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Edmund Burke
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On Target Britain

Food for Thought: I left the ward, leaned against a wall and prayed that the ground would open and swallow me. I wrote at the time, "I now know it is actually possible to die of shame."
Felicity Arbuthnot, Iraq, 1991

RECIPE FOR ETERNAL VENGEANCE
LEGACY OF THE AMERICAN-LED COALITION IN IRAQ

Bread And Circuses - Fly The Cross Of St George While It Lasts
Dave Beckham And Wayne Rooney To Save The World


Great Britain has lately been awash with flags of St George, mostly imported from China. It proliferates in shop windows, public houses and from the windows of cars of the besotted. This is only a strictly superficial symbol of national pride. It is symbolic of a Nation in the grip of Orwell-ian Political Correctness - and Corruptness - a society in the hedonistic grip of television entertainment and golf handicaps; the social decay of bread and circuses. It is a Nation in the grip of the European football championship; not of "sport", but of a grossly inflated, grossly overpaid narcotic parody of the term as we once recognised it; an entertainment industry; and one that functions for profit; no longer seasonally, but throughout the year like some kind of bizarre and mindless perpetual motion. It is a decline led enthusiastically by a dimly ambitious schoolboy Prime Minister, Tony Blair, a simplistic theoretician who had never experienced major responsibility or the craft of statesmanship before he came to office in 1997. It is ruled by a self-perpetuating party-political system divorced from reality, from the electorate, and largely devoid of professional competence and integrity. It has become a Nation whose national priorities are reflected by portraits of Dave Beckham and Wayne Rooney on the front pages of even so-called serious broadsheet newspapers even as innocent men, women and children are being killed and maimed daily in the Middle East as a consequence of chaos deliberately wrought and perpetuated by a Coalition of the United States and the United Kingdom. What, may one ask, is National "Pride?" What are the National "Interests?"

But do we hear those who mutter a bored "Iraq; here we go again"? The Middle East is the core of the global strategy of the Western Powers. Most of the West remains Christian, if only nominally so; the Church at least a convenient place in which to marry! Consider carefully Nations that have sponsored, supported, condoned and even armed genocidal regimes not just in the Middle East, but around the world. Do our leaders seriously consider themselves "Christian", as do Prime Minister Blair and United States President George W. Bush? Where is the relentless daily thunder from Christian institutions against this endless cycle of inhuman atrocities? Think on these things. Then ponder the words of Felicity Arbuthnot under "Food For Thought". We refer to Felicity Arbuthnot and her writing regularly. She works mainly from a small flat in London and spends time travelling to speak, lecture and confer in the cause of humanity. She is not on the political "take" such that she prospers as do many talking heads who pontificate from the safety of cities in the West, or under guard in foreign hotels. Felicity Arbuthnot is a journalist and activist who has visited Iraq on numerous occasions since the 1991 Gulf War. She has written and broadcast widely on Iraq, her coverage of which was nominated for several awards. She was also Senior Researcher for John Pilger's award winning documentary Paying the Price - Killing the Children of Iraq . She has made the sacrifices and gone where others fear to tread, on the dangerous streets, towns, villages and highways of the Middle East.


We are not finished yet. The Coalition continues to bludgeon the ancient cultural structures of the Middle East with the concept of alien Western style "Democracy"; on the basis of flagrantly fabricated evidence, currently with the pretext to "liberate" the people of oil-rich Iraq and the concomitant loss of 10-12,000 lives, and still rising, since March, 2003. As Felicity Arbuthnot has said of the idiotic ramblings of American spokesman Brigadier General Mark Kimmit, "Are these people real?", when he said that the Iraqi people "will forgive us" for the appalling atrocities - worse, the flagrant cultural humiliation - of the Abu Ghraib prison. And when Coalition Provisional Authority (C.P.A.) Administrator, L. Paul Bremer, suggested that much had been achieved in Iraq, and "As anyone who's taken a minute and actually looked at the figures will tell you, the vast majority of the Iraqis are still alive, as many as 99 per cent. While 10,000 or so Iraqi civilians have been killed, pretty much everyone is not dead"!!! The hatred will endure, possibly for ever. Perhaps even worse, where do we see any sign of Christian conscience amongst Western Powers keen to launch the comparable liberation of sub-Saharan African people from the endless cycle of oppression and genocide? More ominous still, as Prime Minister Blair and his International Socialist confederates attempt to back the British people unsuspecting into an European "superstate" he would be adding a population of some 300,000,000 million to around 280,000,000 in the United States. So where is the focus of long-term Western strategic interests, when Western conglomerates are already rushing to outsource business to, and invest in, the nascent economies of India with 700,000,000 and China, with 1,000,000,000 people. The "national suicide" of Western investment in the former Soviet Union has to be a mere microcosm of what is to come in the international power-play.

Seeds Of United States Standards Of Conduct


In December, 1988, a bomb exploded over Lockerbie aboard Pan American Airways flight Pan-Am 103 with the loss of 259 lives. This was widely suspected to be the result of an American undercover operation to suppress evidence compromising President Ronald Reagan, but a relentless campaign has been waged in the West ever since to blame, and extract retribution from, Libya and its leader, Colonel Muammar Gadhafi. A few months earlier, in July, 1988, an Iranian airliner had been downed by a missile from the U.S.S. Vincennes, apparently in mistake for an attacking fighter aircraft, with the loss of all 290 aboard. With no investigation or court martial, this was written off by the sainted Ronald Reagan as "justifiable self-defence". Under the heading "Rockets will find their own targets", we learned from the United States that "these weapons":


. . . will tend to shift further the balance of power in favour of America, and may in this respect have an important bearing on future international negotiations. . . . Bombers capable of flying at stratospheric altitudes, at speeds faster than sound, carrying bomb loads of more than 100,000lb, and having sufficient range to attack any place in the world and return to a friendly base. . . . Electronic devices and new instruments which will be able to guide rockets to sources of heat, light and magnetism. Drawn by their own fuses, the rockets will streak unerringly to the heart of big factories, attracted by the heat of the furnaces. The devices are so sensitive that in the space of a large room they aim themselves at a man who enters, in reaction to the heat of his body.

These words were spoken by the then United States Chief of Staff, General George C. Marshal, and were reported in The Daily Telegraph and Morning Post of 10th September, 1945. Another precursor of the true nature of American conduct came from a report in the Wolverhampton Express and Star of the 15th December, 1945, captioned "German 'Drift Towards Despair' in U.S. Zone - They prefer life under British". Given the general chaos in Europe at that time, by comparison with the Americans, the Germans found that:

. . . the British [Zone] military government is "highly efficient and systematic". It is felt that law and order are maintained by the British and their property rights are maintained. . . . German resentment of American ways runs a long gamut from disgust over destruction of food left over by U.S. forces to open despair over alleged lawlessness. . . . The biggest complaint against the Americans is that "there is no justice." The Germans feel that men are arrested "without proper court proceedings and for no apparent reasons whatsoever and are not seen or heard of again."

As late as 1949 we had shades of Guantanamo and Al Ghraib in a report in the Manchester Guardian of the 5th March. Headed "Germans Forced to Confess", this dealt with the Malmedy massacre of American prisoners. In the heat of battle atrocities were undoubtedly committed by both sides, but we must also remember that there are strict codes of conduct in the treatment of prisoners of war, whatever their alleged crimes or otherwise. We must also remember two important factors. Firstly, the Allied Powers specifically did not enter the war with Germany as a result of German treatment of the Jews, which came later in the war, although sustained subsequent publicity has tended to infer otherwise. Secondly, this episode was specifically not about German treatment of the Jews. This was dealt with by the Nuremberg Trials of 1948, although there was at that time a strong American-Jewish Intelligence and Legal presence, and serious questions arose about the treatment of those accused. The Manchester Guardian "Report on U.S. Methods" concerned a Review Board set up to investigate only allegations of physical violence against those implicated in the Malmedy affair. We read that:


"[O]ccasionally" and "in the heat of the moment" physical force was used to obtain statements from Germans charged with war crimes. . . . The board found that some of the methods more generally used, such as isolation and deceit, might have been necessary, and that the more reprehensible methods of intimidation and violence were not systematically practised. The Americans used mock trials, threats to deprive relatives of suspects of food, "stool pigeons", and other "ruses and stratagems". Conditions at Schwäbisch Hall Prison Camp and the interrogation methods used "definitely tended to make the accused more amenable to giving statements". These practices sometimes "exceeded the bounds of propriety, " but the board could not identify which individuals suffered (Emphasis added).

Plus ça change!

AMERICA IN THE NEOCONSERVATIVE "NUTCRACKER"

Some Told, Some Concealed, But Truth Will Out


Milestones come and go, mostly conveniently forgotten. The strange "suicide" of senior government expert Dr David Kelly left many questions unanswered with persistent suggestions of liquidation and cover-up, but this was allowed to pass into history. In February, 2004, Telegraph Defence Editor John Keegan drew a fatuous comparison between the Irish Republican Army (I.R.A.), with its Marxist revolutionary credo, and so-called "terrorism" in Iraq. By doing so, he exposed his ignorance of fundamental differences in the cultural nature of an insurrection against an illegitimate invasion by the Coalition Forces and the underlying motivation for this. In April, 2004, details of abuse, torture and death at Abu Gharib Prison began to break, as did uncomfortable information on comparable British atrocities in the Basra sector. At about the same time embarrassing domestic publicity erupted over publication of pictures of the coffins of American dead returning home. Now, details of the American dead, and certainly the numbers and condition of their wounded, seem to have gone into a kind of Media "recession". At the beginning of May United States forces effectively ceded control of Fallujah to former Ba'athist troops. Amidst order and counter-order between Iraq and the Pentagon, former Republican Guard General Jasim Mohammed Saleh assumed command. Logically he should have been incarcerated, or become a fugitive, since the end of the formal military campaign along with the rest of Saddam Hussein's henchmen. Yet he arrived looking remarkably fit, well-fed, and well-groomed in his Iraqi uniform. No one seemed to ask how or why? During this period the duplicitous "45" minute claim; the justification for some 10,000 expendable Iraqi lives alone, fell apart, only to be forgotten again as Prime Minister and man of "Christian" principles, Tony Blair, escaped unscathed. Fifty British former diplomats, followed by a similar number of American former diplomats and retired senior officers launched a scathing attack on the invasion of Iraq and its conduct. Retired Marine General Anthony Zinni, former Commander in Chief, United States Central Command from 1997 - 2000, whose operational plans had been discarded, condemned the palpable absence of any proper subsequent analysis or operational planning. In this he was supported by a predecessor from 1991 - 1994, General Joseph P. Hoar. Zinni also exposed the role of leading neoconservatives in the Pentagon, who happen to be mainly of American-Jewish origin, and who "saw the invasion of Iraq as a way to stabilise American interests in the region and strengthen the position of Israel", only to be ritually condemned for his pains as anti-Semitic.

Of one inescapable truth there can no longer be any doubt. This is the virtual control of United States policies in the Middle East by organised American Jewry concurrently with ownership of, and control over, much of the Mass Communications Media. Equally so is the more subtle brake on meaningful foreign policy initiatives in the United Kingdom exercised by a small but very influential network of the Anglo-Jewish establishment behind both main political parties. Like the closely co-ordinated world-wide Zionist network, this is now a matter of record from both Jewish and non-Jewish sources(1). Any question about this reality arises from the risk to those willing openly to expose or challenge this power. David Mullenax, in the Augusta Free Press, wrote:

Israeli foreign policy is proving devastating if not fatal to America, in terms of American lives and treasure. But more distressing is the subtle and gradual erosion of liberties in our homeland spawned by the rise of what I will call Jewish supremacy - as witnessed by the actions of America's bought politicians and their Zionist speech writers. . . . In America, the threat of losing a job or a career proves effective at quieting those who speak out. The threat of boycotts against businesses and media outlets or a flood of angry callers to a dissident politician is usually sufficient. American politicians understand how the media can derail their aspirations in government, thus the public often finds them glorifying pro-Israeli issues.

Professor Saleh Abdel-Jawwad, of Beir Zeit University, for Al-Ahram Weekly, and the well-known American-Jewish Seymour Hersh, writing in The New Yorker, have both written extensively of the long-term involvement of Israel and its Mossad agents throughout the Middle East. In the present context this has particular relevance to the strategy of playing Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq off one against the other by the cynical manipulation of the Kurdish population, and pressure to precipitate war against Iraq to neutralise any potential threat to Israel. Here we have one obvious link to the true loyalties of organised American Jewry behind neoconservatism.

Thinking About Neoconservatism
By Kevin MacDonald

Kevin MacDonald is Professor of Psychology at California State University-Long Beach. His thoughtful and analytical Paper offers a dispassionate insight into what neoconservatism is all about, and how the American-Jewish faction operates within this framework.

Over the last year, there's been a torrent of articles on neoconservatism raising (usually implicitly) some vexing issues: Are neoconservatives different from other conservatives? Is neoconservatism a Jewish movement? Is it "anti Semitic" to say so? The dispute between the neoconservatives and more traditional conservatives "palaeocon-servatives" [Palaeo; ancient, old, earlier] is especially important because the latter now find themselves on the outside, looking in on the conservative power structure. Hopefully, some of the venom has been taken out of this argument by the remarkable recent article by neoconservative "godfather" Irving Kristol ("The Neoconservative Persuasion," Weekly Standard, 25th August, 2003). With commendable frankness, Kristol admitted that:

. . . the historical task and political purpose of neoconservatism would seem to be this: to convert the Republican Party, and American conservatism in general, against their respective wills, into a new kind of conservative politics suitable to governing a modern democracy.

And, equally frankly, Kristol eschewed any attempt to justify United States support for Israel in terms of American national interest:

[L]arge nations, whose identity is ideological, like the Soviet Union of yesteryear and the United States of today, inevitably have ideological interests in addition to more material concerns. . . . That is why we feel it necessary to defend Israel today, when its survival is threatened. No complicated geopolitical calculations of national interest are necessary.


If the United States is an "ideological" nation, this can only mean that the motivations of neoconservative ideology are a legitimate subject of intellectual inquiry. For example, it is certainly true that the neoconservatives' foreign policy fits well with a plausible version of Jewish interests, but is arguably only tenuously related to the interests of the United States. Also, neoconservatives oppose the isolationism of important sections of traditional American conservatism. And neoconservative attitudes on issues like race and immigration differ profoundly from those of traditional mainstream conservatives but resemble closely the common attitudes of the wider American Jewish community.

Count me among those who accept that the Jewish commitment of leading neoconservatives has become a critical influence on United States policies, and that the effectiveness of the neoconservatives is greatly enhanced by their alliance with the organised Jewish community. In my opinion, this conclusion is based on solid data and reasonable inferences. But like any other theory, of course, it is subject to reasoned discussion and disproof. We shouldn't be surprised by the importance of ethnicity in human affairs. Nor should we be intimidated by charges of anti-Semitism. We should be able to discuss these issues openly and honestly. This is a practical matter, not a moral one.

Ethnic politics in the United States are certainly not limited to Jewish activism. They are an absolutely normal phenomenon throughout history and around the world. But for well over half a century, with rare exceptions, Jewish influence has been off limits for rational discussion. Now, however, as the United States acquires an empire in the Middle East, this ban must inevitably fall away. My views on these issues are shaped by my research on several other influential Jewish dominated intellectual and political movements, including the Boasian school of anthropology, Freudian psychoanalysis, the Frankfurt School of Social Research [The Institute for Social Research(2)], Marxism and several other movements of the radical left, as well as the movement to change the ethnic balance of the United States by allowing mass, non-traditional immigration. My conclusion: Contemporary neoconservatism fits into the general pattern of Jewish intellectual and political activism I have identified in my work.

I am not, of course, saying that all Jews, or even most Jews, supported these movements. Nor did these movements work in concert: some were intensely hostile to one another. I am saying, however, that the key figures in these movements identified in some sense as Jews and viewed their participation as in some sense advancing Jewish interests. In all of the Jewish intellectual and political movements I studied, there is a strong Jewish identity among the core figures. All centre on charismatic Jewish leaders people such as Boas, Trotsky and Freud who are revered as messianic, god like figures.


Neoconservatism's key founders trace their intellectual ancestry to the "New York Intellectuals", a group that originated as followers of Trotskyite theoretician Max Schactman in the 1930s and centred around influential journals like Partisan Review and Commentary (which is in fact published by the American Jewish Committee). In the case of neoconservatives, their early identity as radical leftist disciples shifted as there began to be evidence of anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union. Key figures in leading them out of the political left were philosopher Sidney Hook and Elliot Cohen, editor of Commentary. Such men as Hook, Irving Kristol, Norman Podhoretz, Nathan Glazer and Seymour Martin Lipset, were deeply concerned about anti-Semitism and other Jewish issues. Many of them worked closely with Jewish activist organisations. After the 1950s, they became increasingly disenchanted with leftism. Their overriding concern was the welfare of Israel.

By the 1970s, the neoconservatives were taking an aggressive stance against the Soviet Union, which they saw as a bastion of anti-Semitism and opposition to Israel. Richard Perle was the prime organizer of Congressional support for the 1974 Jackson Vanik Amendment which angered the Soviet Union by linking bilateral trade issues to freedom of emigration, primarily of Jews from the Soviet Union to Israel and the United States. Current key leaders include an astonishing number of individuals well placed to influence the Bush Administration: (Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, I. Lewis Libby, Elliott Abrams, David Wurmser, Abram Shulsky), interlocking media and think-tankdom (Bill Kristol, Michael Ledeen, Stephen Bryen, John Podhoretz, Daniel Pipes), and the academic world (Richard Pipes, Donald Kagan)(3). As the neoconservatives lost faith in radical leftism, several key neoconservatives became attracted to the writings of Leo Strauss, a classicist and political philosopher at the University of Chicago. Strauss had a very strong Jewish identity and viewed his philosophy as a means of ensuring Jewish survival in the Diaspora. As he put it in a 1962 Hillel House lecture, later republished in Leo Strauss: Political Philosopher and Jewish Thinker:

I believe I can say, without any exaggeration, that since a very, very early time the main theme of my reflections has been what is called the 'Jewish 'Question'.


Strauss has become a cult figure the quintessential rabbinical guru with devoted disciples. While Strauss and his followers have come to be known as neoconservatives and have even claimed to be simply "conservatives" there is nothing conservative about their goals. This is most obviously the case in foreign policy, where they are attempting to rearrange the entire Middle East in the interests of Israel. But it is also the case with domestic policy, where acceptance of rule by an aristocratic elite would require a complete political transformation. Strauss believed that this aristocracy would be compatible with Jewish interests. Strauss notoriously described the need for an external exoteric language directed at outsiders, and an internal esoteric language directed at ingroup members. In other words, the masses had to be deceived. But actually this is a general feature of the movements I have studied. They invariably frame issues in language that appeals to non-Jews, rather than explicitly in terms of Jewish interests. The most common rhetoric used by Jewish intellectual and political movements has been the language of moral universalism and the language of science languages that appeal to the educated elites of the modern Western world. But beneath the rhetoric it is easy to find statements expressing the Jewish agendas of the principal actors. For example, anthropologists under the leadership of Boas viewed their crusade against the concept of "Race" as, in turn, combatting anti-Semitism. They also saw their theories as promoting the ideology of cultural pluralism, which served perceived Jewish interests because the United States would be seen as consisting of many co-equal cultures rather than as a European Christian society.

Similarly, psychoanalysts commonly used their theories to portray anti-Jewish attitudes as symptoms of psychiatric disorder. Conversely, the earlier generation of American Jewish Trotskyites ignored the horrors of the Soviet Union until the emergence there of state sponsored anti-Semitism. Neoconservatives have certainly appealed to American patriotic platitudes in advocating war throughout the Middle East gushing about spreading American democracy and freedom to the area, while leaving unmentioned their own strong ethnic ties and family links to Israel. Michael Lind has called attention to the neoconservatives' "odd bursts of ideological enthusiasm for 'democracy'" odd because these calls for democracy and freedom throughout the Middle East are also coupled with support for the Likud Party and other like minded groups in Israel that are driven by a vision of an ethnocentric, expansionist Israel that, to outside observers at least, bears an unmistakable (albeit unmentionable) resemblance to apartheid South Africa.


These inconsistencies of the neoconservatives are not odd or surprising. The Straussian idea is to achieve the aims of the elite ingroup by using language designed for mass appeal. War for "democracy and freedom" sells much better than a war explicitly aimed at achieving the foreign policy goals of Israel. Neoconservatives have responded to charges that their foreign policy has a Jewish agenda by labelling any such analysis as "anti-Semitic". Similar charges have been echoed by powerful activist Jewish organizations like the Anti Defamation League (A.D.L.) and the Simon Wiesenthal Centre. But at the very least, Jewish neoconservatives like Paul Wolfowitz, who were deeply involved in pushing for the war in Iraq, should frankly discuss how their close family and personal ties to Israel have affected their attitudes on United States foreign policy in the Middle East. Wolfowitz, however, has refused to discuss this issue beyond terming such suggestions "disgraceful". A common argument is that neoconservatism is not Jewish because of the presence of various non Jews amongst their ranks. But in fact, the ability to recruit prominent non Jews, while nevertheless maintaining a Jewish core and a commitment to Jewish interests, has been a hallmark perhaps the key hallmark of influential Jewish intellectual and political movements throughout the 20th century. Freud commented famously on the need for a non Jew to represent psychoanalysis, a role played by Ernest Jones and C. G. Jung. Margaret Mead and Ruth Benedict were the public face of Boasian anthropology. And, although Jews represented over half the membership of both the Socialist Party and the Communist Party U.S.A. at various times, neither party ever had Jews as presidential candidates and no Jew held the top position in the Communist Party U.S.A. after 1929.


In all the Jewish intellectual and political movements I reviewed, non Jews have been accepted and given highly visible roles. Today, those roles are played most prominently by Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld whose ties with neoconservatives go back many years. It makes excellent psychological sense to have the spokesmen for any movement resemble the people they are trying to convince. In fact, neoconservatism is rather unusual in the degree to which policy formulation as opposed to implementation is so predominantly Jewish. Perhaps this reflects United States conditions in the late 20th Century. All the Jewish intellectual and political movements I studied were typified by a deep sense of orthodoxy a sense of "us versus them". Dissenters are expelled, usually amid character assassination and other recriminations. This has certainly been a feature of the neoconservative movement. The classic recent example of this " We vs. They" world is David Frum's attack on "unpatriotic conservatives" as anti-Semites. Any conservative who opposes the Iraq war as contrary to United States interests and who notes the pro Israeli motivation of many of the important players, is not to be argued with, but eradicated; "We turn our backs on them". This is not the spirit out of which the Anglo American parliamentary tradition was developed, and in fact was not endorsed by other non Jewish pro war conservatives.

Jewish intellectual and political movements have typically had ready access to prestigious mainstream media channels, and this is certainly true for the neoconservatives. The anchoring by the Washington Post of the columns of Charles Krauthammer and Robert Kagan, and by the New York Times of William Safire's illustrates this. But probably more important recently has been the invariable summoning of neoconservatives to represent the "conservative" line on the Television Networks. Is it unreasonable to suppose that this may be somewhat influenced by the famously heavy Jewish role in these operations?

Immigration policy provides a valuable acid test for the proposition that neoconservatism is actually a vehicle for perceived Jewish ethnic interests. I believe I have been able to demonstrate that pro immigration elements in American public life have, for over a century, been largely led, funded, energised and organized by the Jewish community. American Jews have taken this line, with a few isolated exceptions, because they have believed, as Leonard S. Glickman, President and Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O.), of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (H.I.A.S.), has bluntly stated: "The more diverse American society is the safer [Jews] are." Having run out of Russian Jews, the H.I.A.S. is now deeply involved in recruiting refugees from Africa.


When, in the middle 1990s an immigration reform movement arose amongst American conservatives, the reaction of the neoconservatives ranged from cold to hostile. No positive voice was permitted on the Op Ed page of the Wall Street Journal, by then a neoconservative domain. (Perhaps significantly, a more recent exception has been a relatively favourable review of the anti illegal immigration book Mexifornia [Play on California] whose author, the military historian Victor Davis Hanson, has distinguished himself by the extreme hawkishness of his views on the Middle East.). The main vehicle of immigration reform sentiment, National Review, once a bastion of traditional conservative thought, was quite quickly captured by neoconservatives and its opposition to immigration reduced to nominal. Prior to the post 9-11 United States invasion of the Middle East, this suppression of the immigration reform impulse among conservatives was probably the single most important contribution of the neoconservatives to the course of United States history. It may yet prove to be the most disastrous.

LEST WE FORGET - CRIMES AGAINST IRAQ

Clausewitz postulated that war was a continuation of political objectives by other means; in other words the pursuit of national "interests". Historically, more sophisticated and venturesome societies explored the world and extracted resources desirable, and progressively essential to what we know as the Western "way of life" a return on investment as it were. After two world wars in the Twentieth Century, first The League of Nations, and then the United Nations, were founded as a form of consensus global government to bring justice to all. In practice the United States has ruled in its own dominant interests increasingly since the latter half of the last century into the Third Millennium. Thus the old colonial exploitation has continued under the euphemistic banner of a largely complaisant United Nations. From her hands-on experience, Felicity Arbuthnot has written in the following two pieces precisely what this has meant for the ordinary people of Iraq.

Thirteen Years Of Sanctions
By Felicity Arbuthnot, 8th April, 2004

When Martti Ahtisaari, then Special Rapporteur to the United Nations, visited Iraq in March 1991, just after the end of the Gulf War, he wrote: "Nothing we had heard or read could have prepared us for this particular devastation a country reduced to a pre industrial age for a considerable time to come." United Nations reports on Iraq's water, electricity, health care, and education in 1989 described Iraq as near First World standards. The country was regarded as having the most sophisticated medical facilities in the Middle East. The embargo, implemented on Hiroshima Day, 1990, to pressure Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait, had an almost instant negative impact. Iraq imported a broad range of items, 70 per cent of everything, from pharmaceuticals to film, educational materials to parts for the electricity grid, water purifying chemicals to everything necessary for waste management; and at the consumer level also, almost everything that a developed society takes for granted was imported.


With all trade denied, the Iraqi dinar (ID), worth US$3 in 1989, became virtually worthless: ID250, formerly US$750 did not even buy a postage stamp in neighbouring Jordan. Staple foods multiplied up to 11,000 fold in price. With no trade, unemployment spiralled and many in a country where obesity had been a problem faced hunger and deprivation. The United States and United Kingdom driven United Nations sanctions, in fact, mirrored a pitiless Middle Ages siege. With Iraq's withdrawal from Kuwait the embargo should have been lifted, but a further relentless United States and United Kingdom driven "war of moving goal posts" began, and the majority of children in Iraq who are fourteen years old now have never known a normal childhood. Even birthday parties, Eid celebrations and Christmas and Easter celebrations for Christians became victims; few had the money for the feast or the gifts.

Ten months after the war, I stood in the pediatric intensive care unit of Baghdad's formerly flagship Pediatric Teaching Hospital. A young couple stood, faces frozen with terror, as a nurse tried frantically to clear the airway of their perfect, tiny, premature baby. There was no suction equipment. "It is at a time like this, all your training becomes a reflex action," remarked my companion, Doctor Janet Cameron, from Glasgow, Scotland, and in a unit like this, you know exactly where everything will be but there is nothing here." The fledgling life turned from pink to an ethereal grey, to blue, flickered, and went out. Since then, over a million lives have gone out due to "embargo related causes," a silent holocaust initiated on Hiroshima Day. Doctors were remarking in bewilderment at the rise in childhood cancers and in birth deformities, which they were ironically comparing with those they had seen in textbooks after the nuclear testing in the Pacific Islands in the 1950s. In 1991, only the United States and the United Kingdom's top military planners knew that they had used radioactive and chemically toxic depleted uranium (D.U.) weapons against the Iraqis. Just weeks later, the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Agency wrote a "self initiated" report and sent it to the United Kingdom Government, warning that if "fifty tonnes of the residual D.U. dust" had been left "in the region" there would, they estimated, be 500,000 extra cancer deaths by the end of the century (the year 2000). The Pentagon eventually admitted to an estimate of 325 tons; some independent analysts estimate as much as 900 tons. Estimates of the added burden of last year's (2003) illegal invasion are that up to a further 2,000 tons of the residual dust remain to poison water, fauna, flora and to be inhaled by the population and the occupiers, causing cancers and genetic mutations in the yet to be conceived. D.U. remains radioactive for 4,500,000,000 years. Some scientists estimate that it will still be poisoning the earth, the unborn, the newborn "when the sun goes out." Iraq, the land of ancient Mesopotamia like Afghanistan and the Balkans has become a silent potential "Weapon of Mass Destruction" for the population and geographical neighbours.


Ironically, as cancers spiralled, the United Nations Sanctions Committee added to its limitless list of items denied to Iraq, treatment for cancers (and heart disease) since they contain minute amounts of radio-active materials. Iraqi scientists, they argued, might extract the radioactive materials from these medications and make weapons from them. One exasperated expert commented, "Even were the technology available and it is not one would probably need to extract the radioactivity from every pill and intravenous treatment on earth, to make one crude device." So little Iraqis, in their irradiated land, could only suffer the most lethal effects of radiation but were denied all of the therapeutic ones in the name of "We the people of the United Nations" a United Nations to which, incidentally, Iraq was one of the first signatories.

In the West, 70 per cent of cancers are now largely curable or with long remissions. In Iraq they are almost always a death sentence. On another early visit after the war, I went to a ward where just two small boys, aged three and five lay alone, in an attempt to isolate them. They had acute myeloid leukemia and hopelessly compromised immune systems, rendering them vulnerable to any infection. The three year old, whose name translated as "the vital one", was covered with bruises from the leaking capillaries bleeding internally and rigid with pain. There was not even an aspirin available. His eyes were full of unshed tears and I realized he had taught himself not to cry sobs would rack his agonized little body further. Leaving, I stooped to stroke the face of the five year old, who was in an identical condition. In a gesture that must have cost more than could ever be imagined, he reached and clutched my hand tightly, as do children everywhere, responding to affection. I left the ward, leaned against a wall and prayed that the ground would open and swallow me. I wrote at the time, "I now know it is actually possible to die of shame."


Families would sell all they had to buy cancer and other vital medication on the black market, and since hospitals no longer had the requisite equipment to test it, could not even check to ensure it was safe. I remember an enchanting three year old, the bane of the doctors, his energy levels and mischief belying his precarious health. As I was talking to Doctor Selma Haddad, a man burst through the door and thrust a small packet into her hand. She looked at it, then said to me, "This is his uncle, he is the last one in the family with anything left to sell. He has sold all he has for 500 milligrams of medication. This child needs 800 milligrams a month, for a year." When, occasionally, pitiful amounts of medication came in, doctors gave half the needed dose so the next patient would have some, too rendering effectiveness virtually nil. They would meticulously write the patient's protocol (dosage, medication, amount, time to administer) on used paper, writing between the lines, and between the between, on cardboard, on anything (paper was vetoed by the United Nations Sanctions Committee) then solemnly write under each item, NIA, NIA, NIA not available. Sometimes just one would be available in half a dose. I remember Ali, eighteen months, lying nearly unconscious in his mother's arms in the packed child cancer clinic. "With bone marrow transplant, we could do something, but there is nothing," said Doctor Haddad. The mother begged and pleaded, but beds and even palliative care were for the glimmer of chances, not for the small no hopers, such was the total destruction of a fine, free, sophisticated health service. Leaving the hospital, I found Ali's mother sitting on the ground, leaning against one of the great white entrance pillars, in her black abaya, her tears streaming onto his small, still face. "How do you cope?"

I asked Doctor Haddad on one visit, doctors who have all the skills and knowledge yet no ability to treat those they care so passionately about. She thought for a moment, then said quietly, "I take them all home with me, in my heart." In a way, she said, the older children were the hardest. She sat on Ezra's bed, holding her hand and stroking her hair. "They know they are going to die." Ezra was beautiful, 17 years old, and the cancer had paralysed her central nervous system. But it had not prevented her crying. She had been crying for three weeks, because she wanted to go home, to complete her studies, to go to university and graduate. Most of all, she wanted to live. As I left, her grandmother grabbed my hand, "Please," she begged, "take her with you, make her better." Parents, grandparents, made the same plea, again and again. They did not ask where you were from, who you were, or for their beloved back, just, please, take him or her and make them well again. Then there was Jassim. In the same ward as Ezra, he lay with his huge eyes and glossy hair, listlessly viewing the barren ward. He had been selling cigarettes on the streets of Basra to support his family until he became ill. "This is Felicity and she writes for a living," said Doctor Haddad. Jassim was transformed; he glowed and showed me the poems he spent his days writing, when he still had the energy. He collected phrases, too, to incorporate where he thought appropriate. I told him all writers collect words and phrases, they are our tools. He glowed again, delighting that he was being understood and that his instincts were guiding him correctly along his passionate path. "I asked death, 'What is greater than you?' Death replied, 'Separation of lovers is greater than me,'" was one of his collected phrases. He was 13. One of his poems was called "The Identity Card." In translation, it reads:

The name is love,

The class is mindless,
The school is suffering,
The governorate is sadness,
The city is sighing,
The street is misery,
The home number is one thousand sighs.

He watched my face for reaction. Lost for words, eventually I said, "Jassim, if you can write like this at thirteen, think what you will do at twenty." I asked him if I could incorporate his poem in articles from that visit and said I would send them back to him, so he would see it in print. Some weeks later, I did just that and sent cuttings back to him with a friend and imagined him glowing again. He had fought and fought, but lost his battle just before my friend arrived. He never saw his poem in print and became just another statistic in the "collateral damage" of sanctions by the most inhuman regime ever overseen by the United Nations, which arguably condemned the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child the most widely signed convention in history to the dust, to the mass of graves of Iraq's children, resulting from the embargo years.


Children that survived, wrote Professor Magne Raundalen, possibly the world's foremost expert on children in war zones, who heads the Centre for Crisis Studies, in Bergen, Norway, were "amongst the most traumatised child population" on earth. And there was no chance of recovery. Count Hans von Sponeck, who resigned as United Nations Coordinator in Iraq, like his predecessor Denis Halliday (who had cited the sanctions he was there to oversee as generating "the destruction of an entire nation, it is as simple and terrifying as that"), spoke not only of medical and nutritional problems, but "intellectual genocide." School books were vetoed. All professionals doctors, engineers, architects qualified from 1989 course material. An Iraqi doctor qualifying in 2003 was fourteen years behind in clinical developments, though never in commitment. Children, Iraq's future, were also marooned in the academia of the 1980s. Isolation was searing. On one visit, this writer was asked for a radio interview and the usual ground rules were laid down: no politics. It was a pleasant half hour of history, culture and only mildest current politics. Then the presenter said that all guests were asked to select a piece of music and dedicate it to whom they wished. ("We like to think of ourselves as Baghdad's B.B.C. Radio 3"). I chose Stevie Wonder's "I Just Called to Say I Love You" and dedicated it to the children of Iraq. The next day I had a crash course in human relations. I was repeatedly stopped in the street, whispered to at a conference, by people from all walks of life. Was I the lady on the radio last night? On affirmation, the comment was always virtually the same: "Thank you so much, we are so isolated, my wife (or husband) was in tears, I was in tears, my children . . . thank you." And no, I know orchestration; this was not.

Several years ago, I talked to the young who should have had all before them a social mixture, between 18 and 21 years old and asked them about their hopes, dreams and fears. None had a dream. "I dream of having enough milk for my baby," said a young mother. "I am too tired to dream," said a youth who had dreamed of being a doctor, but was working in a smelt, in the searing heat of a Baghdad summer, to help support his family. A vibrant, beautiful young woman from a formerly privileged family waited until her mother had left the room and whispered, "Nothing awaits us, only death." She was 18. And for much of the country there were the often daily, ongoing bombings of the patrolling by the United States and United Kingdom of the "No Fly Zones" or misnamed "Safe Havens" in the north and south; an illegal exercise not sanctioned by the United Nations. For reasons unknown, aircraft returning to their bases in Turkey and Saudi Arabia routinely bombed flocks of sheep and with them the child shepherds who minded them. An abiding memory is of watching a tiny illiterate woman, who had lost her three children the youngest 5 and the oldest 13 her husband and father in law to one of these bombings, as she walked with leaden feet to their graves in a tiny dusty cemetery near the northern city of Mosul. She sat hunched, fetal, on the smallest grave, that of five year old Sulaiman. Their flock of nearly 200 sheep were also blasted to pieces on a barren plain where they would have been visible for exactly what they were. "We searched all day for parts to bury," said a villager who had rushed down to help, on hearing the bombing. Then he lowered his eyes and whispered, "There was so little recognizable, we still don't know whether the graves contain all human or some sheep remains." Asked why flocks of sheep were being bombed, the British Ministry of Defence surreally responded, "We reserve the right to take robust action, when threatened." At St. Matthew's Monastery on Mount Maqloub, which overlooks the plain, the priest in charge commented of the bombings, "Every day, there are new widows, new widowers, new orphans." Then he said solemnly, "Please, will you tell your Mister Tony Blair that he is a very, very bad man. The ancient monastery is Iraq's Lourdes, where people of all religious beliefs bring their sick to the site of the saint's believed burial, to benefit from the healing powers legend holds he still possesses from the grave. The ongoing grief and carnage on the plains below were in contrast to all the monks and monastery stood for. The gentle, sorrowful admonition from a spiritual soul was especially poignant.

Forgotten, too, are the major bombing blitzes over the years. In 1993 there were two massive attacks on Baghdad: one a "good bye" from outgoing President George Bush Senior and the other a "hello" from incoming William Jefferson Clinton. The second one killed, among others, the talented artist Laila Al Attar. Days later I stood by the crater that had been her home. "When they lifted her out, she looked like a beautiful broken doll," a friend said quietly. Al Attar ran the Museum of Modern Art. She was also the artist responsible for the mosaic face of George Bush Senior on the steps of the Al Rashid Hotel. The death of her and her family by a "precision" guided missile can, of course, only be a freak coincidence. The year 1996 saw further bombings, as did 1998. All the planners predicted the 1998 bombing would begin on February 23rd, "the darkest night": maximum cloud cover for the planes. That day I went to interview Leila, yet another of the embargo's victims with a tragic tale to tell. Her large front room was empty: she had sold all her furniture to survive and provide. As we talked, the room filled up with neighbourhood children, creeping in, quiet as proverbial mice, sitting on the floor, watching my every move a stranger and foreigner was a treat in isolated Iraq. When I left, dusk was failing, and they followed me out to the battered car (spare parts vetoed); about 50 of them, between maybe 3 and 13 years old. As we pulled away, they ran beside the car in a joyous wave, laughing, waving, and blowing kisses. When they could no longer keep up, I looked back; they had formed a little group in the centre of the road, still laughing, waving, and blowing kisses. Photographer Karen Robinson and I looked at each other, stricken, and said in unison, "We are going to bomb them tonight . . ." I went back to my hotel, lay on the bed, and wept.


In the event, public protest halted a February blitz. In December, Prime Minister Blair stood in front of a resplendent Christmas tree outside Number 10 Downing Street and announced a seasonal gift for Iraq: a four day onslaught on a decimated country, where nearly half the population were under 16 years and the average nutritional values were below those of Eritrea. February, 2000, saw another attack, another "hello", from another George Bush. An elegant school principal broke down in front of me, encapsulating the pain and desperation: "My son is a doctor in Washington, why are they doing this to us?" She sobbed. Earlier, a 10 year old pupil had told me, poignantly, "When there is a bombing, my father goes and stands outside the gate to protect us and our home." In July, 2001, a shameful admission was extracted from Benon Sevan, head of the United Nations Iraq Programme: the money allotted for food for Iraqis was US$100 per capita per year, less than that allotted for the United Nation's sniffer dogs used in de mining in northern Iraq. In spite of the grinding misery for most of the embargo years, one event changed the national psyche. In 1999, Baghdad International Airport reopened, with those of Mosul and Basra, rebuilt with creativity and inventiveness. The United Nations, under pressure from the United States, did all it could to prevent international flights. Lloyd's of London mysteriously withdrew insurance. Airlines were threatened that if they flew to Baghdad, they would be denied landing rights in the United States. In one case a flight from Athens to Baghdad, arranged by former Greek First Lady, Papandreou the United Nations demanded the names and occupations of all passengers. Assured by the United Nations that it was entirely confidential to them, the passengers agreed. In less than three minutes, Madam Papandreou's phone rang: It was the United States Embassy complaining about some names on the passenger list. Like others, though, the flight finally arrived. "There are tears in our eyes, every time a plane lands," remarked an Iraqi friend. Isolation had been as grinding as deprivation.


Iraq Airways was integral to the national psyche. Many of its offices stayed open during the embargo years, even though its aircraft were stranded throughout the Middle East. International flight manuals, too, were vetoed, so courteous staff perused August 1990 schedules and then solemnly said it might be more accurate to telephone Jordan. With the airports opening, and a single proud Iraq Airways plane again flying between Mosul, Baghdad, and Basra, the collective consciousness visibly changed, pride and hope returned. Shop windows began to sparkle again, traders rose at dawn and hosed the pavements, stock was dusted and rearranged, shutters, blinds, and buildings were repainted and refurbished, and the arts again flourished. Francois Dubois, heading the United Nations Development Programme, had a passion for Iraq equalling that of Halliday and von Sponeck. A fluent Arabic speaker, he had spent the years of the Lebanese civil war there, then headed for the complexities of Iraq. Almost single handed, he encouraged, funded, and advised the restoration of art galleries, sculpture exhibits, music, and theatre. Where artistic life had sunk under the weight of everyday living, it was rekindled and nourished, and it flourished. Few could afford to buy exhibits, but the spirit grew again and haunting beauty was born again. Creativity flourished at every level inventive architecture, superb woodwork. Iraqis were looking forward and outward again. A week before last year's (2003) invasion, in Mosul, I watched the joyous flocks of birds sweep and sing across the corniche in peach streaked dawns and dusks. As I left for Baghdad, I jumped at the sound of a bird of a different kind, the roar of a low flying aircraft, having come within minutes of annihilation from the United States and United Kingdom bombings on several occasions. The driver and translator laughed and pointed skywards with a tangible pride. "It is ours, ours," they said as the sun glinted on the great white form with its green Iraq Airways insignia. Less than a month later, I sat in London with a sociology professor from Mosul University as she drew her breath in horror as Saddam's statue toppled, his head pulled along the street. It was not the destruction of Saddam's image, but of what like many statues and monuments built in the mists of time made Mesopotamia. It was destruction of future history. Flicking channels, we watched as Mosul University, Museum, and Library were looted, ransacked, burned. "No, no, not my university, not my home . . . " She was inconsolable and incredulous. Then came the scenes of Baghdad Airport: "secured," destroyed, with a great white broken bird, the green insignia just visible, lying on the runway. The airport immediately became a symbol of repression, not freedom, Iraq's own Guantanamo, with the imprisoned largely unaccounted for. Reports are that 300 people are also buried there, equally unaccounted for. The great, regal, centuries old palm groves that fringed the road and perimeters have been bulldozed, like Palestine's olives. There is a memorial in Basra to Iraq Airways. It reads, "Iraq Airways 1947 1990". Iraq Airways rose from the ashes, like Iraq itself has done after so many invasions. Both surely will again. In the phoenix year of Iraq Airways, I gained an interview with Tariq Aziz on behalf of Middle East International. It included a modern history lesson: "Iraqis are very quick to revolt, as they did in 1921, 1931, 1947, 1957 and 1968," he said (neatly omitting the United States encouraged uprising of 1991). Watching ominous recent "liberation" linked events, one is tempted to add "and 2004." Ironically, it is the residents of Sadr City, who were bribed by the Americans to fill the square as the statue fell, who are now leading the uprising against them. Viceroy Bremer and the planners of this dangerous, feckless oil grab would have done well to have read up on Iraq's modern history.

Crimes in Iraq - "As American as Apple Pie"
By Felicity Arbuthnot, Islamonline, 14th May 2004


There must be more ignorance in the Western world than most thought, since surprise seems to be the dominant reaction to the appalling evidence of alleged gruesome, barbaric and inhuman treatment of Iraqi prisoners by United States troops and the mercenaries employed by them. The British largely appear unable to believe that "our boys" are capable of similar treatment towards detainees in their jurisdiction, in spite of graphic descriptions by The Independent's Robert Fisk. However, "our boys," with their American allies of the 1991 Coalition, buried young Iraqi conscripts alive in Iraq's southern desert. Youthful Iraqis were simply bulldozed into trenches, according to a British Army chaplain in an interview with this writer. Other soldiers tell of playing football with the heads of the dead and taking "souvenir" photographs, standing on or by burned out Iraqi tanks and vehicles often with the near incinerated dead still inside. Some are ashamed now, some are mentally unstable, unable to live with their actions, some committed suicide but they did these things on their own admission and of their own free will. War brings its own particular inhumanity and insanity. Perhaps the self evident lawlessness of an illegal invasion brings yet another dimension, one beyond shame and almost beyond comprehension. Is Abu Ghraib an "isolated incident"? Of course not! America is the country that brought the world the horrors of Guantanamo Bay .


Remember what their troops are capable of when they have real scope: the carnage of the Basra Road, General Schwarzkopf's "Turkey Shoot" of fleeing humanity long after the cease-fire had been signed. "No one left to kill" he announced after the cease-fire but his military managed to anyway(4). Asked if he had estimates of Iraqis killed in the forty two day onslaught, the General replied, "Frankly, it's not a number I'm much interested in". Indeed! Then as now. Even a cursory perusal of William Blum's shocking account of United States policies over successive Administrations shows destabilisation, torture and ill treatment(5). from Central and South America to Africa, throughout the Middle East, Far East, tiny Grenada (a "Communist threat") where, amongst others, the patients of a psychiatric home were killed; organizing a coup in the tranquil Seychelles, as well as endless meddling, destabilisation and resultant murder in Iraq, about which, in the 1970s, Henry Kissinger remarked that, "Covert action should not be confused with missionary work." Ironically, Iraq's ridiculous desert booted, Wall Street suited, isolated "Viceroy", Paul Bremer, is a former employee of Kissinger Associates. As the United States and United Kingdom rail against "rogue states," they contaminate the Middle East with chemically toxic and radioactive Depleted Uranium bombs and bullets that, with a half life of four and a half billion years, will, say some scientists, still be poisoning the earth and all that grows on it "until the sun goes out"; they slaughter in the name of a War on "Terrorism", "Freedom", "Democracy" and "Winning hearts and minds". Yes, let's talk "rogue states." One could choose numerous countries at random from Blum's book, but since the United States is now mooting the idea of embracing South America in its "Wild West" war (odd how all the targeted countries are rich in oil, mineral mines, gems, and other useful assets but had no nationals on the 9-ll airplanes) here's Blum's catchy heading on Uruguay 1964 to 1970: Torture As American As Apple Pie.

"The precise pain, in the precise amount, for the desired effect." The words of an instructor in the art of torture, Dan Mitrione, the Head of the Office of Public Safety (O.P.S.) mission in Uruguay's capital, Monte-video. O.P.S. was a division of the (United States ) Agency for International Development. Mitrione arrived in Uruguay at a time of unrest, monetary collapse resulting in demonstrations, and "resourceful, sophisticated urban guerrilla actions" organized by the Tupamaros "with a deft touch for capturing the public imagination . . . members and secret partisans held key positions in government, banks, universities and professions (and) military and the police." Quoting the New York Times, Blum records that, " . . . the Tuparamos avoided bloodshed where possible [and aimed] to embarrass the Government." They also raided files of private corporations and exposed corruption in high places. Although the Uruguayan police had used torture, Mitrione "instituted torture as a more routine measure," according to former Head of Police Intelligence Alejandro Otero. There was "added scientific refinement . . . and psychology to increase despair," such as "playing a tape in the next room of women and children screaming, and telling the prisoner it was his family being tortured." Mitrione, writes Blum, built a soundproof room in the cellar of his residence and assembled police officers to demonstrate his refined torture methods. " . . . as subjects for testing," beggars were taken off the streets of Montevideo "and women taken, apparently, from the frontier area of Brazil." Chemical substances and differing electrical voltages were used . . . four died, according to a C.I.A. double agent, Manuel Hevia, a Cuban, who worked with Mitrione. He returned to Cuba and blew the whistle. As with those at Abu Ghraib, Mitrione described this as "softening up".


In July, 1970, Mitrione was kidnapped and found dead ten days later in a stolen car. In his home town of Richmond, Indiana, Secretary of State William Rogers and Richard Nixon's son in law, David Eisenhower, attended the funeral of the City's former Chief of Police. Frank Sinatra and Jerry Lewis joined the mourners, also staging a benefit gig for Mitrione's family. White House spokesman, Ron Ziegier, stated that, "Mr. Mitrione's devoted service to the cause of peaceful progress in an orderly world will remain as an example for man everywhere." "A perfect man," said his widow. "A great humanitarian," said his daughter Laura. Since the "V" [Vietnam] word is increasingly surfacing in comparison to Iraq, Vietnam, also of the Mitrione era, is worth revisiting for the comparison of United States troops in liberating a population "in a far away place of which we know nothing" . "American troops arrived in Vietnam looking for the kind of war they knew all about a war of decisive battles and quick victories." With concentration on " . . . overwhelmingly powerful weapons on a lightly armed opponent"(6). Troops were given cursory training in local culture and courtesies, those considered friends and those considered foes here we go again; bad guys and good guys. But, like the Arab world, to the young and inexperienced troops who had mostly never left their home states, all the "Gooks" looked the same. "We'd end up shooting at everything men, women, kids and buffalo," said John Paul Vann, subject of Neil Sheehan's uniquely salutary Bright Shining Lie(7).

The late Martha Gellhorn, another gimlet eyed observer, in whose name John Pilger has founded an award; "In honour of and awarded to a journalist who has penetrated the established version of events and told an unpalatable truth, validated by powerful facts, that expose established propaganda or 'official drivel' as Gellhorn called it", Pilger told Islamon-line. Gellhorn could have been writing about Iraq. In one dispatch from Vietnam she railed, "We are not maniacs and monsters, but our planes range the sky all day and night, our artillery is lavish and we have much more deadly stuff to kill with. The people are there on the ground, sometimes destroyed by accident, sometimes destroyed because [insurgents] are supposed to be among them. This is a new war and we had better find a new way to fight it. Hearts and minds, after all, live in bodies."(8). As public opinion against the war became increasingly galvanized, Secretary of Defense, Kevin McNamara, "received a despairing note from his deputy, John McNaughton: "A feeling is widely and strongly held that 'the Establishment' is out of its mind. The feeling is that we are trying to impose some United States image on distant peoples we cannot understand . . . and are carrying the thing to absurd lengths (leading to) the worst split in our people for more than a century."(9) Déja vu lives!


Recently, I wrote in "History Repeats Itself In Fallujah" that it was tempting to compare the horrors of Fallujah with Vietnam's massacre by United States troops at My Lai and concluded that in fact, Fallujah was Iraq's "Sabra and Shatila", since United States troops had adopted and been trained by the Israeli Defense Force. But the horrors of Abu Ghraib has much My Lai resonance. "On March 16th, 1968, Charlie Company, a unit of . . . 11th Light Infantry Brigade entered an undefended village of about five hundred people and massacred five hundred old men, women, and children in cold blood. The killings took place part maniacally, part methodically . . . they were accompanied by rape, sodomy, mutilations and unimaginable cruelty. 'It was the Nazi kind of thing . . . ' Varnado Sirnpson shot, cut throats, scalped, cut off ears and cut out tongues. I wasn't the only one... the training, the whole programming, it just came out"(10). The hundred and five G.I.s who went into My Lai village were left virtually unpunished. Lieutenant William Calley, officer in charge, was sentenced to life. He found a baby crawling alive from a ditch filled with the dead and dying, grabbed the child by the leg and shot him, throwing him back into the ditch. Calley was sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labour, but within seventy two hours, President Nixon intervened. Calley was given a comfortable apartment in the notorious Fort Benning (School of the Americas, established for the purpose of training terrorists), which, globally, has trained more despots and their minions in repression and torture techniques, than, arguably, anywhere else on earth. Calley spent thirty five months with his dog, his mynah bird and a tank of tropical fish, took up cooking and enjoyed visits from his girl friend, who told the press " . . . he wouldn't hurt anyone, look how gentle he is with his dog . . . . " He was released on parole and Judge Robert Ellison, explaining his decision, said in war " . . . it is not unusual for innocent civilians such as the My Lai victims to be killed." In the spirit of President George W. Bush's "Crusade", he also explained that "When Joshua took to the streets of Jericho in biblical times, no charges had been brought against him for the slaughter of the civilian population."


In a familiar phrase used during the war, a Major Colin Luther Powell wrote to his superiors describing the Vietnamese people as "being truly appreciative of the benefits the American troops were bringing them" (like herding them into their thatched dwellings and burning them alive). "There might be isolated cases of mistreatment of civilians and POWs . . . it did not reflect the general behaviour of units." Powell is now Secretary of State, and is now the "dove" in the United States Administration(11). Veteran journalist and author Jonathon Schell wrote after My Lai; "If we learn to accept this, we will accept anything."(12) We did! Those responsible faded back into American life, Fort Benning continued, and continues, to impart torture methods to despots and their minions, yet we are told now that Abu Ghraib and the allegations against the British troops are an aberration. The only surprise would be if it was. Like Lieutenant Calley, General Janis Karpinski, in charge of Abu Ghraib, and fourteen other jails in Iraq, has been quietly shipped home. Weasel words have come from Britain and the United States about "accountability" and "justice", bets are on that there will be neither. It would be good to be wrong. However, General Karpinski, in another life, visited Guantanamo Bay and found nothing wrong with it. Major General Geoffrey Miller is taking his place in Iraq's prison system. He was in charge of those detained in Guantanamo Bay

The only wry smile this last week is seeing President Bush plead to appear on the very Arab television stations the United States were bombing in Afghanistan, the Balkans and Iraq; stations that were showing a "biassed" version of invasion, mayhem, slaughter and terror; stations that were even banned from Iraq's Coalition Provisional Authority press conferences. Is there a way out of this historic lunacy? William Blum has a suggestion: "If I were President, I could stop terrorist attacks against the United States in a few days. Permanently. I would first apologize to the widows and orphans, the tortured, the impoverished, and all the many millions of other victims of American imperialism. Then I would announce in all sincerity to every corner of the world, that America's global interventions had come to an end, and inform Israel that it is no longer the 5lst State of the United States , but oddly enough - henceforth, a foreign country. I would then reduce the military budget by at least 90 per cent and use the savings to pay reparations to the victims. There would be more than enough . . . . One year's military budget of $330,000,000,000 is equal to more than $18,000 an hour for every hour since Jesus Christ was born. That's what I would do on my first three days in the White House. On the fourth day, I'd be assassinated"(13).

On a personal note, am I anti American? No, I spent some of the happiest years of my life there, but this is now a land I do not know and cannot forgive. I will never use another United States dollar, or buy a United States product like many round the globe. Also like many, I will not be back.

A REIGN OF TERROR BY ANY OTHER NAME

Iraqi intellectuals Flee "Death squads"
By Ahmed Janabi, Aljazeera, Tuesday 30th March, 2004


Occupied Iraq is suffering a new brain drain as intellectuals flood out of the country to avoid unemployment and an organised killing campaign. In recent months assassinations have targeted engineers, pharmacologists, officers, and lawyers. More than 1,000 leading Iraqi professionals and intellectuals have been assassinated since last April, among them such prominent figures as Dr Muhammad al Rawi, the President of Baghdad University. The identity of the assailants remains a mystery and none have been caught. But families and colleagues of victims believe that Iraqi parties with foreign affiliations have an interest in wiping out Iraq's intellectual elite. Media reports suggest that more than 3,000 Iraqi academics and high profile professionals have left Iraq recently, not to mention the thousands of Iraqis who are travelling out of the country every day in search of work and safety. "Iraqis used to leave Iraq during the 13 year United Nations sanctions for better work opportunities, but they are leaving now to avoid being assassinated by unknown, well organised death squads," said political analyst and politics professor Dhafir Salman. Usama al Ani, Director of the Research and Development Department in the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research said top Iraqi scientists have been targeted by foreign parties. "I believe Iraqi scientists are being targeted by foreign powers, most probably Israel".

Monday's issue of the pro United States Iraqi internet newspaper Iraq of Tomorrow reported that the decapitated body of mathematics Professor Doctor Abd al Samai Abd al Razaq had been found in a Baghdad street. Aljazeera.net contacted Dr Abd al Samai's family in Baghdad and was surprised to find him very much alive. "They published such a story to terrify me and my family," he told Aljazeera.net, accusing political and religious parties of turning Iraqi universities into political battlefields. "Since occupation, universities have become fertile recruitment ground for political and religious parties. Students should be devoted to their studies, not to serving the interests of those who seek power. These groups are targeting me and all my colleagues who want to preserve respected Iraqi institutions from destruction."


Aside from the terror campaign, measures taken by the post occupation authorities have contributed to Iraq's brain drain. "I would like to ask the de Baathification committee why they are so happy that many thousands of Baathists have been sacked from Iraq's governmental departments and educational institutions?" Salman says. "Do they think they have done well? Of course, not. They have sacked Iraq's elite professionals; who will replace them? Where will the replacements come from? After all, these people are Iraqis, is this in line with the national reconciliation they are talking about?" Before the war on Iraq, United States and United Kingdom officials repeatedly accused the Iraqi government of triggering the exodus of four million educated Iraqis. But under the occupation the rate of emigration has increased. "Iraqi universities have lost 1,315 scientists who hold M.A. and Ph.D. degrees," al Ani said. "This number constitutes eight per cent of the 15,500 Iraqi academics. Up until now, 30 percent of those who were sacked as result of the campaign have left Iraq."

Iraq is rich in intellectuals, largely as a result of Saddam Hussein's policy of sending tens of thousands of Iraqi students abroad to gain post graduate degrees in a wide range of disciplines. The practice fell into abeyance when United Nations Sanctions were imposed in 1990, following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. In the country itself, where education has been free since the abolition of the monarchy in 1958, most of the 20 universities in Iraq also awarded post graduate degrees.

Suspicion Surrounds Death of Iraqi Scientist in U.S. Custody
by Alissa J. Rubin, 28th May, 2004, the Los Angeles Times

The death certificate issued by the United States military indicated that a prominent Iraqi government scientist in American custody for nine months had died of natural causes. Doubtful, his family ordered an independent autopsy, which concluded that blunt force injury caused the 65 year old man's death. And Mohammed Abdelmonaem Mahmoud Hamdi Alazmirli's body bore suspicious marks: He had a bruise on his nose, an abrasion on his cheek, a cut near his eye and a fractured skull. The Pentagon has named 23 of 37 detainees who died while in United States custody in Iraq and Afghanistan. Alazmirli was not among those named, and the military declined to say whether he was among the other 14. Responding to a Times query, the Pentagon's criminal investigation division declined to comment on Alazmirli's death. A spokesman for the Army's Criminal Investigative Division, Christopher Grey, issued a six word response: "No releasable information at this time."


Alazmirli's case raises questions about whether similar ones exist suspicious deaths that are not on any official United States lists and what method the military is using to determine which cases are worthy of review. But Alazmirli's family members say they believe that the United States military is engaging in a cover up. They noted that although Alazmirli died on Jan. 31st , the military waited for more than two weeks before United States soldiers delivered his body naked in a zipped black body bag to a Baghdad hospital. "Why did they leave him in the morgue for 17 days before they told us?" asked his daughter Rana, 23, a medical student at Baghdad University. "I think they didn't inform us because they were trying to hide something, and they kept him to make the evidence disappear." The United States military's death certificate omits any reference to the injuries cited in the Iraqi autopsy. Dr. Qaiss Hassan, who performed the autopsy at Iraq's Forensic Medical Institute, noted in his report that Alazmirli had a massive amount of blood under his scalp. Flipping through photographs and diagrams of Alazmirii's head, Hassan said: "It was definitely a blunt trauma injury. There's no question. You can get this kind of injury if you are in a car accident or if you fall from a height or if someone hits your head hard."

The United States military undoubtedly considered the scientist a "high value target." In making its case for invading Iraq, the Bush administration said that President Saddam Hussein had amassed Weapons of Mass Destruction. United States officials appeared to have suspected initially that the Egyptian born Alazmirli was involved with Hussein's purported nuclear weapons program; Alazmirli had worked in the office of the presidency, serving as a science advisor to Hussein's feared intelligence agency. He retired from government work in 1995 to teach at Al Haithem University. On April 24th, 2003, about two weeks after the Americans captured Baghdad, United States soldiers burst into Alazmirli's home. The scientist was not there. His wife, Saharaa, recounted that a United States soldier demanded, "Where are the Weapons of Mass Destruction?" She said she replied that she did not know. "He did not have anything to do with Weapons of Mass Destruction," she said, adding that United Nations weapons inspectors interviewed Alazmirli during the 1990s and found that he was not involved in any arms programme.


According to Saharaa and television coverage at the time, the United States military came prepared for a fight. Tanks and armoured vehicles moved into the neighbourhood, closing off streets. Dozens of soldiers leaped over her garden wall, blasted locks off the doors and broke into every cupboard, she said. They carted away boxes of belongings, she said, including all of Alazmirli's books, Saharaa's perfumes and all her gold jewellery the Iraqi equivalent of a life's savings. Saharaa said she was frightened, but an interpreter for the soldiers assured her that "We only want to talk to your husband for one hour because we know he's busy, and we'll even pay him because his time is important." A day after the soldiers arrived, Alazmirli returned home and surrendered. The troops handcuffed and hooded him and put him in a military vehicle. Reluctant to be parted from her husband, Saharaa said, she told the soldiers that she was a chemist too. They detained her as well. She is a retired high school chemistry teacher. She was taken to the airport detention centre but was released after United States interrogators apparently concluded that she was of no use to them. Alazmirli's whereabouts remained a mystery to his family.

A month after his detention, the family received the first communication from him via letter delivered by the International Committee of the Red Cross. He was not permitted to write anything other than his name. A stamp in the middle of the page declared, "SAFE and WELL." Later, Alazmirli sent letters regularly to his family. Occasionally he requested clothes, but often he complained that he was not receiving letters from his family members even though they wrote every week. Saharaa, her daughters and a son spoke about Alazmirli's death as they sat in their neat living room. The scientist a tall, thin, balding man with a thin moustache and a serious look stared from photographs on the wall and a side table. "I went to the Red Cross and complained that our letters weren't reaching him, and they said, 'We're hearing this all over and we're trying to get the Americans to do something about it,'" Saharaa said. The Red Cross declined to comment on the case. The family received its first phone call from Alazmirli four months after his arrest. He spoke for about three minutes, just enough time to inquire about family members' health. Rewarding detainees with letters and telephone calls was typical of the treatment high value inmates received from interrogators.


Twice during the Autumn of 2003, the family received telephone calls from Alazmirli. Then, family members said, an American who identified himself on the phone as Mr. Jeeki told them to show up at 2 pm January 11th at a checkpoint near Baghdad International Airport. At least two detention facilities are located at the airport, including a separate prison for many of those detainees the Pentagon had identified among its 55 most wanted Iraqis. When the family members arrived, they were blindfolded, driven around in loops for about 10 minutes and brought to a building where they were told that Alazmirli would meet them. The family asked "Mr. Jeeki" why Alazmirli was being held and with what crimes he had been charged. "They said, 'Your father doesn't have any charges,'" said his son Ashraf, 21, a college chemistry major. "'He is only needed as a witness because he was a member of the Mukhabarat [intelligence agency]. On the contrary, your father is a nice man, a scientist, and he's useful to the United States and to the Iraqi people.' "From that we concluded he was cooperating with them," Ashraf said. When Alazmirli came into the room, he was surprised to see them, family members said. Rana said she learned then that although her father was a diabetic, the military had taken away his insulin and substituted an oral medication. "You cannot take away insulin from someone who has taken it for many years. He took three injections per day; the pills are not sufficient," she said. "I think they were trying to kill him slowly." Nonetheless, all four family members said that Alazmirli looked like his old self. But one thing worried them. On his wrist was a plastic band with the now infamous photograph of a dishevelled Saddam Hussein when he was arrested while hiding in a hole near Tikrit. "I didn't ask him about it because I didn't want to upset him," Rana said.

As they said their farewells, Rana said, Alazmirli appeared strong, although his parting words seemed cryptic: "I don't know what my fate will be. I may be released tomorrow, in a few weeks or maybe never." Then, on February 17th, two Red Cross staffers knocked at the family's door, Alazmirii's wife said. Saharaa said she was glad to see them because the Red Cross had been the bearer of good news: letters from Alazmirli. But this time the news was grim. "They told me his body was at the Al Karkh hospital. I couldn't believe it because I had just seen him. I thought maybe they had a different man," she said. The Red Cross told her that he had been in the military hospital for two weeks before he died. "I think he knew he was dying," Rana said. "Other people get to sit at their father's bedside when he is dying." Ashraf went to the hospital to identify the body. Unzipping the bag, he was shocked to find his father without any clothes and with a gash to his head. According to the American death certificate, Alazmirli died in Ebensina Hospital, the medical facility inside the Green Zone the security perimeter around the United States headquarters in Baghdad that is used to treat Americans and some Iraqi prisoners. Ashraf said he and other family members concluded that shortly after their visit, the Americans had killed Alazmirli. Rana held in her lap all that the Alazmirli family had to remember of her father's last nine months: a brown plastic envelope in which he kept the letters from his family and a handwritten calendar on which he marked off the days.

REFERENCES


Note: Prices are shown where available from Bloomfield Books, and represent only a selection relevant to the theme of this edition of On Target. A wide range of reading may be found in the Stock Price List (S.P.L.), which may be obtained post free on request from the address on the last page. Out of print, or older works, may be obtained through the Book Search Service, or the Second-Hand Book Service, both of which are operated by Mr. T.G. Turner, for which details are available as for the S.P.L.

(1) On Target passim.
(2) On Target, Vol. 29, Nos. 6 & 7, 11th & 25th September and Nos. 8 & 9, 9th & 23rd October, 1999. Conspiracy, Revolution And Moral Decay.
(3) On Target, Vol. 31, Nos. 7 & 8, 6th & 20th October, 2001. September The Eleventh, 2001, Part 1. These and other names in this United States-Israeli network are given here.
(4) Clark, Ramsey. The Fire This Time - U.S. War Crimes in the Gulf. Thunder's Mouth Press, 1992.
(5) Blum, William. The C.I.A.: A Forgotten History. Zed Books, 1991.
(6) Bilton, Michael & Kevin Sim. Four Hours in My Lai: A War Crime and Its Aftermath. Penguin, 1993..
(7) Sheehan, Neil. Bright Shining Lie. Knopf Publishing, 1989.
(8) Ibid.
(9) Ibid.
(10) Ibid
(11) Ibid.
(12) Ibid
(13) Blum, William. Rogue State. Common Courage Press, 2002.

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