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
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
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
Plus ça change!
AMERICA IN THE NEOCONSERVATIVE "NUTCRACKER"
Some Told, Some Concealed, But Truth Will
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
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,
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
[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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
(13) Blum, William. Rogue State. Common Courage Press, 2002.