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Posts Tagged ‘Tony Blair’

Let’s interrupt their fun

Posted by terres on March 27, 2010

Whichever way you look at it, the final war before the COLLAPSE has started

In his latest column for the New Statesman, John Pilger describes the increasing American war front across the world: from Afghanistan to Africa and Latin America. This is the Third World War in all but name, waged by the only aggressive “ism” that denies it is an ideology and threatened not by introverted tribesmen in faraway places but by the anti-war instincts of its own citizens.

Have a nice world war, folks

25 Mar 2010
John Pilger

In his latest column for the New Statesman, John Pilger describes the increasing American war front across the world: from Afghanistan to Africa and Latin America. This is the Third World War in all but name, waged by the only aggressive “ism” that denies it is an ideology and threatened not by introverted tribesmen in faraway places but by the anti-war instincts of its own citizens.

Here is news of the Third World War. The United States has invaded Africa. US troops have entered Somalia, extending their war front from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Yemen and now the Horn of Africa. In preparation for an attack on Iran, American missiles have been placed in four Persian Gulf states, and “bunker-buster” bombs are said to be arriving at the US base on the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.

In Gaza, the sick and abandoned population, mostly children, is being entombed behind underground American-supplied walls in order to reinforce a criminal siege. In Latin America, the Obama administration has secured seven bases in Colombia, from which to wage a war of attrition against the popular democracies in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay. Meanwhile, the secretary of “defence” Robert Gates complains that “the general [European] public and the political class” are so opposed to war they are an “impediment” to peace. Remember this is the month of the March Hare.

According to an American general, the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan is not so much a real war as a “war of perception”. Thus, the recent “liberation of the city of Marja” from the Taliban’s “command and control structure” was pure Hollywood. Marja is not a city; there was no Taliban command and control. The heroic liberators killed the usual civilians, poorest of the poor. Otherwise, it was fake. A war of perception is meant to provide fake news for the folks back home, to make a failed colonial adventure seem worthwhile and patriotic, as if The Hurt Locker were real and parades of flag-wrapped coffins through the Wiltshire town of Wooten Basset were not a cynical propaganda exercise.

“War is fun”, the helmets in Vietnam used to say with bleakest irony, meaning that if a war is revealed as having no purpose other than to justify voracious power in the cause of lucrative fanaticisms such as the weapons industry, the danger of truth beckons. This danger can be illustrated by the liberal perception of Tony Blair in 1997 as one “who wants to create a world [where] ideology has surrendered entirely to values” (Hugo Young, the Guardian) compared with today’s public reckoning of a liar and war criminal.

Western war-states such as the US and Britain are not threatened by the Taliban or any other introverted tribesmen in faraway places, but by the anti-war instincts of their own citizens. Consider the draconian sentences handed down in London to scores of young people who protested Israel’s assault on Gaza in January last year. Following demonstrations in which paramilitary police “kettled” (corralled) thousands, first-offenders have received two and a half years in prison for minor offences that would not normally carry custodial sentences. On both sides of the Atlantic, serious dissent exposing illegal war has become a serious crime.

Silence in other high places allows this moral travesty. Across the arts, literature, journalism and the law, liberal elites, having hurried away from the debris of Blair and now Obama, continue to fudge their indifference to the barbarism and aims of western state crimes by promoting retrospectively the evils of their convenient demons, like Saddam Hussein. With Harold Pinter gone, try compiling a list of famous writers, artists and advocates whose principles are not consumed by the “market” or neutered by their celebrity. Who among them have spoken out about the holocaust in Iraq during almost 20 years of lethal blockade and assault? And all of it has been deliberate. On 22 January 1991, the US Defence Intelligence Agency predicted in impressive detail how a blockade would systematically destroy Iraq’s clean water system and lead to “increased incidences, if not epidemics of disease”. So the US set about eliminating clean water for the Iraqi population: one of the causes, noted Unicef, of the deaths of half a million Iraqi infants under the age of five. But this extremism apparently has no name.

Norman Mailer once said he believed the United States, in its endless pursuit of war and domination, had entered a “pre-fascist era”. Mailer seemed tentative, as if trying to warn about something even he could not quite define. “Fascism” is not right, for it invokes lazy historical precedents, conjuring yet again the iconography of German and Italian repression. On the other hand, American authoritarianism, as the cultural critic Henry Giroux pointed out recently, is “more nuance, less theatrical, more cunning, less concerned with repressive modes of control than with manipulative modes of consent.”

This is Americanism, the only predatory ideology to deny that it is an ideology. The rise of tentacular corporations that are dictatorships in their own right and of a military that is now a state with the state, set behind the façade of the best democracy 35,000 Washington lobbyists can buy, and a popular culture programmed to divert and stultify, is without precedent. More nuanced perhaps, but the results are both unambiguous and familiar. Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck, the senior United Nations officials in Iraq during the American and British-led blockade, are in no doubt they witnessed genocide. They saw no gas chambers. Insidious, undeclared, even presented wittily as enlightenment on the march, the Third World War and its genocide proceeded, human being by human being.

In the coming election campaign in Britain, the candidates will refer to this war only to laud “our boys”. The candidates are almost identical political mummies shrouded in the Union Jack and the Stars and Stripes. As Blair demonstrated a mite too eagerly, the British elite loves America because America allows it to barrack and bomb the natives and call itself a “partner”. We should interrupt their fun.

Copyright: The author/publication.

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Posted in Afghanistan, Iraq War, Somalia, US basis in Colombia, Yemen | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Pilger on the Crime of the Century

Posted by terres on December 10, 2009

Normalising the Crime of the Century

Under international law an attack on a sovereign state is a crime.

By John Pilger

December 09, 2009 – Information Clearing House – I tried to contact Mark Higson the other day only to learn he had died nine years ago. He was just 40, an honourable man. We met soon after he had resigned from the Foreign Office in 1991 and I asked him if the government knew that Hawk fighter-bombers sold to Indonesia were being used against civilians in East Timor.

The “War” Dead
Source: As possible Afghan war-crimes evidence removed, US silent

“Everyone knows,” he said, “except parliament and the public.”

“And the media?”

“The media – the big names – have been invited to King Charles Street (the Foreign Office) and flattered and briefed with lies. They are no trouble.”

As Iraq desk officer at the Foreign Office, he had drafted letters for ministers reassuring MPs and the public that the British Government was not arming Saddam Hussein. “This was a downright lie”, he said. “I couldn’t bear it”.


Giving evidence before the arms-to-Iraq enquiry, Higson was the only British official commended by Lord Justice Scott for telling the truth. The price he paid was the loss of his health and marriage and constant surveillance by spooks. He ended up living on benefits in a Birmingham bedsitter where he suffered a seizure, struck his head and died alone. Whistleblowers are often heroes; he was one.

He came to mind when I saw a picture in the paper of another Foreign Office official, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, who was Tony Blair’s ambassador to the United Nations in the build-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. More than anyone, it was Sir Jeremy who tried every trick to find a UN cover for the bloodbath to come. Indeed, this was his boast to the Chilcot enquiry on 27 November, where he described the invasion as “legal but of questionable legitimacy”. How clever. In the picture he wore a smirk.


Image source:  Flag-draped coffins of U.S. soldiers, casualties of the Iraq war, are seen aboard a cargo plane in Dover, Del. in this undated photo.

Under international law, “questionable legitimacy” does not exist. An attack on a sovereign state is a crime. This was made clear by Britain’s chief law officer, Attorney General Peter Goldsmith, before his arm was twisted, and by the Foreign Office’s own legal advisers and subsequently by the secretary-general of the United Nations. The invasion is the crime of the 21st century. During 17 years of assault on a defenceless civilian population, veiled with weasel monikers like “sanctions” and “no fly zones” and “building democracy”, more people have died in Iraq than during the peak years of the slave trade. Set that against Sir Jeremy’s skin-saving revisionism about American “noises” that were “decidedly unhelpful to what I was trying to do [at the UN] in New York”. Moreover, “I myself warned the Foreign Office … that I might have to consider my own position …”.

It wasn’t me, guv.

The purpose of the Chilcot inquiry is to normalise an epic crime by providing enough of a theatre of guilt to satisfy the media so that the only issue that matters, that of prosecution, is never raised. When he appears in January, Blair will play this part to odious perfection, dutifully absorbing the hisses and boos. All “inquiries” into state crimes are neutered in this way. In 1996, Lord Justice Scott’s arms-to-Iraq report obfuscated the crimes his investigations and voluminous evidence had revealed.

At that time, I interviewed Tim Laxton, who had attended every day of the inquiry as auditor of companies taken over by MI6 and other secret agencies as vehicles for the illegal arms trade with Saddam Hussein. Had there been a full and open criminal investigation, Laxton told me, “hundreds” would have faced prosecution. “They would include,” he said, “top political figures, very senior civil servants from right throughout Whitehall … the top echelon of government.”

150 of the British troops killed in Afghanistan. As of posting at least 4,367 US troops and 179 UK soldiers were killed in Iraq. In Afghanistan 1,536 foreign troops have been killed including 932 Americans and 237 UK soldiers.

That is why Chilcot is advised by the likes of Sir Martin Gilbert, who compared Blair with Churchill and Roosevelt. That is why the inquiry will not demand the release of documents that would illuminate the role of the entire Blair gang, notably Blair’s 2003 cabinet, long silent. Who remembers the threat of the thuggish Geoff Hoon, Blair’s “defence secretary”, to use nuclear weapons against Iraq?

In February, Jack Straw, one of Blair’s principal accomplices, the man who let the mass murderer General Pinochet escape justice and the current “justice secretary”, overruled the Information Commissioner who had ordered the government to publish Cabinet minutes during the period Lord Goldsmith was pressured into changing his judgement that the invasion was illegal. How they fear exposure, and worse.

The media has granted itself immunity. On 27 November, Scott Ritter, the former UN chief weapons inspector, wrote that the invasion “was made far easier given the role of useful idiot played by much of the mainstream media in the US and Britain.” More than four years before the invasion, Ritter, in interviews with myself and others, left not a shred of doubt that Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction had been disabled, yet he was made a non-person. In 2002, when the Bush/Blair lies were in full echo across the media, the Guardian and Observer mentioned Iraq in more than 3,000 articles, of which 49 referred to Ritter and his truth that could have saved thousands of lives.

What has changed? On 30 November, the Independent published a pristine piece of propaganda from its embedded man in Afghanistan. “Troops fear defeat at home,” said the headline. Britain, said the report, “is at serious risk of losing its way in Afghanistan because rising defeatism at home is demoralising the troops on the front line, military commanders have warned.” In fact, public disgust with the disaster in Afghanistan is mirrored among many serving troops and their families; and this frightens the warmongers. So “defeatism” and “demoralising the troops” are added to the weasel lexicon. Good try. Unfortunately, like Iraq, Afghanistan is a crime. Period.

http://www.johnpilger.com

Posted in Chilcot enquiry, Crime of the Century, Iraq War, Sir Jeremy Greenstoc, UK Foreign Office | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Indict Bush, Blair et al for crimes against humanity

Posted by terres on April 3, 2009

The following article by John Pilger is well written and worth reading.

Fake Faith and Epic Crimes

By John Pilger

April 02, 2009 “Information Clearing House” — These are extraordinary times. With the United States and Britain on the verge of bankruptcy and committing to an endless colonial war, pressure is building for their crimes to be prosecuted at a tribunal similar to that which tried the Nazis at Nuremberg. This defined rapacious invasion as “the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” International law would be mere farce, said the chief US chief prosecutor at Nuremberg, Supreme Court justice Robert Jackson, “if, in future, we do not apply its principles to ourselves.”

That is now happening. Spain, Germany, Belgium, France and Britain have long had “universal jurisdiction” statutes, which allow their national courts to pursue and prosecute prima facie war criminals. What has changed is an unspoken rule never to use international law against “ourselves,” or “our” allies or clients. In 1998, Spain, supported by France, Switzerland and Belgium, indicted the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, client and executioner of the West, and sought his extradition from Britain, where he happened to be at the time. Had he been sent for trial he almost certainly would have implicated at least one British prime minister and two US presidents in crimes against humanity. Home Secretary Jack Straw let him escape back to Chile.

The Pinochet case was the ignition. On 19 January last, the George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley compared the status of George W. Bush with that of Pinochet. “Outside [the United States] there is not the ambiguity about what to do about a war crime,” he said. “So if you try to travel, most people abroad are going to view you not as ‘former President George Bush’ [but] as a current war criminal.” For this reason, Bush’s former defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who demanded an invasion of Iraq in 2001 and personally approved torture techniques in Iraq and at Guantanamo Bay, no longer travels. Rumsfeld has twice been indicted for war crimes in Germany. On 26 January, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak, said, “We have clear evidence that Mr. Rumsfeld knew what he was doing but nevertheless he ordered torture.”

The Spanish high court is currently investigating a former Israeli defence minister and six other top Israeli officials for their role in the killing of civilians, mostly children, in Gaza. Henry Kissinger, who was largely responsible for bombing to death 600,000 peasants in Cambodia in 1969-73, is wanted for questioning in France, Chile and Argentina. Yet, on 8 February, as if demonstrating the continuity of American power, President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, James Jones, said, “I take my daily orders from Dr. Kissinger.”

Like them, Tony Blair may soon be a fugitive. The International Criminal Court, to which Britain is a signatory, has received a record number of petitions related to Blair’s wars. Spain’s celebrated Judge Baltasar Garzon, who indicted Pinochet and the leaders of the Argentinian military junta, has called for George W. Bush, Blair and former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar to be prosecuted for the invasion of Iraq — “one of the most sordid and unjustifiable episodes in recent human history: a devastating attack on the rule of law” that had left the UN “in tatters.” He said, “There is enough of an argument in 650,000 deaths for this investigation to start without delay.”

This is not to say Blair is about to be collared and marched to The Hague, where Serbs and Sudanese dictators are far more likely to face a political court set up by the West. However, an international agenda is forming and a process has begun which is as much about legitimacy as the letter of the law, and a reminder from history that the powerful lose wars and empires when legitimacy evaporates. This can happen quickly, as in the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of apartheid South Africa — the latter a spectre for apartheid Israel.

Today, the unreported “good news” is that a worldwide movement is challenging the once sacrosanct notion that imperial politicians can destroy countless lives in the cause of an ancient piracy, often at remove in distance and culture, and retain their respectability and immunity from justice. In his masterly Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde R.L. Stevenson writes in the character of Jekyll: “Men have before hired bravos to transact their crimes, while their own person and reputation sat under shelter … I could thus plod in the public eye with a load of genial respectability, and, in a moment, like a schoolboy, strip off these lendings and spring headlong into the sea of liberty. But for me, in my impenetrable mantle, the safety was complete.”

Blair, too, is safe — but for how long? He and his collaborators face a new determination on the part of tenacious non-government bodies that are amassing “an impressive documentary record as to criminal charges,” according to international law authority Richard Falk, who cites the World Tribunal on Iraq, held in Istanbul in 2005, which heard evidence from 54 witnesses and published rigorous indictments against Blair, Bush and others. Currently, the Brussels War Crimes Tribunal and the newly established Blair War Crimes Foundation are building a case for Blair’s prosecution under the Nuremberg Principle and the 1949 Geneva Convention. In a separate indictment, former Judge of the New Zealand Supreme Court E.W. Thomas wrote: “My pre-disposition was to believe that Mr. Blair was deluded, but sincere in his belief. After considerable reading and much reflection, however, my final conclusion is that Mr. Blair deliberately and repeatedly misled Cabinet, the British Labour Party and the people in a number of respects. It is not possible to hold that he was simply deluded but sincere: a victim of his own self-deception. His deception was deliberate.”

Protected by the fake sinecure of Middle East Envoy for the Quartet (the US, EU, UN and Russia), Blair operates largely from a small fortress in the American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem, where he is an apologist for the US in the Middle East and Israel, a difficult task following the bloodbath in Gaza. To assist his mortgages, he recently received an Israeli “peace prize” worth a million dollars. He, too, is careful where he travels; and it is instructive to watch how he now uses the media. Having concentrated his post-Downing Street apologetics on a BBC series of obsequious interviews with David Aaronovitch, Blair has all but slipped from view in Britain, where polls have long revealed a remarkable loathing for a former prime minister — a sentiment now shared by those in the liberal media elite whose previous promotion of his “project” and crimes is an embarrassment and preferably forgotten.

On 8 February, Andrew Rawnsley, the Observer’s former leading Blair fan, declared that “this shameful period will not be so smoothly and simply buried.” He demanded, “Did Blair never ask what was going on?” This is an excellent question made relevant with a slight word change: “Did the Andrew Rawnsleys never ask what was going on?” In 2001, Rawnsley alerted his readers to Iraq’s “contribution to international terrorism” and Saddam Hussein’s “frightening appetite to possess weapons of mass destruction.” Both assertions were false and echoed official Anglo-American propaganda. In 2003, when the destruction of Iraq was launched, Rawnsley described it as a “point of principle” for Blair who, he later wrote, was “fated to be right.” He lamented, “Yes, too many people died in the war. Too many people always die in war. War is nasty and brutish, but at least this conflict was mercifully short.” In the subsequent six years at least a million people have been killed. According to the Red Cross, Iraq is now a country of widows and orphans. Yes, war is nasty and brutish, but never for the Blairs and the Rawnsleys.

Far from the carping turncoats at home, Blair has lately found a safe media harbour — in Australia, the original murdochracy. His interviewers exude an unction reminiscent of the promoters of the “mystical” Blair in the Guardian of than a decade ago, though they also bring to mind Geoffrey Dawson, editor of The Times during the 1930s, who wrote of his infamous groveling to the Nazis: “I spend my nights taking out anything which will hurt their susceptibilities and dropping in little things which are intended to sooth them.”

With his words as a citation, the finalists for the Geoffrey Dawson Prize for Journalism (Antipodes) are announced. On 8 February, in an interview on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Geraldine Doogue described Blair as “a man who brought religion into power and is now bringing power to religion.” She asked him: “What would the perception be that faith would bring towards a greater stability …[sic]?” A bemused and clearly delighted Blair was allowed to waffle about “values.” Doogue said to him that “it was the bifurcation about right and wrong that what I thought the British found really hard” [sic], to which Blair replied that “in relation to Iraq I tried every other option [to invasion] there was.” It was his classic lie, which passed unchallenged.

However, the clear winner of the Geoffrey Dawson Prize is Ginny Dougary of the Sydney Morning Herald and the Times. Dougary recently accompanied Blair on what she described as his “James Bondish-ish Gulfstream” where she was privy to his “bionic energy levels.” She wrote, “I ask him the childlike question: does he want to save the world?” Blair replied, well, more or less, aw shucks, yes. The murderous assault on Gaza, which was under way during the interview, was mentioned in passing. “That is war, I’m afraid,” said Blair, “and war is horrible.” No counter came that Gaza was not a war but a massacre by any measure. As for the Palestinians, noted Dougary, it was Blair’s task to “prepare them for statehood.” The Palestinians will be surprised to hear that. But enough gravitas; her man “has the glow of the newly-in-love: in love with the world and, for the most part, the feeling is reciprocated.” The evidence she offered for this absurdity was that “women from both sides of politics have confessed to me to having the hots for him.”

These are extraordinary times. Blair, a perpetrator of the epic crime of the 21st century, shares a “prayer breakfast” with President Obama, the yes-we-can-man now launching more war. “We pray,” said Blair, “that in acting we do God’s work and follow God’s will.” To decent people, such pronouncements about Blair’s “faith” represent a contortion of morality and intellect that is a profananation on the basic teachings of Christianity. Those who aided and abetted his great crime and now wish the rest of us to forget their part — or, like Alistair Campbell, his “communications director,” offer their bloody notoriety for the vicarious pleasure of some — might read the first indictment proposed by the Blair War Crimes Foundation: “Deceit and conspiracy for war, and providing false news to incite passions for war, causing in the order of one million deaths, 4 million refugees, countless maiming and traumas.”

These are indeed extraordinary times.

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Posted in British Government, Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush, Spanish high court, war criminal | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Israel Awards Tony Blair Million-Dollar Prize

Posted by terres on February 19, 2009

Israelis pay Tony Blair ¢50 for each Iraqi and Afghani citizen as well as every US and UK soldier that he has helped to murder or maim to date

For his services to the state of Israel, including his participation in the invasion of Iraq, and for committing war crimes and the crime of genocide against Iraqis, Blair will receive the Dan David prize.


War Criminal Friar Tony Blair disguised as a peace envoy.
Original caption: Tony Blair at at the headquarters of the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas. Photograph: Muhammed Muheisen/AP. Image may be subject to copyright

Tony Blair’s service to the illegitimate state of Israel, while acting as the British prime minister, was diametrically opposite to the interest of British people.

Blair who has been appointed as a Middle East peace envoy, will receive the Dan David prize for “his exceptional leadership and steadfast determination in helping to engineer agreements and forge lasting solutions to areas in conflict” in a ceremony at Tel Aviv University on May17, 2009.

Blair is an envoy of the international Quartet on the Middle East peace process, which comprises the US, EU, UN and Russia. But it remains a mystery as to who actually appointed the war criminal to the position.

The million-dollar  prize is a far cry from the traditional 30 pieces of silver, but you have to allow for inflation and the total numbers killed, of course.

According to the UK’s Guardian, “his entry as a Dan David laureate on the prize’s website hails him as ‘one of the most outstanding statesmen of our era.'”

“It praises his role in the Northern Ireland peace process and his ‘steadfast determination and morally courageous leadership [sic]’ over Kosovo.” Guardian wrote.

“But there is no mention of the divisive decision to support the US-led invasion of Iraq.”

Adding from his citation: “Early in his prime ministership, he came to two beliefs that guide him to today: first, that it is a mistake for the world to wait for America to solve all of the tough questions [the nickname ‘Bush’s poodle’ was coincidental,] and second, that there are some things a state may do within its borders that justify intervention even if the actions do not directly threaten another nation’s interests.” [He made the Iraqis an offer they couldn’t refuse!]

In December 2007, this Moderator asked: Would the War Criminal Tony Blair Be Beatified or Canonized Next? Whatever the case, the cabal is first transforming him into a multimillionaire.

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425 words

Posted in Dan David Prize, international Quartet, Israel, peace envoy, Tel Aviv University | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Out Damn Blot: A Letter to Colin Powell

Posted by terres on August 18, 2008

By Ray McGovern
August 15, 2008

Source: Consortium News

Dear Colin,

You have said you regret the “blot” on your record caused by your parroting spurious intelligence at the U.N. to justify war on Iraq. On the chance you may not have noticed, I write to point out that you now have a unique opportunity to do some rehab on your reputation.

If you were blindsided, well, here’s an opportunity to try to wipe off some of the blot. There is no need for you to end up like Lady Macbeth, wandering around aimlessly muttering, Out damn spot…or blot.

It has always strained credulity, at least as far as I was concerned, to accept the notion that naiveté prevented you from seeing through the game Vice President Dick Cheney and then-CIA Director George Tenet were playing on Iraq.

And I was particularly suspicious when you chose to ignore the strong dissents of your own State Department intelligence analysts who, as you know, turned out to be far more on target than counterparts in more servile agencies.

It was equally difficult for me to believe that you thought that, by insisting that shameless George Tenet sit behind you on camera, you could ensure a modicum of truth in your speech before the U.N. Security Council. You were far savvier than that.

That is certainly the impression I got from our every-other-morning conversations in the mid-80s, before I went in to brief the President’s Daily Brief to your boss, then-Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger, one-on-one.

I saw the street smarts you displayed then. The savvy was familiar to me. I concluded that it came, in part, from the two decades you and I spent growing up in the same neighborhood at the same time in the Bronx.

On those Bronx streets, rough as they were, there was also a strong sense of what was honorable -honorable even among thieves and liars, you might say. And we had words, which I will not repeat here, for sycophants, pimps, and cowards.

Your U.N. speech of Feb. 5, 2003 left me speechless, so to speak – largely because of the measure of respect I had had for you before then.

Outrage is too tame a word for what quickly became my reaction and that of my colleagues in Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), as we watched you perform before the Security Council less than six weeks before the unnecessary, illegal attack on Iraq.

The purpose – as well as the speciousness – of your address were all too transparent and, in a same-day commentary, we VIPS warned President George W. Bush that, if he attacked Iraq, “the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic.”

That’s history. Or, as investigative reporter Ron Suskind would say, “It’s all on the record.”

You have not yet summoned the courage to admit it, but I think I know you well enough to believe you have a Lady Macbeth-type conscience problem that goes far beyond the spot on your record.

With 4,141 American soldiers – not to mention hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens – dead, and over 30,000 GIs badly wounded, how could you not?

What Did You Know…and When?

Here is what could be good news for you, Colin.

Information that has come to light over the past two years or so could wipe some of the blot fouling your record. It all depends, I guess, on how truthful you are prepared to be now.

Much of the new data comes from former CIA officials who, ironically, have sought to assuage their own consciences by doing talk therapy with authors like Sidney Blumenthal and Ron Suskind.

At first blush, these revelations seem so outlandish that they themselves strain credulity. But they stand up to close scrutiny far better than what you presented in your U.N. speech, for example.

If you now depend on the fawning corporate media (FCM) for your information, you will have missed this very significant, two-pronged story.

In brief, with the help of Allied intelligence services, the CIA recruited your Iraqi counterpart, Saddam Hussein’s foreign minister, Naji Sabri, and Tahir Jalil Habbush, the chief of Iraqi intelligence. They were cajoled into remaining in place while giving us critical intelligence well before the war – actually, well before your speech laying the groundwork for war.

In other words, at a time when Saddam Hussein believed that Sabri and Habbush were working for him, we had “turned” them. They were working for us, and much of the information they provided had been evaluated and verified.

Most important, each independently affirmed that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, information that should have prevented you from making a fool of yourself before the U.N. Security Council.

The Iraqi Foreign Minister

The FCM gave almost no coverage (surprise, surprise!) to the reporting from Naji Sabri, which continues to be pretty much lost in the woodwork.

In case you missed it, we now know from former CIA officials that his information on the absence of WMD was concealed from Congress, from our senior military, and from intelligence analysts – including those working on the infamous National Intelligence Estimate of Oct. 1, 2002.

That NIE, titled “Iraq’s Continuing Programs for WMD,” was the one specifically designed to mislead Congress into authorizing the president to make war on Iraq.

One question is whether it is true that Sabri’s reporting was also concealed from you.

Tyler Drumheller, at the time a division chief in CIA’s clandestine service, was the first to tell the story of Naji Sabri, who is now living a comfortable retirement in Qatar. On CBS’s “60 Minutes” on April 23, 2006, Drumheller disclosed that the CIA had received documentary evidence from Sabri that Iraq had no WMD.

Drumheller added, “We continued to validate him the whole way through.”

Then two other former CIA officers confirmed this account to author Sidney Blumenthal, adding that George Tenet briefed this information to President George W. Bush on Sept. 18, 2002, and that Bush dismissed the information as worthless.

Wait. It gets worse. The two former CIA officers told Blumenthal that someone in the agency rewrote the report from Sabri to indicate that Saddam Hussein was “aggressively and covertly developing” nuclear weapons and already had chemical and biological weapons.

That altered report was shown to the likes of UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, who was “duped,” according to one of the CIA officers.

Worse still, the former CIA officials reported that George Tenet never shared the unadulterated information from the Iraqi foreign minister with you, the Secretary of State and Naji Sabri’s counterpart. Again, whether that is true is a very large outstanding question.

The Chief of Iraqi Intelligence

Again, Colin, I am assuming you take your information from the FCM, so let me brief you, as in the old days, on what else has popped up over the past couple of weeks.

Two other CIA clandestine service officers have told author Ron Suskind that Iraqi intelligence chief Habbush had become one of our secret sources on Iraq, beginning in January 2003.

I hope you are sitting down, Colin, because Habbush also told us Iraq had no WMD. One of the helpful insights he passed along to us was that Saddam Hussein had decided that some ambiguity on the WMD issue would help prevent his main enemy, Iran, from thinking of Iraq as a toothless tiger.

Habbush, part of Saddam’s inner circle, had direct access to this kind of information. But when President Bush was first told of Habbush’s report that there were no WMD in Iraq, Suskind’s sources say the president reacted by saying, “Well, why don’t you tell him to give us something we can use to make our case?”

Apparently, Habbush was unable or unwilling to oblige by changing his story.

Nevertheless, later in 2003, when it became clear that he had been telling the unwelcome truth, Habbush was helped to resettle in Jordan and given $5 million to keep his mouth shut.

Suskind also reveals that in the fall of 2003, Habbush was asked to earn his keep by participating in a keystone-cops-type forgery aimed at “proving” that Saddam Hussein did, after all, have a direct hand in the tragedy of 9/11.

This crude forgery was not unlike the one that originally gave us the yarn about yellowcake uranium going from Niger to Iraq.

You will hardly be surprised to hear there is evidence, much of it circumstantial, that Vice President Dick Cheney was the intellectual author of both incredibly inept forgery operations.

Sorry to have to bring this up, but there is something else about Habbush that you need to know. He had actually been in charge of overseeing what was left of the Iraqi biological weapons program after the 1991 Gulf War, and reported that it was stopped in 1996.

Sabri vs. Curveball

Before the attack on Iraq, Tenet’s deputy, John McLaughlin, was repeatedly briefed on Sabri’s information, but complained that it was at variance with “our best source” – a reference to the infamous “Curveball,” the con-man whom German intelligence had warned the CIA not to take seriously.

You may recall hearing that on the evening before your U.N. speech, Drumheller warned Tenet not to use the information from Curveball on mobile biological weapons laboratories; Tenet gave Drumheller the brush-off.

The CIA artists’ renderings of those laboratories, to which you called such prominent attention during your speech, were spiffy, but bore no relationship to reality. Tenet and McLaughlin knew this almost as well as Sabri and Habbush did.

“We have firsthand descriptions of biological weapons factories on wheels and rails,” you will recall telling the world. Later, you lamented publicly that you had not been warned about Curveball either.

McLaughlin seemed to confirm that this was so, in an interview with the Washington Post in 2006: “If someone had made those doubts clear to me, I would not have permitted the reporting to be used in Secretary Powell’s speech.”

This is highly disingenuous, even by McLaughlin’s and Tenet’s standards, since they had deliberately chosen to ignore Drumheller’s warning. I know Drumheller; he is a far better bet for truthfulness that the other two.

Outright Lies

Although I am against the death penalty, I can sympathize with the vehement reaction of normally taciturn Carl Ford, head of State Department intelligence at the time. Ford has revealed that both Tenet and McLaughlin went to extraordinary lengths, and even took a personal hand in trying to salvage some credibility for the notorious Curveball.

In an interview for Hubris, a book by Michael Isikoff and David Corn, Carl Ford spared no words, asserting that Tenet’s and McLaughlin’s analysis “was not just wrong, they lied…they should have been shot.”

Though I’ve been around a while, I am not the best judge of character, Colin, and perhaps I am being too credulous in giving you the benefit of the doubt concerning what you knew – or didn’t. It could be, I suppose, that you were fully briefed on Naji Sabri, Habbush, Curveball, and all the rest of it, and have been able to orchestrate plausible denial.

If that is the case, I suppose it would seem safer to you to let sleeping dogs lie.

If, on the other hand, what my former colleagues say about your having been fenced off from this key intelligence is true, your reaction seems a bit … how shall I describe it? … understated.

Perhaps you are too long gone from the Bronx. Back there, back then, letting folks use you and make a fool of you without any response was just not done.

It was the equivalent to running away when someone was messing with your sister. And letting oneself be bullied always set a bad precedent, affirming for the bullies that they can push people around – especially understated ones – and risk nothing.

In sum, the CIA had both the Iraqi foreign minister and the Iraqi intelligence chief “turned” and reporting to us in the months before the war (in Naji Sabri’s case) and the weeks before your U.N. speech (in the case of Tahir Jalil Habbush).

Both were part of Saddam Hussein’s inner circle; both reported that there were no weapons of mass destruction.

But this was not what the president wanted to hear, so Tenet put the kibosh on Habbush and put Sabri on a cutter to Qatar.

So Here’s Your Opportunity

Either you knew about Sabri, Habbush and Curveball, or you did not. If you knew, I suppose you will keep hunkering down, licking your blot, and hoping that plausible denial will continue to work for you.

If you were kept in the dark, though, I would think you would want to raise holy hell – if not to hold accountable those of your former superiors and colleagues responsible for the carnage of the past five years, then at least to try to wipe the “blot” off your record.

Granted, it probably strikes you as a highly unwelcome choice – whether to appear complicit or naïve. Here’s an idea. Why not just tell the truth?

If House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers is any guide, Congress seems quite taken with the explosive revelations in Ron Suskind’s book “The Way of the World.”

On Thursday, Conyers joined Suskind on Amy Goodman’s “Democracy Now,” and declared that he is “the third day into the most critical investigation of the entire Bush administration.” (He clearly was referring to the Suskind revelations.)

Conyers emphasized that, even though Congress is in recess, “We’re starting our work, and … I’m calling everyone back. We’ve got a huge amount of work to engage in.”

At the same time, though, Conyers said he is “maybe the most frustrated person attempting to exercise the oversight responsibilities that I have on Judiciary.”

A good deal of his frustration comes from stonewalling by the Bush/Cheney administration, which will surely cite national security or executive privilege to justify withholding any damaging information.

Bush Visits CIA

It was, no doubt, pure coincidence that President Bush made a highly unusual visit to CIA headquarters, also on Thursday, before leaving for Crawford on vacation.

The official line is that he wanted an update on the situation in Georgia and the Russian role there, but Bush did not need to go to Langley for that

Rather, given the record of the past seven years, it is reasonable to suggest that he also wanted to assure malleable Mike Hayden, the CIA director, and his minions that they will be protected if they continue to stiff-arm appropriate congressional committees, denying them the information they need for a successful investigation.

Pardons dangled as hush money? Not so bizarre at all.

Some will recall that George H.W. Bush, just before leaving the White House, pardoned one of your former bosses, Casper Weinberger, who had been indicted and was about to go to trial for lying about his role in the Iran-Contra fiasco.

If past is precedent, sad to say, Conyers is not likely to get to first base, UNLESS he can get knowledgeable witnesses to come forward.

On Thursday he did not rule out a suggestion that Habbush be asked to come before Congress to testify, but the CIA can easily thwart that kind of thing – or delay it indefinitely.

In any case, your own credibility, though damaged, has got to be greater than Habbush’s.

Let me suggest that you offer yourself as a witness to help clear the air on these very important issues. This would seem the responsible, patriotic thing to do in the circumstances and could also have the salutary effect of beginning the atonement process for that day of infamy at the Security Council.

If we hear no peep out of you in the coming weeks, we shall not be able to escape concluding one of two things:

(1) That, as was the case with the White House Situation Room sessions on torture, you were a willing participant in suppressing/falsifying key intelligence on Iraq; or

(2) That you lack the courage to expose the scoundrels who betrayed not only you, but also that segment of our country and our world that still puts a premium on truth telling and the law.

Think about it.

With all due respect,

Ray McGovern

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. During his 27-year career in CIA’s analysis ranks, he chaired National Intelligence Estimates and briefed the President’s Daily Brief to the most senior national security officials. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

Posted in Baghdad, GENOCIDE, George W Butcher of Baghdad, human rights, Iraq, Israel, politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Iraq: That Expensive Hellhole of Genocide

Posted by terres on April 25, 2008

Gen. George, “One-Eyed” Monster, the Pious Bastard Blair, Iraqi Genocide, Human and Monetary Costs

The three trillion dollar war: The cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts have grown to staggering proportions ~ Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes

“The only war in our history which cost more was the Second World War, when 16.3 million U.S. troops fought in a campaign lasting four years, at a total cost (in 2007 dollars, after adjusting for inflation) of about $5 trillion (that’s $5 million million, or £2.5 million million). With virtually the entire armed forces committed to fighting the Germans and Japanese, the cost per troop (in today’s dollars) was less than $100,000 in 2007 dollars. By contrast, the Iraq war is costing upward of $400,000 per troop.”


Illustration by Edward Sorel. Vanity Fair (Image may be subject to copyright.) See RTSF Fair Use Notice.

“As the fifth year of the war draws to a close, operating costs (spending on the war itself, what you might call “running expenses”) for 2008 are projected to exceed $12.5 billion a month for Iraq alone, up from $4.4 billion in 2003, and with Afghanistan the total is $16 billion a month. Sixteen billion dollars is equal to the annual budget of the United Nations, or of all but 13 of the US states. Even so, it does not include the $500 billion we already spend per year on the regular expenses of the Defense Department. Nor does it include other hidden expenditures, such as intelligence gathering, or funds mixed in with the budgets of other departments.” (Source)

War On Iraq: The Costs

  • Number of Iraqis wounded: UNKNOWN
  • Other Coalition Troops deaths: 309
  • Number of foreign mercenaries killed and wounded in Iraq: UNKNOWN

Related Links:

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Posted in # Pelosi, bush, Hillary Klinton, human rights, Israel, politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

BAE Systems Al Yamamah Arms Bribery

Posted by terres on April 11, 2008

Update: May 19, 2008 BAE chief subpoenaed in U.S.

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CAAT and the Corner House Win Judicial Review!

Dear Supporter,

We are delighted to be able to bring you the news that along with The Corner House we have WON our Judicial Review! The High Court has this morning ruled that the Government acted unlawfully when it curtailed a corruption investigation into BAE Systems’ Al Yamamah arms deals with Saudi Arabia. The full text of the judgment, as well as the judges’ summary and our press release is available on our website http://www.caat.org.uk.

As a result of this judgment the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) will have to reconsider the decision to end the investigation. We are calling on Gordon Brown to make a commitment that there will be NO FURTHER GOVERNMENT INTERFERENCE.

The Corrupt Saudi Royals

Background: A Saudi prince who negotiated a £40bn arms deal between Britain and Saudi Arabia received secret payments for over a decade, a BBC probe has found.

All that BAE has ever rejected is any suggestion that the commission payments were illegal – Robert Peston, BBC Business Editor


Prince Bandar bin Sultan, then Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United States, meets George W. Bush in August 2002

Background: Bandar helped negotiate the 1985 Al Yamamah deal, a series of massive arms sales by the United Kingdom to Saudi Arabia worth GB£40 billion (US$80 billion), including the sale of more than 100 warplanes. After the deal was signed, British arms manufacturer British Aerospace (now BAE Systems) allegedly funneled secret payments of at least GB£1 billion (US$2 billion) into two Saudi embassy accounts in Washington, in yearly installments of up to GB£120 million (US$240 million) over at least 10 years. Bandar allegedly took money for personal use out of the accounts, as the purpose of one of the accounts was to pay the operating expenses of the prince’s private Airbus A340. According to investigators, there was “no distinction between the accounts of the embassy, or official government accounts […], and the accounts of the royal family.” The payments were discovered during a Serious Fraud Office investigation, which was stopped in December 2006 by attorney general Lord Goldsmith.


King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia: A War Criminal!

We need your help!

– Please sign our petition urging Gordon Brown to make a commitment that there will be no further government interference into the SFO’s investigation into the Al Yamamah arms deals. The petition can be found at this link http://www.caat.org.uk/campaigns/controlBAE/petition/petition.php .
We will be sending the petition to the Prime Minister next week so please sign it and forward it to friends as soon as you can.

Related Links:

Posted in Arms trade, CAAT, corruption, Royal Family, Saudi Arabia, war racket | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Arrest Abdullah, He Is a War Criminal!

Posted by terres on November 1, 2007

Arrest Abdullah, He Is a War Criminal!

‘King’ Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is a war criminal like GW Bush, Tony Blair, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell …. Without Abdullah’s approval, his financial and material support for ‘the coalition of the willing’ and their mercenaries, the Iraqi genocide would not have occurred.


Abdullah of Arabia: Complicit in Iraqi Genocide

He should be arrested and detained by the British police while he is visiting London until he can be formally indicted for complicity in genocide.

Submitted by Harry Saloor
Founder
The Management School of
Restorative Business (MSRB)

Related links: [Updated Nov. 1]

How nice that we make King Abdullah feel at home
King Abdullah flies in to lecture on terrorism?
Shouts of ‘murderers’ and ‘torturers’ greet King Abdullah on Palace tour
Boos and catcalls cloud state visit of Saudi king
Lib Dems boycott Saudi king visit in arms-deal protest
A Saudi state visit: five jumbo jets, 100 servants… several wives
Coalition of the willing? Make that war criminals
War Crimes
US War Crimes During the Gulf War
Exporting Democracy to the Middle East
After Baker-Hamilton: What to Do in Iraq
The Saudis are responsible for most of the violence and terrorism that is going on in Iraq
The Saudis are responsible for the bulk of suicide bombings
Guns and money are flowing across the Saudi-Iraq border in vast quantities

Posted in America, GENOCIDE, Iran, Iraq, King Abdullah, Saudi Arabia, war on terror | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »