Tag Archives: War Crimes

UN Reports at Least 15,000 Civilians Killed in Iraq War Since 2014

By SM Gibson
Global Research, July 14, 2015
The Anti-Media, July 13 2015

 

obama_IRAQreport released by the United Nations on Monday reveals a sobering reality of the ongoing war in Iraq: civilians are being targeted en masse. The data shows that the Iraqi conflict has resulted in at least 15,000 civilian deaths and 30,000 injuries since January 2014.

The Report on the Protection of Civilians in the Armed Conflict in Iraq was compiled by the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). The report specifically examines the time period between December 11, 2014 to April 30, 2015, where 3,345 persons were killed and another 7,423 were wounded. Baghdad suffered the heaviest losses in the roughly five month period, recording at least 1,586 killed and 4,138 wounded.

Those fortunate enough to evade death or injury have been subject to mass human rights violations as well as displacement. A total of 2,834,676 persons have been displaced within Iraq—including an estimated 1.3 million children—between January 2014 and April 2015.

“Civilians continue to be the primary victims of the ongoing armed conflict in Iraq – and are being subjected to human rights violations and abuses on a daily basis,” said Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The findings also determined that “Those who have managed to reach areas of safety consistently reported lack of basic necessities, such as food and sanitary items, and alleged that they were subjected to forced labour, forced religious conversions, ill-treatment, murder, and physical and sexual violence including sexual slavery and the trafficking of women and children.” 

Accusations of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and possible genocide are also being levied against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Still, according to the report, “In a number of cases, it has been impossible to identify the perpetrators of violations and abuses committed during the reporting period.”

The reported numbers only account for casualties the U.N. was able to verify and recognizes that the actual count may be much larger.

 

 

Document Shows CIA Reaction to Finding No WMD in Iraq

By David Swanson, teleSUR
July 10, 2015
Washington’s Blog

 

unnamedThe National Security Archive has posted several newly available documents, one of them an account by Charles Duelfer of the search he led in Iraq for weapons of mass destruction, with a staff of 1,700 and the resources of the U.S. military.

Duelfer was appointed by CIA Director George Tenet to lead a massive search after an earlier massive search led by David Kay had determined that there were no WMD stockpiles in Iraq. Duelfer went to work in January 2004, to find nothing for a second time, on behalf of people who had launched a war knowing full well that their own statements about WMDs were not true.

The fact that Duelfer states quite clearly that he found none of the alleged WMD stockpiles cannot be repeated enough, with 42% of Americans (and 51 percent of Republicans) still believing the opposite.

A New York Times story last October about the remnants of a long-abandoned chemical weapons program has been misused and abused to advance misunderstanding. A search of Iraq today would find U.S. cluster bombs that were dropped a decade back, without of course finding evidence of a current operation.

Duelfer is also clear that Saddam Hussein’s government had accurately denied having WMD, contrary to a popular U.S. myth that Hussein had pretended to have what he did not.

The fact that President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and their team knowingly lied cannot be overemphasized. This group took the testimony of Hussein Kamel regarding weapons he’d said had been destroyed years ago, and used it as if he’d said they currently existed. This team used forged documents to allege a uranium purchase. They used claims about aluminum tubes that had been rejected by all of their own usual experts. They “summarized” a National Intelligence Estimate that said Iraq was unlikely to attack unless attacked to say nearly the opposite in a “white paper” released to the public. Colin Powell took claims to the U.N. that had been rejected by his own staff, and touched them up with fabricated dialogue.

Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Jay Rockefeller concluded that, “In making the case for war, the Administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even nonexistent.”

On January 31, 2003, Bush suggested to Blair that they could paint an airplane with U.N. colors, fly it low to get it shot at, and thereby start the war. Then the two of them walked out to a press conference at which they said they would avoid war if at all possible. Troop deployments and bombing missions were already underway.

When Diane Sawyer asked Bush on television why he had made the claims he had about Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction, he replied: “What’s the difference? The possibility that [Saddam] could acquire weapons, if he were to acquire weapons, he would be the danger.”

Duelfer’s newly released internal report on his hunt, and that of Kay before him, for the figments of propagandists’ imagination refers to “Saddam Hussein’s WMD program,” which Duelfer treats as an on-again, off-again institution, as if the 2003 invasion had just caught it in one of its naturally cyclical low tides of non-existence. Duelfer also describes the nonexistent program as “an international security problem that vexed the world for three decades,” — except perhaps for the part of the world engaged in the largest public demonstrations in history, which rejected the U.S. case for war.

Duelfer openly states that his goal was to rebuild “confidence in intelligence projections of threat.” Of course, having found no WMDs, he can’t alter the inaccuracy of the “projections of threat.” Or can he? What Duelfer did publicly at the time and does again here is to claim, without providing any evidence for it, that “Saddam was directing resources to sustain the capacity to recommence producing WMD once U.N. sanctions and international scrutiny collapsed.”

Duelfer claims that former Saddam yes men, rigorously conditioned to say whatever would most please their questioner, had assured him that Saddam harbored these secret intentions to start rebuilding WMD someday. But, Duelfer admits, “there is no documentation of this objective. And analysts should not expect to find any.”

So, in Duelfer’s rehabilitation of the “intelligence community” that may soon be trying to sell you another “projection of threat” (a phrase that perfectly fits what a Freudian would say they were doing), the U.S. government invaded Iraq, devastated a society, killed upwards of a million people by best estimates, wounded, traumatized, and made homeless millions more, generated hatred for the United States, drained the U.S. economy, stripped away civil liberties back home, and laid the groundwork for the creation of ISIS, as a matter not of “preempting” an “imminent threat” but of preempting a secret plan to possibly begin constructing a future threat should circumstances totally change.

This conception of “preemptive defense” is identical to two other concepts. It’s identical to the justifications we’ve been offered recently for drone strikes. And it’s identical to aggression. Once “defense” has been stretched to include defense against theoretical future threats, it ceases to credibly distinguish itself from aggression. And yet Duelfer seems to believe he succeeded in his assignment.

Tony Blair and the Self-Exalting Mindset of the West: in Two Paragraphs

By Glenn Greenwald
July 8, 2015
The Intercept

 

Featured photo - Tony Blair and the Self-Exalting Mindset of the West: in Two ParagraphsTony Blair today took a little time off from serving the world’s despots in order to exploit the 10th anniversary of the July 7 London train bombing. He did so by casting blame on “radical Islam” for the world’s violence while exempting himself, pronouncing:

This is a global problem … we’re not going to allow anyone to excuse themselves by saying that the slaughter of totally innocent people is somehow a response to any decision by any government.

The proposition Blair just decreed invalid — “the slaughter of totally innocent people is somehow a response to any decision by any government” — is exactly the rationale that he himself repeatedly invoked, and to this day still invokes, to justify the invasion and destruction of Iraq, as in this example from December 2009:

Tony Blair has said he would have invaded Iraq even without evidence of weapons of mass destruction and would have found a way to justify the war to parliament and the public. . . . “If you had known then that there were no WMDs, would you still have gone on?” Blair was asked. He replied: “I would still have thought it right to remove him [Saddam Hussein]”. . . . He explained it was “the notion of him as a threat to the region” because Saddam Hussein had used chemical weapons against his own people.

“Excusing the slaughter of totally innocent people” — whether in Fallujah or Gaza or Yemen — is a staple of Western elite discourse to justify the militarism of the U.S., the U.K. and their most special allies. It only suddenly becomes inexcusable when carried out by Muslims against the West. It is a stunning testament to Western self-delusion that one of the prime architects and salesmen of the most destructive political crime of this generation — the invasion of Iraq — can stand up with a straight face and to applause and declare: “we’re not going to allow anyone to excuse themselves by saying that the slaughter of totally innocent people is somehow a response to any decision by any government.”

There will undoubtedly be all sorts of self-loving jingoists in the West, along with those whose overriding political priority is the demonization of Islam, who will find this comparison invalid and even obscene. After all, their own governments’ violence, aggression and slaughter of innocents is kind-hearted, civilized and justified, whereas the violence, aggression and slaughter of innocents by Muslims is savage and barbaric. But that’s precisely the point.

While the leading lights of the West love to celebrate themselves as beacons of civilized, progressive rationality, their overriding mentality is just the crassest and most primitive form of tribalism: when Our Side does it, it is right, and when Their Side does it, it is wrong. No matter the esoteric finery in which it drapes itself, that is the primitive, banal formulation that lies at the heart of the vast, vast majority of foreign policy discourse in the West. So often, those who fancy themselves brave warriors for rationality and advancement by demonizing Islam are just rank tribalists whose own national, religious and cultural loyalties are served by doing so.

One last point while we’re on this topic: the notion that radical Muslims commit violence in response to violence by the West is often characterized as an attempt to deny that they possess agency or autonomy. That claim is just bizarre, the opposite of the truth. Those who deny that Muslims act with agency are, in fact, those who try to claim that they are manipulated by religious dogma into committing violence without any rationale or purpose. To point out that there’s an actual, rational causal relationship between their violence and the West’s — to acknowledge that they choose violence as a calculated course of action they believe to be justified just as the West does — is not a denial of their agency, but rather an affirmation of it.

This causal relationship is the point that Tony Blair and his like-minded comrades are, above all else, most desperate to deny. Blair thus expressly denies that the July 7 bombing in London was largely motivated by his war in Iraq even though his own government’s secret report reached exactly that conclusion; a Pentagon-commissioned report years ago acknowledged the same causal motive for “terrorism” generally. They’re desperate to deny this causation because to recognize it is necessarily to acknowledge that their professed moral superiority is the ultimate delusion, that they in fact are the embodiment of what they love to hear themselves condemning.

It’s always comforting to believe that one’s own tribe is morally superior yet perpetually victimized, so it’s an easy sell. But as Blair’s remarkably self-unaware comments today illustrate, this mentality centrally depends upon a steadfast commitment to blinding oneself to one’s own actions and failings. Nobody is more resolute in that commitment than Tony Blair.

Photo: Ron Edmonds/AP

America’s Multinational Ramadan Assault

By Tony Cartalucci
July 02, 2015
New Eastern Outlook, June 30, 2015

 

rtr3wktz.siIt is not hard to fathom who on Earth possesses both the resources and the motivation to coordinate multiple, horrific militant attacks, ending scores of lives and provoking both fear and anger on a global scale such as seen during the recent Ramadan attacks that unfolded in France, Tunisia, Kuwait, and reportedly in China’s western Xinjiang region.

Only a few nations on Earth possess the operational capacity to run coordinated, multinational operations such as this. Only one axis among them has the motivation to do so.

The Attacks 

In Tunisia, nearly 30 were killed in a brazen attack targeting British tourists with assault rifles. Tunisia, which had been for years a bastion of stability in an otherwise troubled region, saw street demonstrations and violence during 2011 amid the wider US-engineered “Arab Spring” which sought to overturn regional political orders in favor of those selected by Wall Street and Washington. After briefly ousting Zine El Abidine Ben Ali from power, his allies appear to have made a comeback. With their rise back to power, Al Qaeda and now the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS) have conveniently stepped up operations within the country to match.

Tunisia is in close proximity to Libya, a nation destroyed by NATO’s intervention in 2011, and one that has become a hotbed of terrorist activity, particularly in the nation’s eastern most region where the US has been literally running weapons to Al Qaeda militants both in Libya and as far as Syria via NATO-member Turkey. With US-backed terrorists flowing from Libya to as far as Syria, it is clear that this terrorist nexus possesses the necessary logistics to carry out operations in neighboring Tunisia as well.

Another 27 were killed when a Saudi national with a bomb strapped to himself detonated it at a Shia’a mosque in Kuwait. This fits a recent pattern where what little Al Qaeda/ISIS activity that exists in Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf autocracies, is aimed not at the ruling regimes – all stalwart, long-standing allies of the United States and Great Britain – but against Shia’a targets in what is a clear escalation of a proxy war targeting Iran and its regional allies.

A bizarre murder unfolded in France as well, with a suspect apparently decapitating his employer and leaving the severed head at a chemical plant he attempted to crash a vehicle into. The suspect had been well known to security agencies for previous terrorist activity, but allowed, perhaps even coaxed to carry out this latest, fatal attack – a familiar pattern that fits nearly all terrorist attacks carried out in Europe and North America, including the most recent attacks proceeding this latest episode in France itself.

And finally, in China’s Xinjiang region, the US State Department’s “Radio Free Asia” reported at least 18 were killed in an attack carried out by Uighur terrorists. As a side note, the US State Department added in a tasteless attempt to justify the terrorism, claiming that:

Turkic-speaking minority Uyghurs have complained about pervasive ethnic discrimination, religious repression, and cultural suppression by Chinese authorities.

Despite this, it is confirmed that Uighur terrorists have joined the ranks of ISIS in Syria, have received training, and are returning home to China to carry out terrorist attacks. The Lowy Institute’s Interpreter magazine in an article titled, “Tough choices for Beijing following execution of Chinese ISIS militants,” admits:

The involvement of Chinese citizens in ISIS is increasingly under scrutiny. Just two weeks ago, Malaysia’s Home Minister confirmed that 300 Chinese militants had used his country as a transit point to join ISIS. Three weeks ago, Chinese authorities arrested 10 Turkish nationals for providing false passports to alleged terrorists from Xinjiang.

And once again, US support can be found throughout the region in which these terrorists are based in western China. The US State Department’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED) even goes as far as listing China’s Xinjiang region as “East Turkistan,” a fictional name for the client state the US and its terrorists hope to carve out of Chinese territory.

The Motivation 

It is clear that ISIS is not carrying out these attacks in the hopes of “winning” its war, but instead, to seemingly perpetuate it, expand it, and even push it into so-far spared regions of the planet. The attacks in France and Tunisia served only to anger and frighten European populations who will in turn, only support further foreign wars aimed at “fighting ISIS” but conveniently accomplishing all of Wall Street and Washington’s other goals along the way.

The attack in Tunisia in particular, was another stroke aimed at the ruling government. The attacks in Kuwait were aimed directly at the only viable opposition that threatens the US-backed regime in Kuwait City. Similar attacks have been made in Saudi Arabia itself, aimed not at the US-proxy regime, but at its opposition.

In China it is clear that the United States supports Uighur terrorists and their ambitions to carve off a large portion of China to create a client state the US can further strengthen its encirclement strategy versus Beijing. The US State Department openly funds the political wings of these terrorist groups and fully backs their separatist rhetoric.

It appears that only the United States and its hegemonic ambitions stood to gain from the otherwise senseless violence perpetrated this Ramadan. Its enemies have been directly attacked, and its allies given further justification for military adventures abroad. And not coincidentally, it is only the United States and its vast, criminal intelligence community that possess the operational capacity and network of proxies necessary to organize and execute such large scale and conveniently timed attacks.

The Ramadan attacks serve as a warning that modern-day imperialism is alive and well. Its methods of projecting hegemony are both direct and indirect. With terrorism so potent a weapon, it is assured that this modern empire will continue employing it for as long as it is profitable.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

US government covered up 14,000 photos documenting CIA secret prisons

By Thomas Gaist
June 29, 2015
World Socialist Web Site

 

The US government has concealed the existence of some 14,000 images documenting the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) network of secret “black site” torture and interrogation centers established after September 11, according to unnamed US officials who spoke to the Washington Post.

The existence of the photographs was known to the US military prosecutors involved in ongoing military commission cases against four alleged terrorists for at least several months prior to the publication of the media reports on Saturday, according to the Post.

The photos had never been brought forward during more than three years of hearings in the cases of Khalid Sheik Mohammed and three other alleged participants in the September 11 attacks.

After a brief attempt to conduct their trials in a New York federal court, the accused are again standing before military-run commissions established to deny basic democratic rights to “enemy combatants” captured by the US government as part of the so-called global war on terror.

Images from black sites in Thailand, Afghanistan, Poland, Lithuania, Romania and possibly others are included in the photo cache, which the Obama administration still refuses to release.

The photos, now under review by US officials, include images of naked prisoners taken during transportation to the torture sites. There are also reportedly photos of a wooden board used for waterboarding detainees at a black site in Afghanistan as well as photos of the small confinement boxes which a number of detainees were forced into for hours on end.

The concealment of the photos has prompted calls for the suspension of the commissions, pending an official investigation into the images.

In spite of ferocious efforts waged continuously by both the Bush and Obama administrations to suppress investigation of the torture programs, the basic facts are more or less known. More than 100 individuals are confirmed to have been “rendered” to secret prisons between 2002 and 2006. Individuals without any remote connection to Jihadist organizations were detained and tortured for years as a result of mistaken identity.

Khalid El-Masri, a German citizen, underwent prolonged torture and confinement in Afghanistan before being dumped by CIA officers in rural Albania after proving to his captors that his name was very similar to, but not the same as, that of the man they had intended to interrogate.

At least five of the detainees disappeared to black sites by the CIA have been confirmed to have been killed as a result of being subjected to the “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

The total number of victims may be much higher. The CIA organized more than 1,200 flights to and from locations on the European continent between 2002 and 2006, as part of its rendition and torture operations, according to a 2007 report approved by the European Union’s main legislature.

A slow trickle of detainees have been quietly released or transferred without explanation. Two Tunisians held at a CIA black site in Afghanistan for over a decade were flown back to Tunisia for release on June 15, traveling on board a US military plane. An unknown number of other detainees held by US forces at black sites were handed over to the Afghan government last December.

The refusal of the US government to release the photos, along with their secrecy in the first place, are serious crimes in themselves. As part of the cover up, the Obama administration continues to hold dozens of “enemy combatants” who have been cleared for release as early as 2009.

The collaboration of European governments in the operation of the secret torture network has also been covered up. Details of the European role in the torture network were subject to heavy redaction in the already heavily redacted Senate torture report.

Nonetheless, it is known that Poland, Lithuania, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Romania all hosted secret prisons directly run by the CIA, while a broader circle of some 20 European states ran sites in close collaboration with the CIA.

Security personnel from the British government were directly involved in CIA torture sessions. Other collaborating governments received millions in US government money paid out by the CIA, including more than $1 million paid to Lithuania for the right to set up a single detention center.

At least three of the agency’s black sites, located in Poland, Romania and Morocco, were established from the CIA branch office in Frankfurt, Germany. The Frankfurt office, previously a “sleepy” logistics outpost for the agency, suddenly received millions of dollars’ worth of budget increases under orders from the White House, beginning in 2002.

Instead of being punished, the bureaucrats who oversaw the programs, including current CIA Director John Brennan, are now ensconced in powerful offices at the highest levels of government.

Documentation proving that the Obama administration has dismantled the vast array of resources, camps and personnel networks involved has not been forthcoming.

US To Begin the Invasion of Syria. Washington Policymakers Call for the Division, Destruction and Military Occupation of Syria

By Tony Cartalucci
June 29, 2015
New Eastern Outlook, June 26, 2015

 

34324234Unbeknownst to the general public, their elected politicians do not create the policy that binds their national destiny domestically or within the arena of geopolitics. Instead, corporate-financier funded think tanks do – teams of unelected policymakers which transcend elections, and which produce papers that then become the foundation of legislation rubber stamped by “legislators,” as well as the enumerated talking points repeated ad naseum by the corporate-media.

Such a policy paper has been recently written by the notorious US policy think-tank, the Brookings Institution, titled, “Deconstructing Syria: Towards a regionalized strategy for a confederal country.” The signed and dated open-conspiracy to divide, destroy, then incrementally occupy a sovereign nation thousands of miles from America’s shores serves as a sobering example of how dangerous and enduring modern imperialism is, even in the 21st century.

Pretext ISIS: US Poured Billions Into “Moderates” Who Don’t Exist

The document openly admits that the US has provided billions in arming and training militants fed into the devastating and increasingly regional conflict. It admits that the US maintains – and should expand – operations in Jordan and NATO-member Turkey to provide even more weapons, cash, and fighters to the already catastrophic conflict.

It then recounts the rise of the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS), but fails to account from where its money, cash, and weapons came. It should be obvious to readers that if the United States has committed billions in cash, weapons, and training on multiple fronts to alleged “moderates” who for all intents and purposes do not exist on the battlefield, a state-sponsor of greater magnitude would be required to create and sustain ISIS and Al Qaeda’s Al Nusra Front who Brookings admits dominates the “opposition” uncontested.

In reality, ISIS’ supply lines lead right into US operational zones in Turkey and Jordan, because it was ISIS and Al Qaeda all along that the West planned to use before the 2011 conflict began, and has based its strategy on ever since – including this most recent leg of the campaign.

The US Invasion of  Syria

3077964822 (1)After arming and funding a literal region-wide army of Al Qaeda terrorists, the United States now plans to use the resulting chaos to justify what it has sought since the beginning of the conflict when it became clear the Syrian government was not to capitulate or collapse – the establishment of buffer zones now called “safe zones” by Brookings.

These zones once created, will include US armed forces on the ground, literally occupying seized Syrian territory cleared by proxies including Kurdish groups and bands of Al Qaeda fighters in the north, and foreign terrorist militias operating along the Jordanian-Syrian border in the south. Brookings even admits that many of these zones would be created by extremists, but that “ideological purity” wound “no longer be quite as high of a bar.

The US assumes that once this territory is seized and US troops stationed there, the Syrian Arab Army will not dare attack in fear of provoking a direct US military response against Damascus. The Brookings paper states (emphasis added):

The  idea would be to help moderate elements establish reliable safe zones within Syria once they were able. American, as well as Saudi and Turkish and British and Jordanian and other Arab forces would actin support, not only from the air but eventually on the ground via the  presence  of  special  forces  as  well. The  approach would  benefit  from  Syria’s open desert  terrain  which  could  allow  creation  of  buffer  zones  that could  be  monitored  for possible  signs  of  enemy  attack  through  a  combination  of  technologies, patrols,  and other methods that outside special forces could help Syrian local fighters set up.

Were Assad foolish enough to challenge these zones, even if he somehow forced the withdrawal  of  the  outside  special  forces,  he  would  be  likely  to  lose  his  air power  in ensuing  retaliatory  strikes  by  outside  forces,  depriving  his  military  of  one  of its  few advantages over ISIL.Thus, he would be unlikely to do this.

In a single statement, Brookings admits that the government of Syria is not engaged in a war against its own people, but against “ISIL” (ISIS). It is clear that Brookings, politicians, and other strategists across the West are using the threat of ISIS in combination with the threat of direct military intervention as a means of leverage for finally overrunning and seizing Syria entirely.

The Invasion Could Succeed, But Not for US Proxies

The entire plan is predicated on America’s ability to first take and hold these “zones” and subsequently mesh them into functioning autonomous regions. Similar attempts at US “nation building” are currently on display in the ravaged failed state that used to be North Africa’s nation of Libya, Syria’s neighbor to the southeast, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and the list goes on extensively.

The folly of this plan both in attempts to use non-existent credibility and military will to actually implement it, as well as in terms of those foolish enough to place their trust in a nation that has left a swath of global destruction and failed states in its wake stretching from South Vietnam to Libya and back again, can be described only as monumental.

This strategy can almost certainly be used to finally destroy Syria. It cannot however, be used to do any of the things the US will promise in order to get the various players necessary for it to succeed, to cooperate.

Almost certainly there are measures Syria, its allies Iran and Hezbollah, as well as Russia, China, and all other nations facing the threats of Western hegemony can take to ensure that US forces will not be able to take and hold Syrian territory or ultimately succeed in what is essentially an invasion in slow motion. Already the US has used their own ISIS hordes as a pretext to operate militarily within Syrian territory, which as predicted, has led to this next stage in incremental invasion.

An increase in non-NATO peacekeeping forces in Syria could ultimately unhinge Western plans altogether. The presence of Iranian, Lebanese, Yemeni, Afghan, and other forces across Syria, particularly bordering “zone” the US attempts to create, may offer the US the prospect of a multinational confrontation it has neither the political will, nor the resources to undertake.

The ability of Syria and its allies to create a sufficient deterrence against US aggression in Syria, while cutting off the logistical lines the US is using to supply ISIS and other terrorist groups operating in Syria and Iraq will ultimately determine Syria’s survival.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazineNew Eastern Outlook”.First appeared: http://journal-neo.org/2015/06/26/us-to-begin-invasion-of-syria/

Today I Saw a Weeping Palestinian Man Holding a Plastic Bag of Meat: It Was His Son

By Brian Eno
Global Research, June 25, 2015
Stop the War Coalition, June 22, 2015

 

gaza_brian_eno_letter_460.jpg

Brian Eno speaking at the National Demonstration for Gaza, London, 26/07/14

Brian Eno’s letter to America: WHY? I just don’t get it

This article was originally published on 3 August 2014. Brian Eno is an artist, musical innovator, record producer for artists ranging from David Bowie to U2 and Coldplay. He has been a consistent supporter of Stop the War Coalition since it was first founded.

Dear All of You,

I sense I’m breaking an unspoken rule with this letter, but I can’t keep quiet any more.

Today I saw a picture of a weeping Palestinian man holding a plastic carrier bag of meat. It was his son. He’d been shredded (the hospital’s word) by an Israeli missile attack – apparently using their fab new weapon, flechette bombs. You probably know what those are – hundreds of small steel darts packed around explosive which tear the flesh off humans. The boy was Mohammed Khalaf al-Nawasra. He was 4 years old.

I suddenly found myself thinking that it could have been one of my kids in that bag, and that thought upset me more than anything has for a long time.

Then I read that the UN had said that Israel might be guilty of war crimes in Gaza, and they wanted to launch a commission into that. America won’t sign up to it.

What is going on in America? I know from my own experience how slanted your news is, and how little you get to hear about the other side of this story. But – for Christ’s sake! – it’s not that hard to find out. Why does America continue its blind support of this one-sided exercise in ethnic cleansing? WHY? I just don’t get it. I really hate to think its just the power of AIPAC… for if that’s the case, then your government really is fundamentally corrupt. No, I don’t think that’s the reason… but I have no idea what it could be.

The America I know and like is compassionate, broadminded, creative, eclectic, tolerant and generous. You, my close American friends, symbolise those things for me. But which America is backing this horrible one-sided colonialist war? I can’t work it out: I know you’re not the only people like you, so how come all those voices aren’t heard or registered?

How come it isn’t your spirit that most of the world now thinks of when it hears the word ‘America’? How bad does it look when the one country which more than any other grounds its identity in notions of Liberty and Democracy then goes and puts its money exactly where its mouth isn’t and supports a ragingly racist theocracy?

I was in Israel last year with Mary. Her sister works for UNWRA in Jerusalem. Showing us round were a Palestinian – Shadi, who is her sister’s husband and a professional guide – and Oren Jacobovitch, an Israeli Jew, an ex-major from the IDF who left the service under a cloud for refusing to beat up Palestinians. Between the two of them we got to see some harrowing things – Palestinian houses hemmed in by wire mesh and boards to prevent settlers throwing shit and piss and used sanitary towels at the inhabitants; Palestinian kids on their way to school being beaten by Israeli kids with baseball bats to parental applause and laughter; a whole village evicted and living in caves while three settler families moved onto their land; an Israeli settlement on top of a hill diverting its sewage directly down onto Palestinian farmland below; The Wall; the checkpoints… and all the endless daily humiliations. I kept thinking, “Do Americans really condone this? Do they really think this is OK? Or do they just not know about it?”.

As for the Peace Process: Israel wants the Process but not the Peace. While ‘the process’ is going on the settlers continue grabbing land and building their settlements… and then when the Palestinians finally erupt with their pathetic fireworks they get hammered and shredded with state-of-the-art missiles and depleted uranium shells because Israel ‘has a right to defend itself’ ( whereas Palestine clearly doesn’t). And the settler militias are always happy to lend a fist or rip up someone’s olive grove while the army looks the other way.

By the way, most of them are not ethnic Israelis – they’re ‘right of return’ Jews from Russia and Ukraine and Moravia and South Africa and Brooklyn who came to Israel recently with the notion that they had an inviolable (God-given!) right to the land, and that ‘Arab’ equates with ‘vermin’ – straightforward old-school racism delivered with the same arrogant, shameless swagger that the good ole boys of Louisiana used to affect. That is the culture our taxes are defending. It’s like sending money to the Klan.

But beyond this, what really troubles me is the bigger picture. Like it or not, in the eyes of most of the world, America represents ‘The West’. So it is The West  that is seen as supporting this war, despite all our high-handed talk about morality and democracy. I fear that all the civilisational achievements of The Enlightenment and Western Culture are being discredited – to the great glee of the mad Mullahs – by this flagrant hypocrisy. The war has no moral justification that I can see  – but it doesn’t even have any pragmatic value either. It doesn’t make Kissingerian ‘Realpolitik’ sense; it just makes us look bad.

I’m sorry to burden you all with this. I know you’re busy and in varying degrees allergic to politics, but this is beyond politics. It’s us squandering the civilisational capital that we’ve built over generations. None of the questions in this letter are rhetorical: I really don’t get it and I wish that I did.