Monday, April 28, 2008

My article on the LRS page on ``Dismissal of case...''

Here is the link to my article which is reproduced below:

Dismissal of Case for Demanding a Public Inquiry into the Legality of the Iraq War in the Unied Kingdom: Lessons for the People

A committee of nine law lords early April 2008, upheld the dismissal of a petition that was brought by the mothers of two teenage soldiers killed in the Iraq war, to force the Gordon Brown Government to order an enquiry into the circumstances under which the advice received by the Tony Blair Government in 2003 from the then Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, that the launch of the Iraq war was legal. The case was brought to the House of Lords after an Appeals Court upheld the dismissal by the High Court earlier of the case, which had been filed under European laws that guaranteed the `right to life', by arguing that the deaths of the two soldiers was unlawful as the war itself was not legal. The unanimous decision of the Law Lords was that the right to life was only guaranteed in the territories of the European countries that were signatories of the relevant Human Rights Convention, and did not extend to territories beyond. Furthermore, the most senior Law Lord wrote that he did not envision the Human Rights Convention under any circumstance could include an enquiry into the decision of a sovereign country to go to war. The importance attached to the case may be gauged by the fact that there were an unusually large number of Lords hearing the case and the outcome was beeing keenly watched by opponents of the war world over. The plaintiffs while expressing disappointment with the dismissal, said that they were not surprised by the outcome of the case. The Government, on the other hand, has stated repeatedly that it would order an enquiry at a time that it sees fit, and alternately after all the soldiers return home.

In the case at hand, the events of the last six years have revealed that the issue as regards the Iraq war has nothing to do with legality or justice. It has to do with the conquest of the Arab world, about the need to grab 11% of the proven oil resources of the world. It has been noted in many places that soon after the cataclysmic events of 9/11/2001; Mr. George Bush is supposed to have told Mr. Tony Blair at the time at which the attack on Afghanistan was a foregone conclusion, that one should not forget Iraq. Mr. Donald Rumsfeld upon hearing of the news of 9/11 is said to have instructed his aides to find a connection with Iraq. The literature of the Project for a New American Century had openly exhorted military means as a method of world conquest for which only a pretext was lacking. The former Chairmn of the Board of Governors of the US Federal Reserve Board, Mr. Alan Greenspan has openly spoken about the need that was felt for getting rid of Mr. Saddam Hussein in order to ensure the stability of the oil market. Thus, the British involvement in the war as a trusted ally of the US on Iraq was also a foregone conclusion. The sordid events surrounding the `sexed up dossier' and the subsequent suicide of Dr. Kelly and the lies surrouding `weapons of mass destruction' and Uranium from Niger all point to, beyond reasonable doubt, that the Iraq war is simply a crime against peace, and the issue of legality is moot. Even in this regard, the case has been brought to the Law Lords on how highly `equivocal' advice from the Attorney-General was reduced to concrete advice in a short while. By upholding the dismissal of the case the Law Lords have lost an opportunity to elaborate on what is to be done when soldiers lose their lives in an obviously illegal war.

The lessons to be learnt from this case, as with many other cases of this kind in the recent past, is that the people cannot hope to get any redressal for their grievances or succour from the existing Institutions. The state and its organs in Great Britain have historically evolved through the collusion and contention of various sections of the ruling circles. The judiciary has mainly played the role of being an arbiter for disputes among these sections, and as a pressure vent for the anger of the people who often find themselves completely marginalized from the political process. While the desire for liberation and revolution has been great among the masses there, history has not been kind, and has always relegated them to a secondary role, of being cheerleaders for this or that section of the rulers. More recently, under tremendous pressure from the experience of the World Wars, and the lessons that have been sought to be derived from those, from the terrible loss of life and destruction, sections of the ruling circles have been forced to yield concessions. While there has always been the pressure to consolidate the Anglo-American camp, economic pragmatism has forced the ruling circles to also come to terms with the European Union countries. The latter having learnt some lessons from the folly of the World Wars have tried to enshrine some principles into the framework that would govern them. All said and done, nevertheless, even there the supreme power continues to reside in the hands of the propertied sections. With tenets such as those in the Paris Charter dominating the political framework, what is concomitant is the negation of certain human rights: many principles and tenets are simply reduced to being grand statements on paper, while there is no mechanism by which these can be realized, juridically or otherwise, in the real world. Even more tragically, there appears to be no juridical mechanism by which leaders in these countries even when demonstrably carrying out crimes can be brought to book.

There are lessons to be learnt by peoples world over from watershed events such as these. In particular, the peoples of countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and other former colonies are today saddled with precisely those state structures, organs and institutions that were left behind by the British colonialists. These organs were created at a time when colonial plunder and maximization of loot were the aims of the colonial enterprise. The judiciary intervened when parties were unable to resolve their disputes. The principles of natural justice which exist on paper in these countries are more often than not subverted to serve the supreme interests of private property. The rights of peoples, of nations that constitute some of these countries continue to remain negated. It is unlikely that under the present aegis any of these injustices can be rectified. Misplaced trust in anachronistic institutions would be a serious setback to the movement towards the establishing of rights on a modern basis. A discussion must begin on a broad scale as to what is to be done to get the peoples out of the predicament in which they find themselves.

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