News on the Fairford five.
Bristol STW press release
... THE STATE IS NERVOUS ...
The Fairford 5 trials have once more exploded onto the international
the Foreign Office intervenes in the court proceedings against the 'Fairford
- who all attempted to disable U.S B52 Bombers stationed at Fairford
(Gloucestershire, U.K) in the days leading up to the illegal bombing of
during March 2003.
"DON'T RULE ON IRAQ" FOREIGN OFFICE WARNS COURT
A senior Foreign Office official issued a dramatic warning this week,
possible consequences of a British court ruling on the legality of the
In a tone best described as one of feverish consternation, Sir Michael
Jay, Permanent Under- Secretary of State at the Foreign Office and Head
of the Diplomatic Service, warned that any court ruling on the Iraq war
critical of UK government policy could damage relations with other
governments, destabilise the new administration in Iraq, give aid and
comfort to terrorists, and put the lives of British citizens in danger.
Sir Michael's four-page signed statement was handed to a hearing of the
Court of Appeal at the Royal Courts of Justice on Tuesday, ten minutes
before the hearing was due to start.
In the event, Sir Michael's statement was never cited in evidence, which
it can be quoted here. But it offers an indication of the present
Establishment's extreme touchiness where any possible court ruling
the Iraq war is concerned.
The hearing concerned the cases of the Fairford Five - a group of peace
protesters charged with conspiracy and criminal damage for their actions
Gloucestershire air base against the war on Iraq last year.
After a preparatory hearing in Bristol Crown Court in May, Mr. Justice
ruled that the matter of the legality of the Iraq war was "non-justiciable,"
that the Fairford Five were not entitled to argue in their defence that
acted to resist an unlawful war. Lawyers for the five peace activists
for their clients to have a fair trial, it will be necessary for them to
of their "sincere belief" that the war was unlawful.
Sir Michael writes, "In the judgment of the Secretary of State and the
Commonwealth Office, and in my own opinion, it would be prejudicial to
national interest and to the conduct of the Government's foreign policy
English courts were to express opinions on questions of international
concerning the use of force by the United Kingdom and the United States
might differ from those expressed by the Government and advanced by it
conduct of international relations."
The situation "in and relating to" Iraq remains, in Sir Michael's view,
the most sensitive in international relations at the present time." Sir
believes that, "If the opinion of an English court, expressed in a
judgment, differed from that of the Government, this would inevitably
weaken the Government's hand in its negotiations with other States."
Allied governments "which have agreed with and supported the United
Kingdom's views on the legality of the use of force, could regard such a
step as tending to undermine their own position." Governments less
friendly to UK policy on the war, "could seize upon such a judgment and
use it to question the Government's position in the course of diplomatic
negotiations concerning Iraq and more widely."
"Serious risks" could arise for the United Kingdom, Jay claims, from a
ruling on the war that went against the Government:
"It is likely that such a decision would provide encouragement to those
who are using violence to destabilise the situation, including
terrorists, former regime loyalists and those in Middle Eastern
are supporting them. It would tend to undermine the new Iraqi Interim
Government which took office on 29 June 2004. It would weaken the United
Kingdom's standing in Iraq, and could thus increase the vulnerability of
UK forces and personnel.
At the diplomatic level it would risk weakening the international
support of the Iraqi Interim Government's actions to increase stability,
security and the protection of human rights in Iraq. In particular, it
undermine the consensus re-established within the Security Council, in
which the international community has agreed to put past controversies
behind it and to come together to assist Iraq [to] move forward."
Sir Michael adds that, in his view, a ruling from the court critical of
government policy on Iraq could "undermine the Government's standing
with Arab and Islamic countries, and could give comfort and
encouragement to terrorist organisations."
The UK's "efforts to negotiate and secure effective measures against
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction ( and in particular to
becoming available to terrorist organisations) could be hampered" - also
United Kingdom's efforts to secure co-operation of States in measures
terrorists based in other countries, and measures to secure co-operation
exchange of information vital to security matters."
Meanwhile, the Fairford defendants continue to battle for their right to
"mention the war."
A ruling by the Court of Appeal is expected within the next few weeks.
"The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they
selling - their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their
their notion of inevitability. Remember this - we be many and they be
few. They need us more than we need them. Another world is not only
possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing."
... SAY YES 2 PEACE ... SAY YES 2 PEACE ... SAY YES 2 PEACE ...