» Wednesday, June 30, 2004


Asked for a reaction to a statement by the new Iraqi Security Adviser suggesting that Saddam Hussein could face the death penalty, the PMOS said that as we had made clear to the Iraqi Government, and indeed other Governments, we were opposed to the use of the death penalty. That said, Iraq now had a sovereign Government and we had to respect that. It was encouraging to see that they were taking the job of governing the country seriously, as demonstrated by the CPA sites in Nazariah and other areas were being handed over to local government and the CPA site in Kut being handed over to the local police. Asked if the Prime Minister was concerned that using the death penalty on Saddam Hussein could make a martyr out of him, the PMOS said that we had repeatedly expressed our view on the death penalty. Ultimately, however, this was an issue for the Iraqi Government. It was encouraging that the Iraqi Prime Minister and other Iraqi Ministers had underlined that there would be a transparent judicial process. That was very different to the justice system under the previous regime. Asked if it was fair to say that despite his objections, the matter was out of the Prime Minister’s hands, the PMOS said that we had made our position clear and the Iraqi Government was well aware of it. Asked to clarify the British Government’s position, the PMOS said that we were opposed to the death penalty. However, its use was a matter for the sovereign Iraqi Government and the outcome of the judicial process. The important point, however, was the fact that a judicial process was actually taking place and that it would be transparent.

Asked if Downing Street was concerned about the legal position of British troops in Iraq in the light of the fact that the new Iraqi Government had decided that no blanket immunity would be given to foreigners under Iraqi law, the PMOS referred journalists to the Foreign Office for a detailed response to the question.

Asked if the Prime Minister had replied to the letter from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, the PMOS said no. He would consider what they had written and would reply in due course. As had been widely reported, the Prime Minister had expressed, and continued to express, his abhorrence at any mistreatment of prisoners. It was also fair to point out that investigations into the allegations had already started before the cases had become public knowledge. In addition, the Prime Minister believed that the positive work of our troops in Iraq, which was recognised by the Iraqi Government, should not be obscured by the abuses – which we clearly condemned – that had been carried out by just a few people. Asked if the Prime Minister believed the letter to be unhelpful, the PMOS said that the Archbishops were just as entitled as anyone else to express their opinions. Equally, the Prime Minister had made it clear that he condemned any abuse of prisoners and believed that it was important for the allegations to be investigated properly, as indeed was happening at the current time. Moreover, he remained strongly of the view that the positive work being done by our troops in Iraq should not be obscured by the mistreatment of prisoners which had been carried out by only a few people.

Asked for a reaction to the claim by the mother of Fusilier Gordon Gentle that her son had been treated ‘like a piece of meat’, the PMOS said he did not think it would be helpful to use the press briefing to respond directly to a grieving mother who had lost her son in such tragic circumstances. It would be better for her to be allowed to express her grief in her own way without public controversy getting in the way.

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


  1. On the issue of being "treated like meat"
    As a communications expert I was once [only once] asked to review the radio communications NVQ syllabus for ‘squaddies’.
    My main comment was that the syllabus did not contain enough theory for a communications ‘expert’ to do simple things like fabricate a replacement aerial if the one for the radio had been destroyed. I commented that if no replacement parts were ‘to hand’ the soldiers appeared to be considered expendable.
    Given the history of warfare it is not surprising that soldiers are considered expendable, but I was concerned that for the sake of an extra 2 weeks of training the communications ‘experts’ were being exposed to unreasonable risk.
    No prizes for guessing why I was only asked once…..

    Comment by Roger Huffadine — 30 Jun 2004 on 5:09 pm | Link
  2. So after having said that, does it really take any believing that troops would be asked to hand in flak-jackets so others could use them? Or does it take much believing that RMPs had to hand in most of their ammunition, leaving them short for when they needed it most? The Forces have always been, and will continue to be, a reliable source of income for the government of the day; a few Defence spending cuts here and there and a few billion saved. Of course, commitments always increase but that isn’t the government’s problem, is it?

    Incidentally, even after serving in the Royal Signals for 15 years, I STILL do not know how to build an antenna… We concentrated on more relevant stuff, like sweeping leaves and painting things…

    Comment by PapaLazzzaru — 30 Jun 2004 on 5:25 pm | Link
  3. why is the government using a technology known as ‘The Microwave Auditory Effect’, to terrorize citizen’s with ‘Threatening Voices’. This technology has the potential to induce both SCHIZOPHRENIA and SUICIDE.

    <a href="http://www.notafreemason.com/content2-04.html"></a&gt;

    Comment by Simon Hayes — 7 Sep 2006 on 1:05 pm | Link

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Post a public comment

(You must give an email address, but it will not be displayed to the public.)
(You may give your website, and it will be displayed to the public.)


This is not a way of contacting the Prime Minister. If you would like to contact the Prime Minister, go to the 10 Downing Street official site.

Privacy note: Shortly after posting, your name and comment will be displayed on the site. This means that people searching for your name on the Internet will be able to find and read your comment.

Downing Street Says...

The unofficial site which lets you comment on the UK Prime Minister's official briefings. About us...


June 2004
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
« May   Jul »

Supported by


Disruptive Proactivity

Recent Briefings



Syndicate (RSS/XML)



Contact Sam Smith.

This site is powered by WordPress. Theme by Jag Singh