The email was entitled,
URGENT: Illegality in UK Law of Military Intervention in Libya.
The text of the email, which includes a list of recipients of visible copies, was as follows:
Dear Prime Minister and Attorney General,
I write to request and require that the UK Government forthwith ceases its current military action in Libya since such military action is contrary to UK Law.
In a public statement on Saturday 19th March 2011, the Prime Minister stated that the military intervention in Libya is "necessary, legal and right".
Unfortunately, the Prime Minister's assertion that the military intervention is "legal" is incorrect.
Much of the remainder of this communication briefly will explain some of the grounds as to why the UK military action in Libya is unlawful in UK Law.
The recent UN Security Council Resolution, apparently in accordance with Article 42 of the UN Charter, appears to have removed the standing prohibition in International Law with respect to military action in Libya.
However that UN resolution does nothing to allow the UK Government to act contrary to UK Law.
Mr. Cameron's Government draws its authority from the Queen.
In her Coronation Oath the Queen made the following solemn commitment:
Archbishop. Will you solemnly promise and swear to govern the Peoples of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Union of South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon, and of your Possessions and the other Territories to any of them belonging or pertaining, according to their respective laws and customs?
Queen. I solemnly promise so to do.
As a consequence of that solemn promise all subsequent UK Governments which draw their authority from the Queen are likewise bound to govern in accordance with Law.
In which respect(s) do the UK Government's actions in Libya contravene UK Law?
To answer that question one needs to consider tha nature of the actions threatened and undertaken.
The contravention of Law hinges on the provisions of Section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2000 which, for convenience, I quote in full here. Subsections 1(1) to 1(4) are directly relevant to the UK's actions in Libya.
1 Terrorism: interpretation.E+W+S+N.I.
(1)In this Act “terrorism” means the use or threat of action where—
(a)the action falls within subsection (2),
(b)the use or threat is designed to influence the government [F1or an international governmental organisation] or to intimidate the public or a section of the public, and
(c)the use or threat is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious [F2, racial] or ideological cause.
(2)Action falls within this subsection if it—
(a)involves serious violence against a person,
(b)involves serious damage to property,
(c)endangers a person’s life, other than that of the person committing the action,
(d)creates a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public, or
(e)is designed seriously to interfere with or seriously to disrupt an electronic system.
(3)The use or threat of action falling within subsection (2) which involves the use of firearms or explosives is terrorism whether or not subsection (1)(b) is satisfied.
(4)In this section—
(a)“action” includes action outside the United Kingdom,
(b)a reference to any person or to property is a reference to any person, or to property, wherever situated,
(c)a reference to the public includes a reference to the public of a country other than the United Kingdom, and
(d)“the government” means the government of the United Kingdom, of a Part of the United Kingdom or of a country other than the United Kingdom.
(5)In this Act a reference to action taken for the purposes of terrorism includes a reference to action taken for the benefit of a proscribed organisation.
Prime Minister, I am sure that the Attorney General can confirm to you that the UK's action in Libya is "terrorism" as defined in Section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
Other recipients may wish to read an interpretation of Section 1 here, http://chilcotscheatingus.blogspot.com/2010/02/use-off-armed-force-by-uk-military.html, which outlines why military action by UK forces is unlawful and has been for more than a decade.
A number of serious consequences follow from the realisation that the UK's military action in Libya is "terrorism" as defined in Section 1.
Not least, the Prime Minister and others under his command have committed offences contrary to Section 56 of the Terrorism Act 2000, for which the punishment on conviction is imprisonment for life:
56 Directing terrorist organisation.E+W+S+N.I.
(1)A person commits an offence if he directs, at any level, the activities of an organisation which is concerned in the commission of acts of terrorism.
(2)A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for life.
Given that the UK military action in Libya is "terrorism" as defined in Section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2000, it follows that the Prime Minister and others who have "directed", at any level, UK military action in Libya have committed Section 56 offences.
A much larger number of individuals will have committed a Section 57 offence, as defined in the Act:
57 Possession for terrorist purposes.E+W+S+N.I.
(1)A person commits an offence if he possesses an article in circumstances which give rise to a reasonable suspicion that his possession is for a purpose connected with the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism.
(2)It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under this section to prove that his possession of the article was not for a purpose connected with the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism.
(3)In proceedings for an offence under this section, if it is proved that an article—
(a)was on any premises at the same time as the accused, or
(b)was on premises of which the accused was the occupier or which he habitually used otherwise than as a member of the public,
the court may assume that the accused possessed the article, unless he proves that he did not know of its presence on the premises or that he had no control over it.
(4)A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable—
(a)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding [F115 years] , to a fine or to both, or
(b)on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or to both.
When Tony Blair conducted his acts of international terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq he had the advantage of, so we are led to believe, not being informed directly of its illegality in UK Law at the time.
Mr. Cameron, you are not in such a position.
I, as a citizen of the UK, request and require that you cease your unlawful actions immediately.
Similarly, Mr. Grieve requires promptly to consider issues wholly ignored by his predecessor Lord Goldsmith with respect to the interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Given this communication, you and your colleagues have been informed that your actions in Libya are illegal.
Shamefully, a variety of establishment figures and institutions have conspired to conceal the UK's recent State Hidden International Terrorism in Iraq and in Afghanistan.
For example, the Foreign Affairs Select Committee chose totally to ignore evidence that the UK military intervention in Afghanistan is unlawful. See http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmselect/cmfaff/514/514vw08.htm.
Similarly, the Iraq Inquiry chaired by Sir John Chilcot is determined to bury the evidence that the UK intervention in Iraq was terrorism as defined in Section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
The UK's military intervention in Libya is State Hidden International Terrorism.
Be assured, Prime Minister, that the SHIT will hit the fan with respect to your unlawful acts in Libya.
In order to ensure that it is a matter of public record that the UK Prime Minister and Attorney General have been informed early on Sunday 20th March 2011 that the UK military action in Libya is unlawful I am copying this email widely both to visible recipients (listed below) and recipients of blind copies.
I would encourage copy recipients to forward this email widely to ensure that Mr. Cameron and Mr. Grieve, should they be minded to continue their international terrrorism in Libya, will find it politically impossible to do so.
Should Mr. Grieve consider that the UK's military intervention in Libya is not "terrorism" as defined in Section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2000, I will be intrigued to read his rationale.
(Dr) Andrew Watt
List of visible recipients:
Nick Clegg MP, Deputy Prime Minister
Norman Baker MP
Simon Hughes MP
Jessica Lee MP, PPS to the Attorney General
Desmond Swayne MP, PPS to the Prime Minister
William Hague MP, Foreign Secretary
Keith Simpson MP, PPS to the Foreign Secretary
Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Opposition
Anne McGuire MP, PPS to the Leader of the Opposition
Chuka Umunna MP, PPS to the Leader of the Opposition
Richard Ottaway MP, Chair, Foreign Affairs Select Committee
James Arbuthnot MP, Chair, Defence Select Committee
Liam Fox MP, Secretary of State for Defence
Tobias Ellwood, PPS to the Secretary of State for Defence
Paul Flynn MP
Elfyn Llwyd MP
Alan Rusbridger, Editor, The Guardian
James Hanning, Deputy Editor, Independent on Sunday
Andrew Gilligan, The Telegraph
Paul Reynolds, BBC
Nick Robinson, BBC
The Stop the War Coalition,
Kate Hudson, CND UK
The Chilcot Inquiry
Sarah Goom, Legal Adviser to the Chilcot Inquiry
HM Treasury Ministers
Department of Justice Ministers
Ministry of Defence Ministers
Blind Copy Recipients