First Order of Business for post-Lisbon EU: Appoint War Criminal As President by James Corbett

by James Corbett
Dandelion Salad
The Corbett Report
4 October, 2009

Major media outlets from the BBC in Britain to RTE in Ireland are now reporting that the Yes side scored a resounding victory in Ireland’s vote Friday on the EU Lisbon Treaty. With the treaty’s ratification, the obstacles preventing the total federalization of the EU superstate are now removed.

As the Daily Mail reported earlier this week, one of the first orders of business for the post-Lisbon EU will be to appoint Tony Blair as the first President of the European Union. This move has been fully expected ever since Tony Blair’s highly suspect conversion to Catholocism two years ago. Of course, the many laudatory pieces (and even the adversarial ones) we are likely to read about Mr. Blair in the coming weeks will signally fail to mention that he has been accused of numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity including:

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Confidential memo reveals US plan to provoke an invasion of Iraq

Dandelion Salad

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by Jamie Doward, Gaby Hinsliff and Mark Townsend
The Observer, Sunday 21 June 2009

A confidential record of a meeting between President Bush and Tony Blair before the invasion of Iraq, outlining their intention to go to war without a second United Nations resolution, will be an explosive issue for the official inquiry into the UK’s role in toppling Saddam Hussein.

The memo, written on 31 January 2003, almost two months before the invasion and seen by the Observer, confirms that as the two men became increasingly aware UN inspectors would fail to find weapons of mass destruction WMD they had to contemplate alternative scenarios that might trigger a second resolution legitimising military action.

[…]

via Confidential memo reveals US plan to provoke an invasion of Iraq | Politics | The Observer

h/t: CLG

Fake Faith and Epic Crimes By John Pilger

Dandelion Salad

By John Pilger
April 02, 2009 “Information Clearing House

These are extraordinary times. With the United States and Britain on the verge of bankruptcy and committing to an endless colonial war, pressure is building for their crimes to be prosecuted at a tribunal similar to that which tried the Nazis at Nuremberg. This defined rapacious invasion as “the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” International law would be mere farce, said the chief US chief prosecutor at Nuremberg, Supreme Court justice Robert Jackson, “if, in future, we do not apply its principles to ourselves.”

That is now happening. Spain, Germany, Belgium, France and Britain have long had “universal jurisdiction” statutes, which allow their national courts to pursue and prosecute prima facie war criminals. What has changed is an unspoken rule never to use international law against “ourselves,” or “our” allies or clients. In 1998, Spain, supported by France, Switzerland and Belgium, indicted the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, client and executioner of the West, and sought his extradition from Britain, where he happened to be at the time. Had he been sent for trial he almost certainly would have implicated at least one British prime minister and two US presidents in crimes against humanity. Home Secretary Jack Straw let him escape back to Chile.

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Little War Criminals Get Punished, Big Ones Don’t By Paul Craig Roberts

Dandelion Salad

By Paul Craig Roberts
07/16/08 “ICH”

National Public Radio has been spending much news time on Darfur in Western Sudan where a great deal of human suffering and death are occurring. The military conflict has been brought on in part by climate change, according to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Drought is forcing nomads in search of water into areas occupied by other claimants. No doubt the conflict is tribal and racial as well. The entire catastrophe is overseen by a government with few resources other than bullets.

Now an International Criminal Court prosecutor wants to bring charges against Sudan’s president, Omar al-Bashir, for crimes against humanity and war crimes.

I have no sympathy for people who make others suffer. Nevertheless, I wonder at the International Criminal Court’s pick from the assortment of war criminals? Why al-Bashir?

Is it because Sudan is a powerless state, and the International Criminal Court hasn’t the courage to name George W. Bush and Tony Blair as war criminals?

Bush and Blair’s crimes against humanity in Iraq and Afghanistan dwarf, at least in the number of deaths and displaced persons, the terrible situation in Darfur. The highest estimate of Darfur casualties is 400,000, one-third the number of Iraqis who have died as a result of Bush’s invasion. Moreover, the conflict in the Sudan is an internal one, whereas Bush illegally invaded two foreign countries, war crimes under the Nuremberg Standard. Bush’s war crimes were enabled by the political leaders of the UK, Spain, Canada, and Australia. The leaders of every member of the “coalition of the willing to commit war crimes” are candidates for the dock.

But of course the Great Moral West does not commit war crimes. War crimes are charges fobbed off on people demonized by the Western media, such as the Serbian Milosovic and the Sudanese al-Bashir.

Every week the Israeli government evicts Palestinians from their homes, steals their land, and kills Palestinian women and children. These crimes against humanity have been going on for decades. Except for a few Israeli human rights organizations, no one complains about it. Palestinians are defined as “terrorists,” and “terrorists” can be treated inhumanely without complaint.

Iraqis and Afghans suffer the same fate. Iraqis who resist US occupation of their country are “terrorists.” Taliban is a demonized name. Every Afghan killed–even those attending wedding parties–is claimed to be Taliban by the US military. Iraqis and Afghans can be murdered at will by American and NATO troops without anyone raising human rights issues.

The International Criminal Court is a bureaucracy. It has a budget, and it needs to do something to justify its budget. Lacking teeth and courage, it goes after the petty war criminals and leaves the big ones alone.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m for holding all governments accountable for their criminal actions. It is the hypocrisy to which I object. The West gives itself and Israel a pass while damning everyone else. Even human rights groups fall into the trap. Rights activists don’t see the buffoonery in their complaint that President Bush, who has violated more human rights than any person alive, is letting China off the hook for human rights abuses by attending the Olympics hosted by China.

President Bush claims that the enormous destruction and death he has brought to Iraq and Afghanistan are necessary in order for Americans to be safe. If we are accepting excuses this feeble, Milosovic passed muster with his excuse that as the head of state he was obliged to try to preserve the state’s territorial integrity. Is al-Bashir supposed to accept secession in the Sudan, something that Lincoln would not accept from the Confederacy? How long would al-Bashir last if he partitioned Sudan?

Last October the Atlanta Journal-Constitution had a photo on its front page above the fold of an elderly man with mikes shoved in his face. Paul Henss, 85 years old, is being deported from the US, where he has lived for 53 years, because Eli Rosenbaum, director the the US State Department’s Nazi-hunting bureaucracy, declared him a war criminal for training guard dogs used at German concentration camps. Henss was 22 years old when World War II ended.

A kid who trained guard dogs is being deported as a war criminal, but the head of state who launched two wars of naked aggression, resulting in the deaths of more than 1.2 million people, and who has the entire world on edge awaiting his third war of aggression, this time against Iran, is received respectfully by foreign governments. Corporations and trade associations will pay him $100,000 per speech when he leaves office. He will make millions of dollars more from memoirs written by a ghostwriter.

Does no one see the paradox of deporting Henss while leaving the war criminal in the White House?

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, an assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury during the Reagan Administration, is a former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal and coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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Rep Nadler (D-NY) Judiciary on War Crimes & Impeachment

Terror, Torture, and the Dark Side + Bush officials could be charged with war crimes

The West’s weapon of self-delusion By Robert Fisk

Dandelion Salad

By Robert Fisk
ICH
06/07/08 “The Independent

There are gun battles in Beirut – and America thinks things are going fine

So they are it again, the great and the good of American democracy, grovelling and fawning to the Israeli lobbyists of American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac), repeatedly allying themselves to the cause of another country and one that is continuing to steal Arab land.

Will this ever end? Even Barack Obama – or “Mr Baracka” as an Irish friend of mine innocently and wonderfully described him – found time to tell his Jewish audience that Jerusalem is the one undivided capital of Israel, which is not the view of the rest of the world which continues to regard the annexation of Arab East Jerusalem as illegal. The security of Israel. Say it again a thousand times: the security of Israel – and threaten Iran, for good measure.

Yes, Israelis deserve security. But so do Palestinians. So do Iraqis and Lebanese and the people of the wider Muslim world. Now even Condoleezza Rice admits – and she was also talking to Aipac, of course – that there won’t be a Palestinian state by the end of the year. That promise of George Bush – which no-one believed anyway – has gone. In Rice’s pathetic words, “The goal itself will endure beyond the current US leadership.”

Of course it will. And the siege of Gaza will endure beyond the current US leadership. And the Israeli wall. And the illegal Israeli settlement building. And deaths in Iraq will endure beyond “the current US leadership” – though “leadership” is pushing the definition of the word a bit when the gutless Bush is involved – and deaths in Afghanistan and, I fear, deaths in Lebanon too.

It’s amazing how far self-delusion travels. The Bush boys and girls still think they’re supporting the “American-backed government” of Fouad Siniora in Lebanon. But Siniora can’t even form a caretaker government to implement a new set of rules which allows Hizbollah and other opposition groups to hold veto powers over cabinet decisions.

Thus there will be no disarming of Hizbollah and thus – again, I fear this – there will be another Hizbollah-Israeli proxy war to take up the slack of America’s long-standing hatred of Iran. No wonder President Bashar Assad of Syria is now threatening a triumphal trip to Lebanon. He’s won. And wasn’t there supposed to be a UN tribunal to try those responsible for the murder of ex-prime minister Rafiq Hariri in 2005? This must be the longest police enquiry in the history of the world. And I suspect it’s never going to achieve its goal (or at least not under the “current US leadership”).

There are gun battles in Beirut at night; there are dark-uniformed Lebanese interior ministry troops in equally dark armoured vehicles patrolling the night-time Corniche outside my home.

At least Lebanon has a new president, former army commander Michel Sleiman, an intelligent man who initially appeared on posters, eyes turned to his left, staring at Lebanon with a creditor’s concern. Now he has wisely ordered all these posters to be torn down in an attempt to get the sectarian groups to take down their own pictures of martyrs and warlords. And America thinks things are going fine in Lebanon.

And Bush and his cohorts go on saying that they will never speak to “terrorists”. And what has happened meanwhile? Why, their Israeli friends – Mr Baracka’s Israeli friends – are doing just that. They are talking to Hamas via Egypt and are negotiating with Syria via Turkey and have just finished negotiating with Hizbollah via Germany and have just handed back one of Hizbollah’s top spies in Israel in return for body parts of Israelis killed in the 2006 war. And Bush isn’t going to talk to “terrorists”, eh? I bet he didn’t bring that up with the equally hapless Ehud Olmert in Washington this week.

And so our dementia continues. In front of us this week was Blair with his increasingly maniacal eyes, poncing on about faith and God and religion, and I couldn’t help reflecting on an excellent article by a colleague a few weeks ago who pointed out that God never seemed to give Blair advice. Like before April of 2003, couldn’t He have just said, er, Tony, this Iraq invasion might not be a good idea.

Indeed, Blair’s relationship with God is itself very odd. And I rather suspect I know what happens. I think Blair tells God what he absolutely and completely knows to be right – and God approves his words. Because Blair, like a lot of devious politicians, plays God himself. For there are two Gods out there. The Blair God and the infinite being which blesses his every word, so obliging that He doesn’t even tell Him to go to Gaza.

I despair. The Tate has just sent me its magnificent book of orientalist paintings to coincide with its latest exhibition (The Lure of the East: British Orientalist Painting) and I am struck by the awesome beauty of this work. In the 19th century, our great painters wondered at the glories of the Orient.

No more painters today. Instead, we send our photographers and they return with pictures of car bombs and body parts and blood and destroyed homes and Palestinians pleading for food and fuel and hooded gunmen on the streets of Beirut, yes, and dead Israelis too. The orientalists looked at the majesty of this place and today we look at the wasteland which we have helped to create.

But fear not. Israel’s security comes first and Mr Baracka wants Israel to keep all of Jerusalem – so much for the Palestinian state – and Condee says the “goal will endure beyond the current American leadership”. And I have a bird that sits in the palm tree outside my home in Beirut and blasts away, going “cheep-cheep-cheep-cheep-cheep” for about an hour every morning – which is why my landlord used to throw stones at it.

But I have a dear friend who believes that once there was an orchestra of birds outside my home and that one day, almost all of them – the ones which sounded like violins and trumpets – got tired of the war and flew away (to Cyprus, if they were wise, but perhaps on to Ireland), leaving only the sparrows with their discordant flutes to remind me of the stagnant world of the Middle East and our cowardly, mendacious politicians. “Cheep-cheep-cheep,” they were saying again yesterday morning. “Cheap-cheap-cheap.” And I rather think they are right.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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“With Liberalism Like This, No One Needs the Neocons”

Stewart Speaks the Truth About Presidential Pandering to Israel!

Has Obama moved to the right? Part I

Mosaic News – 6/5/08: World News from the Middle East

Obama’s speech at AIPAC (video; transcript) (updated) (entire speech)

Who does AIPAC represent? + AIPAC and the American right

Remarks With Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan + U.S.-Turkey Agreement for Nuclear Cooperation

Can Gordon Brown Survive? by Michael Faulkner

Dandelion Salad

by Michael Faulkner
http://www.thepoliticaljunkies.net
May 18, 2008

New Labour is finished. No-one seriously believes that the project begun in the mid 1990s by Blair, Brown and a small group of like-minded “modernisers” in the Labour Party, has any future. What remains to be seen is whether it will be possible during the coming months and the next two years at most, to bring about the kind of changes in government policy necessary to restore sufficient confidence amongst former Labour supporters to secure victory in the next general election. There is little cause to be optimistic.

As I reported two weeks ago in this column, the Labour Party went down to its worst defeat in local government elections for more than forty years. The Tories captured the London mayoralty, enormously boosting confidence in their ability to defeat the government in a general election. A further test will come with next Thursday’s by-election in the parliamentary constituency of Crewe and Nantwich, in the northern county of Cheshire. The constituency was represented by the very popular MP Gwyneth Dunwoody, whose recent death occasioned the by-election. She was a Labour stalwart – a well known parliamentarian with a national reputation – who had a majority of over 7,000, making this a safe Labour seat. The Tories have not taken a seat from Labour in a by-election since 1982. The government is desperate to hold this constituency. They realise that if it falls to the Tories, it will all but seal Brown’s fate. The party has chosen as its candidate, Tamsin Dunwoody, the former MP’s daughter, in the hope that the name will work its magic on dispirited voters. A further sign of desperation is the resort to cheap trickery in the election campaign.

There is widespread anger amongst Labour’s core supporters over the abolition of the 10p tax rate. Apparently unable to assuage this on the doorstep, despite a hastily arranged mini-budget costing £25 billion designed to alleviate the impact of the 10p rate on the lowest income groups, the Labour campaign has sought to depict the Tory candidate (a wealthy businessman) as a “toff”, by dressing a couple of young male Labour supporters in top hats and tails to ridicule their opponent. Worse, they have attempted to play the anti-immigrant card by suggesting that the Tory candidate is opposed to “making foreign nationals carry I.D. cards.” There are many workers from Eastern Europe in Crewe, and, no doubt there is considerable resentment against them, particularly amongst working class voters. That the Labour Party should be exploiting these sentiments is a sign of the party’s desperation. I doubt that it will work in their favour. It is very likely that Crewe and Nantwich will fall to the Tories, and, if it does, it is difficult to see how the government can recover. It will put Gordon Brown in the same position as John Major prior to the 1997 election that saw the Tories swept from power. Should the election result turn out as I expect, one possible consequence could be a move in the party to replace Brown. But there is another aspect of the recent disintegration of New Labour that is worth considering.

In recent weeks several people who were prominent in and around Tony Blair have published – or are about to publish – their “memoirs”. To dignify these efforts with the title “autobiography” would be rather absurd. Here I need to make a confession: although I am an avid reader, particularly in the field of politics (including political biography), history and international relations, I have not read, nor do I intend to read, any of the books I am about to mention. I have read reviews of these books and lengthy extracts from them. That is quite sufficient to tell me all I need to know about them and their authors. Here I shall mention four of them and endeavour to explain why I consider the production of such “memoirs” to be symptomatic of the political malaise that grips New Labour, the government and much of British party politics at present.

A year or so ago Alasdair Campbell, Blair’s director of communications and spin doctor par excellence published his diaries. They were widely reviewed in the serious newspapers and from such reviews it was clear that they portrayed at the top of British politics a world of the most extraordinary shallowness; Campbell and Blair operated in a “laddish” environment characterised by arrogance, self congratulatory narcissism, and an almost brutish disdain for those who saw things differently. The book was supposed to have been a best seller, but it seems to have disappeared into thin air. Campbell made a great deal of money out of it.

More recently, Lord Levy, a former loyal Blairite and fund raiser for New Labour, has also written his memoirs. During Blair’s last few years in office, Levy became embroiled in a long running police investigation into possible illegalities in fundraising for the Labour election campaign – specifically, into whether or not peerages (seats in the second chamber – the House of Lords) had been promised to wealthy donors to party funds. The investigation was eventually dropped, but Levy apparently claims in his memoirs (a) that Gordon Brown as well as Blair, knew all about “cash for coronets”, and (b) when the heat was turned on Levy, Blair abandoned him to his fate. He is apparently a very bitter man and no longer plays tennis with the former prime minister or invites him to dinner.

John Prescott, former deputy prime minister, is also a former trade union leader. On achieving office under Blair, he abandoned all the trappings of his working class past (except his Liverpudlian accent) and became his leader’s staunchest champion. He has also written his memoirs in which he apparently expresses regret for cheating on his wife and confesses to being a sufferer from the over-eating disorder, bulimia. He also claims that Blair and Brown frequently engaged in screaming matches with each other – something already widely known.

Cherie Blair’s memoirs are about to be published. As with the other offerings, lengthy extracts have appeared in those newspapers that consider the “revelations” involved to be matters of serious political interest. Much has been made, for example, of the revelation by Mrs. Blair that she was so embarrassed at the thought of Her Majesty’s staff at Balmoral (where she and her husband were guests) discovering her contraceptive “devices” when they unpacked her bags, that she did not take them with her and as a result became unintentionally pregnant. Mrs Blair is a very successful barrister, with some knowledge of international law, but she prefers (in a recent interview about her memoirs) to avoid giving her opinion about whether the invasion of Iraq (which she fully supported) was illegal. She stood firmly behind her husband over the war, she said. She also claimed that she and her husband were both socialists.

Why, you may wonder, should we bother about such things? I think that the publication of these “memoirs”, with their authors’ and publishers’ claims to be offering serious insights into the workings of the political system, exposes the shallowness and absence of any serious progressive content in the New Labour project. The Labour Party has a long and chequered history going back more than a century. However one assesses its record, in and out of government, it cannot be denied that from its ranks have come some of the most able people in the history of British politics. Many of them made serious contributions to the theory and practice of social democracy in books, many of which have been forgotten, but which nevertheless made a serious impact in their time. The few I shall mention were, in the main well known politicians, mainly members of parliament, whose reputations were made primarily as parliamentarians and only secondarily as political theorists.

From the 1930s to the 1970s Labour politicians such as Clement Atlee, John Strachey, Stafford Cripps, Ellen Wilkinson, Konni Zilliacus, Harold Laski, Aneurin Bevan, Richard Crossman, Anthony Crosland, Tony Benn (now in his 80s) and Michael Foot (still alive, in his mid 90s) were just some of the outstanding figures whose role on the political stage, inside and outside parliament, helped to shape the Labour Party. They were all accomplished writers and, in their different ways, on both the right and left of the party, contributed to the social democratic discourse.

From the other side of the political divide, the dominant Conservative figures of the first half of the 20th Century, contributed in their histories and memoirs to the chronicle of the times. Notable amongst them are of course Winston Churchill, Anthony Eden and Harold Macmillan. However one views their work and that of their Labour counterparts, they stand in stark contrast to the dominant political figures of today. The comparison says all we need to know about the debasement of political life presided over by New Labour.

Blair, before his departure from office, on being asked how he thought he might be remembered, replied “as a failed celebrity.” He, and so many of his cronies and acolytes, were fascinated by celebrity. The Labour Party’s social democratic heritage was deliberately obliterated. For Blair, the party became no more than a vehicle for his ambition. His ambition was not without political content. He and his supporters, including Brown, abandoned social democracy and the Keynesian tradition that underpinned it, for the neo-liberalism of the so-called free market. Dizzy with success after the 1997 election victory, the majority of the newly elected MPs were prepared to give Blair the benefit of the doubt and failed to see that he cared not a jot for the Labour Party. Most of them acquiesced in his humiliating embrace of George W. Bush and followed him into the illegal Iraq war.

Now, with the economic downturn upon us, life for millions is getting hard. The bubble of house price inflation has burst; fuel and food prices are rising fast. The middle classes are deserting New Labour in droves and turning to the Tories who offer them little different but now appear fresh and energetic where New Labour appears old and stale. But, most important, Labour’s core voters seem to be abandoning them too. The latest opinion polls put Labour on 23% – below the Liberal Democrats. This is their lowest rating since the collapse of the early 1930s – something that would have been unbelievable less than a year ago.

If Labour loses the Crewe and Nantwich by-election, as seems likely, there will be pressure amongst what remains of the rank and file of the party, and from the trade union movement which still funds the party, for a change of course. Brown is in denial about just how serious the crisis is. I think that the only hope for a change of course in a more progressive direction is a change of leadership. This might not be enough, but without it there is no hope.

TPJ is not subject to copyright. Anyone is welcome to freely quote and use material from TPJ. In reproducing or using material from the TPJ proper attribution is appreciated.

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London’s Mayoral Election: It’s Johnson And It’s No Joke

‘Western Leaders Are War Criminals’

Dandelion Salad

By Mick Meaney
ICH
04/ 26/08 “RINF

The former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad, has echoed calls for Western leaders to be charged with war crimes over the illegal invasion of Iraq.

Speaking at Imperial College in London Mahathir, who was in office from 1981 to 2003, singled out US President George Bush, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Australia’s former prime minister John Howard as he wants to see them tried “in absence for war crimes committed in Iraq”.

The event was organised by the Ramadhan Foundation which is a leading British Muslim youth organisation working for peaceful co-existence and dialogue between communities.

Mohammed Shafiq, spokesman for the group said: “It was an opportunity for students to put a range of questions about war crimes and the international situation. He said that people have to stop killing each other and use arbitration, negotiation and discussion as an alternative to violence, war and killing.”

Speaking about the Iraq war, Mahathir focused on “the thousands dying, the economic war, the power of oil and how we could utilise some of these tools to have a leverage against the people who commit countries to war”, Shafiq said.

The event was incredibly well attended with over 450 people and 200 more had to be turned away.

Among the mountain of war crimes Western leaders are guilty of include:-

The illegal use of napalm and other chemical weapons

Intentionally torturing and abusing detainees

Blocking aid convoys

Killing unarmed civilians, including shooting into family homes

Western leaders are also guilty of many other violations of the Geneva Convention, the Charter of the United Nations, the Nuremberg Charter, International Law and the Constitution of the United States, including crimes against peace and crimes against humanity.

International law professors have called the attack against Iraq “a fundamental breach of international law (that) would seriously threaten the integrity of the international legal order that has been in place since the end of the Second World War.”

Mahathir Mohamad’s statement appears to be valid as the International Criminal Court defines the following as international crimes:

(a) Crimes against Peace:

Namely, planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing:

(b) War Crimes:

Namely, violations of the laws or customs of war. Such violations include, but not be limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity:

(c) Crimes against Humanity:

Namely, murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetrated.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

‘Shock & Awe’ Five Years On by Michael Faulkner

Dandelion Salad

by Michael Faulkner
TPJ
March 23, 2008

On March 20th five years ago the ‘shocking and awful’ invasion of Iraq began. The anniversary, last Thursday, provided much food for thought and reflection about that unhappy event, the consequences of which are not only still with us but seem likely to darken the horizon for years to come.

I decided in the days before the 20th March that I could not let this anniversary pass without comment. The problem though, in commenting on the war and its terrible aftermath, is to avoid simply echoing what has been said in those sections of the British media that have attempted a serious treatment of the subject. In March 2003, as the drum beats for war were growing ever louder in their attempt to drown out the voices of opposition, I decided to commit to print my thoughts on the impending conflict. By the 16th March it was clear that war was inevitable. I have just re-read the five thousand words I wrote between the 16th and 19th March 2003 under the title Thoughts on the Eve of War. Much of what I wrote was a fairly detailed commentary on what was happening in the UK parliament and at the UN during those critical days. I have decided to devote this week’s column to selected quotes from my 2003 notes, as I feel that there is merit in recalling those events and, I hope modestly, reminding readers that there was in Britain a mass movement of unprecedented size and unity in opposition to the invasion of Iraq.

Thoughts on the Eve of War: Sunday, 16th March 2003. 

Today the armed forces of the United States, backed by those of the United Kingdom, stand poised to unleash blitzkrieg against Iraq. The US and British governments assume, plausibly, that it will be all over very quickly and that within a few weeks at most, Iraq will be occupied and ‘liberated’ from the Ba’athist tyrant. Whatever the outcome may be, this will not be a war in any serious sense of the term. It will not involve two sides, both capable of inflicting serious damage on each other. It will be a turkey shoot. The most powerful military machine in the world is about to crush a weak, fifth rate state that poses no threat to the US or Britain and, despite claims to the contrary, does not possess adequate means to defend itself….

The propaganda barrage 

For several months, in the build up to this attack on Iraq, we have been subjected to what can only be described as a sustained propaganda barrage to justify the coming war. When it is over, those who have promoted it  – primarily the US and British governments, backed by much of the media – will hope that the anticipated ‘victory’ will drown, in a chorus of self congratulation, all the misinformation, lying and hypocrisy that have preceded the resort to force. Bush, Blair and their supporters must be hoping that memories are short and that the millions who have demonstrated globally against this war will disperse in embarrassment and disarray. Blair, in particular, now facing the most serious predicament of his premiership, will be hoping that ‘victory’ will cast into oblivion his defiance of the U.N. Security Council and dispel any current concerns about the war’s legality.

However it may turn out – and it would be rash to discount the dangers of serious political and social unrest in various countries once the war starts, to say nothing of the stimulus it may give to further acts of terrorism against states backing the war – it is important to challenge the propagandists and to expose their campaign of misinformation, hypocrisy and lying.

Bush 

The US government initiated the war drive against Iraq. The determination to invade Iraq and depose Saddam Hussein pre-dates September 11th. The Republican cabal that helped get Bush into office included this as one of their objectives as long ago as 1996. Their larger objective was to establish the unchallengeable political and military hegemony of the US on a global scale…..

Bush, on the basis of the evidence I have seen, is not competent to hold high office in any country, let alone to hold the office, which, we are told, makes him the most powerful man in the world. The Bush junta (Cheney, Perle, Rice, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz et al) collectively constitute about the most rightwing group of politicians at the centre of any government in American history…..

To make September 11th the casus belli for whatever action the Bush administration decides to take in the name of ‘war on terrorism’ is neither justified nor supportable. September 11th is clearly being exploited in support of the war against Iraq. Neither the British nor the US governments have produced any convincing evidence to link Iraq with Al Qaeda…….

What is the aim of the war against Iraq? 

The main aim of the Bush junta is ‘regime change.’ There are also other aims. Gaining US control of Iraq’s oil resources is not the only objective, but it is a pretty obvious one. To install a government in Baghdad that facilitates US access to the second largest oil reserves in the world, certainly plays a part in the Bush junta’s calculations. Their intention to oust Saddam Hussein has never been denied. No-one is in any doubt about the brutal nature and murderous record of the Iraqi regime – least of all those of us who have not forgotten that Saddam was armed and supported by the US when he used poison gas against the Iranians twenty years ago, or that the US sold him anthrax agents and the British government built his chemical and munitions factories. Saddam Hussein was just as bloodthirsty a dictator then as he is now. The brutal nature of the Iraqi regime is not the reason for the US determination to overthrow it. If ‘regime change’ by full scale invasion is so urgent now, why not then?

….When the demand was made by Britain and the US that Iraq must agree to the re-admission of the UN weapons inspectors, it was confidently assumed that Saddam Hussein would not agree to this. His anticipated refusal would then be sufficient to secure a simple Security Council resolution to trigger war. When he did agree it was then assumed that very soon he would place obstacles in the way of the inspectors, making their work impossible, thereby triggering war.

At this point it is important to look very carefully at the course of events since the passage of Resolution 1441. At the time of writing (16th March 2003), Blair, Aznar and Bush are ensconced in the Azores in a council of war. They are going to say that a second resolution at the UN is not necessary as 1441 warns Iraq of ‘serious consequences’ that will follow from his refusal to disarm. They will then abandon the UN and launch the invasion of Iraq within days.

But Resolution 1441 was worded very carefully to avoid specifically committing the Security Council to sanction the precipitate use of force. The majority of members, including permanent members France, Russia and China, would not have voted for a motion linked to a specific date and containing an ultimatum…….

For several weeks, on Blair’s prompting, it has been assumed that a second resolution declaring Iraq in breach of 1441 and sanctioning the use of force would be necessary and forthcoming. Let’s consider carefully why it is, after so much emphasis on the importance of a second resolution, that Blair, Bush and Aznar are now saying that they do not need it and intend to attack Iraq without breaching the UN charter. Essentially, they have been forced into a position they never expected to be in. It has to do with the stand taken by Russia, China and, particularly France. It has also to do with the position taken by the weapons inspectors. Jacques Chirac and Hans Blix have thrown the war plans awry.

Blix 

The second report in early March made clear that progress was being made and crucially argued for more time to complete the process of disarmament. Some months were needed. The whole thrust of Blix’s report was that the inspections should continue. This clearly dismayed Powell and Straw but strengthened the French and Russian position, which supported the continuation of the inspections.

The French Case

Whatever its motivation, the French case has been clear, consistent and rational. Chirac has argued that: a) the inspections are producing results and that the objective of disarming Saddam Hussein can be achieved without resort to war; b) that resolution 1441 does not sanction the resort to war and was not intended to do so; c) in view of (a) and (b) any attempt to introduce a second resolution containing an ultimatum and therefore triggering war before the inspections had taken their course, was completely unacceptable and would be opposed by France.

This is a completely logical position that in no way undermines the UN…..

The vilification of France in the US and in much of the British press at present is nauseating. The Daily Express, for example, on the 14th March carried a front page advertisement offering a £5 trip to France with the message ‘Let’s invade France! They’re lousy at war but the booze is good!’

The Sun, on the same day, on its front page, juxtaposed pictures of Saddam Hussein and Jacques Chirac with the caption ’Spot the Difference’ – with the clear implication that there was none. The utterances of the foreign secretary on the same subject are only slightly less scurrilous. In the US it is even worse. Such is the level to which public treatment of these issues has sunk that, apparently ‘French Fries’ have been renamed ‘Freedom Fries.’

Monday, 17th March 2003 

Vilification of France

It is a measure of the bankruptcy of the Bush/Blair case that they have to stoop to the puerile level that characterises their utterances against the French. In Britain, France has been singled out for especially vituperative treatment. A few weeks ago pundits such as the BBC’s normally sensible and well-informed John Simpson, were confidently asserting that the French would ‘definitely’ come round to support Britain and the US. When it came to it, the pundits said, France would not use the veto. It was all a matter of an exaggerated Gallic amour proper. This attitude betrayed a certain disdain for France, which is quite deep-rooted in English political culture.

Then, a week or so ago, when it started to look as though Chirac might mean what he said, the smug, contemptuous smiles began to disappear from their faces. Horror of horrors! The French actually meant what they said! Then began the talk about the ‘unreasonable’ exercise of the veto. If France were to veto a resolution in the Security Council sanctioning war, then, it was claimed, France would be willfully destroying the authority of the UN. Let’s look at this argument.

What is an ‘unreasonable’ veto? 

Since the foundation of the UN Britain has used the veto 32 times – far more often than France. But the US has used the veto much more often. To give two examples amongst many, in June 1982 the US alone vetoed a Security Council resolution calling for the simultaneous withdrawal of Israeli and Palestinian armed forces from Beirut, on the grounds that this plan ‘was a transparent attempt to preserve the PLO as a viable political force.’ Was that veto not unreasonable? In 1975 the US blocked UN action to stop Indonesians from committing aggression against East Timor. Was that reasonable? Reasonable or not, the founders of the UN agreed in 1945 to give permanent members of the Security Council the power of veto. There is no provision for member states to decide which vetoes are ‘reasonable’ and which are ‘unreasonable’ and on this basis to ignore the veto. Fairly evidently, those states against whom the veto is used will regard its use as unreasonable. If, on the basis of such calculation it is deemed permissible to ignore the Security Council and act unilaterally, it is such action and not the use of the veto that flouts the procedures of the UN.

US bullying in the Security Council 

As has been evident for months now, the US and British governments are determined to attack Iraq come what may. Bush has been less concerned about working through the UN than has Blair, whose position in his own party and in the country is less secure than Bush’s in the US. Therefore, he has been very keen to ‘work through the UN.’ What has this amounted to in practice?

The Bush administration has had support in the Security Council from Britain, Spain and Bulgaria. Of the permanent members of the council, France, Russia and China have demanded that the inspections should be allowed to continue and have opposed any second resolution that would trigger war. As it became clear that at least one of these would use its veto, Bush and Blair began to work feverishly to ‘persuade’ six of the apparently undecided non-permanent members to support a second resolution authorising war. If this bore fruit, it could be argued that, as a majority of the members of the council supported the US/British stand, any veto would be ‘unreasonable.’

Although there is nothing surprising in the methods employed by the US in the attempt to bring these states ‘on side’, it is worth considering them briefly, if only because both the US and British governments claim that they occupy the ‘moral high ground’ in defence of their stance. The US has engaged in threats, bribery and bullying to achieve its ends. This is nothing new. At the time of the first Gulf war in 1991, two Security Council members, Cuba and Yemen, voted against the use of force. With regard to Cuba, which for thirty years had suffered from a punitive US blockade, there was nothing that could be done. But, following the ‘no’ vote, the Yemeni representative was told that it was ‘the most expensive vote he would ever cast.’ An economic package was immediately cancelled. Threats of the same kind have been made against those Third World member states over which the US exercises economic leverage. But, astonishingly, this time it does not appear to have worked as well. It seems that the hardening of French determination to use the veto has persuaded the ‘swing’ states to resist US bullying and persuaded them that it is not worth casting their vote for war, which would very likely only exacerbate social and political tensions in their own countries where popular opinion is firmly opposed to war.


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It’s March 19 and Blogswarm Day! Posts on Iraq War by Lo

The woman who nearly stopped the war

Dandelion Salad

By Martin Bright
ICH
03/21/08 “The Nation

Of all the stories told on the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War, there is one important episode that took place during the build-up to the conflict that has gone largely unreported. It concerns a young woman who was a witness to something so outrageous, something so contrary to the principles of diplomacy and international law, that in revealing it she believed war could be averted. That woman was Katharine Gun, a 29-year-old Mandarin translator at the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Cheltenham.

On Friday 31 January 2003 she and many of her colleagues were forwarded a request from the US government for an intelligence “surge” at the United Nations (with hindsight, an interesting choice of words). In essence, the US was ordering the intensification of espionage at the UN headquarters in New York to help persuade the Security Council to authorise war in Iraq. The aim, according to the email, was to give the United States “the edge” in negotiations for a crucial resolution to give international authorisation for the war. Many believed that, without it, the war would be illegal.

The email was sent by a man with a name straight out of a Hollywood thriller, Frank Koza, who headed up the “regional targets” section of the National Security Agency, the US equivalent of GCHQ. It named six nations to be targeted in the operation: Chile, Pakistan, Guinea, Angola, Cameroon and Bulgaria. These six so-called “swing nations” were non-permanent members of the Security Council whose votes were crucial to getting the resolution through. It later emerged that Mexico was also targeted because of its influence with Chile and other countries in Latin America, though it was not mentioned in the memo. But the operation went far wider – in fact, only Britain was specifically named as a country to be exempt from the “surge”.

Koza insisted that he was looking for “insights” into how individual countries were reacting to the ongoing debate, “plans to vote on any related resolutions, what related policies/negotiating positions they may be considering, alliances/ dependencies etc”. In summary, he added: “The whole gamut of information that could give US policymakers the edge in obtaining results favourable to US goals or to head off surprises.” The scope of the operation was vast: “Make sure they pay attention to existing non-UNSC member UN-related and domestic comms for anything useful related to the UNSC deliberations/debates/votes,” wrote Koza.

Gun was appalled by the email in two ways. First by the seediness of the operation: she believed the clear message was that GCHQ was being asked to find personal information that would allow Britain and America to blackmail diplomats in New York. But second and more importantly, she believed GCHQ was being asked to undermine the democratic pro cesses of the United Nations.

Secret email

Over the weekend after receiving the email, Gun decided to act. On returning to work on 3 February she printed out the document and took it home with her. She knew people involved with the anti-war movement and passed the email to a friend who was in contact with the media. This individual in turn passed it to the former Fleet Street journalist Yvonne Ridley, who had become famous as the reporter captured by the Taliban in 2001. By this time Ridley was a prominent opponent of the war. After first approaching the Mirror, which failed to verify the email, Ridley called me at the Observer, where I was working at the time, to ask if I would look at it.

The Koza memo presented me and my colleagues at the newspaper with a number of problems. For a start, the Observer supported the war in Iraq. Then there was the problem of verification. The Koza memo consisted of simply the body of the text, with all identifying information from the email header ripped from the top. In theory, anyone could have typed it. Koza’s name was written on the back along with other clues to its veracity, but it could easily have been a hoax. We were also hamstrung by the fact that Gun had not come directly to the newspaper, so there was no way of going back to the source of the leak to check the information.

Peter Beaumont, the Observer’s defence correspondent at the time, got his sources to confirm that the language used in the memo was consistent with the NSA and GCHQ.

But still there were doubts. One intelligence contact suggested it could be a sophisticated Russian forgery and another raised the possibility that British spy chiefs had written it to flush out anti-war elements at GCHQ. In the end, the paper’s then US correspondent, Ed Vulliamy, struck lucky. After a string of “no comment” responses from the NSA, a phone call to the organisation’s headquarters in Maryland was by chance put through to the office of Koza himself. This proved that he existed and we now felt confident that the email was genuine. Despite the paper’s pro-war stance, the then editor, Roger Alton, would not have rejected a good story and on 2 March 2003 the Observer splashed on the tale of US dirty tricks at the United Nations.

The story was followed up around the world and caused fury in Chile, which had known its fair share of US dirty tricks during the 1970s. Mexico was equally unhappy and both countries distanced themselves from a second resolution as a result of the revelations. Other countries were less bold in the face of cajoling and bullying from the US, but it became clear in the weeks that followed the leak that a fresh UN resolution was never going to happen.

This was precisely what Katharine Gun had hoped for when she walked out of GCHQ with the document a month earlier. What she could not have known, however, was that George W Bush was determined to go to war, with or without the support of the UN.

Within days of the Observer article, Gun was arrested under the Official Secrets Act and almost a year later she finally appeared at the Old Bailey to stand trial for leaking the NSA document. But, in a dramatic retreat, the then attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, dropped the case at the last minute and despite her prima facie breach of the secrecy laws, Gun walked free.

What did she gain? She failed to stop a war that has now cost thousands of lives. She gave up a secure career as an expert translator. But she was one of the first to reveal the truth about the lies and dirty tricks that took us to war in 2003.

Britain’s role

Questions still remain about Britain’s involvement in the spying operation, which was the ultimate responsibility of the then prime minister, Tony Blair. A full inquiry into the Iraq War has now been promised by the present Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, and, among other things, this should force the government to disclose the full extent of its knowledge of the 2003 intelligence “surge”.

Those who doubt whether Gun’s actions had lasting his torical significance should refer to the statement issued by the Crown Prosecution Service when the case was dropped on 26 February 2004. There was speculation that Lord Goldsmith backed down because Gun’s defence requested disclosure of his legal opinion on the legitimacy of the war. As was later revealed, his legal opinion shifted as the prospects of a second UN resolution faded.

On this the CPS statement is clear: “This determination by the prosecution had nothing to do with advice given by the Attorney General to the government in connection with the legality of the Iraq War.”

Instead, the prosecution stated that “there was no longer a realistic prospect of convicting Katharine Gun”. The reasons for this remain a mystery, especially considering that Gun had admitted to the crime of leaking the document. Her only defence was the untried “defence of necessity”, under which her lawyers would have argued that her actions were designed to stop the imminent loss of human life.

The CPS statement contains the following intriguing paragraph: “The evidential deficiency related to the prosecution’s inability, with in the current statutory framework, to disprove the defence of necessity to be raised on the particular facts of this case.”

Read through the legalese, this is an astonishing admission from the government that Katharine Gun’s actions were entirely honourable. She really had tried to stop a war.


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It’s March 19 and Blogswarm Day! Posts on Iraq War by Lo

The only lesson we ever learn is that we never learn By Robert Fisk

Dandelion Salad

By Robert Fisk
ICH
03/19/08 “The Independent

Five years on, and still we have not learnt. With each anniversary, the steps crumble beneath our feet, the stones ever more cracked, the sand ever finer. Five years of catastrophe in Iraq and I think of Churchill, who in the end called Palestine a “hell-disaster”.

But we have used these parallels before and they have drifted away in the Tigris breeze. Iraq is swamped in blood. Yet what is the state of our remorse? Why, we will have a public inquiry – but not yet! If only inadequacy was our only sin.

Today, we are engaged in a fruitless debate. What went wrong? How did the people – the senatus populusque Romanus of our modern world – not rise up in rebellion when told the lies about weapons of mass destruction, about Saddam’s links with Osama bin Laden and 11 September? How did we let it happen? And how come we didn’t plan for the aftermath of war?

Oh, the British tried to get the Americans to listen, Downing Street now tells us. We really, honestly did try, before we absolutely and completely knew it was right to embark on this illegal war. There is now a vast literature on the Iraq debacle and there are precedents for post-war planning – of which more later – but this is not the point. Our predicament in Iraq is on an infinitely more terrible scale.

As the Americans came storming up Iraq in 2003, their cruise missiles hissing through the sandstorm towards a hundred Iraqi towns and cities, I would sit in my filthy room in the Baghdad Palestine Hotel, unable to sleep for the thunder of explosions, and root through the books I’d brought to fill the dark, dangerous hours. Tolstoy’s War and Peace reminded me how conflict can be described with sensitivity and grace and horror – I recommend the Battle of Borodino – along with a file of newspaper clippings. In this little folder, there was a long rant by Pat Buchanan, written five months earlier; and still, today I feel its power and its prescience and its absolute historical honesty: “With our MacArthur Regency in Baghdad, Pax Americana will reach apogee. But then the tide recedes, for the one endeavour at which Islamic people excel is expelling imperial powers by terror or guerrilla war.

“They drove the Brits out of Palestine and Aden, the French out of Algeria, the Russians out of Afghanistan, the Americans out of Somalia and Beirut, the Israelis out of Lebanon. We have started up the road to empire and over the next hill we will meet those who went before. The only lesson we learn from history is that we do not learn from history.”

How easily the little men took us into the inferno, with no knowledge or, at least, interest in history. None of them read of the 1920 Iraqi insurgency against British occupation, nor of Churchill’s brusque and brutal settlement of Iraq the following year.

On our historical radars, not even Crassus appeared, the wealthiest Roman general of all, who demanded an emperorship after conquering Macedonia – “Mission Accomplished” – and vengefully set forth to destroy Mesopotamia. At a spot in the desert near the Euphrates river, the Parthians – ancestors of present day Iraqi insurgents – annihilated the legions, chopped off Crassus’s head and sent it back to Rome filled with gold. Today, they would have videotaped his beheading.

To their monumental hubris, these little men who took us to war five years ago now prove that they have learnt nothing. Anthony Blair – as we should always have called this small town lawyer – should be facing trial for his mendacity. Instead, he now presumes to bring peace to an Arab-Israeli conflict which he has done so much to exacerbate. And now we have the man who changed his mind on the legality of war – and did so on a single sheet of A4 paper – daring to suggest that we should test immigrants for British citizenship. Question 1, I contend, should be: Which blood-soaked British attorney general helped to send 176 British soldiers to their deaths for a lie? Question 2: How did he get away with it?

But in a sense, the facile, dumbo nature of Lord Goldsmith’s proposal is a clue to the whole transitory, cardboard structure of our decision-making. The great issues that face us – be they Iraq or Afghanistan, the US economy or global warming, planned invasions or “terrorism” – are discussed not according to serious political timetables but around television schedules and press conferences.

Will the first air raids on Iraq hit prime-time television in the States? Mercifully, yes. Will the first US troops in Baghdad appear on the breakfast shows? Of course. Will Saddam’s capture be announced by Bush and Blair simultaneously?.

But this is all part of the problem. True, Churchill and Roosevelt argued about the timing of the announcement that war in Europe had ended. And it was the Russians who pipped them to the post. But we told the truth. When the British were retreating to Dunkirk, Churchill announced that the Germans had “penetrated deeply and spread alarm and confusion in their tracks”.

Why didn’t Bush or Blair tell us this when the Iraqi insurgents began to assault the Western occupation forces? Well, they were too busy telling us that things were getting better, that the rebels were mere “dead-enders”.

On 17 June 1940, Churchill told the people of Britain: “The news from France is very bad and I grieve for the gallant French people who have fallen into this terrible misfortune.” Why didn’t Blair or Bush tell us that the news from Iraq was very bad and that they grieved – even just a few tears for a minute or so – for the Iraqis?

For these were the men who had the temerity, the sheer, unadulterated gall, to dress themselves up as Churchill, heroes who would stage a rerun of the Second World War, the BBC dutifully calling the invaders “the Allies” – they did, by the way – and painting Saddam’s regime as the Third Reich.

Of course, when I was at school, our leaders – Attlee, Churchill, Eden, Macmillan, or Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy in the United States – had real experience of real war. Not a single Western leader today has any first-hand experience of conflict. When the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq began, the most prominent European opponent of the war was Jacques Chirac, who fought in the Algerian conflict. But he has now gone. So has Colin Powell, a Vietnam veteran but himself duped by Rumsfeld and the CIA.

Yet one of the terrible ironies of our times is that the most bloodthirsty of American statesmen – Bush and Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfovitz – have either never heard a shot fired in anger or have ensured they did not have to fight for their country when they had the chance to do so. No wonder Hollywood titles like “Shock and Awe” appeal to the White House. Movies are their only experience of human conflict; the same goes for Blair and Brown.

Churchill had to account for the loss of Singapore before a packed House. Brown won’t even account for Iraq until the war is over.

It is a grotesque truism that today – after all the posturing of our political midgets five years ago – we might at last be permitted a valid seance with the ghosts of the Second World War. Statistics are the medium, and the room would have to be dark. But it is a fact that the total of US dead in Iraq (3,978) is well over the number of American casualties suffered in the initial D-Day landings at Normandy (3,384 killed and missing) on 6 June, 1944, or more than three times the total British casualties at Arnhem the same year (1,200).

They count for just over a third of the total fatalities (11,014) of the entire British Expeditionary Force from the German invasion of Belgium to the final evacuation at Dunkirk in June 1940. The number of British dead in Iraq – 176 – is almost equal to the total of UK forces lost at the Battle of the Bulge in 1944-45 (just over 200). The number of US wounded in Iraq – 29,395 – is more than nine times the number of Americans injured on 6 June (3,184) and more than a quarter of the tally for US wounded in the entire 1950-53 Korean war (103,284).

Iraqi casualties allow an even closer comparison to the Second World War. Even if we accept the lowest of fatality statistics for civilian dead – they range from 350,000 up to a million – these long ago dwarfed the number of British civilian dead in the flying-bomb blitz on London in 1944-45 (6,000) and now far outnumber the total figure for civilians killed in bombing raids across the United Kingdom – 60,595 dead, 86,182 seriously wounded – from 1940 to 1945.

Indeed, the Iraqi civilian death toll since our invasion is now greater than the total number of British military fatalities in the Second World War, which came to an astounding 265,000 dead (some histories give this figure as 300,000) and 277,000 wounded. Minimum estimates for Iraqi dead mean that the civilians of Mesopotamia have suffered six or seven Dresdens or – more terrible still – two Hiroshimas.

Yet in a sense, all this is a distraction from the awful truth in Buchanan’s warning. We have dispatched our armies into the land of Islam. We have done so with the sole encouragement of Israel, whose own false intelligence over Iraq has been discreetly forgotten by our masters, while weeping crocodile tears for the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have died.

America’s massive military prestige has been irreparably diminished. And if there are, as I now calculate, 22 times as many Western troops in the Muslim world as there were at the time of the 11th and 12th century Crusades, we must ask what we are doing. Are we there for oil? For democracy? For Israel? For fear of weapons of mass destruction? Or for fear of Islam?

We blithely connect Afghanistan to Iraq. If only Washington had not become distracted by Iraq, so the narrative now goes, the Taliban could not have re-established themselves. But al-Qa’ida and the nebulous Osama bin Laden were not distracted. Which is why they expanded their operations into Iraq and then used this experience to assault the West in Afghanistan with the hitherto – in Afghanistan – unheard of suicide bomber.

And I will hazard a terrible guess: that we have lost Afghanistan as surely as we have lost Iraq and as surely as we are going to “lose” Pakistan. It is our presence, our power, our arrogance, our refusal to learn from history and our terror – yes, our terror – of Islam that is leading us into the abyss. And until we learn to leave these Muslim peoples alone, our catastrophe in the Middle East will only become graver. There is no connection between Islam and “terror”. But there is a connection between our occupation of Muslim lands and “terror”. It’s not too complicated an equation. And we don’t need a public inquiry to get it right.

©independent.co.uk


FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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It’s March 19 and Blogswarm Day! Posts on Iraq War by Lo

How to Destroy a Country & Get Off Scot-Free By Linda Heard

Dandelion Salad

By Linda Heard
ICH
03/18/08 “Arab News

Someone once told me if you’re going to tell a lie make it a whopper based on the premise the more outrageous the lie the more likely it is to be believed. At the time, I wrote off his advice as hogwash but as we see from the Iraq debacle, he was right. Five years later, the deceit continues undiminished and nobody has been held to account.

Britain’s Gordon Brown yesterday promised to hold an enquiry into the “mistakes” made in Iraq. Sounds good, but don’t hold your breath. All previous inquiries have been labeled “whitewashes”. They can’t afford the truth to come out else they might get a one-way ticket to The Hague.

Ambassador David Satterfield, and adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, is doing the rounds of talk shows lauding America’s victories over Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

On one occasion the host interjected to mention the unpalatable fact that Al-Qaeda members only flocked to Iraq once the Americans were in place leaving Satterfield momentarily nonplussed.

It’s obvious that Satterfield is so saturated in the party line he forgot the Pentagon’s recently published study that found with certainty that Saddam Hussein had absolutely no links to Al-Qaeda. And lest we forget Saddam didn’t have WMD either, which means not only was the war immoral the prewar sanctions on that country that contributed to the deaths of over half-a-million Iraqi children were too.

Think about it for a moment. The warmongers invaded, crushed and occupied a country that was no threat to anyone. They stood by as it was looted, exacerbated sectarianism, flattened entire towns, tortured untold numbers of innocents, brought in gum-chewing, tattooed foreign mercenaries and paid crony companies billions of dollars for mythical reconstruction projects.

They then pretended to hand over sovereignty to that country while at the same time constructing permanent bases and the biggest US Embassy in history resembling a small town. They said they had no interest in Iraq’s oil, yet they are putting immense pressure on the Iraqi government (sic) to sign into law a bill that permits foreign (read American) oil companies to lock up decades-long deals. Let’s be frank. Iraq wasn’t a blunder, it was a crime. So how did they manage to get away with implanting their long-conceived plot to do away with Israel’s No. 1 foe, ensure their competitors couldn’t get their hands on Iraq’s resources and entrench their military might in the region? Future historians will no doubt be scratching their heads over this one. You had to live through it to believe it.

First, they cleverly used the politics of fear to sway public opinion. As noted in the Project for the New American Century’s document “Rebuilding America’s Defenses”, the warmonger signatories – who later became senior members of the Bush administration – needed “a new Pearl Harbor”. On Sept. 11, 2001 they got it. Americans and their allies were in shock. Almost every country in the world was sympathetic and willing to do anything to help. And, boy, did they capitalize on that empathy even managing to persuade Russia to stay silent as they made deals with Caspian states to allow US bases.

Step one was a country where a giant bogeyman was supposed to be hiding out in a cave presumably equipped with a dialysis machine and a production studio and whose black-turbaned government forced women to wear a burqa and disallowed nail polish. But then Defense Minister Donald Rumsfeld was disappointed because there weren’t enough targets for his bombs. It was no fun bombing a country into the Stone Age when it was already there.

Step two was the insidious demonizing of Muslims, thousands of whom were arrested and held for months without charge or access to lawyers. In that climate of fear, it was relatively simple to persuade the American people that Saddam Hussein was conniving with the people who brought down the World Trade Center. US officials warned of mushroom clouds; Prime Minister Tony Blair said British interests could be attacked within 45 minutes of Saddam giving the order. Then Secretary of State Colin Powell allowed himself to be used as their fall guy. He spouted the most unbelievable scripted codswallop the UN had ever heard…yet, bullied and bribed nation after nation pretended to believe him as IAEA chief Mohammed El-Baradei and UN weapons inspector Hans Blix did little to discredit the hoax.

Step three entailed replacing Osama in people’s minds with Saddam, who overnight morphed into a hydra-headed monster whose idea of a pleasant weekend was gassing and torturing his own people.

Step four was ‘Shock and Awe’ which illuminated the Baghdad skyline on March 19, 2003. As their bombs and missiles rained down on crowded market places scattering limbs, they told us those bombs and missiles were Saddam’s even though the Independent’s Middle East correspondent inconveniently dug up their Made in the USA shards.

As the months went on, we began to wonder what happened to the WMD. They told us it was only a matter of time before it would be unearthed from under the sands or discovered in a tunnel under one of Saddam’s palaces. They even suggested it may have been shipped off to a neighboring country for safekeeping!!

Step five was an orchestrated administration campaign to inject us with mass amnesia. Never mind about the weapons, they said. We are here to liberate the poor Iraqi people from their evil dictator and deliver freedom and democracy. Look, look, they said. The Iraqis have purple fingers! With up to one million dead, Iraqis are lucky they have any fingers at all.

To be fair, they couldn’t have done it without the aid of a compliant, supine media, which embedded its reporters with US battalions and agreed not to show captured US soldiers, flag-draped coffins, military funerals or scenes of blood-soaked Iraqi civilians. Independent reporters who neglected to abide by the script were discredited, refused access to information and even shelled.

I still recall a live report from David Chater of Sky News, who saw the barrel of a US tank slowly turn toward the Palestine hotel – known to be a journalist’s hang-out – before firing its shell killing three reporters. The Baghdad offices of Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya were also hit.

With so much information on tap I’m flabbergasted that so many people still believe the Iraq fairytale. I wish they’d get in touch with me. I’ve got a few pyramids and a sphinx going cheap. Sad, isn’t it!

sierra12th@yahoo.co.uk


FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

Mosaic News – 3/17/08: World News from the Middle East

Winter Soldier 1971 Clip + Soldiers Testify About the Horrors of War (videos)

Baghdad: City of walls + Death, destruction & fear + Shabby, tired & scared

Secret Iraq Dossier Published By Chris Ames

Dandelion Salad

By Chris Ames
ICH
02/18/08 “New Statesman

Read the draft here

The government has been forced to publish the secret first draft of the Iraq WMD dossier written by a Foreign Office spin doctor

The secret first draft of the Iraq WMD dossier written by Foreign Office spin doctor John Williams has finally been published after a ruling back in January under the Freedom of Information Act.

The document contains an early version of the executive summary of the next draft, which was attributed to Intelligence chief John Scarlett. The document places a spin doctor at the heart of the process of drafting the dossier and blows a hole in the government’s evidence to the Hutton Inquiry.

Last month the Foreign Office was ordered by the Information Tribunal to hand over the Williams draft, which I first requested under the Freedom of Information Act in February 2005.

From the time that the row first erupted over Andrew Gilligan’s allegations that the dossier had been sexed-up, the government has claimed that Scarlett’s draft, produced on 10 September 2002, was the first full draft and produced without interference from spin doctors. But the Williams draft, dated a day earlier, shows that spin doctors were sexing up the dossier at the time the notorious 45 minutes claim was included.

Initially the government withheld the draft from the Hutton Inquiry. Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s director of communications, denied its existence. But when Scarlett admitted that Williams had done some early drafting, the BBC asked to see it.

The government then supplied a copy of the draft to Lord Hutton but told him that it was “not taken forward” because a “fresh start” was made with Scarlett’s draft. Confirmation that Scarlett took up elements of Williams’s drafting shows that the government misled Hutton.

Williams did not include the 45 minutes claim in his draft but it is now clear that he did not have access to the intelligence on the claim at the time. However, it has recently been confirmed that Williams attended the meeting that produced Scarlett’s draft.

At this meeting, he and other spin doctors saw the intelligence assessment that contained the claim. Scarlett’s draft then included it for the first time. When he sent his draft to Campbell, Scarlett wrote of “considerable help from John Williams”.

The draft also shows that Williams was responsible for a number of key changes that strengthened the dossier’s claims. His executive summary claimed that Iraq had “acquired” uranium. Previous versions only alleged the material had been “sought”.

Scarlett’s draft also alleged that Iraq had got hold of uranium, stating that it had “purchased” it.

Williams appears largely to have been working on a version of the dossier that was produced during the summer of 2002, before Tony Blair announced in September of that year that a dossier would be published.

He appears not to have made substantial changes to the body text of the document’s section on Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction” (WMD) but it is clear that he was aware that this section was being rewritten. In fact, the WMD section contains a comment: “I don’t propose to rewrite this until I take delivery of the new version.” This shows that Williams intended to continue to rewrite the dossier.

Subsequent versions of the dossier show that the executive summary expressed its claims about Iraq’s WMD more strongly than the main text. In many cases, including the 45 minutes claim, the main text was then brought into line with the executive summary.

The involvement of spin doctors in drafting the summary process suggests that they led the sexing up of the dossier.

Read the draft here

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Christmas & New Year in the UK: Politics & Religion by Michael Faulkner

Dandelion Salad

by Michael Faulkner
TPJ
01/13/2008

I am submitting this column a little later than I had intended so what is often referred to here as ‘the festive season’ will finally have passed. I say finally because every year the Christmas holiday seems to lengthen, not only to embrace New Year’s Day, but to extend at least to the end of the first week of January. Continue reading