I am roused from blog-lethargy by the rumbling controversy over the legality or otherwise of invading Iraq. Simon Jenkins today covers it well, but this paragraph woke me up:
International lawyers were overwhelmingly hostile to the Iraq invasion. There was only one ostensibly independent voice cheerleading for Downing Street, Professor Christopher Greenwood, of the LSE. Last week it was revealed that he had received more than £50,000 for his services by Lord Goldsmith, a fact never revealed in his media appearances. So much for academic independence.
I know of another LSE professor who's jaw-droppingly corrupt but that's another story, except that the LSE seems to breed them. But I didn't know Professor Greenwood so googled a bit. It seems that, not only did the Attorney General change his mind about the war's legality, Professor Greenwood did as well.
In October 2002 Christopher Greenwood QC gave written evidence to the Commons Select Committee on Foreign Affairs. His opinion then was clear and in line with the majority of the UK's international lawyers - that Britain could not justify invading Iraq by invoking the post-1991 UN resolutions 678 and 687, unless the Security Council agreed that Iraq was in material breach of them. Yet, five months later, Greenwood changed his mind and instead argued that resolutions 678 and 687 were in fact operative.
We know that the Attorney General reversed his position some time between March
10 7 and March 17, 2003, when he gave Parliament his written statement that the war was justified. Now we know that sometime between October 2002 and 13 March 2003, when he was hired by the government, Professor Greenwood had his own Damascene conversion.
As this Indie article makes plain, Professor Christopher Greenwood QC is getting paid well by the government for his services.
Professor Greenwood is currently acting for the Ministry of Defence in an Appeal Court case concerning civilian deaths in Iraq, Lord Goldsmith added.
"The best information that can be obtained is that, as at 21 March 2005 [yesterday], his professional fees in relation to work connected with the conflict in Iraq amounted to approximately £46,000 (excluding VAT)," Lord Goldsmith added.
During the same period, Professor Greenwood had been paid approximately £53,000 (excluding VAT) for other Government work, unrelated to the Iraq conflict. That included work for the Foreign Office, the Ministry of Defence, the Home Office, and the Cabinet Office.
I'm reminded of Brian 'Lord' Hutton, of the Hutton Inquiry fame, who started off defending the MoD against Bloody Sunday charges, then slipped up the greasy pole until he eventually became the MoD's man in the Law Lords. I bet Blair, Falconer and Goldsmith intend, if they win the election, to promote Greenwood to the Law Lords or, if it happens, to the new Supreme Court. The whole thing stinks.