reports that two former British government employees have been charged with
violating the Official Secrets Act.
The Official Secrets Act is useful for protecting the British government from
accountability. Anyone who reveals wrongdoing by government officials can be
charged under the act.
The two men are charged with leaking a harmless memo, "Iraq in the Medium
Term," that expresses British Foreign Office doubts about U.S. tactics
in Iraq. The real crime is not the leak but her Majesty's government's continuing
support for a policy that the British government knows to be illegal and bulging
with war crimes. It is Prime Minister Tony Blair and his ministers who should
be facing charges.
As the publication by the London Times (May 1, 2005) of the super secret
Street Memo (July 23, 2002) made clear, prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq,
the head of British intelligence returned from meetings in Washington to tell
the British cabinet that the Bush administration first made the decision to
invade Iraq and then manufactured the "intelligence" to justify the
The British government knew in advance that the invasion was wrong. Members
of the British cabinet were concerned that British participation in an act of
naked aggression would expose British government officials to war crimes charges.
Nevertheless, Blair insisted that the UK had to support Bush. Little doubt but
Blair was concerned that otherwise his political retirement would not be secured
with U.S. corporate directorships.
Consequently, the U.S. and UK governments invaded a country for reasons that
were different from the fabricated reasons used to make the case to the public.
Thus did the highest officials in the two governments commit a plethora of crimes.
Under the Nuremberg standard, it is a war crime to initiate military aggression.
It is a criminal act both in the U.S. and the UK to commit military forces
to action under false pretenses.
Many aspects of the conduct of the war are criminal. Torture, murder of civilians,
corruption in contracts. Prosecutors could build a list of charges against President
George W. Bush, Vice President Richard Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld,
and Prime Minister Blair.
In England it is not Blair who is on trial for participating in what he knew
was a wrongful act that has resulted in thousands of deaths. It is not the crimes
committed in secret that get punished. The people who are punished are the ones
who leak memos that reveal wrongdoing has occurred.
Blair may escape punishment for his treachery to the British and Iraqi people.
Bush, however, may not. One of the neocon architects of the illegal invasion,
Lewis "Scooter" Libby, has been indicted on a peripheral issue. Another
of the neocon architects, Douglas Feith, is being investigated by the inspector
general of the Department of Defense at the insistence of the Senate Armed Services
Committee and Senate Intelligence Committee. Feith is suspected of overseeing
the task of creating the false intelligence.
Bush's public support has plummeted. A majority of Americans believe Bush lied
about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction, and now they doubt his integrity.
Trapped in their lies, Bush and Cheney are lashing out at critics, proving once
again the truth of Samuel Johnson's 18th century observation that "patriotism
is the last refuge of a scoundrel."
Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), a former Marine, has had enough of the senseless
killing, maiming, and expense of the Iraq war, which he termed "a flawed
policy wrapped in illusion."
Murtha, a strong supporter of the U.S. military, has realized along with Gen.
George W. Casey that U.S. occupation, not terrorism, is the driving force
behind the Iraq insurgency.
On Nov. 17, Murtha declared: "We cannot continue on the present course.
It is evident that continued military action in Iraq is not in the best interest
of the United States of America, the Iraqi people, or the Persian Gulf region."
A new CNN/USA
Today Gallup poll shows that the American public agrees with Murtha.
Fifty-two percent of respondents believe all U.S. soldiers should be withdrawn
immediately from Iraq or over the next 12 months. Only 38 percent believe the
troops should remain in Iraq.
The neocon architects of the war believed that the "cakewalk" invasion
of Iraq would flow seamlessly into the overthrow of the Syrian and Iranian governments,
making the Middle East safe for whatever policy Israel wished to pursue. Instead,
the invasion has poisoned Muslims against America and created chaos and instability
that play into the hands of Osama bin Laden.
The Bush administration believed that the euphoria of a "cakewalk"
conquest would prevent the nonexistence of weapons of mass destruction from
becoming an issue. Success would mask the lies, and the issue of accountability
would not arise.
Success, however, was never in the cards. Congress has caught on, and pressure
is mounting to bring our troops home. The determination of the Bush administration
to discredit all critics resulted in illegal acts and Libby's indictment. The
prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, has announced the formation of a new
grand jury to continue the investigation of illegal acts by Bush administration
As events unfold, we must keep in mind that matters do not end with bringing
home the troops and punishing the administration officials who blew the cover
of a covert U.S. agent. The worst transgression was the Bush administration's
decision to deceive our nation in order to use a war in Iraq to pursue an undeclared
agenda in the Middle East. Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld committed treason. They
still have not told us the real reason they were so determined to invade Iraq
that they used falsified intelligence to justify a war of aggression. We must
find out their real agenda and hold them fully accountable for their crimes.
If low-level British government employees are to be punished for leaking a
memo that had no adverse consequences except for the reputation of Blair and
his cabinet, the monsters who started a war that has killed and maimed tens
of thousands must be held accountable.