniel Bethlehem had represented Israel before the Mitchell Inquiry into violence against the people of Gaza, arguing that it was all legitimate self-defence. He had also supplied the Government of Israel with a Legal Opinion that the vast Wall they were building in illegally occupied land, surrounding and isolating all the major Palestinian communities and turning them into large prisons, was also legal. Daniel Bethlehem is an extreme Zionist militarist of the most aggressive kind, and close to Mark Regev, Israel’s new Ambassador to the UK.

    Daniel Bethlehem had developed, in his work for Israel, an extremist doctrine of the right of States to use pre-emptive self-defence – a doctrine which would not be accepted by the vast majority of public international lawyers. He clinched his appointment by Blair as the FCO chief legal adviser by presenting a memorandum to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee in 2004 outlining this doctrine, and thus de facto defending the attack on Iraq and the Bush/Blair doctrine.

    A key sentence of Daniel Bethlehem’s memorandum is this

    “It must be right that states are able to act in self-defence in circumstances where there is evidence of further imminent attacks by terrorist groups, even if there is no specific evidence of where such an attack will take place or of the precise nature of the attack.”

    There is a fundamental flaw in this argument. How can you be certain that an attack in “imminent”, if you are not certain where or what it is? Even if we can wildly imagine a scenario where the government know of an “imminent” attack, but not where or what it is, how could killing someone in Syria stop the attack in the UK? If a team were active, armed and in course of operation in the UK – which is needed for “imminent” – how would killing an individual in Syria prevent them from going through with it? It simply does not add up as a practical scenario.

    Interestingly, Daniel Bethlehem does not pretend this is accepted international law, but specifically states that

    “The concept of what constitutes an “imminent” armed attack will develop to meet new circumstances and new threats”

    Bethlehem is attempting to develop the concept of “imminent” beyond any natural interpretation of the word “imminent”.

    Daniel Bethlehem left the FCO in 2011. But he had firmly set the British government doctrine on this issue, while all FCO legal advisers know not to follow it gets you sacked. I can guarantee you that Wright’s Legal Opinion states precisely the same argument that David Bethlehem stated in his 2004 memorandum. Knowing how these things work, I am prepared to wager every penny I own that much of the language is identical.

    It was New Labour, the Red Tories, who appointed Daniel Bethlehem, and they appointed him precisely in order to establish this doctrine. It is therefore a stunning illustration of how the system works, that the only response of the official “opposition” to these extrajudicial executions is to demand to see the Legal Opinion, when it comes from the man they themselves appointed. The Red Tories appointed him precisely because they knew what Legal Opinion would be given on this specific subject. They can read it in Hansard.

    So it is all a charade.

    Jeremy Wright pretends to give a Legal Opinion, actually from FCO legal advisers based on the “Bethlehem Doctrine”. The Labour Party pretends, very unconvincingly, to be an opposition. The Guardian, apparently the leading “opposition” intellectual paper, publishes articles by its staff neo-con propagandists Joshua Rozenberg (married to Melanie Phillips) and Rafael Behr strongly supporting the government’s new powers of extrajudicial execution. In summer 2012 Joshua Rozenberg presented a programme on BBC Radio 4 entitled “Secret courts, drones and international law” which consisted mostly of a fawning interview with … Daniel Bethlehem. The BBC and Sky News give us wall to wall justification of the killings.

    So the state, with its neo-con “opposition” and media closely in step with its neo-con government, seamlessly adopts a new power to kill its own subjects based on secret intelligence and secret legal advice, and a very weird definition of “imminent” that even its author admits to be outside current legal understanding.

    That is how the state works. I do hope you find that helpful.

    This article has been updated to reflect the fact the Daniel Bethlehem is now retired from the FCO
    "There are three sorts of conspiracy: by the people who complain, by the people who write, by the people who take action. There is nothing to fear from the first group, the two others are more dangerous; but the police have to be part of all three,"

    Joseph Fouche

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    I couldn't agree with Murray more. The recent drone strike is extra-judicial execution. It is contrary to international law. It is a prelude to a renewed British, French and US airpower campaign in Syria to regime change Assad.

    But I also think there is another longer term aim. If extra-judicial execution of British nationals is permitted in Syria -- and the public meekly accept this as they appear to be now doing -- then surely it is only a matter of time - perhaps a few years - before the government roll out another "done and dusted" extra-judicial execution at home?

    And lets use the word that has been avoided thus far. Extra-judicial execution is actually murder. Consequently, David Cameron and the British Cabinet are responsible for and complicit in the murder of British nationals.
    The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
    Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14

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    I note further down in Craig Murray's piece in the comments section, that Murray makes an important additional point, and that is that Parliament has forbidden the UK government from engaging in armed conflict in Syria.

    The following are exchanges between Murray and a poster named "Fred".

    1. I still don’t see how this is relevant to the latest drone strike. As I said in the previous post if those killed were armed combatants in a designated war zone, and it appears to me they were, then it is legal under international law to kill them. Otherwise every soldier killed on every battlefield throughout history would have been killed illegally. There is an armed conflict in the region in which Britain is participating as ally of the Iraqi and Kurdish people, how can it be illegal to kill members of the opposing army?
    2. Craig
      9 Sep, 2015 - 4:46 pm

      Not even the British government is arguing that they were combatants in a conflict zone. The British government is specifically forbidden by parliament from engaging in armed conflict in Syria.
    3. Fred
      9 Sep, 2015 - 5:01 pm

      “Not even the British government is arguing that they were combatants in a conflict zone. The British government is specifically forbidden by parliament from engaging in armed conflict in Syria.”
      I addressed that point in the previous article too, the vote was against engaging in armed conflict against the forces of President Assad in Syria not against ISIS. It wouldn’t have any bearing on international law regarding this drone strike in any case.
    4. Craig
      9 Sep, 2015 - 5:11 pm

      Fred, it is territorial. Can you imagine another country blasting Sauchiehall Street because they are at war with some group or other. The vote was against combat operations in the state of Syria – all of which, in legal terms, we regard as currently under the government of President Assad. You are advocating a position even more extreme than the governments. And which could only be true if we accepted ISIL as a sovereign state, which the UK assuredly does not.

    Murray makes a further response in the comments section of this blog:

    I am recording this next partly as an act of defiance and partly in case I am found suddenly to have decided to commit suicide or have a heart attack on a mountain.
    We live on Holyrood Road in Edinburgh in a very secure private apartment block with electronic exterior doors, CCTV and 24 hour concierge/security. On return from Asda, Nadira and I (Cameron was in school) found very distinct muddy footprints leading from the lift directly right to the door of our flat, and back again to the lift. There are only three flats on this floor on our stair, and the landing is kept shining clean and had just been cleaned this morning. On opening the door, the mud seemed to continue into the hall of our flat, although the footprints were less distinct.
    By chance the flat was thoroughly cleaned yesterday. There was no reason for any mud to be inside the flat. Indeed the footprints are of a boot with a very heavily ridged sole. You could not have left clearer and muddier prints on the landing if you tried, although indoors they were indistinct probably as a result of passing over the coconut matting at the entrance.
    It is a mystery why anybody would be wearing heavy boots in central Edinburgh and how they could have got them so muddy right in the centre of town, especially as it has been dry for several days. I strongly suspect this is a “frighteners” exercise and the prints are deliberately left. Murder in Samarkand recounts the occasion when I came back to the Docklands flat I was then inhabiting and found every single electrical appliance – TV, Radio, hoover, microwave etc – had been switched on.
    For a few years the security services appeared to be leaving me alone. Perhaps they changed their mind.
    I think he has analysed it correctly. It is a frightener aimed at subduing his comments. It has Special Branch written all over it.
    The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
    Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14

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    Default case I am found suddenly to have decided to commit suicide or have a heart attack on a mountain.............block with electronic exterior doors, CCTV and 24 hour concierge/security...... found very distinct muddy footprints .
    Verry familiar and I'd echo that first bit.
    When I fed the strays in NuT, i'd sometimes give it a shuffle on the doormat to clean my shoes in the clean block hall; one time, being in a good mood, I gave it a bit of a flounce; I was aware of the cameras, 'course. Next day (night), the trail of mud was really daft, a total pisstake on the cleaners/block monitors, completely OTT and obviously deliberate, I thought.
    Not long after that, 'they' started entering my flat when I was feeding the cats, not just then, it was a standard Zersetzung-thing, wholistic, but the cat-feeding time was clearly a specific; it became a bit of a stresser & the obvious is to either not feed the cat, chuck it out the window, or do it quickly. I chose the latter and kept to it, 'til I thought "sod this" and pretty much did it as I pleased (-the psyche attack thing is fairly obvious/logical, I pretty much saw it for what it was being). The doors were stupid modern robots and had already shut half-way in my face a few times, or were slow to open, or needed prompting a couple of times. A couple of times after feeding the cats, the doors refused to open, or did so very slowly, the point being to play on the "there's someone in my flat, nicking that half doob from the ashtray again", erm, anxiety I guess, seeing as it's recently been added to the list of automatic reference terms.

    I noticed a couple of things about the UK attorney general in the Indie, & apparently he isn't very well known, in the legal 'community' -
    "Jeremy Wright QC: The man who advised David Cameron on the legality of Syria drone strikes
    Thursday 10 September 2015
    When David Cameron announced that he had consulted the Attorney General prior to his decision to authorise the killing of Reyaad Khan, it may have sounded as if he had sought independent legal advice.
    But though Jeremy Wright QC, who has been Attorney General since July 2014, is a trained lawyer, he is not independent, in the political sense. He is a Conservative MP, who is understandably proud that in the 2005 general election, which Labour won, he stood in a Labour-held seat, Rugby and Kenilworth, and took it for the Tories.
    Wright studied at the Inns of Court School of Law and was called to the bar in 1996, specialising in criminal law, mostly in the Midlands.
    Read more:
    David Cameron draws up 'kill list' of Isis fighters
    Tory MPs join calls for urgent investigation into Isis 'hit list'
    British jihadist killed in drone strike linked with UK terror plots
    PM under pressure to explain legal basis for drone attack

    In Parliament, his career path was that of a loyal party man with an eye on promotion. He was a Tory whip from 2007 to 2012, then a junior minister in the Justice Department, in charge of prisons. Before he entered the Government, he set up and chaired a parliamentary committee on dementia.
    When he was appointed to replace Dominic Grieve as Attorney General last year, the Legal Cheek gossip website ran an article titled "Just who is Jeremy Wright?", pointing out that many in legal circles had never heard of him.
    Though he has the title QC, this was not in recognition of his work as barrister, but was bestowed by royal prerogative when he was appointed Attorney General.
    After giving David Cameron loyal support for 10 years, he was unlikely to want to cross the Prime Minister on a matter – literally – of life or death."
    [SIZE=1]Martin Luther King - "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
    Albert Camus - "The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion".
    Douglas MacArthur — "Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons."
    Albert Camus - "Nothing is more despicable than respect based on fear."[/SIZE]

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