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Outside looking in: The "Not Fox News" News


DP Veteran
Jul 6, 2005
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"Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care?"

This thread is for anyone that cares to post news or comments originating outside mainstream US media outlets. This thread is for the news you do not hear about. To be truly fair and balanced, we must embrace both sides and all points of view. It is not the point of this thread to trash America. Taking all news story's with a grain of salt is prudent. However, getting news from alternate sources gives us a better understanding of the truth. We have it pretty good here in the US. And sometimes, we are unable to process (or understand) the suffering of others, while watching images on TV that infer reality. When in reality, everything we see on TV, we are meant to see! Truth will come in many forms. It is up to the reader to decide when.

The following article gives the reader a "words-eye" view of Iraq today from the people that live there. You won't see this on Fox News!

Iraq rebuilding fails to deliver
By Jon Leyne
BBC correspondent in Baghdad

On the outskirts of Baghdad, workmen have been toiling frantically to repair a huge broken water main.
It was blown up by insurgents at the weekend. They knew exactly where to place the charge for maximum damage. It has taken out the water supply for more than half of Baghdad.

"We've been affected badly," complained one man in the area. "We don't have any water to drink. What are we supposed to do? Sometimes they cut the power as well. It's all the fault of the Americans."

It is typical of the frustration faced by the Americans and their allies, as they struggle to improve the quality of life in Iraq.

Figures from the US aid agency US-Aid show that Iraq is generating more electricity now than when Saddam Hussein was in power. But that us not the impression for most Iraqis as they suffer another sweltering summer with only intermittent power.

Unbearable heat

Nothing has changed, maybe it's worse. Life is very hard
Trainee seamstress

At the moment in Baghdad, the power is off for four hours, then on for only two. Even those lucky enough to own generators struggle to find the power to run vital air conditioning units.
In the southern city of Basra there were protests about the situation this week.

The temperature there can rise to 50C with 98% humidity. It can be almost unbearable.

The Iraq budget for US-Aid alone, since the downfall of Saddam Hussein, has been more than $5bn. But most Iraqis simply have not seen a difference.

On one job creation project, there is a budget of $88m. It has paid for a series of training centres, like one I visited in the impoverished Sadr City neighbourhood of Baghdad.
I found trainers teaching Iraqis computer skills. In another room, two classes of women were learning to use Chinese-made sewing machines.

They are popular classes. But the day I visited, nothing was moving. The power was down once again.

Stark prospects

The staff admit they only expect to find jobs for half the people they train.

"Nothing has changed, maybe it's worse. Life is very hard," said one of the women learning to sew.

Rime and her husband Saad work for the contractors who are carrying out the training.

I asked Rime if life was getting any better, two years after the fall of Saddam.

"No it's not, that's the truth" she said. "But we cannot submit to the situation.
"There are some jobs, there are some companies defying the security situation and trying to get things started. And Iraqis are very supportive to such companies."

Rime and Saad know they are putting their lives in danger, just by working on a US-financed project.

"It is dangerous," said Saad. "But one way or another we have to do it. If I believe in something I have to continue doing it."

Little to show

The Americans and their allies point to the steady political progress - the handover of sovereignty, elections, the formation of a government, and now talks on the writing of a new constitution.

The hope was that a new, legitimate, government, would isolate the insurgents and win the support of moderates in all communities.

The trouble is, that has just not happened. If anything the violence continues to increase.

In the last few days, for example, more than 40 Iraqis have been killed in bomb attacks against police trainees, and at a Baghdad restaurant.

It has become so commonplace the rest of the world hardly notices any more.

Remarkably, Iraqis have not lost hope that things will improve. But so far, despite billions of dollars spent in Iraq, there is very little to show for it.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/06/22 10:40:30 GMT

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West turns blind eye as police put Saddam's torturers back to work
From James Hider in Baghdad

IRAQI security forces, set up by American and British troops, torture detainees by pulling out their fingernails, burning them with hot irons or giving them electric shocks, Iraqi officials say. Cases have also been recorded of bound prisoners being beaten to death by police.
In their haste to put police on the streets to counter the brutal insurgency, Iraqi and US authorities have enlisted men trained under Saddam Hussein’s regime and versed in torture and abuse, the officials told The Times. They said that recruits were also being drawn from the ranks of outlawed Shia militias.

Counter-insurgencies are rarely clean fights, but Iraq’s dirty war is being waged under the noses of US and British troops whose mission is to end the abuses of the former dictatorship. Instead, they appear to have turned a blind eye to the constant reports of torture from Iraq’s prisons.

Among the worst offenders cited are the Interior Ministry police commandos, a force made up largely of former army officers and special forces soldiers drawn from the ranks of Saddam’s dissolved army. They are seen as the most effective tool the coalition has in fighting the insurgency.

“It’s a gruesome situation we are in,” a senior Iraqi official said. “You have to understand the situation when the special commandos were formed last August. They were taking on an awful lot of people in a great hurry. Many of them were people who served in Saddam’s forces . . . The choice of taking them on was a difficult one. There was no supervision. There still really isn ’t any, and that applies to all the security forces. They’re all doing this.”

“This”, said Saad Sultan, the Human Rights Ministry official in charge of monitoring Iraq’s prisons, includes random arrests, sometimes without a warrant, hanging people from ceilings and beating them, attaching electrodes to ears, hands, feet and genitals, and holding hot irons to flesh.

Four of his 22 monitors have already quit their jobs, leaving a handful of lawyers to inspect scores of prisons.

“Two months ago I could go into a prison and more than 50 per cent of the people had been ill-treated,” Mr Sultan said. Six months ago the situation had been even worse.

Reports of torture and abuse are commonplace. Omar, a 22-year-old student, said that he was picked up in a night raid on his home in Baghdad by police commandos, who dragged him away from his family to a detention facility. No one told him where he was or what he was accused of, he said. As he was marched into prison, policemen lined up to beat him and his fellow detainees. The prisoners’ handcuffs were tightened until the men screamed.

The next day, he and his neighbour were blindfolded and transported to another facility, where his neighbour collapsed unconscious during a beating. He was then led into an interrogation room, where a policeman attached electrodes to his thumbs and toes. “I immediately asked what they wanted and he said something like, ‘You have been targeting police and national guardsmen’. Without waiting for my response, he switched on the electricity, then kept on turning it off and on until I could hardly breathe.

“I screamed under torture,” Omar said. “It’s not a place to prove your courage. These guys are trying to kill you for nothing.” He was released without charge after 12 days.

The abuse has not gone unnoticed by the coalition, but little has been done to address it. A US State Department report in February stated that Iraqi authorities had been accused of “arbitrary deprivation of life, torture, impunity, poor prison conditions — particularly in pre-trial detention facilities — and arbitrary arrest and detention.” A Human Rights Watch report also noted that “unlawful arrest, long-term incommunicado detention, torture and other ill-treatment of detainees (including children) by Iraqi authorities have become routine and commonplace”.

Evidence of extra-judicial killings by the security forces has also come to light. Mr Sultan is investigating the case of three members of the Badr Corps, the paramilitary wing of one of the main Shia parties in government, who were arrested by police, handcuffed and beaten to death.

An Iraqi official said that the Iraqi National Guard, the US-trained paramilitary police, regularly disposed of the corpses of its victims by throwing them in the river. “The problem is that some people have still got that training from the past,” he said. “You have ten or twelve of them in the same unit working, and if they seize terrorists they will torture or kill them.”

He added that while the de facto death squads were not part of government policy, little was being done to counteract them. “These are exceptional times. It’s an emergency.”

General Adnan Thabet, the commandos’ commander and a special adviser to the Interior Minister, was a senior officer under Saddam. He was sentenced to death for plotting against the former dictator and was tortured after his sentence was commuted.

He denied any allegation of torture, but admitted: “This is a dirty war. We are the only ones with the nerves to fight it.”

The following is one mans opinion against the war in Iraq. I like this one for the simple fact that you can't trash the source this time...

Why We Cannot Win

by Al Lorentz

09/20/04 "LewRockwell.com" -- Before I begin, let me state that I am a soldier currently deployed in Iraq, I am not an armchair quarterback. Nor am I some politically idealistic and naïve young soldier, I am an old and seasoned Non-Commissioned Officer with nearly 20 years under my belt. Additionally, I am not just a soldier with a muds-eye view of the war, I am in Civil Affairs and as such, it is my job to be aware of all the events occurring in this country and specifically in my region.

I have come to the conclusion that we cannot win here for a number of reasons. Ideology and idealism will never trump history and reality.

When we were preparing to deploy, I told my young soldiers to beware of the "political solution." Just when you think you have the situation on the ground in hand, someone will come along with a political directive that throws you off the tracks.

I believe that we could have won this un-Constitutional invasion of Iraq and possibly pulled off the even more un-Constitutional occupation and subjugation of this sovereign nation. It might have even been possible to foist democracy on these people who seem to have no desire, understanding or respect for such an institution. True the possibility of pulling all this off was a long shot and would have required several hundred billion dollars and even more casualties than we’ve seen to date but again it would have been possible, not realistic or necessary but possible.

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This post is for all those that trust the military for their information.



Veterans For Peace believes that the recent allegations of abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib Prison, and other places, by U.S. military personnel should not come as a surprise to anyone who has been to war.

In his investigation of the 800th Military Police Brigade, Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba found: “… numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses were inflicted on several detainees. This systemic and illegal abuse of detainees was intentionally perpetrated by several members of the military police guard force”.

Some of our members served in Military Intelligence or Military Police units. We were part of a culture that gives lip service to the Geneva Conventions in training but encourages psychological and physical brutality in the pursuit of “intell”. In other words, the problem has been and is systemic.

For many veterans the painful feeling that we have been here before is overwhelming. We recall that such brutalities were commonplace in Korea and Vietnam, wars fought, as is Iraq, in the midst of a civilian populace, where combatants blend into and disappear among the civilian population.

Operating in a foreign land, hostile to our presence, coupled with the administration’s demonstrated disdain for the restraints imposed by the Geneva Convention on prisoner treatment has led, inevitably, to these abuses. Can our soldiers, if captured, expect treatment governed by the terms of an agreement their own government has violated?

The abuse at military prisons is the latest step in the shameful course that our nation has been following in Iraq. It began with an invasion for reasons that have proven to be falsehoods and lies. This is more than the criminal activity of a few “bad apples”, it is the brutal, systemically embedded result of a misguided national policy.

There must be a full and public Congressional investigation and those all the way up the chain of command to General Myers and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld who should be held accountable.

The United States government must change course and admit to the unjust nature of this war, the disastrous miscalculations of the response of the Iraqi people to invasion and occupation, begin the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq and restore real self-rule.

We expect there will be token dismissals. However we must not hang on to the policies that have led to these horrors, have further compromised our nation’s security and lost us the respect of the world. They must be excised, swiftly and thoroughly.

That is the only way to restore dignity and honor to our military and to our country.

Adopted by VFP National Board of Directors 5/14/04
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Iran still stoning women, says Nobel Laureate
By Mark Willacy, for 'AM'

A leading Iranian human rights lawyer and Nobel Laureate says that the hardline Islamic regime is still using medieval punishments on its people, including the stoning of women for adultery and the torture of dissidents.

Shirin Ebadi has also attacked last week's presidential election, saying the result is not a true reflection of the will of the people.

Ms Ebadi strikes fear into the hearts of the hardline clerics who run Iran's Islamic regime.

A graduate of solitary confinement in one of the regime's jails, the Nobel Laureate refused to vote in last week's presidential election.

She is angry that the powerful, but unelected, Guardian Council disqualified hundreds of Iranians from standing in the poll.

"Whoever wants to become a candidate should have the right to become a candidate, including women," she said through a translator.

"Candidates should be from different ranges of thought. For instance in Iran if someone is a socialist he or she cannot be a candidate.

"Or if anyone is critical of the constitution, he or she is barred from standing.

"The most important issue is that people are not free to chose the election candidates. The candidates need to be approved first by the Guardian Council."

Ms Ebadi is one of just a few Iranians brave enough to speak out against the regime.

She has represented family members of murdered dissidents, women on death row for adultery, and writers accused of blaspheming the regime.

"At the moment some of the journalists and writers are in prison," she said.

"Two of my clients, because they expressed their opinions, they are in prison and they are now on a hunger strike. They are in bad physical condition and I am worried."

In Tehran's main bazaar there was a standard response when AM asked about human rights.

"Ask me another question," said one woman.

But one man was willing to answer the question.

"Human rights are important to me and it's an issue for our country because human rights are not practised in Iran," he says.

Ms Ebadi is particularly concerned about the treatment of women by the regime.

She cites the punishment meted out to women convicted of adultery.

"Unfortunately stoning exists in our law. According to the law, the punishment for adultery is to be stoned," she said.

"You bury the person up to their waist and then you throw small stones at them until they die. The stones should not be very big so that the person suffers before dying.

"I think this comes from the wrong interpretation of Islam."

Two Iranian women are facing imminent execution for adultery.

One is sentenced to flogging and then hanging while the other will be buried up to her waist and then stoned to death.

teacher said:
Simple question folks. I can produce more stories of success in Iraq than you can failures. But the question is, would you believe them?

Can you find them? Because not even the President in his last speech could be very specific about the progress done in Iraq.....


103 Iraqi Parliamentarians Demand Withdrawal of US Troops

By Juan Cole

07/07/05 - - Gilber Achcar kindly shares his translation of an al-Hayat article:

'[More than] 103 MPs Demand a Timetable for the Withdrawal of Foreign Troops

Baghdad – Abdel-Wahed Tohmeh – Al-Hayat, July 4, 2005

103 members of the National Assembly (the Parliament) have demanded the adoption of a resolution cancelling the request made by the Government to the UN Security Council to extend the presence of multinational forces, and urging the Government to put “a clear plan for army building and a timetable for the withdrawal of occupation troops” from Iraq.

Falah Hassan Shneishel MP (of the “Independent National Bloc”) [the INB is the parliamentary bloc of Muqtada al-Sadr’s Current, which plays a prominent role in the organization of the political fight against the occupation] explained that the number of MPs demanding a timetable for the withdrawal of occupation troops has exceeded 103 after more than 20 additional MPs have adopted the statement issued two weeks ago in this regard.

[See my translation of a previous report by Tohmeh.]

Shneishel threatened to call for popular demonstrations in case “the authorities were not serious about the implementation of the demands of the Iraqis for an end to occupation.”

Juan Cole is Professor of History at the University of Michigan. Visit his blog http://www.juancole.com

The answer is: depends on the source ;)


Iraqi women burned with acid for non-religious clothing
by Chris Shumway (bio)

Jul 6 - Police in Baghdad say an increasing number of women are being attacked for opting to wear Western clothing in public instead of traditional Islamic dress. The weapon of choice for attackers is corrosive acid, according to police and several survivors.

"A month ago I was walking from my college to my house when I was abducted in the street by three men," Hania Abdul-Jabbar, a 23-year-old university student, told IRIN News. "They dropped acid in my face and on my legs. They cut all my hair off while hitting me in the face many times telling me it's the price for not obeying God's wish in using the veil."

Major Abbas Dilemi, a police investigator in Baghdad, told IRIN that most of the acid attacks had occurred in the upscale Sunni district of Al-Mansour and the Shiite Al-Kadhimiya districts. He also said Islamic fundamentalists have recruited children to carry out some attacks.

Fundamentalists in other parts of the country have instituted their own brand of Sharia, or Islamic law, violently targeting women who do not comply with dress codes and other rules. In the western province of Al-Anbar, fundamentalists have reportedly killed five women for not following the orders of religious militants who have effectively held power in the region since the 2003 US-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Because not even the President in his last speech could be very specific about the progress done in Iraq.....

He deferred to the Iraqi government...The actual quote...

"When the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down."

Don't look too hard at that and interpret it in some partisan way.

It's to the point and doesn't hide any meaning.

Accept the quote for what it is.
This is interesting. Although its not news to some...

Bush Is Serving Up the Cold War Warmed Over
By Robert Scheer
The Los Angeles Times

Tuesday 05 July 2005

The "war on terror" is turning out to be nothing more than a recycled formulation of the dangerously dumb "domino theory." Listen to the way President Bush justifies the deepening quagmire of Iraq: "Defeat them abroad before they attack us at home." If we didn't defeat communism in Vietnam, or even tiny Grenada, went the hoary defense of bloody proxy wars and covert brutality in the latter stages of the Cold War, San Diego might be the next to go Red.

Now, the new version of this simplistic concept seems to say, "If we don't occupy a Muslim country, inciting terrorists to attack us in Baghdad, we'll suffer more terror attacks at home."[/I]...[Just what the hell did we create a new cabinet post if it can't do its job protecting our homeland]... The opposite is the case. Invading Iraq has, like the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan before, proved to be a massive recruiting tool for Muslim extremists everywhere. Even the embattled CIA, which the White House is struggling to neuter as a semi-objective voice on foreign affairs, recently declared the Iraq occupation to be a boon to terrorists.
Yet the president stumbles on, demanding that we support his Iraq adventure lest we sully the memory of the victims of Sept. 11, 2001. "We fight today because terrorists want to attack our country and kill our citizens, and Iraq is where they are making their stand," said Bush last week. Actually, no. We fight in Iraq today because Bush listened to a band of right-wing intellectual poseurs who argued America could create a reverse domino effect, turning the Middle East into a land of pliable free-market, pro-Western "democracies" through a crude use of military force. This is rather like claiming a well-placed stick of dynamite can turn a redwood forest into a neighborhood of charming Victorians.

Furthermore, it is not Bush and his band of neocons who are fighting - and dying - for the Iraq domino, but rather raw 19-year-old recruits, hardworking career military officers and impoverished or unlucky Iraqis. And foreign terrorists linked to Al Qaeda are in Iraq because it is a field of opportunity, not because it is their last stand.

For four years the White House has framed the war on terror as an open-ended global battle against a monolithic enemy on many fronts, rather than employing a modern counterterrorism model that sees terrorism as a deadly pathology that grows out of religious or ethnic rage and must be isolated and excised.
From the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, Bush has systematically sought to parlay the public's shock over a singular, if devastating, terrorist assault by a small coterie of extremists into what amounted to a call for World War III against a supposed "axis of evil." But these countries - Iran, Iraq and North Korea - shared only a clear hostility to the United States, rather than any real alliance or ties to 9/11 itself.

In the process, Bush has justified an enormous military buildup, spent tens of billions of dollars in Iraq, reorganized the federal government, driven the nation's budget far into the red and assaulted the civil liberties of Americans and people around the world, all without bothering to seriously examine the origins of the 9/11 attacks or compose a coherent strategy to prevent similar ones in the future. Meanwhile, Osama bin Laden remains at large, as do his financial and political backers in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere.

But why has the White House pursued this nonsensical approach over the loud objections of the country's most experienced counterterrorism and Islamic experts? Because it allows the administration all the political benefits the Cold War afforded its predecessors: political capital, pork-barrel defense contracts and a grandiose sense of purpose.
And because the war on terror has no standard of victory, it can never end - thus neatly replacing the Cold War as a black-and-white, us-against-them worldview that generations of American (and Soviet) politicians found so useful for keeping the plebes in line. It's a one-size-fits-all bludgeon.
The terrible, unspoken truth of the war on terror is that the tragedy of 9/11 has been exploited as a political opportunity by George W. Bush, Halliburton, the Pentagon and the other pillars of what President Eisenhower dubbed the "military-industrial complex" in his final speech as president.

The former general who led us in World War II warned of the dangers of an unbridled militarism. "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex," said Eisenhower, a Republican, in 1961. "The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes."
Consider yourself warned.
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First sentence of this thread...by Billo Really

This thread is for anyone that cares to post news or comments originating outside mainstream US media outlets.

Then he puts out this article...

Bush Is Serving Up the Cold War Warmed Over
By Robert Scheer
The Los Angeles Times

It just stupefies...
He deferred to the Iraqi government...The actual quote...

"When the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down."

That's not the part of the speech I was referring to. My reference was to "The progress in the past year has been significant "
Originally quoted by cnredd:
First sentence of this thread...by Billo Really

This thread is for anyone that cares to post news or comments originating outside mainstream US media outlets.

Then he puts out this article...

Bush Is Serving Up the Cold War Warmed Over
By Robert Scheer
The Los Angeles Times

It just stupefies...
Although it might seem to contradict the sentence you are refering to, it is still something you will not see on Fox news. But you would have to want to see the point.
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Amnesty International Calls for Prosecutions of U.S. Officials
9 Jun 2005
Joshua Rubenstein interviewed by Scott Harris
Between The Lines

June 09, 2005

In a severe condemnation of U.S. conduct in its war against terrorism, Amnesty International Secretary General Irene Khan charged that the Bush administration had abdicated its responsibility to set a global example in upholding human rights. Speaking at a May 25th news conference in London unveiling the group's annual human rights report, Khan said, the American-run prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba "has become the gulag of our time."

Amnesty International is calling for the closing of the Guantanamo detention facility, which currently holds some 540 prisoners from 40 nations -- many detained without charge, and some held more than three years. Over the past year, investigations by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the FBI have documented cases of abuse and torture at the hands of U.S. personnel at Guantanamo and prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan.

William Schultz, executive director of Amnesty International USA, called on foreign governments to investigate and prosecute all senior U.S. officials who have violated the Geneva Conventions and the U.N. Convention Against Torture. Among those he named were President Bush, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Joshua Rubenstein, northeast regional director of Amnesty International USA, who summarizes his group's condemnation of Bush administration policies that have condoned torture.

...we have focused on the United States this year because of this scandal regarding torture. It was just a year ago that the world was alerted to the mistreatment and torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, Iraq. And what we've learned since then has really reinforced our concerns.

It turns out that leading officials in the government, in the Pentagon, in the White House, in the Department of Justice were drafting memorandums not only justifying the use of torture, but coming up with contrived arguments in order to protect American personnel from being accused of using torture. So these are very contrived legal arguments, and we believe they genuinely reinforce the mistreatment and the torture that we're now finding out about in Afghanistan, in Guantanamo (Bay U.S. Naval base in Cuba) and in Iraq.

Plus we're now focusing on this policy of extraordinary rendition, where the United States takes prisoners either from the United States or different countries, say in Europe, and sends them to Syria or Egypt or Jordan for interrogation. Now why would they do that? We believe it's because they rely on those countries to interrogate these prisoners using torture and the U.S. wants to keep somewhat of a distance to keep its hands clean, while it has surrogates carry this kind of interrogation. In a sense, we call it "outsourcing torture." So this is what is focused on in the report.

Approximately 125 members of the U.S armed forces have either been court-martialed or received nonjudicial punishment or other administrative action. But to date, no one in the extended chain of command, including those who formulated policies on the treatment and interrogation of prisoners has been held accountable.

So, for example, we now know that CIA operatives were abusing prisoners with "water boarding." That's where you strap a person to a board and you immerse them in water and they fear they may be drowned because their head is below water for a certain amount of time and you threaten them with drowning. This is a common form of torture in Latin America for example -- and here we believe that U.S. CIA agents have been using this form of torture.

Torture can be prosecuted around the world; there's universal jurisdiction. That's why General Pinochet (former Chilean dictator) was indicted by a Spanish judge. That's why courts in Belgium considered indicting government leaders from other parts of the world. And the fact is, there's no statute of limitations on torture. The U.S. is party to a convention that grants over 120 countries the power to investigate torture by government leaders in any country of the world.

And so right now, it may obviously seem unlikely that, say a European government would indict President Bush or Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld or someone else. But when this group leaves office, when they are private citizens, when they travel, it's quite possible that a prosecutor in Germany or Spain or another country would seek an indictment, and that would be perfectly legitimate as long as it was based on serious and genuine investigation and hard evidence....[payback's a bitch]...

Contact Amnesty International USA by calling (212) 807-8400 or visit their Web site at http://www.amnestyusa.org

Article provided by the as a result of the inverse-inference of cnredd.
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Galloway opens door to expose U.S. crimes
28 May 2005
May 28, 2005 - Tony Murphy

British Member of Parliament George Galloway’s stinging anti-war testimony before a U.S. Senate committee in Washington May 17 electrified progressives. Galloway stunned the U.S. media—which are unaccustomed to seeing anyone, and certainly not members of the timid Democratic Party “opposition” to the Bush administration, match the right wing blow for blow.

George Galloway

The Senate committee, chaired by Republican ideologue Sen. Norm Cole...of Minnesota, is part of a Bush administration campaign targeting British, French and Russian politicians as people to whom Saddam Hussein supposedly “allocated oil” for “political favors.” It is a witch hunt designed to discredit opposition to the war as the United States becomes increasingly embroiled in Iraq and isolated in the world.

Behind the committee’s bogus allegations is the long war U.S. corporate interests have waged in order to seize Iraqi oil. The devastated state of Iraq today is not only due to the aftermath of 2003’s shock-and-awe campaign. It’s the result of decades of U.S. intervention, war and CIA operations against the Iraqi people. It’s long past time for the United States to get out.

Before 2003, more than a million Iraqis had already been killed by U.S.-imposed sanctions. After Washington’s 1991 bombing campaign against Iraq—which wiped out its electrical grid and water-purification system, as well as schools, roads, hospitals and bridges—the United States used the United Nations to prevent Iraq from rebuilding. It accomplished this by preventing it from selling oil, virtually its only commodity, or from buying anything on the world market.

The previously wiped-out diseases typhoid and cholera made a stunning comeback among Iraqi children, because water was contaminated and hospitals were deprived of medicine by sanctions. By 1996, UN agencies reported that over half a million Iraqis had died.

The 2001 declassification of 1991 Defense Intelligence Agency documents showed that the Pentagon’s conscious goal was to cause widespread illness throughout the Iraqi population, through water-borne disease. “Conditions are favorable for communicable disease outbreaks, particularly in major urban areas affected by coalition bombing,” is a chillingly typical quote.

This genocidal campaign, waged to get control of Iraq’s oil resources, is the true crime behind the oil-for-food “scandal” now making headlines.

Washington’s oil grab

In 1996, world outcry against the sanctions—overseen and renewed every three months by the Clinton administration—became so great that the United States set up the “oil-for-food” program. Now instead of an outright embargo, Washington arranged for UN officials to monitor the sale of Iraqi oil, specify how much Iraq could sell, and repeatedly use the specter of “weapons of mass destruction” to veto Iraqi attempts to buy equipment on the world market.

It wasn’t a humanitarian program. It was outrageous harassment, an attempt to take over Iraq’s economy. It certainly had nothing to do with helping the Iraqi people, who continued to die at the rate of thousands every month.

Naturally the Iraqi government did everything it could—politically, legally and otherwise—to get around the sanctions.

In the late 1990s, Galloway mounted a campaign called the Mariam Appeal, designed to both publicize the crime of sanctions and raise money for Iraq. He was ousted from Tony Blair’s Labor Party in 2003 for inviting British soldiers to disobey illegal orders. He now represents the anti-war Respect Party.

In 2003, the British Daily Telegraph and the U.S. Christian Science Monitor said documents had been uncovered in Iraq showing that Galloway was being bribed by Saddam Hussein to oppose sanctions by receiving “oil vouchers.” Galloway successfully sued the Telegraph over this story, winning a 150,000-pound award and proving that the “documents” were forgeries.

The Christian Science Monitor attemp ted to avoid the same fate by formally apologizing to Galloway—who sued them anyway and won an undisclosed settlement.

The corporate media coverage of his Senate testimony captured his articulate defiance—but all left out the part of his statement that was most damaging to the frame-up. Almost universally, the bourgeois media wrapped up coverage of Galloway’s testimony by focusing on the fact that he wouldn’t implicate a Jordanian business executive who helped him with the Mariam Appeal.

Demonization of Iraqi leaders

In addition to infiltrating Iraq’s economy, the oil-for-food program was a public-relations ploy. It was designed to make it look like Iraqi people were starving because Saddam Hussein was taking money from the “humanitarian” program.

This line falls apart when you remember that it wasn’t until 1996—six years after sanctions were imposed—that the United States allowed a crack in the UN’s total blockade of commerce in and out of Iraq. That crack, the oil-for-food program, was structured top to bottom by U.S. strategists themselves, who would have organized, overseen and overlooked any skimming of money from oil sales.

Because of the Saddam-is-Hitler campaign, anyone could be forgiven for thinking that Iraq was under sanctions because of tyrant Saddam Hussein.

But sanctions were part of the “Desert Storm” war strategy—the 1991 invasion of Iraq by the United States started supposedly because of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. Israel invaded Lebanon with U.S. equipment, but President George H.W. Bush declared that Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait was “naked aggression,” and launched a blistering air war, which crippled Iraq’s electrical grid within 48 hours and lasted another 40 days.

The first President Bush’s first act after the Aug. 2, 1990, Iraqi invasion of Kuwait was to sign an executive order, dated the same day, freezing Iraq’s assets in the United States. Within two months, he had coerced the UN into imposing an economic blockade on Iraq. By December 1990, babies were already dying in Iraqi hospitals from lack of medicine that had recently been plentiful. (“The Fire This Time,” Ramsey Clark, 1992)

One Pentagon planner quoted in a June 1991 Washington Post article put it bluntly: “People say, 'You didn’t recognize that it was going to have an effect on water and sewage.’ Well, what were we trying to do with sanctions—help out the Iraqi people? No. What we were doing with the attacks on the infrastructure was to accelerate the effect of sanctions.”
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This is interesting. Bush Sr. is alleged to have given the green light to attack Kuwait.

By Lorenzo Cremonesi (Ha'aretz)

Sa'adoon Al-Zubaydi was Saddam Hussein's presidential translator. In a special interview, he provides previously unknown details on the overthrown dictator.

The invasion of Kuwait on the night of August 2, 1990 brought Al-Zubaydi back to the center of activity. This was the turning point in the history of Iraq, which paved the way for two wars, leading up to the fall of the dictatorship last April.

"I was present at all three meetings between Saddam and then U.S. Ambassador April Glaspie, during her three-year term. I can say with certainty that the Americans had in fact been notified of the intention to attack Kuwait, and responded with tacit acquiescence. Furthermore, as late as mid-July, the State Department sent a telegram with personal apologies to the president after the latter had protested against certain broadcasts on the Voice of America that were critical of the Ba'athdictatorship.

"On July 25th I was called to join the last meeting between Glaspie and Saddam. I was a close friend of her No. 2 at the embassy, Joseph Wilson, who in turn met with Saddam on August 7th, before leaving Iraq permanently. I remember this because it was my birthday. Joseph was an excellent Arabist, and spoke our language correctly. He, like Glaspie, was well aware of the situation.

"In any event, Glaspie arrived breathless at the meeting. She was offended because security wanted to take her handbag. `What happened to diplomatic immunity?' she snapped at me. Then she got upset because she was told that she could not expose the soles of her shoes to the president or cross her legs in his presence.

"But she had good news for us. It was a message for Saddam from President Bush [senior]. `It is not U.S. policy to interfere in inter-Arab affairs,' she said to us in English.

"I must admit, however, that one thing has puzzled me ever since: If we had been given a green light for the attack, how is it that Glaspie, who was not married and lived in Baghdad with her sick, elderly mother, did not change her plans to go on vacation on July 26th? I am convinced that that day she understood our plans to send armored divisions toward Kuwait City. So how come 24 hours later she went on vacation?"

http://www.activistsreader.com/articles folder/lost-in-translation.html
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World Tribunal for Iraq, Culminating Session Testimony
By Dahr Jamail
World Tribunal on Iraq

Saturday 25 June 2005

Thank you very much for inviting me to the Culminating Session of the World Tribunal on Iraq. I first went to Iraq in November of 2003 as an American citizen both frustrated and horrified by what my unelected government was doing. I went to report on the situation because I was deeply troubled by the "journalism" being provided by the corporate media. At the time, as a frustrated mountain climber from Alaska working as a journalist in Iraq, I never would have believed I would be providing testimony to the World Tribunal on Iraq. I want to thank the organizers for this opportunity. I am honored to be here in solidarity with the Iraqi people.
In May of 2004 I interviewed a man who had just been released from Abu Ghraib. Like so many I interviewed from various US military detention facilities who'd been tortured horrifically, he still managed to maintain his sense of humor.
He began laughing when telling me how CIA agents made him beat other prisoners. He laughed, he said, because he had been beaten himself prior to this, and was so tired that all he could do to beat other detained Iraqis was lift his arm and let it drop on the other men.
Later, he laughed again as he told me what else had been done to him, when he said, "The Americans brought electricity to my ass before they brought it to my house."
But this testimony is not about the indomitable spirit of the Iraqi people. About the dignity and strength of Iraqis, we need no testimony. This testimony is about ongoing violations of international law being committed by the occupiers of Iraq on a daily basis in regards to rampant torture, the neglect and obstruction of the health care sector and the ongoing failure to allow Iraqis to reconstruct their infrastructure.
To discuss torture, there are many stories I could use here, but I'll use two examples indicative of scores of others I documented while in Iraq.
Ali Abbas lives in the Al-Amiriyah district of Baghdad and worked in civil administration. So many of his neighbors were detained that friends urged him to go to the nearby US base to try and get answers for why so many innocent people were being detained. He went three times.
On the fourth he was detained himself. Within two days he was transferred from the military base to Abu Ghraib, where he was held over three months without charges before being released.
"The minute I got there, the suffering began," said Abbas about his interrogator, "I asked him for water, and he said after the investigation I would get some. He accused me of so many things and asked me so many questions. Among them he said I hated Christians."
He was forced to strip naked shortly after arriving, and remained that way for most of his stay in the prison. "They made us lay on top of each other naked as if it was sex, and beat us with a broom," he said. In addition to being beaten on their genitals, detainees were also denied water and food for extended periods of time, then were forced to watch as their food was thrown in the trash.
Treatment also included having a loaded gun held to his head to prevent him from crying out in pain as his hand-ties were tightened.
"My hands were enlarged because there was no blood because they cuffed them so tight," he told me, "My head was covered with the sack, and they fastened my right hand to a pole with handcuffs. They made me stand on my toes to clip me to it."
The report adds, "Harsh and coercive interrogation techniques such as subjecting detainees to painful stress positions and extended sleep deprivation have been routinely used in detention centers throughout Iraq. An ICRC report concluded that in military intelligence sections of Abu Ghraib, 'methods of physical and psychological coercion used by the interrogators appeared to be part of the standard operating procedures by military intelligence personnel to obtain confessions and extract information.'
At Fallujah General Hospital, Dr. Ahmed, who asked that only his first name be used because he feared US military reprisals said of the April 2004 siege that "the Americans shot out the lights in the front of our hospital. They prevented doctors from reaching the emergency unit at the hospital, and we quickly began to run out of supplies and much needed medications." He also said that Marines kept the physicians in the residence building several times, intentionally prohibiting them from entering the hospital in order to treat patients.
In November, shortly after leveling Nazzal Emergency Hospital, US forces entered Fallujah General Hospital, the city's only healthcare facility for trauma victims, detaining employees and patients alike. According to medics on the scene, water and electricity were "cut off," ambulances targeted or confiscated by the US military, and surgeons, without exception, kept out of the besieged city.
Hospital raids by US military and US-backed Iraqi forces now appear to be standard operating procedure. On the 18th of this month, doctors at the main hospital in Baquba went on strike, saying they are fed up with constant abuse at the hands of aggressive Iraqi police and soldiers.
Dr. Mohammed Hazim in Baquba, pleaded for his governor to protect he and his colleagues from "organized terrorism of the police and army."
In conclusion, a quick summary of the overall situation on the ground in Iraq is in order. Over two years into the illegal occupation, while Iraq sits upon a sea of oil, ongoing gasoline shortages plague Iraqis who sometimes wait 2 days to fill their cars. In a country where a long gas line once meant a one-car wait, Iraqis who are lucky enough to afford it now purchase black market petrol and hope that it is not watered down.
Electricity remains in short supply. Most of Iraq, including the northern region, receives on average 3 hours of electricity per day amidst the nearly non-existent reconstruction efforts. Even the better areas of Baghdad receive only 6-8 hours per day, forcing those who can afford them to use small generators to run fans and refrigerators in their homes. Of course, this is only for those who've been able to obtain the now rarefied gasoline.
The security situation is, needless to say, horrendous. With over 100,000 Iraqis killed thus far and the number of US soldiers killed approaching 2,000, the violence only continues to escalate.
Since the new Iraqi so-called government was sworn in two months ago, well over 1,000 Iraqis and over 165 US soldiers have died in the violence. These numbers will only continue to escalate as the failed occupation grinds on. As the heavy handed tactics of the US military persist, the Iraqi resistance continues to grow in its number and lethality.
As I mentioned before, potable water remains in short supply. Cholera, typhoid and other water-borne diseases are rampant even in parts of the capital city as lack of reconstruction continues to plague Iraq's infrastructure. Raw sewage is common across not just Baghdaut other cities throughout Iraq.
With 70% unemployment, a growing resistance and an infrastructure in shambles, the future for Iraq remains bleak as long as the failed occupation persists. While the Bush Administration continues to disregard calls for a timetable for withdrawal, Iraqis continue to suffer and die with little hope for their future. With each passing day, the catastrophe in Iraq resembles the US debacle in Vietnam more and more.
Dr. Wamid Omar Nadhmi, a senior political scientist at Baghdad University who was invited to this tribunal, told me last winter, "It will take Iraqis something like a quarter of a century to rebuild their country, to heal their wounds, to reform their society, to bring about some sort of national reconciliation, democracy and tolerance of each other. But that process will not begin until the US occupation of Iraq ends." And it is now exceedingly clear that the only way the Bush Administration will withdraw the US military from Iraq in order for Iraqis to have true sovereignty is if they are forced to do so.
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History of US and UK Intervention in Iraq
By Larry Everest

The 1990s - Desert Storm and Sanctions

The tortured twists and turns of US policy during the Iran-Iraq War were Machiavellian to be sure, but they also reflected the profound difficulties the American empire confronted in controlling a volatile region half way around the globe. For all Washington's machinations, it still didn't have a firm grip on either Iran, Iraq, or the Persian Gulf region.

This was brought home in dramatic fashion in the early morning hours of August 2, 1990, when six elite Iraqi Republican Guard divisions crossed into Kuwait heading south, and quickly seized the capitol. Overnight, Baghdad was transformed from a sometime US ally into its main enemy in the region, beginning a confrontation that led to two wars and a decade of murderous sanctions, and that continues, albeit in a different form, to this day.

It is important to note first, that while Iraq's brutal seizure of Kuwait may have been a surprise, it was not a bolt from the blue, coming without provocation or warning. In large part, it grew out of the destruction and tensions spawned by the eight-year Iran-Iraq War. And US officials even gave a direct "green light" to Saddam's invasion.

Most importantly, US war aims were never limited to expelling Iraq from Kuwait and restoring the status quo ante; instead, coming as the then-Soviet Union spiraled into collapse and no longer constrained by the existence of a nuclear-armed superpower as it had been in the region and globally, the 1991 Gulf War represented a radical escalation of US intervention in the region and an attempt to usher in a "new world order" of unfettered US dominance. These objectives demanded crushing Iraq as a regional power and forcefully demonstrating US military power to the world.

The Pentagon bragged that Desert Storm was "a defining event in US global leadership." National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft saw it as "the bridge between the Cold War and the post-Cold War eras." Bush said the Vietnam syndrome "had been put to rest and American credibility restored." Washington's objectives demanded war, not peace, and a brutal, devastating war at that. "We have to have a war," George H.W. Bush secretly told his war cabinet.
The last thing the US wanted was for Iraq to negotiate its way out of Kuwait with its military in tact; war would also send a much clearer message of US power and will than simply pressuring Iraq into withdrawing. Between Iraq's August 1990 invasion and the end of the war in late February 1991, the US rejected or sabotaged at least 11 different peace proposals from a variety of countries. Bush I was literally "jubilant" when negotiations collapsed (for example during a January 9, 1991 meeting in Geneva between Secretary of State Baker and Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz) and enraged when it seemed they might succeed (as, on January 30, 1991, when Baker and Soviet Foreign Minister Bessmertnykh issued a joint statement calling for a cease-fire provided Iraq agreed to leave Kuwait).

Bush and Scowcroft wrote that they viewed the UN Security Council as its primary vehicle for building a coalition against Iraq and for giving Desert Storm a veil of legitimacy. As Scowcroft put it, "Building an international response led us immediately to the United Nations, which could provide a cloak of acceptability to our efforts and mobilize world opinion behind the principles we wished to project."

US imperialism's objective of crushing Iraq as a regional power and demonstrating its might dictated an extremely brutal military strategy. The Defense Department estimated the dead in this 43-day war at 100,000 Iraqi soldiers killed and 300,000 wounded; it never provided an accounting of Iraqi civilian casualties. In 1991, Census Bureau demographer Beth Osborne Daponte estimated that 158,000 Iraqis were killed in the war and its immediate aftermath. One can add to this toll the Iraqis killed in the war's aftermath after heeding George H.W. Bush's February 15, 1991 call to rise against the Hussein regime, only to be slaughtered when the US decided it preferred Hussein's regime to upheaval from below and the possible fragmentation of Iraq. Estimates of the dead in the rebellions in the Shi'a south and the Kurdish north range from 20,000 to 100,000.

88,500 tons of bombs were dropped on Iraq, the explosive equivalent of six Hiroshima's. But they were not only dropped on Iraq's military, but on its economic and social infrastructure as well-the foundations of civilian life. Coalition bombs and missiles destroyed 11 of Iraq's 20 power generating stations and damaged another six. By the war's end, Iraq's electrical generation had been slashed by 96 percent and reduced to 1920 levels. Without electricity, water could not be pumped, sewage could not be treated, and hospitals could not function. This directly contravened Article 54 of the Geneva Convention which prohibits attacks on essential civilian facilities including "drinking water supplies and irrigation works." Thus, the US bombing campaign constituted a war crime that would contribute to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis in the decade after the war. The US never stopped waging war against Iraq even after the 1991 Gulf War formally ended. The US and UK have systematically lied about the decade of the 1990s and in particular the nature, terms, and purpose of UN sanctions, sanctions which have been responsible for staggering levels of death and suffering inflicted on the Iraqi people.

US officials propagated three main myths about sanctions. First, their purpose was simply to compel Iraq to abide by UN resolutions and disarm. Second, they are aimed at Iraq's rulers, not its people. Third, they were continued because Iraq did not comply with UN resolutions. Washington's line has been that it would have gladly lifted sanctions if only Hussein had complied with UN demands. Iraq instead "answered a decade of UN demands with a decade of defiance," according to George W. Bush.

This official storyline stands reality on its head. UN resolutions became weapons in this ongoing conflict, even as they were being violated more frequently by Washington than by the Hussein regime. In fact, Baghdad complied with UN demands more than it defied them, including on arms inspections and disarmament. This compliance is the simple reason that no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq following the 2003 invasion. They were destroyed early in the 1990s-a fact the Bush II administration knew perfectly well.

The goal of sanctions was never merely to disarm Iraq; the policy of slaughter by sanction was designed to further US/UK imperial aims - to cripple Iraq by preventing it from rebuilding its industry, economy, and military; block other global rivals from making strategic inroads in Iraq; and make life so miserable that Iraqis would rise up (preferably via a military coup) and topple the Hussein regime-shoring up US regional control and demonstrating its power in the process.

No one knows precisely how many Iraqis died or were permanently injured as a result of the 1991 Gulf War and 12 years of sanctions. In 2002, the Iraqi government stated that 1.7 million children had died from disease or malnutrition since the imposition of sanctions in August 1990.

A 1999 survey by UNICEF and Iraq's Ministry of Health reported that had sanctions not been imposed and infant mortality trends during the 1980's continued through the 1990's, "there would have been half a million fewer deaths of children under-five in the country as a whole during the 8-year period 1991 to 1998." So roughly 5,000 Iraqi children under five were dying each month thanks to US actions - more than a World Trade Center catastrophe every 30 days.

In a 1999 analysis published in Foreign Affairs, "Sanctions of Mass Destruction," John and Carl Mueller concluded that all economic sanctions imposed after 1990, the most significant case being Iraq, "may have contributed to more deaths during the post-Cold War era than all weapons of mass destruction throughout history."

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The Most Cowardly War in History
By Arundhati Roy
World Tribunal on Iraq

Friday 24 June 2005

Opening Statement of Arundhati Roy on behalf of the jury of conscience of the world tribunal of Iraq.
Istanbul, Turkey - This is the culminating session of the World Tribunal on Iraq. It is of particular significance that it is being held here in Turkey where the United States used Turkish air bases to launch numerous bombing missions to degrade Iraqs defenses before the March 2003 invasion and has sought and continues to seek political support from the Turkish government, which it regards as an ally. All this was done in the face of enormous popular opposition by the Turkish people. As a spokesperson for the jury of conscience, it would make me uneasy if I did not mention that the government of India is also, like the government of Turkey, positioning itself as a ally of the United States in its economic policies and the so-called War on Terror.

The testimonies at the previous sessions of the World Tribunal on Iraq in Brussels and New York have demonstrated that even those of us who have tried to follow the war in Iraq closely are not aware of a fraction of the horrors that have been unleashed in Iraq.

The Jury of Conscience at this tribunal is not here to deliver a simple verdict of guilty or not guilty against the United States and its allies. We are here to examine a vast spectrum of evidence about the motivations and consequences of the US invasion and occupation, evidence that has been deliberately marginalized or suppressed. Every aspect of the war will be examined - its legality, the role of international institutions and major corporations in the occupation, the role of the media, the impact of weapons such as depleted uranium munitions, napalm, and cluster bombs, the use of and legitimation of torture, the ecological impacts of the war, the responsibility of Arab governments, the impact of Iraqs occupation on Palestine, and the history of US and British military interventions in Iraq. This tribunal is an attempt to correct the record. To document the history of the war not from the point of view of the victors but of the temporarily - and I repeat the word temporarily - anquished.

Before the testimonies begin, I would like to briefly address as straightforwardly as I can a few questions that have been raised about this tribunal.

The first is that this tribunal is a Kangaroo Court. That it represents only one point of view. That it is a prosecution without a defense. That the verdict is a foregone conclusion.

Now this view seems to suggest a touching concern that in this harsh world, the views of the US government and the so-called Coalition of the Willing headed by President George Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair have somehow gone unrepresented. That the World Tribunal on Iraq isn't aware of the arguments in support of the war and is unwilling to consider the point of view of the invaders. If in the era of the multinational corporate media and embedded journalism anybody can seriously hold this view, then we truly do live in the Age of Irony, in an age when satire has become meaningless because real life is more satirical than satire can ever be.

Let me say categorically that this tribunal is the defense. It is an act of resistance in itself. It is a defense mounted against one of the most cowardly wars ever fought in history, a war in which international institutions were used to force a country to disarm and then stood by while it was attacked with a greater array of weapons than has ever been used in the history of war.
Second, this tribunal is not in any way a defense of Saddam Hussein. His crimes against Iraqis, Kurds, Iranians, Kuwaitis, and others cannot be written off in the process of bringing to light Iraqs more recent and still unfolding tragedy. However, we must not forget that when Saddam Hussein was committing his worst crimes, the US government was supporting him politically and materially. When he was gassing Kurdish people, the US government financed him, armed him, and stood by silently.

Saddam Hussein is being tried as a war criminal even as we speak. But what about those who helped to install him in power, who armed him, who supported him - and who are now setting up a tribunal to try him and absolve themselves completely? And what about other friends of the United States in the region that have suppressed Kurdish peoples and other peoples rights, including the government of Turkey?

There are remarkable people gathered here who in the face of this relentless and brutal aggression and propaganda have doggedly worked to compile a comprehensive spectrum of evidence and information that should serve as a weapon in the hands of those who wish to participate in the resistance against the occupation of Iraq. It should become a weapon in the hands of soldiers in the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, Australia, and elsewhere who do not wish to fight, who do not wish to lay down their lives - or to take the lives of others - for a pack of lies. It should become a weapon in the hands of journalists, writers, poets, singers, teachers, plumbers, taxi drivers, car mechanics, painters, lawyers - anybody who wishes to participate in the resistance.

The evidence collated in this tribunal should, for instance, be used by the International Criminal Court (whose jurisdiction the United States does not recognize) to try as war criminals George Bush, Tony Blair, John Howard, Silvio Berlusconi, and all those government officials, army generals, and corporate CEOs who participated in this war and now profit from it.
The assault on Iraq is an assault on all of us: on our dignity, our intelligence, and our future.

We recognize that the judgment of the World Tribunal on Iraq is not binding in international law. However, our ambitions far surpass that. The World Tribunal on Iraq places its faith in the consciences of millions of people across the world who do not wish to stand by and watch while the people of Iraq are being slaughtered, subjugated, and humiliated.

Arundhati Roy received the Booker Prize for literature in 1997. Presently, one of the most eloquent voices for the global justice and anti-war movement, she was also awarded, among many others, the Sydney Peace Prize in 2004, and the Lannan Cultural Freedom Prize in 2002.
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You can be far more annoying with your words, rather than size and color, like me, just ask around. Or do you think to become more annoying than me? Bro, you ain't got what it takes, not even close, and you ARE VERY annoying. Let me put it like this.

Billo Really is to annoying as teacher,
as a grain of sand is to taking up space on a beach.

Your turn.

Yea, I didn't think so.

Class dismissed.

See, even that last part has to annoy lots of people big time.

Rookie. Green horn. Wet behind the ears. Just saying I'm bad vague. No bounce no ban.
Illegality of Preventive Attack and Unilateral Use of Force
By Phil Shiner
Peacerights; Visiting Professor; London Metropolitan University; and Fellow, London School of Economics

In this paper I wish to address three issues:

Whether the Iraq war was a "crime of aggression" (which is the "worst of crimes");
Whether the way in which the war was conducted involved the commission of "war crimes" and;
Whether the subsequent occupation of Iraq involved, and continues to involve, the commission of "war crimes", "crimes against humanity" and other illegal acts.
However, before addressing these themes, I wish to put these matters in the context of a changing international legal order.

There is no doubt that the world has changed post 9/11. And no doubt too that international law has been central to that change. Much of the debate about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the so-called "war on terror" revolves around questions of legality. It is plain that the neo-cons and Bush and Blair wish to restructure International law to make it weaker but more flexible, and less concerned with the peaceful resolution of disputes. Who can counter this fundamental challenge to all those who are concerned with peace, and that international law should underpin and support an absolute legal commitment by all member states that the use of force is, and should remain as, the option of last resort? It is my view that the War Tribunal on Iraq should have this fundamental ideological struggle in its sights. It can make those responsible for the Iraq war accountable, and it can be part of a global struggle in response to the Bush/Blair agenda on International law.

The Crime of Aggression

International Law is surprisingly clear and easy to understand on whether the Iraq war was lawful. First, war was abolished by the adoption of the UN Charter in 1947. Thereafter, contracting states entered into a compact. In return for giving up their right to wage war each vested the right to use force in the collective security provisions of chapter VII of the UN Charter. Second, Article 2 (4) of the UN Charter provides that:

"All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations".
This has been described by the International Court of Justice as a peremptory norm of International Law, from which states cannot derogate. Thus, the effect of articles 2 (3) and (4) is that the use of force can only be justified as expressly provided under the Charter, and only in situations where it is consistent with the UN's purposes. Third, there are two limited exceptions to the requirement not to use force. The first enshrined in Article 51, preserves states' rights to self-defense. As this was not an exception relied upon by the US or UK I need not dwell on it. The second is where the Security Council have authorized the use of force under Article 42 of the Charter. That is the only relevant debate here.

I can remind the Panel that a consensus of international lawyers did not accept that such an authorization existed here, or that the UK and US were entitled to revive Resolution 678 (November 1990) from the start of the first Gulf War. The UK and US argued that the wording of Resolution 1441 (8 November 2002) allowed them to rely on Security Council Resolution 678 as they were entitled to interpret Iraq's behavior post 1441 as constituting a further "material breach" of Resolution 678 (Article 1) in circumstances where Iraq had been given its "final opportunity" to disarm (Article 2) and was warned of the "serious consequences" of non-compliance (Article 13). This is referred to as the revival doctrine. Not surprisingly, that is not the way international law works post the UN Charter. If the Security Council wish to authorize force, they do so in clear terms, latterly using the phrase "all necessary means" or "all measures necessary"

One example of that consensus is a letter from 16 international law professors and teachers from the UK, which made headline news on March 7 2003. It warned that:

"Before military action can lawfully be undertaken against Iraq, the Security Council must have indicated its clearly expressed accent. It has not yet done so... A decision to undertake military action in Iraq without proper Security Council authorization will seriously undermine the international rule of law."
What I have done is to footnote to this paper all the relevant legal material so that you, the jury, may be satisfied that this war did not have legal authorization from the Security Council. The jury need to address the consequences of that? If there was no Security Council authorization does it necessarily mean that the war was illegal? If it was illegal, was it automatically a "crime of aggression" and thus a "crime against peace?"

Professor Philippe Sands tackled this question head on during an interview last Thursday for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. He said:

"...Most people now realize that the war on Iraq was illegal and under international law, an illegal war amounts to a crime of aggression"
Others have said the same. Here is the 18 March 2003 resignation letter of Elizabeth Wilmshurst, Deputy Legal Advisor to the Foreign Office, who resigned because she did not believe the war with Iraq was legal:

"I cannot in conscience go along with the advice ... which asserts the legitimacy of military action without such a [Security Council] Resolution, particularly since an unlawful use of force on such a scale amounts to a crime of aggression..."

Over the last weekend the controversy over the legality of the war, at least from the UK Government's perspective, has flared up again. This time the row focus on a number of leaked and secret memoranda between UK Government's members and top officials detailing what had been agreed between Tony Blair and President Bush and Condoleezza Rice as early as March 2002. In particular, the following needs some explanation, if the UK Government are to continue to protest they went into Iraq because of the threat of WMD, rather than for regime change:

"We spent a long time at dinner on Iraq. It is clear that Bush is grateful for your [Blair] support and has registered that you are getting flak. I said that you would not budge in your support for regime change but you had to manage a press, a Parliament and a public opinion that was different from anything in the States. And you would not budge either in your insistence that, if we perused regime change, it must be very carefully done and produce the right result. Failure was not an option."
Thus, we are dealing with the crime of aggression. And let us remind ourselves of the enormity of that crime. This is the opening speech of Mr Justice Robert Jackson at The Nuremburg Tribunal:

"It is not necessary among the ruins of this ancient and beautiful city with untold members of its civilian inhabitants still buried under its rubble, to argue the proposition that to start or wage an aggressive war has the moral qualities of the worst of crimes."
In his opening speech, he also described aggressive war as "the greatest menace of our time", and made it clear that if International Law "is to serve a useful purpose it must condemn aggression by any other nations, including those which sit here now in judgment." He also said:

"This trial represents mankind's desperate effort to apply the discipline of the law to statesmen who have used their powers of state to attack the foundations of the world's peace and commit aggressions against the right of their neighbors."
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Illegality of Preventive Attack and Unilateral Use of Force
By Phil Shiner

Accountability for the Crime of Aggression and Proportionality

But how can the actions of the US and the UK in committing the worst of crimes be made accountable to International Law, and specifically the International Criminal Court (ICC)? There are two routes that the ICC Prosecutor can take which would give him jurisdiction to examine the legality of the Iraq war notwithstanding that the US has de-ratified the ICC Statute, and that the ICC will not have jurisdiction over the "crime of aggression" until the necessary Elements of Crime have been agreed, which may not be for several years.

Here is how the first argument goes. If the coalition forces had used force against Iraq pursuant to Security Council Resolution that Resolution would have set the parameters of the authorization both in dictating lawful military objectives, and over time. The authorization would have been carefully targeted, using a phrase such as "all necessary measures" focused on the threat of WMD. Accordingly, decisions about military objectives, and thus crucially, in considering whether the use of force as exercised constituted "war crimes", and judgments as to whether the force used was proportionate to those objectives should have been taken within the framework of a Security Council authorization tailored to eliminating the threat to international peace and security of Iraq's WMD. However, in the absence of such an authorization, and with the Coalition's un-stated objectives of regime change coming into play, these crucial decisions about military objectives and proportionality became very different. It is arguable, for instance, that using a "bunker buster" bomb on a restaurant in a civilian residential area cannot be justified on the ground that Saddam Hussein was believed to be dining there. It is arguable also that, leaving aside the inherently indiscriminatory nature of cluster munitions, if the military objective pursued was the threat of WMD it is hard to see how their use in urban and residential locations could be justified or proportionate. Further, the British Armed Forces Minister, Adam Ingram, declared during an interview with the BBC that cluster weapons had been used against concentrations of military equipment and Iraqi troops in and around built-up areas around Basra, Iraq's second largest city. For the US, General Myers confirmed that cluster munitions were used against "many" military assets in populated areas.

These are important concerns which the ICC Prosecutor must address, and he has been urged to do so in a report from eight leading international law professors submitted to the ICC Prosecutor by Peacerights on 20 April 2004 following the London Tribunal which supports this inquiry. This is how the report summarized the Professors' concerns:

Were methods of warfare or weapons systems used, or locations of attacks chosen, such that...
Impermissible military objectives were excluded, for example, those concerned with "regime change" rather than the elimination of any existing WMD;
The proportionality requirement was at all times respected and in particular all feasible precautions were taken to avoid and in any event minimise incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects ..."
The second route into the examination of the crime of aggression is through joint criminal enterprise and the context of any ICC investigation. Again, this is a matter already put to the ICC Prosecutor by the London Tribunal. The ICC has jurisdiction over individuals who are nationals of state parties and the UK ratified the ICC Statute on 4 October 2001. In addition to those who perpetrated the crimes, the ICC also has jurisdiction over those who may have ordered, solicited, induced, aided or abetted or otherwise assisted in their commission or attempted commission. So the relationship between the US and UK in the coalition does need to be determined, and questions answered as to the criminal responsibility of UK nationals of acts jointly committed with the US. In particular, did UK nationals have prior knowledge of any internationally wrongful acts? The Peacerights Report records that the panel had concluded:

"The evidence presented (that UK commanders were informed by the US of their military activities, and the selection of targets, and that they were concerned about the use of cluster bombs) suggests that the UK did have knowledge of the circumstances of the internationally wrongful act." (Para 3.8)
This leads us to the prospect of senior members of the UK Government being criminally responsible before the ICC for the commission of international crimes through joint criminal activities with individuals from the US, and this takes us into the illegality of the war.

It seems clear that the US and UK Governments - and thus senior members of both as individuals - acted with a common purpose in waging aggressive war against Iraq.

In simple terms, it is not necessary here that the participation of UK nationals be an indispensable condition, or that the ICC Prosecutor needs to be satisfied that the attacks or incidents would not have occurred at all without their participation. Instead, the question is: were the UK nationals at least a cog in the wheel of events? The London Tribunal members answered this question in the affirmative.

Building on this, the concept of "joint criminal enterprise" is now well accepted in international criminal law and is particularly useful in examining issues of liability when one of the parties in the joint criminal enterprise goes beyond what was originally agreed, even if the other party did not have full knowledge of this, provided that the act was a necessary and foreseeable consequence of the agreed joint criminal enterprise. And of course, the joint criminal enterprise we are most concerned with here is that of waging aggressive war.

It does, however, need to be stressed as the London Tribunal did that, in examining these issues, in the context of aggressive war, it is not that the ICC would be attempting to actually hold any person accountable for that crime, as it must be recalled that the Elements of Crime have not yet been agreed. Instead, "it would merely be reaching the view that the criminal enterprise of waging aggressive war had been committed as a preliminary circumstance to the prosecution of criminal acts over which it may exercise jurisdiction - namely, Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes."

Other Issues of War Crimes and the Use of Force

In the above section I have touched upon issues concerning the use of an indiscriminate weapons system such as cluster munitions in residential areas; the risk that impermissible military objectives related not to the threat of WMD might have led to war crimes being committed because attacks were not justified (according to military objective) or were disproportionate; and lastly, the link between the "crime of aggression" and joint criminal enterprise. These are three very important issues that I would invite the Panel to examine in detail and consider whether to refer these matters to the ICC. There are others arising from the use of force (rather than the occupation which I deal with below). They all arise from the London Tribunal and thus, the Peacerights Report. I summarize them below with their references:

The use of UK bases for the launch of US air attacks involving cluster munitions, or otherwise (para 2.1.3).
Attacks on media outlets (paras 2.2.2, 2.2.3).
Attacks on civilians and civilian, not military, objectives (paras 2.2.4, 2.2.5 and 2.2.7).
Attacks, other than ones involving cluster munitions, which did not discriminate between civilians and combatants (para 2.2.5).
Deliberate targeting of civilian infrastructure and, in particular, electricity supplies (para 2.2.6).
I invite the Panel to explore seriously all the above.
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Illegality of Preventive Attack and Unilateral Use of Force
By Phil Shiner [continued]

The Illegality of the Occupation Policy

I do not intend to focus on whether the UN Security Council had the power to give the Coalition Forces the legal status of occupying powers, as it purported to do by Security Council Resolution 1483. Although we now see the use made of Security Council Resolutions to undermine and disengage fundamental Human Rights Protections, it seems that, on balance, on the narrow question - was the UN Security Council entitled to give de jure authority to the UK and US as occupying powers - the answer remains, it was.

Thus, the focus of this section is on the illegality of the policy and acts that took place in the occupation. I want to briefly explore two matters. Both involve US and UK troops. The first is deaths and torture in detention and the second, unlawful killings during policing operations.

Those here today will be aware of the abuses by US troops at Abu Ghraib Prison. Who could forget the outrageous photographs of prisoners on a leash, being attacked by dogs or sexually humiliated? But how many are aware of more widespread and similar abuses by US troops at other facilities including Mosul and Camp Bucca? And who knows how many other atrocities have been committed by US troops at other facilities. To make it clear that these are torture allegations I read below extracts from statements of two of my clients. First, an engineer aged 46;

"... I saw a young man of 14 years of age bleeding from his anus and lying on the floor. He was Kurdish and his name was Hama. I heard the soldiers talking to each other about this guy; they mentioned that the reason for this bleeding was inserting a metal object in his anus. I suspected that this was caused by a sexual assault but could not confirm it."
Second, the statement of an agricultural engineer;

"They have shown me in that room photos of certain people whom I knew and I was asked to make certain confessions against them. Once they placed a detainee on a chair in front of me and asked me to say certain words that indicated that I had confessed against him. They brought a man I knew who was fully dressed with a can of coke and some food in his hand, they pointed out that if I would confess I would be in pleasant status like that man. I insisted that I had nothing else to say and I was innocent. Then they advanced the chair I was sitting on very close to a wood fire that they lit which left burns on my leg (photographed)... They inserted some strange objects into my anus and asked me to take very humiliating positions while they messed with me and moved these objects in different directions. They were calling these positions some names, which I did not understand. They took many photos while I was in these positions, they were laughing and enjoying it. There was also a male and a female soldier who s at behind me; they were messing with each other. Their game was that the male soldier would aim at my injured and swollen leg with a piece of rock, as soon as he hit his target and I scream of pain she would reward him by letting him kiss her or fondle her. The stronger my pain was and the louder my scream was, the more he would get from her."
We know now of the US efforts to redefine torture and, in particular, the memorandum of 1 August 2002, from Jay S Bybee, head of the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel in which he wrote;

"We conclude that for an act to constitute torture... it must inflict pain that is difficult to endure. Physical pain amounting to torture must be equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily functions or even death."
We know also of the US interrogation techniques involving unusual methods designed not to leave marks. What we do not seem to fully appreciate is how closely UK interrogation techniques resemble those of the US. This is not rhetoric. I am acting in three cases where UK troops have tortured Iraqi civilians to death, ten other torture in detention cases and additionally for nine victims of abuse and torture at Camp Breadbasket. The statements of these victims makes it clear that like the US, members of the UK Armed Forces engaged in practices of sexual humiliation and systematic humiliation of male Muslims, routinely using women to sexually excite male detainees, devised games and routines to humiliate and disorient detainees, used methods of abuse designed not to leave marks, and, in fact, did everything we now know US troops did save for the use of bright lights and loud music. To make this explicit, I read an extract from one of my client's witness statements from a successful High Court case of 14 December 2004. His name is Kifah Taha al-Mutari. He gives evidence about the death in detention of his colleague, Baha Mousa, as well as the torture that he suffered which led to acute kidney failure. He says:

Baha appeared to have much worse ill treatment than the others. Two or more soldiers would beat him at a time whereas the rest of us were beaten by one soldier. Baha may have been punished more than the others in an act of revenge. Baha's father, who witnessed the arrest, had informed the officer in charge that he had seen the soldiers stealing money from the hotel. Baha received much more beating than myself and the other detainees. He was not able to stand up and the soldiers continued beating him even while he was on the floor. The soldiers used particular sharp jabbing movements into the area beneath the ribs, which was particularly painful.
We all had another hood put on top of the first hood. We were given water by it being poured over the hood so that we had to lick droplets that seeped through the hood. Freezing water was poured on to us and this was very painful as the temperatures in detention were 40 degrees plus. We were given one meal a day consisting of rice with extremely spicy soup, which we could not eat.
Soldiers took turns in abusing us, at night the number of soldiers increased, sometimes to eight at a time. We were prevented from sleeping throughout the three days as soldiers introduced the "names game". Soldiers would mention some English names of stars or players and request us to remember them, or we would be beaten severely.
One terrible game the soldiers played involved kickboxing. The soldiers would surround us and compete as to who could kick box one of us the furthest. The idea was to try and make us crash into the wall.
During the detention, Baha was taken into another room and he received more beatings in that room.
On the third night Baha was in a separate room and I could hear him moaning through the walls. He was saying that he was bleeding from his nose and that he was dying. I heard him say, "I am dying...blood.... blood...". I heard nothing further from him after that.
On the morning of the third night, the other detainees and I were woken up from the only two hours sleep we had been allowed in three days. One soldier asked us to dance like Michael Jackson.
Unfortunately, there is much more to come, and worse. In the Camp Breadbasket incident a Court Martial heard evidence to explain the background to the taking of 22 photographs, publicly available now, of abuse, and humiliation of Iraqi civilians. The UK Government's position was that the victims of the abuse could not be found, and that what happened was that a few "rogue soldiers" took too seriously the order to "work hard" some Iraqi looters inside a food depot. One man was photographed strung up on the forks of a forklift truck. The evidence to the Court Martial was that soldiers had been playing around, and had moved him out of the sun, and it all got out of hand.

Before the Court Martial concluded three victims asked my firm to act for them. Their evidence, which they wanted to put to the Court Martial, was compelling and put a completely different light on events. This included that the victims had lawful authority to be in the camp, that the abuse included torture, that women and sexual humiliation were involved, that officers were involved, and that the camp was being used as a detention centre. Further, the Iraqi photographed in the forklift truck had lawful authority to be at the camp and was being punished for refusing an order to sever the finger of a fellow Iraqi. When I tried to have the victims' evidence heard, the Court Martial decided to ignore it and the Attorney General threatened me with contempt of court proceedings if I attempted to alert the public and media as to what had happened.

Additionally, I have complained to the UK's Attorney General that there is clear evidence that the UK had a systematic torture policy, which requires investigation. The Attorney General has refused to recognize the importance of the issue and refused an investigation.

Both the US and UK Forces have been responsible for large numbers of civilians deaths whilst carrying out policing functions. It is important to emphasise that there is a different set of legal rules during an occupation, as compared to a war, and both the US and UK were bound by Geneva Convention IV which protects civilians. Further, both had legal powers of policing through Security Council Resolution 1483 and the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). The CPA passed a huge amount of legislation during the period 22 May 2003 and 28 June 2004 through 11 Regulations (R1-11), 97 Orders (O1-97), 14 Memoranda (M1-14) and 11 Public Notices (PN1-11). These included weapons control (M5, O3).
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