Tag Archives: Iraq War

Former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark Joins Lawsuit against Bush, Cheney, Et Al for Illegal War in Iraq

By Claire Bernish
June 19, 2015
Antimedia,  June 16, 2015

 

A lawsuit against members of the Bush administration for their role in the invasion of Iraq recently received noteworthy support from an internationally prominent group of lawyers—including a former U.S. attorney general. The group is asking the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to review the class action suit on grounds that the U.S.-led war was an illegal act of aggression in violation of international guidelines as defined by the Nuremberg Tribunal after World War II.

Iraqi mother Sundus Saleh filed the lawsuit on May 27 against former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Richard Cheney, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, former National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, stating they “broke the law in conspiring and committing the crime of aggression against the people of Iraq.” Her complaint filed to the court reads:

Defendants planned the war against Iraq as early as 1998; manipulated the United States public to support the war by scaring them with images of ‘mushroom clouds’ and conflating the Hussein regime with al-Qaeda; and broke international law by commencing the invasion without proper legal authorization. More than sixty years ago, American prosecutors in Nuremberg, Germany convicted Nazi leaders of the crimes of conspiring and waging wars of aggression. They found the Nazis guilty of planning and waging wars that had no basis in law and which killed millions of innocents.[emphasis added]

It should be noted as well that the Nuremberg Tribunal’s findings were specifically quoted in the suit, which has been undertaken as a pro bonocase by Comar Law, based in San Francisco:

[These] are charges of the utmost gravity. War is essentially an evil thing. Its consequences […] affect the whole world. To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”[emphasis added in the lawsuit]

Saleh’s previous attempt to sue the Bush administration in the California court system was met with resistance from the government—including Obama administration lawyers—and was ultimately dismissed using the terms of the Westfall Act, which grants immunity to federal employees who act “within the scope of their employment.”

But the amicus brief submitted on Saleh’s behalf by the group of attorneys—including former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, the president of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, the former president of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the former president of the National Lawyers Guild, a founding board member of the International Commission for Labor Rights, and the co-chair of the International Committee of the National Lawyers Guild, among others—states that the previous court was “forbidden” to use Westfall protections to dismiss the charges because the Nuremberg Tribunal established “norms” that prohibit “the use of domestic laws as shields to allegations of aggression […] National leaders, even American leaders, do not have the authority to commit aggression and cannot be immune from allegations they have done so.” [emphasis added]

A second amicus brief was also filed by the nonprofit Planethood Foundation—a compelling action in itself, considering the organization was established in 1996 by the sole surviving Nuremberg chief prosecutor, Benjamin Ferencz. This brief cautions that “those in positions of power” should not be allowed to subvert their influence to escape responsibility for their crimes. This brief cites the U.N. statement given after Nuremberg proceedings that, “planning, initiating, or waging a war of aggression is a crime against humanity for which individuals as well as states shall be tried before the bar of international justice.” [emphasis added]

The significance of these briefs cannot be overstated amidst increasing international attention on the case. Calls to charge the Bush administration for war crimes have grown intense as recent reports estimate well over one million people have died as a result of the Iraq war.

Hopefully, there will be an appropriate answer from the federal appeals court for Saleh’s lawsuit; because, as  Inder Comar told Truthout,

“This is a horror that continues to play itself out, daily, in Iraq; the architects of such chaos have yet to be meaningfully questioned as to their role in this unmitigated tragedy.”

Inder Comar is the Attorney of Sundus Saleh.

Corporate Media Doublethink and the Bush-PNAC-9/11-Iraq Connection

By Prof. James F. Tracy
May 25, 2015
Global Research

 

Bush-Cheney-Wolfowitz“Doublethink,” George Orwell famously remarked, “means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.”

The corporate news media similarly tend toward selective recall when approaching and interpreting crucial facts of national and world history. A recent example involves John Ellis “Jeb” Bush’s tentative May 10 admission that he would not have embarked on the disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq had he possessed the information that his brother’s presidential administration willfully kept from the American public.

In fact, such information is but one small facet in an edifice of high crimes and subterfuge, including the George W. Bush regime’s complicity in the false flag terror attacks of September 11, 2001, or what one might otherwise term the Bush-PNAC-9/11-Iraq connection.

pnac.org

In the midst of controversy surrounding Jeb Bush’s acknowledgement, major news media almost uniformly chose to toss the elder Bush brother’s involvement in the neoconservative Project for a New American Century as a signatory to its “Statement of Principles” down the memory hole.

As many will recall, PNAC’s 2000 document, “Rebuilding America’s Defenses,” issued one year before the September 11 events, proclaimed how “the process of [foreign policy] transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.”

“A SECRET blueprint for US global domination reveals that President Bush and his cabinet were planning a premeditated attack on Iraq to secure ‘regime change’ even before he took power in January 2001,” Neil Mackay observed in the Scottish Sunday Herald on the first anniversary of 9/11.

The blueprint, uncovered by the Sunday Herald, for the creation of a ‘global Pax Americana’ was drawn up for Dick Cheney (now vice-president), Donald Rumsfeld (defence secretary), Paul Wolfowitz (Rumsfeld’s deputy), George W Bush’s younger brother Jeb and Lewis Libby (Cheney’s chief of staff). The document, entitled Rebuilding America’s Defences: Strategies, Forces And Resources For A New Century, was written in September 2000 by the neo-conservative think-tank Project for the New American Century (PNAC).

The plan shows Bush’s cabinet intended to take military control of the Gulf region whether or not Saddam Hussein was in power. It says: “The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.”

The PNAC document supports a ‘blueprint for maintaining global US pre-eminence, precluding the rise of a great power rival, and shaping the international security order in line with American principles and interests’.

This “American grand strategy” must be advanced for “as far into the future as possible”, the report says. It also calls for the US to “fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theatre wars” as a “core mission”.

The historical amnesia is evident in a LexisNexis search for “Project for a New American Century” and “Jeb Bush” that yields almost no mention in print news media of the eerily prophetic, even incriminating document in the overall coverage of Bush’s admittance.

Cable news channel MSNBC was the only news outlet to (unintentionally) link PNAC to Bush’s disclosure. The reference was made by Salon.com‘s Joan Walsh on the May 14 segment of Chris Matthew’s Hardball program. The exchange is prefaced by Matthews’ remark concerning Bush’s difficulty distinguishing “himself from the ideology that took us into Iraq.”

During an exchange between Matthews, Walsh, Buzzfeed‘s McKay Coppins, and The Nation‘s Ben Goldberger concerning Bush’s present slew of “neocon” foreign policy advisors, Matthews curiously feigns ignorance of Bush’s PNAC involvement.

JEB BUSH (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: We were all supposed to answer hypothetical questions. Knowing what we know now, what would you have done? I would have not engaged, I would not have gone into Iraq.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: I would not have gone into Iraq. It took [Bush] a while to say that … McKay, tell me why he`s had this hard time to separate himself from the ideology that took us into Iraq.

COPPINS: Well, it`s — I have a story coming out tonight where I talk to a half dozen former George W. Bush officials, neocon hawks, very pro- Iraq war at the time and still are. And they breathe two issues. One — I mean, it`s obvious that there`s still a lot of pressure from neoconservatives and Iraq hawks who don`t want him to, you know, wholly disown the Iraq [sic].

The other issue is that they — and they were all asking this question, when he was asked, you know, to put out a list of his foreign policy advisers, he came out this lengthy, kind of unwieldy list of 24 policy advisers — [sic]

MATTHEWS: But it had a few hard rights in it.

COPPINS: It had a lot of neoconservatives. And actually, I`m told that he had to scramble at the last minute to add people from the new generation. Initially, it was all –

MATTHEWS: So, what do you think he is? Do you think he`s his brother or his dad?

COPPINS: I think he`s probably, in his heart, angling more toward his dad, but I think there`s still many political pleasures within his party and, frankly, familiar pressures to not disown him.

MATTHEWS: The weird about [sic] this is the father/son thing?

WALSH: Yes, to both of them.

MATTHEWS: He railed against his father. We all know W. was the rebel, in a way that may have sort of led us into the war. We don`t know this psychological stuff.

WALSH: Right. We can`t get inside his brain.

But I mean, I think you`re making a great point. This may well be what he thinks. We don`t know what he thinks. But he was an early signatory to the project for a new American century document.

MATTHEWS: “W” was?

WALSH: No. Jeb was. Jeb was.

There are a lot of people in his orbit. Dick Cheney never said he made a mistake. They would do it all over again. They knew that WMD was a pretext in the first place.

MATTHEWS: Whose sales speech, Ben? It`s going to be an issue in the campaign. It`s the reason that Barack Obama is president over Hillary Clinton. We all know that central fight that he had, she wasn`t willing to push away the war issue. He was. He was clean [Emphasis added].

The almost complete erasure of the Bush-PNAC-9/11-Iraq connection in the broader public discourse surrounding Bush’s admission may seem like yet another short-lived episode in US politics. Yet the omission demonstrates a type of censorship that is now at least as ideological as it is deliberate, particularly among professional journalists who tacitly recognize their roles in the political censorial process. “To know and not to know,” Orwell noted,

to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies … to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again: and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself.

Upon over a half century of unexplained political assassinations and phony wars on communism, drugs, and now “terror,” Western political leaders today appear scarcely interested in even explaining their policies, frequently because of the willful historical shorthand practiced by the journalistic institutions dependent on upholding the same political and ideational bulwark.

Overlooking the Bush-PNAC-9/11-Iraq connection requires an informational system akin to that of 1984; one committed to a relentless forgetting of the inner party’s profound criminality.

Bush And Cheney Lied About Nukes, Al Qaeda In Iraq

According to Bush’s No. 1 Intel Briefer

By Charles Topher
Global Research, May 22, 2015
Addicting Info, 20 May 2015

 

It’s an all-too-repetitive argument about an extremely disturbing subject: Did a sitting United States President lie to the American people in order to take us to one of the most costly wars in history?

For the left the answer is and always has been clear; there’s credible evidence that the intel that sent us to Iraq to seek out weapons of mass destruction and Al Qaeda was flawed, but somehow we ended up there anyway, so someone had to have lied.

To the right, it was the faulty intel itself that sent us to Iraq; George W. Bush and his administration made decisions based on what they were told.

A new piece was introduced to the puzzle Tuesday night when Michael Morrell, once acting chief of the CIA and Bush’s intelligence briefer prior to the invasion, appeared on Hardball with Chris Matthews. For the first time, the person that actually delivered that “flawed” intel directly to President Bush told exactly what went down, and it is absolutely infuriating.

Matthews asked Morel about a specific statement made by Dick Cheney in 2003:

“We know he [Saddam Hussein] has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons. And we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.”

Matthews asked the very straightforward question, “was that true?”, to which Morell answered, “No. That was not true.”

While Morell says the intelligence community was telling the administration that there was a good chance Saddam had chemical or biological weapons, it was the fear of the nuclear weapon coupled with the means to deliver it to the United States that was the breaking point for the American people.

As Matthews points out, “there’s no coming back from that.”

Other notable moments from the thirteen-minute segment include Morell admitting that the Bush Administration added Al Qaeda to the Iraq dialogue in order to “make a better case for war,” and that where the intelligence community was concerned, “when we were pushed on Iraq and Al Qaeda, we pushed back.”

It’s been known for quite some time that the administration was determined to go to Iraq even before 9-11, but to hear the man who actually briefed the President, whose job as he puts it is to “give him the best information possible and make sure he understands it,” openly admit that credible information was either skewed or ignored, and in some cases invented, is unfathomable.

Watch excerpts of Chris Matthews’ Hardball segment with Bush intelligence briefer Mike Morell:

Blackwater and the crimes of US imperialism

By Patrick Martin
April 16, 2015
World Soclaist Web Site

This week’s sentencing of four former Blackwater mercenaries to prison terms ranging from 30 years to life is an event that, by its entirely exceptional nature, underscores the effective immunity for US war criminals, in Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond.

Nicholas Slatten, Evan Liberty, Paul Slough and Devin Heard were convicted on multiple counts of first-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter, as well as the use of heavy weaponry in a crime, for their actions on September 16, 2007. The four were among a group of Blackwater guards who opened fire on Iraqi civilians in Nisour Square, Baghdad, killing 17 people and wounding another 20.

The names of the victims have hardly been reported in the American media, although they are listed in official documents. They include nine-year-old Ali Mohammed Hafedh Abdul Razzaq; Ahmed Haithem Ahmed Al Rubia’y, 20, an aspiring medical student, and his mother, Dr. Mahassin Mohssen Kadhum Al-Khazali, 46, a dermatologist; Osama Fadhil Abbas, a 52-year-old car dealer; Mohamed Abbas Mahmoud, 47, a delivery truck driver, and his son Qasim, 12 years old; Sa’adi Ali Abbas Alkarkh, 52, a businessman; Ibrahim Abid Ayash, 77, a gardener, a passenger on a bus; and Ali Khalil Abdul Hussein, 54, a blacksmith commuting to work on his motorcycle.

Also killed were Mushtaq Karim Abd Al-Razzaq, 18, an Iraqi soldier standing at a military checkpoint; Ghaniyah Hassan Ali, 55, killed on a bus as she sheltered her daughter from the spray of bullets; Mahdi Sahib Nasir, 26, a taxi driver who was the sole support of seven other family members; Hamoud Sa’eed Abttan, 33, father of seven, in the square looking for work, along with his cousin, Uday Ismail Ibrahiem, 27, father of three.

These bare descriptions are important, because they suggest the wide range of victims of the US conquest and occupation of Iraq, which led to the deaths of an estimated one million people: young and old; men, women and children; laborers, students, professionals. As the World Socialist Web Site has repeatedly pointed out, what took place in Iraq from 2003 on was not merely imperialist aggression and mass slaughter, but the destruction of an entire society, one of the most advanced in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, as the New York Times reported Wednesday, mercenary outfits like Blackwater have prospered, reaping billions in profits, with their contractors frequently outnumbering actual uniformed personnel in US-dominated countries like Afghanistan. Security subcontractors for the military, the State Department, and giant US and multinational corporations do as much as $100 billion worth of business, the newspaper said.

The Blackwater mercenaries were among the most flagrant killers in Iraq, but hardly unique. There are numerous reported incidents of mass murder conducted by US soldiers, special forces operatives and private contractors. Many more such incidents are unrecorded, because no victims survived. But some of these were among the hundreds of atrocities made public by Private Chelsea (Bradley) Manning, who released logs of military reports to WikiLeaks, some made public under the title “Collateral Murder.”

The military justice system has condemned Private Manning to a 35-year prison term for exposing war crimes, but it has prosecuted only a handful of US soldiers for murdering, raping or maiming Iraqis, no matter how strong the evidence and how grisly the circumstances.

More importantly, the politicians and generals who organized and led the US war in Iraq have gotten off scot-free. Under the principles laid down by the Nuremberg Tribunal after World War II, the leaders of the US government during the Iraq War—George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, George Tenet, Paul Wolfowitz—and top military commanders from Tommy Franks to David Petraeus are guilty of the crime of planning and executing a war of aggression. They are collectively responsible for all the deaths that ensued as a result of their actions.

The list does not stop with the Bush-Cheney administration. President Barack Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden, and their top military-intelligence officials continued the US occupation for another three years, and have relaunched the war beginning in August 2014, using as a pretext the emergence of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, a former Al Qaeda affiliate that was armed and financed as part of the US-backed war against the Assad regime in Syria.

Under Obama, the US war crimes against the Iraqi people have become war crimes against the entire population of the Middle East. Libya, Syria and now Yemen have been destroyed as functioning societies by US-backed civil wars, bombing and drone missile strikes.

The perpetrators of these horrific crimes have the blood of millions on their hands. But under the global capitalist system, this is regarded merely as the price of doing business, and extracting the oil wealth of the Persian Gulf and Central Asia. The war criminals of American imperialism—and their counterparts in the lesser imperialist powers—can only be brought to justice by an international movement of the working class against imperialist war and for socialist revolution.

As a critical step forward in this struggle, the International Committee of the Fourth International is holding an international online May Day rally on Sunday, May 3. We urge working people and young people throughout the world to attend this important event.

 

The author also recommends:

No to imperialist war! Join the 2015 International May Day Online Rally!
[13 April 2015]

Blackwater mercenaries sentenced for 2007 Iraq massacre

By Niles Williamson
April 14, 2015
World Socialist Web Site

 

A federal district court judge sentenced four former Blackwater Worldwide mercenaries to lengthy prison terms on Monday for their role in the Nisour Square massacre in Baghdad, Iraq in 2007.

Nicholas Slatten, Evan Liberty, Paul Slough and Devin Heard were convicted on charges of first-degree murder and manslaughter by a federal jury in October 2014. The four were part of a security team working for the US State Department in Iraq.

On September 16, 2007 the members of the convoy, unprovoked, opened fire with their automatic weapons on stopped traffic in Nisour Square and also launched stun grenades. The mercenaries continued to fire their weapons as civilians tried to flee the area. One member of the security team did not stop firing his automatic rifle, despite calls to cease fire, until a fellow mercenary threatened to shoot him. Blackwater mercenaries in helicopters also fired into traffic from overhead.

The massacre resulted in the deaths of 17 unarmed Iraqis and wounded at least 20 others.

Monday’s sentencing was the conclusion of a years-long process, which has wound its way through the federal court system. Charges were first brought by the Department of Justice in 2008 and subsequently dismissed by a district judge in 2009 before being reinstated by an appeals court in 2011. The US government rejected Iraqi demands that the Blackwater mercenaries stand trial in Iraq.

Jeremey Ridgeway and Donald Ball, two other Blackwater contractors who were involved in the massacre, were originally charged along with the four others but had their cases resolved previously. Ridgeway struck a deal with prosecutors in 2010 and pled guilty to manslaughter, attempted manslaughter and aiding and abetting. All charges against Ball were dropped in 2013.

The judge sentenced Slatten who was convicted of first-degree murder to life in prison. Liberty, Slough and Heard, convicted of voluntary manslaughter and using a machine gun to carry out a violent crime, were each given the mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years in prison. All four men have filed appeals of their convictions and sentences.

US District Court Judge Royce Lamberth rejected a motion by the defense to reduce the four men’s sentences. “Based on the seriousness of the crimes, I find the penalty is not excessive,” the judge stated. Lamberth also turned down a motion by the federal prosecutor to impose harsher sentences.

Monday’s sentencing hearing was taken up by testimony from family members of the Iraqi victims as well as character witness for the mercenaries. Mohammad Kinani Al-Razzaq testified about the murder of his nine-year-old son, Ali Mohammed Hafedh Abdul Razzaq, demanding that the judge show the former Blackwater employees “what the law is.”

“What’s the difference between these criminals and terrorists?” Razzaq asked rhetorically.

Assistant US Attorney T. Patrick Martin stated that the lengthy sentences handed out Monday would prevent American contractors from carrying out similar atrocities in the future. “You are entrusted to do a job with deadly weapons, but you must use them only when necessary, and their use must be justified. You can’t just shoot first and seek justification later,” he said.

The convictions, handed down in October, have been depicted as an example of the US government’s commitment to justice and democratic principles. “This verdict is a resounding affirmation of the commitment of the American people to the rule of law, even in times of war,” US Attorney Ronald Machen said last year.

While the Blackwater guards are certainly guilty of the wanton murder of innocent Iraqis, the massacre in Baghdad was just one of many notorious atrocities, which flowed out of the logic of the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq launched in 2003. The perpetuators of these crimes were, among others, President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.

Other notorious incidents seared in the collective consciousness are the US military’s assault on the city of Fallujah in 2004 in which white phosphorous and incendiary bombs were deployed, the torture of inmates at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison facility and the Haditha massacre in which US Marines killed 24 unarmed civilians.

There were an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 so-called security contractors employed by the US at the peak of its occupation of Iraq. Blackwater was just one of a number of private firms that were providing security and military services for the US military and State Department. A report by the Democratic staff of the House Oversight Committee released in 2007 found that Blackwater guards were firing their weapons an average of 1.4 times a week and in 80 percent of cases were the first to open fire.

While the four former Blackwater mercenaries have been sentenced to prison, those who placed them in Nisour Square, Bush et al, remain free from even the threat of prosecution. To date none of those ultimately responsible for the destruction of Iraqi society and the deaths of more than a million Iraqis have been held to account. When it comes to those in positions of power the Obama administration has held to its mantra in relation to other crimes of the US government, including systematic torture carried out by the CIA, “look forward, not back.”

Blackwater Worldwide, which has since changed its name to Academi Services, continues to offer its mercenary services to governments around the world. Amidst anti-austerity protests Academi was contracted by the Greek government at the end of 2012 to oversee police services and provide protective services to government members and agencies. German media reported that Academi operators were working alongside the fascist Right Sector militia in Ukraine to suppress pro-Russia separatists opposed to last year’s US backed right-wing coup.

Iraq’s Children: Ever Expendable – From Madeleine Albright to Tony Blair and “Save the Children.”

By Felicity Arbuthnot
February 08, 2015
Global Research

 

blair“It’s a hard choice, but the price, we think the price is worth it. “ (Madeleine Albright, then US Ambassador to the UN, on the “embargo related” deaths of half a million Iraqi children, 12thMay 1996.)

“The most traumatized child population on earth.” (Professor Magne Raundalen, Centre for Crisis Studies, Bergen, Norway, February 1992.)

Tony Blair was, mind-stretchingly, presented with Save the Children’s Global Legacy Award, on 19th November 2014. His acceptance speech included that his: “…  sense is that amidst all the challenges, and all the misery and deprivation that we seek to conquer and vanquish, there is something hopeful … something to be thankful for.”

Ironically, just two months earlier (15th August 2014) Save the Children released a Report (1) on the on the trauma amongst Iraq’s children in Northern Iraq alone, after eleven years of a Bush-Blair driven illegal invasion and ongoing resultant conflict. Iraq’s children, it was clear, had no hope and nothing “to be thankful for.”

Yet Blair was lauded by an organization that claims:  “We envision a future in which no child will die from preventable causes and where every child has nutritious food and clean water.”

Without Blair’s claims of fantasy WMDs with which Iraq could wreak annihilation in “45 minutes”, a lie quoted by General Colin Powell at the United Nations exactly twelve years ago, 5th February 2003, for the children of Iraq a genocidal “preventable cause” might have been avoided.

“Nutritious food and clean water”, had, of course, been deliberately destroyed on US Central Command’s order to bomb all water facilities in Iraq in 1991. Food was poisoned by the use of Depleted Uranium (DU) weapons, contaminating all fauna and flora. DU’s “half-life” is 4.5 Billion years. And it is not “depleted.”

The contamination nightmare was compounded in orders of magnitude by the further use of DU weapons in 2003, used again by the UK under Blair’s government. (2)

Befoulment of air, water and food for infinity condemns future generations of unborn, newborn and developing children in Iraq and the region to a poisoned legacy of cancers and deformities for generations to come. War crimes unequalled in history.

Moreover: “ The special investigator of the UN Sub-Committee on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights has declared DU munitions illegal under existing humanitarian law. DU weapons also produce a toxic metal fume (sic) that violates the Geneva Protocol on the Use of Gas in War, which the US signed in 1975.” (3)

Further, after thirteen years of the US-UK driven embargo resulting in the deaths of an average of six thousand children a month from “embargo-related causes”, according to the UN, Prime Minister Blair was integral in instigating a war against children:

In 2003 Iraq’s population was just twenty four million. Over forty percent were aged 0-14. The median age of the country was nineteen. (4)

By 2010, seven years in to an unending war, over a quarter of Iraqi children suffered from Post Traumatic Stress disorder. (War Child Report, May 2013.) In the five months prior to the Report’s publication, 700 children and young people had been killed, a figure, as all on Iraq, almost certainly a significant underestimate. Between financial constraints, fear of authority and the dangers of travel, numerous deaths are unrecorded.

Also in 2010 a study of cancers, leukemia’s and birth defects linked to the use of DU proved:“… that there are massive increases in cancer, a 38-fold increase in leukemia, 10-fold increase in breast cancer and infant mortalities are also staggering,” stated one of the authors, scientist Malak Hamdan. (5)

“We invest in childhood – every day, in times of crisis & for our future. We give children a healthy start, the opportunity to learn & protection from harm”, states Save the Children on Facebook.

They should urgently research what their Global Award winner has unleashed on the child population of Iraq by viewing the eye watering, mind numbing UN Report on total deaths and injuries month by month, November 2012 to date. (6) 2014 was the “deadliest year since 2008”, which was the deadliest year since 2005 in Iraq’s never ending annual hell. The figures should be engraved on Blair’s tombstone.

As Tony Blair and fellow architects of the invasion celebrated Christmas and New Year it was announced, on 1st January 2015, that: “According to casualty figures released today by UNAMI, a total of 1,101 Iraqis were killed and another 1,868 were wounded in acts of terrorism and violence in December.”

January 2015 saw no sign of improvement.

Of course, as recounted before, after the 1991 decimation, US and UK ‘planes bombed Iraq illegally, often daily, throughout the grinding deprivation of the embargo years until the 2003 blitzkrieg and invasion. That criminal onslaught intensified under Blair’s government.

As ever, children were the paramount victims. After one attack on Baghdad the children in the main orphanage refused to sleep in their beds ever again, huddling under them for pathetic perceived extra safety.

When the flocks of sheep and goats were routinely bombed – Iraqis were convinced they were to be deprived of all food since broadly fifty percent of all livestock were targeted and destroyed, as were precious date palms, in 1991- the child shepherds were blown to bits with their flocks.

In context, but as also recounted before, when I telephoned Blair’s Ministry of Defence and asked why they were targeting these flocks, always tended by very young children whose ages were not even in double digits, the spokesman did not miss a beat: ”We reserve the right to take robust action when threatened”, he replied.

On receiving his Award Blair also said: “What we celebrate is the opposite of cynicism and the reason for optimism …” Not if you are a child in Iraq or Afghanistan, the latter also decimated and invaded with the help of his forces.

In the UK, Miranda Pinch was outraged enough by the Award to instantly set up a petition condemning this honouring of Blair, which gathered 125,000 signatures. With Robin Priestly of the “38 Degrees” petition organization and writer Miranda Landgraf she delivered it to Save the Children UK’s Director of Policy and Advocacy, Brendan Cox on 13th January.

Landgraf, who also crochet’s professionally: “handed Brendon Cox three baskets of 490 crocheted flowers with the name and age, where known, of a child victim in Gaza. Countless more flowers could have been produced to represent the innocent children that have died across the Middle East under Blair’s watch in his various roles”, writes Miranda Pinch, detailing the meeting. (7)

Brendan Cox agreed to make a public statement regarding the Blair debacle, and the “error of judgement” of his colleague Justin Forsyth.

Forsyth is a former special advisor to Blair and is now Chief Executive of Save the Children, UK. He delivered the Award invitation to Blair personally.

After the meeting and some negotiation, Miranda Pinch received a letter (8) from Brendan Cox, it included:

“As you know, this was a decision made by Save the Children US and although we were made aware of the decision, and we passed on the invite to his office at their request, we weren’t part of the decision making process. In retrospect we should have foreseen the controversy this might generate.” Indeed they should.

“For a number of reasons this is not a decision Save UK would have taken.”

The really mind bending bit is: “This isn’t because Tony Blair doesn’t deserve recognition for the leadership he showed on Africa – he does – but because his other actions, particularly those on Iraq, which Save the Children opposed strongly at the time, overshadow how the public see him in the UK.”

Blair of course has made a mint from advising some controversial alleged human rights decimators in Africa. From his Africa Governance Initiative website:

“AGI works in Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, Nigeria and Senegal at present, with new countries on the horizon. We work at two levels: At the political leadership level, Tony Blair draws on his ten years as Prime Minister to offer leaders the kind of advice on reform that only someone who has stood in a leader’s shoes can give.”

Apart from jaw dropping arrogance, how his “ten years as Prime Minister” which including erasing children and their families, engaging in mistruths justifying an illegal invasion, and enjoining another (Afghanistan) and the decimation of the former Yugoslavia qualifies him to “offer leaders the kind of advice on reform …”, surely only a psychiatrist could fathom.

His direct involvement in the Iraq embargo as Prime Minister from 1997, and the subsequent illegal invasion are not an “overshadow” but a genocide.

A truly astonishing phrase in Brendan Cox’s letter is that: “The intent behind the (Save the Children USA) Award was to incentivize and recognize political leadership on development.”

“Leadership on development”? Blair enjoined in destroying the “Cradle of Civilization”, outdoing the Mongol Hordes in their 1258 destruction of Baghdad.

Bush and Blair’s onslaught obliterated unique archeological gems, ancient libraries, manuscripts, monuments, throughout the country, with infrastructure, social structures, education, health, welfare, all civil records – births, deaths, marriages, land deeds, national archives – environment, normality.

Save the Children’s co-founder, Eglantyne Jebb, established the organization in the UK in response to Europe and Russia’s tragedies after World War One. She: “ …wanted to make the rights and welfare of children a major issue around the world. Her ‘Declaration of the Rights of the Child’ was adopted by the forerunner of the UN, The League of Nations and inspired the current UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.”

Having established by telephone that Save the Children International is still London based, I emailed: “My main query is fairly kindergarten. If, as I understand it, Orange Street (in central London) is, if you will, the ‘head office’ for StC International a) why were they not consulted regarding the Award to Tony Blair and b) why have they no say in rescinding it?”

So far, there has been no response.

Notes:

1.     http://www.savethechildren.net/article/increasing-number-iraqi-children-displaying-signs-trauma-after-fleeing-violence-north

2.     Daily Hansard – Written Answers, 22 July 2010 : Column 459W, Written Answers to Questions: Depleted Uranium  (Scroll to last question.)

3.     http://truth-out.org/archive/component/k2/item/68824:craig-etchison–depleted-uranium-pernicious-killer-keeps-on-killing

4.     http://www.indexmundi.com/en/facts/2003/iraq/demographics_profile.html

5.     http://rt.com/news/uk-iraq-depleted-uranium/

6.     http://www.uniraq.org/index.php?option=com_k2&view=itemlist&task=category&id=159:civilian-casualties&Itemid=633&lang=en

7.     https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-save-the-children-charity-from-giving-tony-blair-their-annual-global-legacy-award

8.     http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-campaign-to-revoke-war-criminal-tony-blairs-global-legacy-award-save-the-children-stc-responds-and-apologizes/5428784

9.     http://www.africagovernance.org/africa/pages/our-approach

10.  http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/about-us/history#sthash.RTNZdYWk.dpuf

The Blair Charge Sheet

By John Andrews
February 1, 2015
Dissident Voice, January 31, 2015

 

blairOn the 21st January the UK’s Channel 4 news had a discussion about the fact that the long-awaited Chilcot Inquiry into Britain’s involvement in the illegal war in Iraq will not be released until after the general election in March. On the 29th January a sizeable group of demonstrators protested outside the Houses of Parliament against the continuing suppression of the Chilcot Report — now five years late. Whilst this story was covered on Russia Today, not a single mention of it was made on the BBC’s six o’ clock news. None of this is surprising: both Labour and the Tories were complicit in authorising the unlawful adventure in Iraq, therefore neither will want the unhelpful publicity the inquiry might generate.

In the Channel 4 show, John Rentoul was appearing representing Tony Blair’s position. Mr Rentoul is apparently Blair’s biographer. If there’s one book that’s surely not worth the paper it’s written on, that must be it; because Mr Rentoul’s spirited defence of Blair suggested very strongly that impartial record-making is not likely to be much in evidence in his book. For Blair is surely the most evil person that Britain has produced in recent times, and anything that suggests otherwise is being very economical with the truth. The award for most wicked monster in modern times was undoubtedly held by Margaret Thatcher, until Blair came along. Let’s consider some of the more obvious charges against him.

When he was first brought to power in 1997, it was because the country was sick to death of years of Thatcherism (the “austerity” of its day). Margaret Thatcher was primarily responsible for starting the ruination of Britain, as it was she who began the plundering of public assets (selling-off public utilities such as British Rail and British Airways, British Gas and British Telecom), and the killing-off of Britain’s manufacturing base – the main source of the nation’s wealth. Thatcher was unquestionably a monster, but at least she never seriously pretended to be anything else: she was, after all, a Tory. If you vote Tory that’s the sort of thing you should expect to get. Blair, on the other hand, was quite different: he was also a traitor. In 1997 people voted for him in their millions expecting traditional Labour values to scrap the years of painful plundering, and a fresh start to rebuilding the country. What they got was yet more and more painful plundering. So that’s the first major charge against Blair: his utter betrayal of British voters in general, and Labour voters in particular.

Then, of course, came the illegal war in Iraq in 2003. We’ll possibly never know the full truthBlair Oil behind Blair’s involvement in this, but that he was hugely complicit in what was unquestionably a massive war crime is beyond doubt. So that’s the second charge against Blair: he’s a war criminal.

Those two charges are more than enough to ensure the man is forever reviled – on a par even with the worst of the worst Nazi war criminals. The Nazis could at least have pleaded that there was no historical precedent for such a thing as war crime. Nuremberg eliminated that excuse. In other words Blair, who is a trained lawyer, should have known full well he was committing a war crime. He just didn’t care. His hubris is such that he clearly deems himself above the law.

However, there’s something else that must not be forgotten, a charge that is arguably even more serious than the first two. When Blair ordered a country that was mostly opposed to war to subordinate itself to the American war criminal George Bush, he immediately signed the death warrants of 179 British military personnel and, which is even worse, ordered tens of thousands of British military personnel to become war criminals themselves, just like him. Although it’s highly unlikely that any British soldier will ever have to appear in a court of law to face such charges, the fact is that in theory at least they could. In theory, every man and woman who took part in Bush’s illegal war could be charged with committing a war crime; because Nuremberg ensured, rightly, that the plea of “just following orders” is no longer an acceptable excuse for taking part in the greatest abomination that human beings are capable of committing: war.

If there were such a thing as real justice Tony Blair should spend the rest of his days behind bars, and there are plenty of others who should join him.

John is a writer and political activist based in England. He can be contacted through his website. His main contribution comprises three free-to-use works-in-progress: The People’s Constitution, The School of Kindness, and EnMo Economics . Read other articles by John.

The Iraq Invasion: The “Six Wise Men” Tony Blair Ignored

By Felicity Arbuthnot
January 26, 2015
Global Research

 

“Nothing justifies killing of innocent people.” Tony Blair, CNN, 15th January 2015.

The Independent on Sunday has revealed that having decided to back George W. Bush in the illegal invasion of Iraq come what may, in November 2002 the then Prime Minister Tony Blair and then Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, with senior advisors, consulted “six wise men” – then ignored all they had to say. Four of those consulted agreed to talk to the Independent (1.)

The revelations end a week when the publication of Chilcot Inquiry in to the invasion is further delayed and government statements confirm it will not now be released until after the UK elections in May, fuelling suspicions that Prime Minister David Cameron – on record as Blair’s admirer, regarding him as a “mentor” – is watching Blair’s back.

Senior politicians are calling for an immediate release of the Inquiry’s findings with Welsh Plaid Cymru’s Parliamentary leader Elfyn Lwyd demanding in a parliamentary debate this week: ”for all documents cleared for publication to be released immediately.” Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg stated that the delay is leading to fears the Report is being “sexed down.” (Guardian, 24th January 2015.)

Thus, the revelations of the “wise men”, all academics with exceptional knowledge of Iraq, “the Middle East and international affairs” can only further embarrass Cameron and put further pressure on a (hopefully) embattled Blair.

The consultation, held in the Cabinet Room was for the experts to “outline the worst that could happen.” The invasion, had been decided just days after 11th September 2001 (2.) Consolidation was at a meeting between Bush and Blair seven months before the day of the “wise men”, in April 2002 (3.)

“They were expecting a short, sharp, easy campaign” and grateful Iraqis said Dr. Toby Dodge, then of Queen Mary University of London, now of the London School of Economics and Senior Consulting Fellow at the Institute of Strategic Studies.

He warned that Iraqis would fight against invaders and for their country over celebrating the fall of Saddam Hussein. He warned of “disaster” and civil war. “My aim … was to tell them as much as I could, so there would be no excuse and nobody saying ‘I didn’t know.’ “

Dr. Dodge still has faith in the Chilcot Report (4) stressing the long fight to obtain the transcripts of the Blair-Bush conversations. He believes it will: “ be damning.”

Professor George Joffe of Cambridge University concurs: “I think it is bound to be damning. The errors of judgement were so blatant, there is no way they can whitewash this.”

Dr. Dodge commented on the detailed briefing they six had from Blair’s staff on the day of the meeting, 19th November. They were warned: “Don’t tell him not to do it. He has already made up his mind.”

And after the invasion? “They had no plan for what would happen …” said Professor Joffe: “The approach was: “the Americans are heading this up. They will have a detailed plan. We need to follow them.” There was no such plan. “The State Department spent a year preparing a detailed briefing (on the post invasion scenario.)” It was “junked. They were making up policy on the hoof.”

Professor Joffe also “emphasized the rigid power structure in Iraq” thus the complexities of removing, collapsing it. He “became frustrated” when Blair’s simplistic response was: “But the man is evil, isn’t he?”

George Joffe also states: “The people who were put in charge of Iraq had very little knowledge or experience of the Middle East … They were quite childish in somehow believing democracy would bloom”, demonstrating “ignorance” of the region, even of political workings.

Moreover, the decision to dismantle the army and the ruling Ba’ath party “opened a Pandora’s box” removing the lid which had been in place. “Islamic State is a direct consequence of the decision to invade.”

Steven Simon, then Deputy Director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a US diplomat seconded from the State Department who attended the gathering believes whatever the planning, the invasion would have anyway been catastrophic.

With proper planning there might have been a slender chance: “But only a small shot.”

Professor Michael Clarke, then of King’s College London, now Director General of the Royal United Services Institute believes Blair’s public justification of the invasion was mistaken. “ We knew there was no nuclear stuff in Iraq.”

He did, however, believe there were chemical weapons, in spite of the fact that the embargo was so strangulating that even vital water purification and blood products, ping pong balls, building materials, just about everything was denied and all seeing US satellites monitored all movement.  Nevertheless, the “45 minute” strike against British troops in Cyprus was “always absurd.”

With the two “dodgy dossiers” Blair: “presented his case to the public as if he had incontrovertible evidence that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. That was rubbish. They were ridiculous documents, both those documents.”

Professor Clarke though seemingly has some sympathy for Tony Blair: “He has been knocked about, but I think history will judge him more kindly than his contemporaries.” There will certainly be many who have no such expectations, believing Blair may well join history’s most infamous reviled.

Notes

1.    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/iraq-invasion-2003-the-bloody-warnings-six-wise-men-gave-to-tony-blair-as-he-prepared-to-launch-poorly-planned-campaign-10000839.html

2.    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2004/apr/04/iraq.iraq

3.    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8386645.stm

4.    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_Inquiry

Award for Deadliest Crime of First 15 Years of 21st Century Goes to: Religious Extremism

By Robert Barsocchini
January 10, 2015
Washington’s Blog, January 9, 2015

 

Although multiple motivations can be attributed to every act of violence in history, the deadliest attack of the first fifteen years of the 21st century, the illegal invasion of Iraq, was largely driven by a militant interpretation of Christianity:

In addition to militant Christian fanaticism, “secular” kinds of religious extremism, such as supremacist ideologies and American ultra-nationalism (in addition to strictly material and other motives), were also key factors behind the barbaric attack, which killed and destroyed the lives of millions and destabilized the region.

Robert Barsocchini focuses on global force dynamics and writes professionally for the film industry.  He is a regular contributor to  Washington’s Blog, and is published in Counter Currents, Global Research, State of Globe, Blacklisted News, LewRockwell.com, DanSanchez.me, Information Clearing House, Press TV, and other outlets.  Also see: Hillary Clinton’s Record of Support for War and other Depravities.  Follow Robert and UK-based colleague, Dean Robinson, on Twitter.

Federal Court Gives “Early Christmas Present” to War Criminals Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Others, Immunizing Them From Civil Inquiry Regarding Iraq War

By Inder Comar
December 22, 2014
Global Research

 

iran_us_iraq

Late Friday, a federal judge dismissed a civil claim filed against George W. Bush and other high-ranking officials regarding their conduct in planning and waging the Iraq War, and immunized them from further proceedings.

“This is an early Christmas present to former Bush Administration officials from the federal court,” Inder Comar of Comar Law said. Comar brought the claim on behalf of an Iraqi refugee and single mother, Sundus Shaker Saleh. “This was a serious attempt to hold US leaders accountable under laws set down at the Nuremberg Trials in 1946. I am very disappointed at the outcome.”

The tribunal at Nuremberg, established in large part by the United States after World War II, declared international aggression the “supreme international crime” and convicted German leaders of waging illegal wars.

The case alleged that George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz committed aggression in planning and waging the Iraq War. Specifically, the lawsuit claimed that high-ranking Bush officials used the fear of 9/11 to mislead the American public into supporting a war against Iraq, and that they issued knowingly false statements that Iraq was in league with Al-Qaeda and had weapons of mass destruction, when none of those things were true.

“The decision guts Nuremberg,” Comar said. “Nuremberg said that domestic immunity was no defense to a claim of international aggression. This Court has said the opposite.”

The court’s ruling comes in the wake of the Senate report regarding the use of torture by the CIA during the Bush Administration. The Senate report confirmed that a false confession obtained from the torture of Ibn Shaykh al-Libi was cited by the Administration in support of the war.

Comar, a corporate attorney based out of Impact Hub San Francisco, primarily works with startups and venture funds. He took the case pro bono after learning about the plight of Iraqi refugees displaced through the Iraq War. Comar connected with Saleh through mutual colleagues in San Francisco.

Comar filed the initial complaint on March 13, 2013. While Comar recognizes the year-and-a-half-long effort was a long-shot, he remains steadfast. “The plaintiff will consider all her options, including an appeal. Judicial inquiry into possible wrong-doing that led to the Iraq War is warranted.”

In August 2013, Obama’s Department of Justice requested that the lawsuit be dismissed pursuant to the Westfall Act, a federal law that immunizes any government official from a civil lawsuit if that official was acting “within the scope of his office or employment.” Judge Jon S. Tigar, an Obama appointee, ruled that the defendants were shielded by the Westfall Act regardless of the allegations made in the Complaint.

The case is Saleh v. Bush (N.D. Cal. Mar. 13, 2013, No. C 13 1124 JST). The opinion can be found at http://witnessiraq.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/12-19-14-Order.pdf. The Second Amended Complaint subject to the dismissal can be found at http://witnessiraq.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/SAC.pdf. Other court filings and updates can be found at http://witnessiraq.com.

Contact: Inder Comar 

Email: inder@comarlaw.com

Website: www.comarlaw.com

Office: (415) 562-6790