» Monday, March 1, 2004


The Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman (PMOS) informed journalists that the Prime Minister warmly welcomed today’s announcement that the transitional law had been agreed by the Iraq Governing Council (IGC) earlier this morning. The IGC was due to hold a press conference this afternoon and would release the text of the agreement later in the week following the conclusion of an important Shia festival and after some loose ends had been tidied up. What was important about the transitional law was that it would safeguard the fundamental rights of the Iraqi people until direct elections were held for a new representative government. As such, it was a significant foundation stone in building a new Iraq. The law enshrined basic rights for all Iraqis – freedom of religion, freedom of expression and a free and independent judiciary. It went without saying that these were rights and laws not enjoyed under Saddam Hussein.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news


  1. What a great idea!

    What a pity that no-one appears to be reading and / or commenting on it.

    Well, we’ll soon fix that methinks.

    As a brit living abroad I’ll be directing all my london dwelling friends this way…

    Apres moi, les deluge.


    Oh and ditching Short would be a TERRIBLE idea because:

    a) She’s **probably** not lying (well not totally anyway)
    b) One should always keep one’s enemies closer…etc etc

    Comment by Dino — 1 Mar 2004 on 5:55 pm | Link
  2. So the PM "warmly welcomes" it? What else could he do? Reject it out of hand? This is a classic bit of distraction by the PMOS trying to soak up time in the briefing to keep questions away from more sensitive subjects.

    And why do people say "it goes without saying" and then promptly say it?

    Comment by Neil Moore-Smith — 1 Mar 2004 on 6:31 pm | Link
  3. There is indeed capability to insert anti-spamming and spam-blocking into the site, should they so enable it, and those filters can indeed be trained to block out abusive content.

    However, that’s different than outright "PMOS is full of it" messages (which, actually, on this note, I tend to agree with), which, however uncharitably worded, aren’t really stating anything other than the obvious response.

    There is <i>no</i> mention, of course, on human rights, and that’s what many of us are watching for. Britain’s success, or failure, in its ability to turn the tide of human rights abuses in the Middle East, under a broad variety of garb (including political exclusion, women’s rights, and voter’s rights), will be seen in that agreement.

    After all, freedom of expression means you’re free to say anything you like – but that expression does not entitle you to a say in how government behaves unless it, too, is in law. Freedom of an independent judiciary won’t help you when there’s no constitution of note, and no political system for the individual to use to shape government.

    And freedom of religion? I’d like to see someone try and take it with them. Or, rather, wouldn’t, as we’ve seen enough bloodshed to date, but it remains a near-impossibility in today’s sociopolitical climate in the region.

    In other words, this says absolutely nothing, and more importantly, it says nothing about how successful Britain and the U.S. have been in trying to convince the various factions of the region to actually cooperate and put an end to some age-old human rights abuses along the way.

    Comment by Gregory Lightyear — 1 Mar 2004 on 8:41 pm | Link
  4. I think the BBC News article on the downingstreetsays website should boost the comments a tad…

    Comment by Simon — 1 Mar 2004 on 9:30 pm | Link
  5. And about time too!

    Would this form the basis for an Iraqi democratic constitution ?

    Comment by Goo Ree — 1 Mar 2004 on 11:06 pm | Link
  6. Not sure how relevant this is to this story, but
    <a href="http://www.geocities.com/nathanbrown1/interimiraqiconstitution.html">http://www.geocities.com/nathanbrown1/interimiraqiconstitution.html</a&gt;
    is a translation of the Debruary 1 draft Constitution for Iraq, with commentary — quite enlightening.

    Comment by Chris Lightfoot — 2 Mar 2004 on 12:28 am | Link
  7. this is a good idea. I’m an brit currently living in Japan. England isn’t the only country with a corrupt government.

    I think some of these posts could be a bit more tongue in cheek.

    Comment by firefly — 2 Mar 2004 on 9:16 am | Link
  8. This government (read Tony) may say that history will
    prove them right – ie that the ends justified the means,
    but the evidence to date even on this point is not good.
    Only this morning the largest Shiite religious festival of
    the year has been marked by bombs killing dozens, the
    British army is being sued for beating Iraqi prisoners to
    death, and a report says that infant mortality has increased
    beyond even the apallingly high levels it was at under
    10 years of UN (read US) sanctions. At what point do
    we say that conditions have actually got worse than they
    were immediately before we joined this illegal war?

    Comment by Ralph Williams — 2 Mar 2004 on 9:20 am | Link
  9. When do we get comment on the TB to be tried by War Crimes Tribunal?

    I’m just off to follow the link to the translation of the Iraq draft constitution.

    This BLOG is great its now on my toolbar

    Comment by Roger Huffadine — 2 Mar 2004 on 9:57 am | Link
  10. I wonder if any of the Iraqi bloggers are reading it? It certainly is very interesting to get stories first hand before the newspapers have mangled the stories.
    I wonder if Tony uses Bloglines or other RSS feed personally?

    Comment by Geoff — 2 Mar 2004 on 10:57 am | Link
  11. I understand that Tony is a bit of an IT-phobe. And the fact that he has a staff of people to read and summarise the newspapers for him suggests that he doesn’t have that much free time on his hands for other reading….

    Comment by Chris Lightfoot — 2 Mar 2004 on 11:12 am | Link
  12. Well, that’s his loss, then. I guess I won’t be terribly shocked if it turns out that reading this site is eminently more enjoyable than actually having to go to the press conferences twice a day.

    Congrats to the team, great work.

    Comment by Gregory Lightyear — 3 Mar 2004 on 12:10 am | Link

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