On Falluja, Revenge, Christianity
Tonight, on the 11 of the 11th, more lies on television as soldiers wreathed in murderous technology fight the poor, the hungary, the traumatized of Iraq, wading in boots of heavy steel into streets of markets and mosques, hoping for survival - perhaps for revenge, escaping into computer-game-like slaughter as they deaden their sense of huumanity, mercy and justice. I hear the officer tell the troops, 'You are fighting Evil People', while I sit helpless at my TV, wanting to shout to them that this is not so, don't let the officer fool you - you are fighting your brothers..
George Bush boasts of being Christian - so also does Blair. What kind of Christianity is revealed in this killing, this revenge, this war? Did not Christ teach a way of peace, of non-violence, of justice for all - and of forgiveness? This is no war of self-defence. The warriors of religion instead wage bloody Crusades. They look for justification to the wars of the Old Testament - forgetting that Christ taught the old was superceded by the new commands of love. We kill again the sons and daughters of God in the name of God - what blasphemy is this?
|Israel forms links with Iraqi Kurds|
|US Congress overwhelmingly endorses Sharon's plans to annex part of West Bank|
|What Sovereignty did US give to Iraq?|
|Bristol woman witnesses US snipers aiming at ambulances - a forgotten warcrime|
|US Prison thugs were recruited by US to run Iraqi gaols|
|US tightens grip on Iraq oil|
|Israel and its nuclear weapons -destabilises MiddleEast|
|Israel - how many UN resolutions has it violated?|
|Perle - A very dangerous (for all of us) advisor at Bush's side|
|The Butler Report|
July 1st 2004 What Kind of Iraqi Government did Washington appoint?
(Updated - it seems my fears are confirmed- Iraqi Prime Minister murders prisoners under eyes of Americans
This morning I read a most disturbing but sadly not unanticipated report in the Guardian. It was that the US military in Iraq had raided an Iraqi government ministry office in order to stop torture and the abuse of prisoners now going on in that office. It is not just what this says about the limits of Iraqi sovereignty, it is also a scary reminder of an old practice of the Saddam dictatorship. I fear members of the temporary Iraqi government are cast in the old Saddam mould. Ministers could not wait until their new chairs had become warm, before they said they may bring back the death sentence. They also questioned if they could arrange the elections in time - suggesting that they might have to postpone them. They are imposing martial law - thus giving even more power to the military and reducing human rights. I fear that the Americans have again appointed a thug and mini-dictator. My hope has to lie in the officially temporary nature of this government and the promised elections - but many Iraqi political groups are not being allowed to take part under regulations set up by Brenner. I hope that the Iraqi people are given a real voice.
I look forward to the trial of Saddam Hussein. Among the charges against him is the murder of political opponents in not just Iraq but also in Europe through the use of assassination squads. It was not that he is innocent - I think it extremely likely that he is guilty - but my surprise came from also reading that the new Prime Minister used to run such an assassination squad for Saddam Hussein in Europe before he defected from Hussein and became a talent for the CIA. This is not secret - it has been widely reported. Thus my surprise when I heard this charge read out against the former dictator. Surely this risks dragging the Prime Minister himself into the court? What if Saddam names him as his murder agent? It could be some trial.
Re the Iraqi Police - it has been overlooked in the international press that the new Iraq police force were also criticised in the Red Cross report on abuses in Iraq prisons run by the Coalition. It reported the police widely abused prisoners, and threatened them with being handed over to the Americans if the prisoners did not pay them bribes. The whole Red Cross report is available below.
We all Live on the West Bank.
The violence that wrecks the lives of hundreds of thousands living in what Christians call The Holy Land - has put all of us in danger - no matter that we may live thousands of miles from Israel. This violence is a spreading and growing concern around the world. It forces governments and people to look at their own responsibility for the continuing grave situation in these lands, for the injustices that continue, for the way violence has wrecked the lives of so very many.
There are marvellous websites, and good researchers and writers, that do a wonderful job at keeping people up to date with what is really going on in this region. My own work has focussed recently on other issues- but nonetheless, as an investigative journalist who has researched biological weapons, espionage (interviewing the former head of US Intelligence in the Middle East, two KGB Generals and former members of MOSSAD), who has travelled in the Middle East, inevitably I have picked up some back ground knowledge. Thus I will do on this page a 'blog', with frequent short items that hopefully fill in gaps or shed new light on current events.What is happening is feeling me with enormous disquiet. The wall being built by Israel effectively is creating Palestinian Bantustans - vast prisons. What long term hope does that bring Israel? What does it do to the Palestinians and their children? I am not condoning abuses on either side - but this is punishment of an entire population.
The Contractual Workers and Iraq - 3rd May 2004
I am concerned by the false impression given by the many UK media reports that refer to the 4 'civilian contractors' murdered at Fallujah before the siege- giving this as a major reason for the American attack on Fallujah. Just who were these men? Were they simply civilians, or non-combatants? Several journalists have investigated and discovered that they worked for an America-based security firm - and that one of the four had links to the CIA while the others were retired soldiers. The firm they worked for was highly military in orientation - but skilled in hiding this. It had the contract to protect Paul Brenner, the American Head of the Occupation Authority. One source estimates that there are now some 16,000 'civilian security officers' engaged in Iraq - more than there are British soldiers - making the 'civilian' armed contractors the second largest armed force in Iraq. I have long known of many 'private companies' that provide 'deniable' cover for agents working for the US (and other nations') authorities. As officially not directly employed by the US or UK authorities, they can carry out 'dirty' operations that governments can later deny they were responsible for. It is thus not surprising to learn today that the interrogators used on Iraqi prisoners by US and UK authorities in Iraq include 'private contractors'. These 'civilians' are now everywhere in Iraq. Iraqi 'Blogs" talk of the many who drive cars that often have no number-plates - and keep submachine guns and other weapons on display inside.
Israel and its Constitution - at the root of the Middle East Crisis - 5th May 2004
Israel is proud of being a democracy - but it has now to face a major issue. It is not set up as a state in which all religions are both honoured and equal, but as one in which Judaism is supreme. Until now it thus gives Jews living overseas a unique 'Right of Return' - keeping an open door to all Jews no matter where they live so that Israel can be truly seen as the homeland for all Jews, the one state and nation to which all belong. This policy evolved out of the horrors of the Second World War and of widespread anti-Semitism. It was set up to give security to a very battered people.
But over half a century has passed since the Second World War and Israel now exists in a very different world. It now has to face the fact that this same policy of the Jewish right of return discriminates against all those of other faiths who also see the lands of Israel as their homelands. As things stand, of the people who lived in Palestine prior to the setting up of Israel, only the descendants who are Jews have the right to return and live in Israel. If they are Christians or of Islam, then they are denied the right to return and to live in Israel. Many tens of thousands of families are thus excluded - despite their ancestors having previously lived in the lands of Israel for perhaps thousands of years. This law is thus of its essence a religiously discriminatory law. It embodies a very basic injustice. The anger of those excluded stokes the fire that creates the frustrated violence of the Middle East. Without a solution that embodies justice, this violence could continue for another century or more.
This religious discrimination is however seen as pragmatically necessary by the State of Israel. The Israeli authorities fear that if they ended this discrimination, so many non-Jews would return that Israel's politics would be changed for ever. They fear that the non-Jews would be able to out-vote the Jewish citizens in elections. Likewise if the right to vote were given to the many non-Jews who live in the Occupied Territories - the West Bank and Gaza. Thus the basic law of the state of Israel is forced to use religious discrimination in order to keep the ascendancy in Israel of those of the Jewish faith.
Yet - in the United States or in Europe, such religious discrimination would be seen as utterly unacceptable. It would in effect be both a violation of the US Constitution and a violation of the basic European Human Right Law.
A very interesting just published Jewish Critique of the settlers on the West Bank can be found here. The Golem turns on his Creator
Very Important - The Official Reports on Prisoner Abuse in Iraq
|The leaked Pentagon Report - a pdf file||The Red Cross Report - pdf file||The leaked Rumsfield Memos||Two thousand pages of prison report missing||Impeach Bush|
Other key reports - such as the Seymour Hersch for the New Yorker - can be obtained from the excellent Yurica Report (which also covers fundamentalist Christian influences on the White House.
An Historical Note.
Tony Blair and everyone knows that Saddam Hussein ruthlessly decided to wipe out Kurds with poison gas. It was in the Blair WDM Dossier. Saddam is now charged with it.
But an authorative article in the New York Times said he did not!
I have no wish to made Saddam's life any easier. I strongly suspect he is guilty of very many crimes. It is also true that many Kurds were killed by poison gas. There is no dispute over this. Everyone has seen the photographs - but a lot of good investigative work was done years ago into this atrocity, and it painted quite a different picture. The town where the gassing took place was in the midst of a battle zone. It was fought for by Iran and defended by Iraq. Both sides were using poison gas. It was a horrific conflict. A million or more died during it.
So - which side dropped that gas that killed the Kurds? The Iranians were using cyanide gas. The Iraqis were using mustard gas. Both kill in very different ways. Authoritative reports were made at the time - and by Western investigators later, that the Kurds lying dead in the photos were the victim of cyanide gas. If this is so, then Saddam Hussein did not kill them. It is also likely that the real target for the gas was the troops defending the town. The deaths of the civilians was a terrible war crime. Hussein started the war - but only in this sense, in this particular incident, was he guilty of killing them.
This information again surfaced in a recent article in the New York Times. Read it and judge for yourself. Who killed the Kurds?
And what happened immediately after this incident. The US government decided there was a risk that Saddam might lose the war with Iran - and as it did not want the Iranian Ayatollahs in Baghdad. So the US decided to help Iraq make biological weapons - to help create a balance of terror between Iraq and Iran.. Anthrax and other horrific weapons were sent to Saddam from the US - knowing these weapons might be used on Iranians. The US had decided to try to use the war to bleed both Iraq and Iran dry, to weaken both nations - and thus to make life easier for Israel.
A MOSSAD (Israeli Secret Service) agent I once interviewed extensively for the paper I was then writing, told me of the vast amounts of weapons the West supplied to both sides. It involved a constant stream of convoys from Europe. The profits were gigantic. It was decided that all NATO arms more than ten years old could be supplied to Iran or Iraq without End User certificates (thus without documentation naming their destination.)