Probity Statement

"Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime." – Ernest Hemingway, 1946

War was outlawed in 1928 by the General Treaty for the Renunciation of War. Known as Kellogg-Briand Pact, the treaty was signed by sixty-three nations, including Britain & America who ratified the Pact condemning recourse to war and agreed to settle all disputes peacefully.

Yet in spite of this treaty and many others from the Geneva Convention to Nuremberg and the 1945 UN Charter still being in force, Britain has deployed its armed forces in combat missions 83 times in 47 countries since the end of the Second World War, with episodes ranging from brutal colonial wars and covert operations to efforts to prop up favoured governments. Attempts were also made to overthrow less favoured governments such as Guyana & Iran (1953), Egypt (1950s), Iraq (2003) and Libya (2011).  Millions of lives have been lost. Billions have been spent in order to serve the ‘interests’ of the very few at the cost of the many. The so-called Ministry of Defence (MOD) will be given £69BN of taxpayers’ money this year to subsidise the arms industry and fund more wars of aggression while offering little or nothing in the way of defence. A further £116BN of taxpayers’ money will go to the banks, interest on money that never existed for wars and investments which are not only unnecessary and illegal, but which will never benefit the British public.

It isn’t as though HM Government doesn’t know it’s breaking the law. Criterion 2c of the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing criteria clearly states that the government will ‘not grant a licence if there is a clear risk that the items might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law’. Yet the UK government did grant a licence to sell arms to the Saudis, while the Saudis continued bombing Yemen in violation of International Humanitarian Law.

Today, the UK government is committing the same offence in Gaza, by licensing arms to Israel, a state currently subject to an ICJ ‘plausible genocide’ ruling where genocide includes killing members of the group, causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group and deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about the destruction of the group in whole or in part – such as the withholding of food, clean water and electricity.

More than 600 lawyers, academics and retired senior judges signed a 17-page letter calling for the UK government to end weapons sales to Israel, warning that serious action was needed to ‘…avoid UK complicity in grave breaches of international law, including potential violations of the Genocide Convention’. Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden announced the UK government would be ‘holding Israel to high standards’ (a lower bar than that of the UK is hard to envisage) adding ‘We will of course act in accordance with our obligations under law in respect of arms sales’.

What kind of person needs advice from 600 lawyers, academics and retired judges, plus 800 civil servants worldwide, in order to understand that it isn’t acceptable for a first world super-power with nuclear capabilities, to bomb a blockaded, starving nation, which has no army, air force, navy and no means of defence or escape? What personality-type needs a piece of paper to understand such actions are inhumane? Those whose moral bankruptcy is at rock-bottom, namely governments, arms manufacturers, private bankers, re-construction companies, money launderers, lobbyist MPs and the rest – all of whom have benefitted financially across the centuries from the deaths of millions. Most people have a conscience. They don’t need a law telling them not to kill. No law is going to prevent those with the desire to kill, such as Dennis Nilsen, Harold Shipman, Fred West or the UK government.

Many refusing to pay tax on ethical grounds and are willing to accept the consequences of standing up to a morally bankrupt government, protected by a mostly cowed judiciary. HM government and their courts may struggle to claim that those who refuse to pay tax on ethical grounds are in violation of the law, when their taxes are being used to fund activities which are themselves in violation of international and domestic law. No government lacking the conscience to uphold international law, can be trusted to pen the legislation used to coerce taxpayers into funding government crimes, while claiming the failure of the taxpayer to fund such crimes…is against the law. While there is no positive UK case law regarding the withholding of taxes on ethical grounds, there are international humanitarian laws that have been ratified into UK law which make it clear that it is a criminal offence in Britain to give money to a person or organisation if there is a reasonable cause to suspect that it may be used for criminal purposes, such as funding terrorism, war or genocide.

The MOD’s own Manual of Military Law (1955) Part I, Chapter VI, Article 24 states: If a person, who is bound to obey a duly constituted superior, receives from the superior an order to do some act or make some omission which is manifestly illegal, he is under a legal duty to refuse to carry out the order and if he does carry it out he will be criminally responsible for what he does in doing so.

Nuremberg Principles Part IV: The fact that a person acted to the order of his government or a superior, does not relieve him of responsibility under international law provided that a moral choice was in fact possible to him.

The moral choice, surely, is to not sponsor genocide. Taxpayers can vote with their wallets and refuse to fund an arms industry dependent on division and conflict, in a bid to prevent trillions more being invested to serve the interests of the few at the cost of the many.

In the three film snippets below, Ben Griffin brings to life the realities of war and who stands to benefit, David Cameron gets flustered as MP Alicia Kearns grills him about some missing paperwork that might suggest Israel's war on Gaza is in breach of international humanitarian law and Justin Walker explains how everyone in the country could be extremely well off if we only dispensed with our debt-based currency and reverted to a credit system.

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War between nations was renounced by the signatories of the Kellogg-Briand Treaty. This means that it has become throughout practically the entire world, an illegal thing. Hereafter, when nations engage in armed conflict, either one or both of them must be termed violators of this general treaty law.

- Henry Stimson, US Secretary of State 1932
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