SECRET IRAQ on BBC
October 6 at 21:00 on BBC TWO
2/2. Iraqi insurgents describe how they turned against Al Qaeda’s brutal rule.
Tags: Iraqi Refugees
REFUGEES: UNHCR concerned over Iraqi deportations
LONDON, 29 September 2010 (IRIN) – The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has expressed concern about the growing number of deportations of Iraqi asylum-seekers from Western Europe in the last two months.
Special charter flights to take failed asylum-seekers home have increased in frequency, and Iraqis are being returned to parts of the country which are still unsafe, in contravention of UNHCR guidelines for the handling of Iraqi asylum applications, it says.
The deportations are handled by Frontex, a Warsaw-based agency set up to coordinate operations between European Union (EU) member states in the field of border security, and their planes can carry returnees from several different countries. The most recent (on 22 September) had failed asylum applicants from Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands and the UK.
One of the UNHCR’s complaints is that the information provided by those countries is usually sketchy, varies from country to country and is given only very late in the process. In the case of last week’s flight, Sweden told the UNHCR the names and dates of birth of those being sent home, but not their destinations. The UK provided details of where its rejected claimants were going but not their identities.
No country told the UNHCR how many of the passengers being put on board the plane were going home voluntarily, and how many were being deported against their will, but reports from Baghdad say police had to be called to escort some of them off the plane.
A spokesperson for the UNHCR, Sybella Wilkes, called for states sending home asylum-seekers to be more transparent. “We are aware when a flight is leaving,” she told IRIN, “but we don’t know until the last minute who is on board or which countries they are coming from.”
The organization does not oppose people being sent back to Iraq in every case. “It’s possible that some people on the plane were going back voluntarily,” Wilkes said. “It’s possible that some were going to areas where we don’t have issues about security. But we don’t know. Having full information would be in everybody’s best interests.”
What they do know is that among the passengers leaving Sweden were two women and four children, and the UNHCR certainly would have an issue with any forced deportation of children. The British government said all those it was sending last week were single adult males, but their destinations included Baghdad, Ninawa, Kirkuk and Salah ad-Din – all areas the UNHCR considers unsafe.
Five governorates unsafe
“We are very clear in our guidelines,” said Sybella Wilkes. “Baghdad, Diyala, Kirkuk, Ninawa and Salah ad-Din are still not safe, in view of serious human rights violations and continuing security incidents in those areas. We specifically ask governments not to return people to those five governorates, and we are disappointed they are ignoring our guidelines.”
The general secretary of the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees, Dashty Jamal, blamed the rise in forced removals on the electoral success of right wing parties in a number of European countries. He told IRIN: “Most of the EU countries’ right-wing parties have united together to change their immigration policy, and deport back all Iraqis who apply for asylum in their country.”
He said that as well as the charter flights run by Frontex, individual refugees are being sent back almost every night on scheduled flights to Jordan. “I believe that no part of Iraq is safe, even Kurdistan. It is like the UN saying that Berne in Switzerland is safe but Zurich is not safe. This is not the time to send people back. They are playing with the lives of innocent people.”
Contacted by IRIN, the UK’s border agency denied there had been any overall policy recently to deport more Iraqi asylum-seekers. Detailed figures of deportations over the past two months are not yet available, but a spokesperson insisted that every case is looked at individually and considered on its merits. “We only ever return those whom the Border Agency and the courts are satisfied are not in need of our protection, and who have failed to comply with a request to leave.”
Are the Agency and the courts ignoring the UNHCR guidelines on safe and unsafe areas? “A whole range of factors are taken into account,” the spokesperson told IRIN. “And from the UK’s point of view we have to be satisfied that they don’t need our protection.”
The UNHCR has been lobbying since June against the forced removals to Iraq, but says so far they have not seen any shift in position by Western European governments. Sybella Wilkes says she is disappointed. “I would like them to consider that they have a minority of Iraqi asylum-seekers in their countries. And this is not a very positive example when Iraq’s neighbours have much greater numbers, and have been much more generous and welcoming.”
Dashty Jamal told IRIN on 28 September that a number of Iraqis in the UK had received tickets for a flight back to Iraq on 6 October, and that a demonstration was being planned that day outside the Iraqi embassy in London to protest at the way returnees are treated when they get to Baghdad.
For the chart please click on the link below
|Refugee Returns September 2009 – August 2010 (Individuals)|
2009 – August 2010
|Data source: MoDM, DDM, City Councils Baghdad, Diyala. All data has been collected inside Iraq. All figures have been rounded to the nearest 10.|
Tags: Water shortage in Iraq
Water shortage threatens two million people in southern Iraq
Electricity supply to Nasiriyah has dropped by 50% because of falling levels of Euphrates river
Tags: Iraq National Census
IRAQI TURKMENS CALL FOR BOYCOTT OF NATIONAL CENSUS
The first nation-wide census in Iraq since 1997, also the first one since the fall of Saddam Hussein, is becoming grounds for further factional and ethnic strife. The authorities have said that the Iraqi population will be counted on 24 October . However, many have called for a postponement or else the process would be boycotted. Under the circumstances, the census could be politicised in a country still waiting for a government seven months after parliamentary elections. Ultimately, the existing shaky balance of power could get even shakier.
Tags: Ex-otages américains en Iraq, Gilles Munier
Par Gilles Munier
Le régime de Bagdad a décidé de suspendre le versement de 400 millions de dollars aux citoyens américains qui prétendent avoir été torturés, maltraités, ou traumatisés, lors de la crise du Golfe, fin 1990 (1). Cette somme doit être ponctionnée sur les fonds encore gelés du programme « Pétrole contre nourriture » (2), un scandale de plus commis par les Etats-Unis qui n’ont cessé – avec l’aval de l’ONU – de considérer l’Irak comme une pompe à fric.
Nouri al-Maliki, en répondant au chantage des avocats new-yorkais qui réclamaient – pourquoi pas ? – plusieurs milliards de dollars, voulait annoncer la fin des sanctions toujours imposées à l’Irak par le Chapitre 7 de la Charte de l’ONU, et booster sa campagne pour se faire réélire Premier ministre. La révélation de cet accord honteux par le Christian Science Monitor – signé discrètement le 2 septembre 2010 par James Jeffrey, nouvel ambassadeur des Etats-Unis, et le Kurde Hoshyar Zebari, ministre irakien des Affaires étrangères – a eu un effet contraire à ce qu’il espérait. L’article a soulevé une vague de protestations indignées jusque dans le camp des partisans du régime. Puis, David Ranz, porte-parole de l’ambassade des Etats-Unis, a mis fin aux espérances du Premier ministre en affirmant que le paiement des 400 millions de dollars n’était qu’une étape pour régler le contentieux Irak-Onu, se gardant bien de dire quelles seraient les autres. Pour calmer les esprits, Al-Maliki a, comme on dit, « botté en touche », laissant le soin à un comité parlementaire d’approuver ou non l’accord Jeffrey-Zebari (2). Il se réunira après l’élection du Président du Parlement, étape précédant celle du Président de la République, puis du prochain Premier ministre…
Souvenirs de l’affaire dite des « otages »
Je peux témoigner de ce que j’ai vu à Bagdad en octobre 1990, ayant été – avec quelques autres – un des acteurs de l’affaire dite des « otages ». Après l’entrée des troupes irakiennes au Koweït, le 2 août, tous les étrangers résidant en Irak ou au Koweït avaient été rassemblés dans les hôtels 5 étoiles de la capitale irakienne. Comme Secrétaire général des Amitiés franco-irakiennes, j’étais venu demander aux autorités irakiennes de laisser partir les Français. Les étrangers étaient répartis en deux catégories. Ceux vivant en Irak, qualifiés d’ « invités », étaient libres de leurs mouvements dans la ville. Les autres, arrêtés au Koweït, étaient installés à l’Hôtel Mansour Melia, sur la rive droite du Tigre, avec interdiction d’en sortir. Certains d’entres eux – pas seulement des Etatsuniens – étaient placés sur des sites stratégiques pour dissuader l’aviation américaine de bombarder.
Pendant mon séjour, je n’ai jamais entendu parler de tortures ou de mauvais traitements. Si certains étrangers ont été malmenés, il devait s’agir d’actes individuels. En tout cas, ces derniers n’ont pas été jugés suffisamment graves, à l’époque, pour que les Etats-Unis les dénoncent ou les médiatisent. Les dirigeants irakiens que j’ai rencontrés pendant les deux semaines que j’ai passées à Bagdad – Taha Yassin Ramadan (vice-Président de la République), Tarek Aziz (ministre des Affaires étrangères) et Latif Nsayef Jassem (ministre de l’Information) – tenaient tous à ce que les étrangers retenus, y compris américains, soient bien traités. Ils auraient, sans aucun doute, réagi avec sévérité si des sévices leur avaient été infligés. En revanche, j’ai constaté que la plupart des « otages » européens ne comprenaient pas ce qui leur arrivait, étaient inquiets, et certains – une minorité – plutôt dépressifs. Les Américains, en situation plus difficile, devaient l’être d’autant plus.
Sur les quelque 2000 Américains arrêtés au Koweït, environ 120 auraient été transférés sur des sites stratégiques. Avant mon arrivée à Bagdad, en même temps que Hachemi Bounini (ancien Président de la Fédération des Français musulmans), le pasteur baptiste Jesse Jackson et l’ancien Président algérien Ahmed Ben Bella, étaient repartis avec les femmes américaines, leurs enfants et des malades. D’autres « invités » les suivirent avec, notamment, John Connally (ancien gouverneur du Texas), Ramsey Clark (ancien Procureur général des Etats-Unis du Présiden Lyndon Johnson), Muhammad Ali, l’ancien chancelier allemand Willy Brandt, le chanteur Yusuf Islam (ex Cat Stevens), le Président autrichien Kurt Waldheim, Jean-Marie Le Pen. Enfin, le 6 décembre 1990, après un entretien avec le roi Hussein de Jordanie, Saddam Hussein ordonna la libération de tous les Américains. Dans ses mémoires, Joseph Wilson (3), chargé d’affaires américain à Bagdad, raconte que le débriefing des « boucliers humains » permit quelques semaines plus tard, au cours de l’opération Tempête du désert, de bombarder avec plus de précision les sites où ils avaient été placés !
Il faut être sans amour propre pour maintenir une plainte pour mauvais traitement contre l’Irak après deux guerres américaines et un embargo international dont le bilan total dépasse, au bas mot, les 3 millions de morts. Venant d’un pays où l’argent est roi, qui a enfermé les Japonais et les citoyens américains d’origine japonaise dans des camps de concentration pendant la Seconde guerre mondiale (4), et qui a torturé ces dernières années des musulmans sur simples soupçons ou dénonciations calomnieuses, pour les emprisonner ensuite, sans procès, dans l’enfer de Guantanamo, on peut s’attendre à tout.
(1) Iraq postpone the payment of compensation to American citizens and submit them to parliament
(2) Iraq to pay $400 million for Saddam’s mistreatment of Americans par Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor – 9/9/10).
(3) The Politics of Truth, Ed. Carroll & Graf, New York (avril 2004) – L’ambassadeur Joseph Wilson est l’époux de Valérie Plame, dénoncée par des journalistes américains néo-conservateurs, comme agent de la CIA. Envoyé en mission au Niger, en février 2002, pour savoir si l’Irak s’y était procuré de l’uranium, Joseph Wilson en était revenu persuadé non seulement du contraire mais que les documents sur lesquels se basaient l’administration Bush pour accuser Saddam Hussein de construire une bombe A, étaient des faux. Le dévoilement des activités de son épouse, qui a provoqué un scandale retentissant – livrer l’identité d’un agent secret est un crime, selon la loi – a eu lieu après qu’il ait déclaré au New York Times (6/7/03) que les Etats-Unis « étaient entrés en guerre sous de faux prétextes ».
(4) Environ 127 000 Japonais et Américains d’origine japonaise furent internés dans une dizaine de camps sur ordre du Président Franklin Roosevelt. Le général responsable du Commandement la zone Ouest au ministère de la Guerre justifiait ainsi ces déportations: « La race japonaise est une race ennemie, et même si des Japonais de deuxième ou de troisième génération nés sur le sol des Etats-Unis en possèdent la nationalité et sont américanisés, l’héritage racial demeure intact ». En 1948, certaines victimes furent indemnisées, mais uniquement en dédommagement des pertes matérielles qu’elles avaient subies. Le caractère injustifié de leur détention n’était pas pris en ligne de compte. Il a fallu attendre 1988 pour que le gouvernement étatsunien présente ses excuses aux victimes.
Par Gilles Munier
Falluja, Tony Blair and a Man with a Mission
September 26, 2010
Dr Bill Wilson, knows a bit about duplicity and is not a man to give up, as a glance at his website shows. (1) Dr Wilson is a Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) in the Scottish National Party,for the West of Scotland. This week, he lodged a Parliamentary Motion (2) “highlighting the consequences of the US and UK’s use of weapons of mass destruction in Fallujah, in 2004.”
Speaking after lodging the Motion, Dr Wilson said, “The consequences are ongoing: a survey showed a four-fold increase in all cancers, a 12-fold increase in childhood cancer in under-14s and a 38-fold increase in leukaemia. By contrast, Hiroshima survivors showed a 17-fold increase with regard to the latter. What’s more, because of this cancer crisis, local doctors are advising women not to have children.
“I have long been convinced that those responsible for the invasion of Iraq should be charged. It seems to me that any reasonable person looking at what happen in Fallujah would conclude that major war crimes have been committed.Tony Blair has to answer for his decisions … women are now being advised not to have children. To turn a blind eye now would surely make us all complicit.”
The Motion states: “The Parliament notes a report in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health: ‘Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005-2009’, on the effects of the United Kingdom and United States’ attack on Fallujah in 2004; notes the reports that this attack involved the use of illegal chemical weapons, phosphorous bombs and nerve gas; understands that it has been further reported that this has led to an explosion of infant mortality, leukaemia and cancers, exceeding those following the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to the extent that local doctors are advising women not to have children; supports the international courts in their pursuit of war criminals since 1945; believes that no individual guilty of such crimes should escape justice, and calls for the detention and trial of Anthony Charles Lynton Blair.”
“Bush and Blair lied about non-existent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, now the toxic effects of the US-UK’s own WMDs have brought massive cancer surges, particularly of childhood cancers ..” He comments.
Dr Wilson has the bit firmly between his teeth. On 10th September he announced that he was seeking legal advice, “following a long running exchange of letters”, over the Crown Office’s refusal to disclose “details of its deliberations on whether the crime of aggression forms part of Scots law.” If not, he wishes to know, can the “declaratory power of the High Court”, not be used to incorporate it in to Scots law?
“Iraq was invaded on what amount to a pretext, a million plus Iraqis have lost their lives (with) thousands of coalition (troops) … frustrated by Crown Office’s refusal to fully explain why it believes Scots law cannot be used to bring a prosecution, for what I believe was a bloody crime of aggression, I lodged a freedom of information request (into their) deliberations.” A refusal included that it would “not be in the public interest. I am not at all happy that it is in the public interest to hide the reasons, for effectively turning a blind eye, to what many consider to be mass murder, and so I am seeking legal advice to take the matter further.” (3)
Both 2004 attacks on Fallujah were an undisputedly joint US-UK venture. British troops from the Black Watch were sent north from Basra to the Baghdad region to “free up” American troops for November’s Slaughterhouse Anbar Province. Further, the British also protected the supply lines to the U.S., troops from Kuwait. (After the first onslaught on Fallujah, in April 2003, in which at least six hundred civilians were indiscriminately killed, in spite of “international condemnation”, Prime Minister Blair said: “We stand shoulder to shoulder with the U.S.”)(4) Estimates are as high as twelve hundred dead.
As an estimated quarter of a million people fled the city, even before the November invasion, the firepower directed against those who remained was staggering, according to the Center for Defense Information:
“In the days leading up to the November invasion, Fallujah was subjected to a U.S. military cordon and intense bombardment on a daily basis. U.S. warplanes, such as AC-130 gunships, struck insurgent positions, in tandem with tank cannons, mortar and artillery, including M109A6 Paladin 155mm howitzers, that can be fired from a range of 22 miles, and will kill anyone within 55 yards of the point of impact. A number of 500-pound bombs were dropped on the city, obliterating insurgent targets and any other persons or buildings in the impact area. Bombings were said to cause damage to poorly constructed houses, where such structures were located near buildings that were attacked. U.S., forces in Fallujah have used the Miclic rocket-propelled mine clearing system, normally deemed unfit for use in an urban environment because of its indiscriminate explosive force. The use of such extraordinary military hardware in an urban setting necessarily invokes questions …” How they anyway identified the difference between resistance and civilians from the air is a mystery.
We’ll unleash the dogs of hell, we’ll unleash them.They don’t know what’s coming – hell is coming. If they’re civilians in there, they’re in the wrong place at the wrong time”, said Sergeant Sam Mortimer, U.S., Marines.(5) So much for international law, with Barrister Blair “shoulder to shoulder”, in crime.
Thus, there is certainly much that British governments offices may deem: “not in the public interest” – read: plenty to hide. In November 2005, George Monbiot wrote in the (UK) Guardian, “We know know the U.S., used thermobaric weapons (in Fallujah)”, that assault weapons the US marines were using were armed with warheads containing: “about 35% thermobaric novel explosive (NE) and 65% standard high explosive.” How : “thermobaric”, “novel” and “explosive”, find their way in to the same sentence is one to ponder on. Perhaps weapons manual authors are recruited from a home for the criminally insane.
The MK77 bombs used, acted like napalm, containing jet fuel and polystyrene, unleashed, the scalding gel sticks to victims. The Iraqi Minister of Health described: “melted bodies” and fires that could not be extinguished with water. He directly accused U.S., troops of using napalm, which the U.S., immediately denied. Referring to the MK77s, military analyst, John Pike commented: “You can call it something other than napalm, but it’s napalm.”
The Minister, Dr Khalid ash-Shaykli, described large areas of Fallujah where nothing, people, cats, dogs, birds were left alive, alleging that mustard and nerve gasses had been used. InterPress reported people being roasted alive, in unquenchable, jellied fire. Numerous reports during the assault recorded people on fire leaping in to the Euphrates – and continuing to burn. Bodies were found with clothes melted in to the skin – and bodies were found with no injuries at all, giving credence to the accusation of the use of gasses and chemical weapons.
Further credence is given by the reports that the army brought in water tankers to power blast the streets, was it to wash away bloody crimes, or chemical and other “novel” residues? They are certainly not in the neighbourhood beautification business. Red Crescent staff trying to enter with medical supplies and help were repeatedly turned away.
A Pentagon spokesman told the BBC that White Phosphorous: ” … was used as an incendiary device.”
The destruction was staggering, as Dirk Adriaensens has written:
*7000 houses totally destroyed, or nearly totally destroyed, homes in all districts of Fallujah. – 8400 stores, workshops, clinics, warehouses, etc.. destroyed.
“It wasn’t a war, it was a massacre”, wrote an unidentified soldier in militaryproject.org
Since the Pentagon find any body counts except their own, an anathema, the dead will almost certainly never be fully accounted for. The Red Cross/Red Crescent estimated “upwards of six thousand.” Adriaensens also makes clear that Fallujah still appears to be closed by numerous U.S., road blocks to outsiders, even to those in nearby towns, his article questioning if there is still concern that those with chemical or nuclear monitoring equipment might otherwise get in. Countless unanswered questions remain.
Iraq, before 2003’s invasion, was already an environmental disaster from the 1991 and subsequent bombings, which not alone left a lethal legacy of radioactive and chemically toxic depleted uranium, but since chemical, pharmaceutical and other factories were bombed, releasing multiple lethal toxicities, along with a host of other installations, adding to the toxic burden, fear of having children, medical advice not to and even decisions not to get married, began as the extraordinary rise in birth defects manifested, across the country, little over a year after the war. But even that pales against the burden since 2003. In September 2009, in Fallujah General Hospital, of one hundred and seventy babies born, 24% died in seven days and 75% were classified as deformed. “A significant number of babies that do survive, begin to develop severe disabilities later”, a doctor commented.
Whilst the Fallujah study is a significant, courageous and sickening break through, it must be wondered how the rest of Iraq is faring. Little detailed reporting has come from many places bombarded by U.S., troops, but what has seeped out is how similar the tactics have been. Water, electricity and communications are cut (clearly, as the U.S., doesn’t “do body counts”, they don’t do law either.)
There is a pattern of shooting up ambulances, trashing hospitals, clinics and medical supplies, arresting and killing medical staff (and patients.) “The hospitals in the west of Iraq, ask for urgent help, we are in a big humanitarian medical disaster … they burned the whole store of medication of the west area of Iraq … prevented us from helping the people in al-Quaim .. ” was a message that a friend managed to somehow send to journalist Dahr Jamail.
Towns, cities and villages bombarded, often multiply, have included: Ramadi, Buhruz, Baquba,Tel Afar, Mosul, Najav, Kerbala, Haditha, Hiyt, al-Qaim, Yusufiyah, Mahmudiyah, Najav, Karbala, Tikrit, Kirkuk, Hilla, Samarra, Nineveh, Baghdad – unceasingly – the list likely includes any inhabited place n Iraq. And what happened to the tons and tons of topsoil, trucked day and night, from Baghdad Airport, just after the invasion? What weapons were used, what contamination did it contain and where has it been dumped? Suggestions also of some kind of massive thermobaric weaponry will not go away.
Metal contaminated with DU is being sold as scrap throughout Iraq, as Afghanistan to irradiate, where ever it is incorporated, and whoever touches it, fashions it, breathes in the dust, the implications of just what is known, indicate crimes of near unprecedented enormity, for eternity’s children to pay the price.
The importance of Dr Wilson’s stance cannot be overstated, it has implications for where ever such tactics and weapons have been used, in Iraq and elsewhere – and where there are plans to emulate them.
“I believe that in Britain, we allowed our judgement of the direct consequences of inaction, to override our judgement of the even more dire consequences of departing from the rule of law, said Sir Stephen Wall, former senior diplomatic adviser on Europe, speaking at Chatham House (The Institute for International Affairs) on 8th November 2004, as the Fallujah assault began. (See 4.)
Dr Wilson is asking that the concerned in the U.K., write to their Parliamentarians asking that they support his stance. A suggestion: a start might be by the estimated three million, who came from all over the country to March through central London to Hyde Park, in an effort to stop this predictable, near unprecedented, illegal disaster. As the new Leader of the Labour Party and the newish Leader of the Conservative party, both commit to a more listening culture, they and all Parliamentarians who did not listen then, owe it to all, to listen now.
Note: Unless indicted below all detail comes personal notes of from the extensive archive at :
2. Full text here: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=21143
3. MSP Seeks Legal Advice re Crown Office Refusal to Disclose Deliberations on Iraq Prosecution
4. Nicholas Wood: “War Crime of Just War, the Case Against Blair”, South Hill Press, 2005: numerous war crimes,in Iraq, meticulously documented.
5. See 4.
:: Article nr. 70181 sent on 27-sep-2010 17:02 ECT
Tags: Baha Mousa inquiry, UK crimes against humanity in Iraq, UK soldiers torturing Iraqis
Lord Goldsmith questions the MoD’s practices in Iraq
Lord Goldsmith said Britain’s reputation for justice must be upheld
The former Labour government’s top legal adviser during the Iraq war has questioned whether the British military justice system is fit for purpose.
Lord Goldsmith told Panorama that some evidence has emerged that queries about the legality of hooding detainees were deliberately not put to him by the MoD.
Hooding detainees for interrogation purposes was banned in 1972.
The MoD denies any systemic attempt to circumvent the law or the Geneva conventions prohibiting hooding.
Lord Goldsmith, the former Attorney General, made his comments as two separate inquiries investigate the deaths of Iraqi civilians while in British army custody.
The reputation of the British army suffered after revelations during the two-year public inquiry into the death of Iraqi citizen Baha Mousa, who died in 2003 while in British army custody in Basra.
The Baha Mousa inquiry looked beyond the actual death into the legality of interrogation techniques, including hooding, after evidence emerged that it had been used on detainees in Iraq.
Hooding of prisoners was permitted during transportation for security reasons but has been banned for 30 years – along with the use of physical stress positions – as a tactic to soften up prisoners ahead of interrogation.
Lord Goldsmith, who stood down as Attorney General in 2007 after six years, said that he was not asked for his legal advice on hooding: “There’s some evidence that has since emerged that I deliberately wasn’t asked that question.
“It shows a bad approach to the role of the senior law officer because if there are important legal questions that is what the senior law office is there to answer, whatever the answer. On this occasion the MoD didn’t want to know,” he said.
Iraqi hotel worker Baha Mousa died in British custody in 2003
Brigadier John Donnelly, the Head of Military Liaison at the MoD, said of the instances of hooding: “There were incidents of hooding in Iraq in 2003, but the MoD has placed a ban on hooding. The MoD no longer does hooding.”
The Royal Military Police has also come under scrutiny following a separate investigation into claims that prisoners died while in British custody after a gun-battle in 2004 known as the Battle of Danny Boy.
The investigation into the Battle of Danny Boy incident was conducted by the Special Investigations Branch (SIB) of the Royal Military Police (RMP).
Following complaints of interference by the chain of command during the SIB investigation, a judicial review was ordered to assess the quality of the initial investigation.
Colonel Dudley Giles, then deputy head of the military police, was asked to explain delays in granting RMP investigators access and one instance of an officer instructing other soldiers not to assist investigators.
Col Giles was obligated to provide the court with all relevant documents.
However, the judicial review found Col Giles’s evidence to be unreliable when it emerged that a document stating 12 live Iraqi prisoners were brought onto the base was not initially disclosed. This document contradicted Col Giles’s witness statement that only nine live prisoners were brought onto the base.
A former SIB detective, Major Andre Ramsey, who served in the RMP for six years before leaving in 2005, said it is inevitable that the military investigating its own can cause a conflict of interest.
“The SIB performance in Iraq sadly led to a situation where generally they cannot be regarded as fit for purpose,” Maj Ramsey said.
The MoD’s failure to disclose evidence led to a new inquiry into what happened on the British base after the battle of Danny Boy, which will begin taking evidence in the coming months.
Brigadier Donnelly says the latest inquiry will “get all the information out in the public domain so the MoD can refute the claims in a way that will retain the confidence of the court.”
Lord Goldsmith said of the MoD’s performance at the judicial review: “There wasn’t a desire to get the truth and sadly there wasn’t a desire to be frank and candid with the court either.”
Lord Goldsmith said he welcomed the debate on the British army – and the MoD – policing itself.
“I thought it was important in the interests of justice and of the many thousands of service personnel who were doing the right thing and part of our overall strategy of winning hearts and minds,” he said.
He added that Britain’s overall strategy needed to include a reputation for justice.
“You don’t do that if people can look at you and think ‘actually these are people who don’t follow through their own ideals in relation to justice’.”
Panorama: Britain in the Dock, is available in the UK on the BBC iPlayer.
Tags: Census in Iraq, Occupation of Iraq, US forces violate law in Iraq
Iraqi official: US forces violated law in overnight arrests
Sep 24, 2010, 12:06 GMT
Mosul, Iraq – The Iraqi governor of the restive city of Mosul said Friday that US forces raided a neighborhood there, arresting dozens of locals in what he said was a politically motivated sweep and a violation of the law.
Ethel Nujaifi, governor of Iraq’s Nineveh Province, in which Mosul is located, told the Germany Press Agency dpa that US military forces carried out the sweep on Thursday night in the city’s north-west neighbourhood of Zammar.
He said the raid was contrary to democracy and a transgression of the law.
Based on the Withdrawal of the American Forces from Iraq Agreement, which saw US troop levels drop to 50,000, all US military operations conducted in Iraq must be done with the permission of the government of Iraq.
The agreement states that the United States is not permitted to detain or arrest any Iraqi unless it is done in agreement with the Iraqi government and that US forces must turn over arrested persons to Iraqi authorities within 24 hours of their detention or arrest.
But according to Nujaifi, Thursday’s raid, which took place some 400 kilometres north of Baghdad, was carried out solely by US troops with no accompanying Iraqi forces.
Tags: Illegal war on Iraq, Supreme War Crime, US War Criminals
Rumsfeld, Bush and the Supreme War Crime
Joyce Battle at the National Security Archive has used the Freedom of Information Act to spring classified documents from 2001 about the Bush administration’s sneaky plans for getting up an aggressive war on Iraq.
Document 8 [pdf] contains notes of then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld prepared for a meeting with CENTCOM commander Gen. Tommy Franks in Tampa, Fl., on November 27, 2001. It shows a plan to pull a lot of troops out of Afghanistan and put them into Iraq and to ‘decapitate’ the Iraqi leadership. (In other words, Rumsfeld planned to abandon some poor GIs fighting al-Qaeda and the Taliban to their fates while putting the money and equipment elsewhere– which got GIs killed).
After all that, the memo sets out points under the heading ‘how start?’, which clearly detail various schemes to start a war under false pretenses, including baiting Saddam into an attack on the Kurds in the north, or breathlessly announcing from the White House that a firm connection had been found between Saddam and Usama Bin Laden. That several such possibilities were listed showed that Rumsfeld did not really care how the war was started, he just wanted that war. And it shows he was entirely willing to manufacture the pretense once it was decided on.
The memo clearly was developed in close consultation with deputy secretary of defense Paul Wolfowitz and his subordinate Douglas Feith, both of them part of the Israel Lobby in the Bush administration, whose obsession with Iraq derived from their right-Zionist commitments.
Rumsfeld’s memo certainly violates the charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal on war crimes:
(a) Crimes against peace:
(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;
(ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).
The Nuremberg Tribunal declared that “To initiate a war of aggression . . . 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.”
That the United States has failed to come to terms with its war crimes in Iraq only sets us up for a repeat performance. For a nation that lives by laws and the esteem of allies to act like an outlaw will ultimately undermine its own foundation. It is like playing golf in a bathroom– you’re going to end up with a lot of self-inflicted bruises.
Tags: Abu Ghraib, Felicity Arbuthnot, US Torture
Denial, Selective Perception and Military Atrocities.
By Felicity Arbuthnot
Global Research, September 22, 2010
“Wrong from the start.” (Ezra Pound, 1885-1972.)
When the horrors of the sadistic, near necrophile behaviour of U.S., personnel at Abu Ghraib prison, west of Baghdad, first showed the tip-of-the-iceberg-lie of “liberation”: cruelty, depravity and bestiality on a scale which apparently dwarfed all that Saddam Hussein’s regime had been accused of, President George W. Bush said: ” This does not represent the America I know.”
He should have. It was under the watch of his father, George Bush, Snr., that in 1991, thousands of Iraqi conscripts were buried alive in southern Iraq, by US army tanks and bulldozers. “What you saw was a bunch of buried trenches, with peoples arms and things sticking out of them”, said Colonel Anthony Moreno who participated.(1)