British airstrikes on Syria may be illegal


This video from Parliament in London, England says about itself:

Nick Clegg during the PMQ’s on 21st July [2010] whilst standing in for David Cameron … calls the Iraq War Illegal…. Well done Nick for saying what many of us think.

George W Bush and Tony Blair starting the Iraq war in 2003 was illegal; as most people in the world think, including the Deputy Prime Minister in the British David Cameron administration, Nick Clegg.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Andrew Grice, political editor

Monday 15 September 2014

David Cameron has been warned that UK air strikes against Isis in Syria could be illegal under international law.

Officials in the House of Commons Library have cast doubt on the Prime Minister’s view that Isis targets could be bombed in Syria as well as Iraq on the grounds that the Assad regime in Syria is “illegitimate.”

In a briefing paper for MPs, officials said: “Action in Syria will be difficult to justify legally without a request for assistance from the Assad government, and it is unlikely that the West could be seen to be responding to such a request.

“The British Government has said that any action in Syria will comply with international law, and the most likely way to achieve this would be to claim that military action is for humanitarian purposes, using the Responsibility to Protect doctrine. This remains controversial, however, without a United Nations Security Council resolution to authorise it.” …

Downing Street said the Prime Minister’s view had not changed since his previous comments. It denied that a decision on military action had been delayed until after Thursday’s referendum in Scotland to avoid alienating voters who opposed the 2003 Iraq war. …

The Commons Library report warns: “Given that the full-scale invasion and occupation for several years from 2003 onwards struggled to pacify Iraq, air strikes alone are not likely to succeed. Isis controls large amounts of territory, population and natural resources and is consequently far better funded than the Sunni resistance which so troubled US forces after the 2003 invasion.

“What is more, air strikes are likely to result in civilian casualties as Isis forces hide among the civilian population. This is conceivably their aim – to provoke the West into military action which hurts Muslim civilians, thus supporting their narrative of the West’s ‘war on Islam’.”

Pentagon: US ground troops may join Iraqis in combat against Isis: here.

Chelsea E Manning writes from Fort Leavenworth jail in the USA:

How to make Isis fall on its own sword

Degrade and destroy? The west should try to disrupt the canny militants into self-destruction, because bombs will only backfire

Cameron spying more on British citizens, on Saudi autocracy’s advice


This video from Britain is called NEWSNIGHT: Glenn Greenwald full interview on Snowden, NSA, GCHQ and spying.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

David Cameron gives spy agencies power to vet airline flight lists

All airline passengers’ civil liberties would be affected by this, not just the tiny minority of (wannabe) ISIS fighters

New access granted as Saudi king says Europe faces attack unless it acts fast

Nicholas Watt

Sunday 31 August 2014 21.07 BST

David Cameron will make it easier for intelligence agencies to access information about airline passengers and announce measures to intensify cooperation with Turkey and Germany as the government moves to stem the flow of British-born jihadis travelling to and from Syria and Iraq.

As the king of Saudi Arabia warned that terror groups would attack Europe in the next month unless they were confronted with “power and speed”, the prime minister will hold a final round of talks with Nick Clegg on Monday before outlining the package of measures to parliament.

The prime minister and his deputy have reached broad agreement on plans to make it easier to strip suspected jihadis of their passports in Britain and to improve the flow of data about airline passengers to the intelligence agencies.

But Clegg and Cameron will try to resolve differences on possible plans to impose a temporary ban on British-born jihadis returning to Britain and plans to tighten up terrorism prevention and investigation measures (Tpims), the successor to control orders.

Signs of coalition tensions were highlighted when Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon and Sir Menzies Campbell, two former leaders of the Liberal Democrats, criticised Cameron’s response on Friday to the decision by Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (Jtac) to raise the terrorism threat level from substantial to severe. Cameron warned of “gaps in our armoury” as he spoke of a “generational struggle” that could see an Islamic State-led (Isis) caliphate stretch to the shores of the Mediterranean.

Ashdown accused Cameron in an Observer article of a “kneejerk” response while Campbell warned that plans to impose a temporary ban on UK-born jihadis returning to Britain could infringe international law.

Campbell told The World This Weekend on BBC Radio 4: “That might well constitute illegality. To render citizens stateless is regarded as illegal in international law. To render them stateless temporarily, which seems to me to be the purpose of what has been proposed, can also be described as illegal. At the very least it is the kind of question that would be tested here in our own courts and perhaps also in the European court of human rights.”

It is understood that Clegg and Cameron do not see their discussions as a coalition row because they both respect each other’s record in speaking up on civil rights.

They also agree Britain must make improvements as it seeks to deal with the estimated 500 British citizens who have travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight with Isis.

A further 250 are believed to have returned to Britain. Many have travelled through Germany and Turkey, which explains plans to improve cooperation with the two countries.

The Turkish government, NATO partners of Cameron, has helped ISIS in Syria, because of common hatred of the Damascus government and of Syrian Kurds.

While the German and British governments spy on each other.

But there are differences over plans to impose a temporary ban on returning jihadis. It is understood that the names of suspects could be added to a list, which would then be sent to friendly countries such as Germany and Syria

Is ‘Syria’ here a mistake for ‘Turkey’, indeed NATO ‘friends’ of Cameron?

Or has Cameron already made a ‘Orwellian 1984 like U-turn‘? After Cameron almost started war on the Assad regime recently, only stopped because of overwhelming popular opposition (a war in which ISIS would have been Cameron’s ally), has Damascus suddenly become an ally?

, who would be asked to prevent them entering the UK.

The discussions between Clegg and Cameron are focusing on the legal and practical aspects of the proposal.

Legal advice has suggested that it is possible to strip a UK citizen of their passport in Britain as a way of confining them to the UK. But the legal advice also suggests that if a UK citizen’s passport is cancelled after they have left the UK they are still entitled to return home.

The discussions between Clegg and Cameron are focusing instead on proposals that would allow the authorities in the likes of Germany and Syria to prevent British-born jihadis boarding aircraft. They would then be taken in for further questioning, but would be re-admitted to Britain.

There is agreement between Cameron and Clegg on the need to improve the flow of airline passenger data to the intelligence agencies.

One problem is that some airlines do not release their passenger manifest until 30 minutes before flights leave. There will also be moves to share more passenger data. But this will involve stepping up negotiations with the European parliament, where plans to share passanger data have been challenged by MEPs concerned about civil liberties.

The two leaders have also yet to reach agreement on reforming terrorism prevention and investigation measures (Tpims) after David Anderson, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, called for a strengthening of “locational constraints” in his annual report in March. This could ban those subject to Tpims from some areas or to restore the power to relocate them to specific areas.

It is understood that their discussions are focusing on how any changes to Tpims would have to make clear that these would apply only in the most exceptional circumstances.

In his warning, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia did not name any group but told foreign ambassadors on Friday that he was “certain that after a month they will reach Europe and, after another month, America”, according to the Associated Press.

To really combat terror, end support for Saudi Arabia. Ramped up rhetoric on security makes no sense so long as the west cosies up to dictatorships that support fundamentalism: here.

By Will Stone in Britain:

Vociferous Labour MP Dennis Skinner was far more damning.

Shining a light on the PM’s hypocrisy, Mr Skinner said his words “would be much more credible if he knew his own history,” referring to the fact that only a year ago Mr Cameron humiliatingly lost a Commons vote calling for British military intervention in Syria.

“Twelve months ago this PM stood at the dispatch box to try to get help to arm the guerillas against Assad,” boomed the veteran MP for Bolsover.

“Had it not been for the Labour Party he could have gone down that road.”

Shami Chakrabarti, director of human rights group Liberty, said the PM’s announcement meant that Tpims are now identical to control orders.

She added: “Sabre-rattling and thinly-veiled threats to the courts, but little detail from the Prime Minister.

“Why demand that the police seize passports on a discriminatory, dangerous basis rather than arrest those intent on committing murder and terror overseas?

“Control orders and Tpims become identical via internal exile at home, while the threat of external exile remains with the dangerous and innocent alike dumped like toxic waste on the international community.”

ISIS, Iraq, Syria, David Cameron and hypocrisy


This video says about itself:

I’ll never forgive Tony BlairBianca Jagger on Iraq, human rights and gender equality

17 Febuary 2014

Bianca Jagger, Founder of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation, speaks to the host of Going Underground, Afshin Rattansi, about the war in Iraq, 11 years on. She says she will never forgive Tony Blair for taking the country to war, and people are still suffering from his poor choices. She explains why she campaigned against the war right from the start, and talks about the fact-finding mission she made to Iraq before the war started. Also, she wants to keep fighting to ensure women everywhere have the same rights as men, and the challenges people campaigning for gender equality still must overcome.

By Ben Chacko in Britain:

Tuesday 19th August 2014

DAVID CAMERON insisted yesterday he had a “fully worked through” strategy to deal with Islamic State (Isis) extremists as he prepared for his second holiday this month.

The Labour Party and senior Church of England figures have branded as “incoherent” the Prime Minister’s approach to the terrorist group, which has taken over vast swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria.

But he did not respond to calls from Anglican canon Andrew White of St George’s Church in Baghdad for the British government to offer asylum to up to 30,000 persecuted Iraqi Christians.

Mr Cameron failed to answer accusations of hypocrisy for having backed the insurgency in Syria which put Isis on the map.

The terror group’s equipment and funds come disproportionately from Western powers and regional allies such as Saudi Arabia.

Communist Party general secretary Robert Griffiths said the government’s “top priority should be to enforce the UN security council resolution preventing the flow of arms to Isis and its allies.

“It is a tragedy that US, British and Nato support for Syrian rebels has led to this catastrophe.”

TOP brass rounded on holidaying PM David Cameron yesterday, adding their voices to the clamour for clarity on his Iraq policy. General Sir Richard Dannatt said “the nation would expect” Parliament to be recalled for a full debate if there was a risk of British forces getting involved in the battle between Islamic State (Isis) militants and Iraqi and Kurdish troops: here.

UK joins US military offensive in Iraq: here.

Germany expands its intervention in Iraq: here.

Meanwhile, the number of anti-aircraft missiles in the hands of Syrian rebels poses a serious threat to commercial aircraft. [AP]

Against glorification of World War I in London tonight


This video from England is called No Glory – Remembering World War One in Music and Poetry – St James’s Church, London – 25.10.13.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Anti-war events mark WWI centenary

Monday 4th August 2014

ANTI-WAR events will take place across the country today to counter 100th anniversary celebrations of Britain’s entry into WWI.

Britain’s recent record of foreign wars, including Iraq and Afghanistan, its commitment to Nato expansion and support for Israeli aggression make it essential that there is a strong anti-war message on the day, says Stop The War.

The campaign group is organising a No Glory — No More War rally in Parliament Square this evening from 6.30pm aimed at countering Prime Minister David Cameron’s “celebration” and “glorification” of the WWI centenary.

Speakers and performers at the event include actors Samuel West and Kika Markham.

Jeremy Corbyn MP will read Keir Hardie’s anti-war speech of 1914 and writer AL Kennedy will read Carol Ann Duffy’s Last Post in honour of Harry Patch, the last surviving soldier from the WWI trenches, who said until the day he died in 2009 that war was “legalised mass murder.”

Wreaths will be laid at bus stations and garages across London today in memory of the transport workers who died in the 1914-18 war.

Report of the London rally: here.