Tag Archives: Iraq

The Music is the Same, Just a Different Dance Floor

This is from William Blum’s December 2011 post:
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USrael and Iran

There’s no letup, is there? The preparation of the American mind, the world mind, for the next gala performance of D&D — Death and Destruction. The Bunker Buster bombs are now 30,000 pounds each one, six times as heavy as the previous delightful model..

But the Masters of War still want to be loved; they need for you to believe them when they say they have no choice, that Iran is the latest threat to life as we know it, no time to waste.

The preparation of minds was just as fervent before the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. And when it turned out that Iraq did not have any kind of arsenal of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) … well, our power elite found other justifications for the invasion, and didn’t look back. Some berated Iraq: “Why didn’t they tell us that? Did they want us to bomb them?”

In actuality, before the US invasion high Iraqi officials had stated clearly on repeated occasions that they had no such weapons. In August 2002, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz told American newscaster Dan Rather on CBS: “We do not possess any nuclear or biological or chemical weapons.”1

In December, Aziz stated to Ted Koppel on ABC: “The fact is that we don’t have weapons of mass destruction. We don’t have chemical, biological, or nuclear weaponry.”2

Hussein himself told Rather in February 2003: “These missiles have been destroyed. There are no missiles that are contrary to the prescription of the United Nations [as to range] in Iraq. They are no longer there.”3

Moreover, Gen. Hussein Kamel, former head of Iraq’s secret weapons program, and a son-in-law of Saddam Hussein, told the UN in 1995 that Iraq had destroyed its banned missiles and chemical and biological weapons soon after the Persian Gulf War of 1991.4

There are yet other examples of Iraqi officials telling the world that the WMD were non-existent.

And if there were still any uncertainty remaining, last year Hans Blix, former chief United Nations weapons inspector, who led a doomed hunt for WMD in Iraq, told a British inquiry into the 2003 invasion that those who were “100 percent certain there were weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq turned out to have “less than zero percent knowledge” of where the purported hidden caches might be. He testified that he had warned British Prime Minister Tony Blair in a February 2003 meeting — as well as US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in separate talks — that Hussein might have no weapons of mass destruction.5

Those of who you don’t already have serious doubts about the American mainstream media’s knowledge and understanding of US foreign policy, should consider this: Despite the two revelations on Dan Rather’s CBS programs, and the other revelations noted above, in January 2008 we find CBS reporter Scott Pelley interviewing FBI agent George Piro, who had interviewed Saddam Hussein before he was executed:

PELLEY: And what did he tell you about how his weapons of mass destruction had been destroyed?

PIRO: He told me that most of the WMD had been destroyed by the U.N. inspectors in the ’90s, and those that hadn’t been destroyed by the inspectors were unilaterally destroyed by Iraq.

PELLEY: He had ordered them destroyed?

PIRO: Yes.

PELLEY: So why keep the secret? Why put your nation at risk? Why put your own life at risk to maintain this charade?6

The United States and Israel are preparing to attack Iran because of their alleged development of nuclear weapons, which Iran has denied on many occasions. Of the Iraqis who warned the United States that it was mistaken about the WMD — Saddam Hussein was executed, Tariq Aziz is awaiting execution. Which Iranian officials is USrael going to hang after their country is laid to waste?

Would it have mattered if the Bush administration had fully believed Iraq when it said it had no WMD? Probably not. There is ample evidence that Bush knew this to be the case, or at a minimum should have seriously suspected it; the same applies to Tony Blair. Saddam Hussein did not sufficiently appreciate just how psychopathic his two adversaries were. Bush was determined to vanquish Iraq, for the sake of Israel, for control of oil, and for expanding the empire with new bases, though in the end most of this didn’t work out as the empire expected; for some odd reason, it seems that the Iraqi people resented being bombed, invaded, occupied, demolished, and tortured.

But if Iran is in fact building nuclear weapons, we have to ask: Is there some international law that says that the US, the UK, Russia, China, Israel, France, Pakistan, and India are entitled to nuclear weapons, but Iran is not? If the United States had known that the Japanese had deliverable atomic bombs, would Hiroshima and Nagasaki have been destroyed? Israeli military historian, Martin van Creveld, has written: “The world has witnessed how the United States attacked Iraq for, as it turned out, no reason at all. Had the Iranians not tried to build nuclear weapons, they would be crazy.”7

It can not be repeated too often: The secret to understanding US foreign policy is that there is no secret. Principally, one must come to the realization that the United States strives to dominate the world. Once one understands that, much of the apparent confusion, contradiction, and ambiguity surrounding Washington’s policies fades away. Examine a map: Iran sits directly between two of the United States’ great obsessions — Iraq and Afghanistan … directly between two of the world’s greatest oil regions — the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea areas … it’s part of the encirclement of the two leading potential threats to American world domination — Russia and China … Tehran will never be a client state or obedient poodle to Washington. How could any good, self-respecting Washington imperialist resist such a target? Bombs Away!


Random and Not-so-Random

A few months ago I was invited to be part of a small group of writers from different parts of the world who freely share valuable critiques on each other’s poetry online, in a private forum so our work could remain “unpublished.”  Discussions are very stimulating – not just about poetry or creative writing but pretty much anything under the sun.

Every week or so a prompt is posted and each member gets to write a poem out of it.  The prompt could be a photograph or a series of photographs, a word, a piece of music, etc.  I’ve managed to come up with new work from this exercise and have become rather addicted to this practice. Recently a new prompt was posted that I continue to struggle with. It’s a beautiful photograph of a sunset against what looks to me as pine tree branches. Mostly red, yellow, orange and black.

Before this time I had told myself I would like to write something about the Maguindanao Massacre of 2009.  I have tried to incorporate the photograph with the massacre, but so far nothing feels right.  The other day I accidentally stumbled upon an old poem that needed to be revised. So for the meantime I dealt with that.  Here is version 2.

Oh, before the poem… Hillary Clinton is visiting the Philippines to “strengthen ties.”  I think she means “shackles” or something worse.  There’s a mathematical explanation to the saying about keeping your friends and enemies – the distance and equivalent value. When I figure it out I’ll share it with the rest of the world.

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Random Thoughts on the Haditha Massacre on Valentine’s Day

On Nov. 19, 2005, U.S. Marines allegedly killed 24 people in revenge for the death of one of their own, caused by an improvised exploding device (IED). The 24 individuals, six of whom were aged 10 and under, were shot at point blank range.
United for Peace and Justice

Abdullah Walid, 4

Here is a photograph of a room, familiar
as an aunt’s house. How can I like
the colour red now after seeing this?

Those bursts are not flowers
or abstract art. They are echoes
forcing me to hear doors being broken,
cries, pleas, gunfire, explosions.

The weight of boots
over silence. An eye
for each bullet hole.

I know your name and age
from scraps of stories handed down
by sources who never knew you.

Do I add one more violation
by imagining you surviving?
How your index finger might have felt

the fine edges of each bullet hole,
an odd sensation rising
between horror and laughter.

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Abdul Hamid Hassan Ali, 76 – grandfather, father and husband,
who used a wheelchair, due to a leg amputation
following complications with diabetes.  Died with nine rounds
in the chest and abdomen.

Khamisa Tuma Ali, 66 – wife of Abdul Hamid Hassan Ali.

Wisdom does not go
freely with age.
Yet we know there is something
worth hearing from somone

older than us.  They have seen
more lives, more deaths perhaps
than our eyes can bear.
Here is one of them.

And another.  Together.
They once spoke
in a language
unfamiliar to us.

They once spoke
to each other
as they held hands
at the end of another day.

Facing a new day
again in each other’s arms.
For who knows how many years?
For who knows how many more years?

And then that suddden
unexpected
goodbye
void of an embrace.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haditha_killings

Aftermath of US raid - photo from "The War Profiteers" taken from a video shot by Taher Thabet.


The Chill in the Bones of the Puppet Masters

Nice title.  I could sell it to a hack novelist. 🙂

George Galloway writes in The Morning Star:

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All the lies deployed to justify the wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan took this great lie as their premise – that the West must bomb and blast the people of those countries into “democracy” because they are incapable of changing their societies themselves.

The fall of Ben Ali and the rise of the Egyptian masses has put paid to that essentially racist stereotype. The women in Egypt – young and old, with hijabs or not, university educated and from the slums – are showing that they do not need Laura Bush or Cheri Blair giving a faux-feminist gloss to F16s to liberate them. The sisters are doing it for themselves alongside men drawn from across the base of Egyptian society.

And the US State Department, British Foreign Office and French Quai d’Orsay don’t like it one bit. It’s not only their close personal connections with the torturing regimes of Ben Ali and Mubarak which now stand fully exposed. We know a little about Tony Blair, who still found Mubarak a force for good as the death toll from his clinging onto power climbed above 300.

More is at stake than these politicians’ personal connections with Mubarak. The cornerstone of decades of US and Western policy of holding down the mass of the people in the region in the interests of oil, corporate control of trade and investment and Israel is shattering. Every Arab despot ruling the region almost without exception from the Atlantic to the Persian Gulf knows it. Which is why the wind of change that is intoxicating their people is bringing a chill to each of those regimes.

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NEWS ITEM: Journalist attempts citizen’s arrest of Blair in EU parliament

Detail from a cartoon by Leon Khun

by LEIGH PHILLIPS

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS – A Brussels reporter attempted to place Tony Blair under a citizen’s arrest on Monday (22 March) for his role in the invasion of Iraq, during a visit by the former UK prime minister to the European Parliament for a hearing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

On the seventh anniversary of the invasion almost to the day, late afternoon, David Cronin, an Irish journalist with the Inter Press Service news agency and a regular writer on European Union affairs for The Guardian, the British centre-left daily, approached Mr Blair, as he was due to discuss with MEPs his current work as a Middle East special envoy.

Placing his hand on the former prime minister’s arm, Mr Cronin said: “Mr Blair, this is a citizens’ arrest.”

READ FULL ARTICLE


“The Disneyfication of War” – George Monbiot

I read this article years ago and just recently bumped into it again.  Thought it was a good read then and hopefully it still is  now.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE

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The Disneyfication of war allows us to ignore its real savagery

By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 24th October 2006.

Most of our memorials sentimentalise war. Few commemorate the horror. But now we have a new category, whose purpose seems to be to trivialise it.

Last week a vast bronze sculpture was unveiled in Montrose on the east coast of Scotland by Prince Andrew. It depicts a hero of the second world war, wearing a seaman’s cap, who was decorated with “the equivalent of the George Cross”. It’s a bit late, perhaps, but otherwise unsurprising – until I tell you that the hero was a dog. The statue depicts a St Bernard called Bamse, which reputedly rescued two Norwegian sailors. It is the latest manifestation of the new Cult of the Heroic Animal.

The Imperial War Museum is currently running an exhibition called “The Animals’ War”. It features stuffed mascots, tales of the “desperate plight” of 200 animals trapped by the fighting in Iraq, and photos of dogs wearing gas masks. It tells us about the “PDSA Dicken Medal – the Animals’ Victoria Cross”, which has been awarded to 23 dogs, 32 pigeons, three horses and one cat for “acts of conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in wartime.” The museum resounds with cries of “aaah!” and “how sweet!”. War is now cute.

Last year, Disney released an animation called Valiant, about the heroics of a group of messenger pigeons in World War Two. In 2004, a vast sculpture was unveiled by Princes Anne in Park Lane in London, called “Animals at War”. It cost £1.5 million, and it is dedicated “to all the animals that served and died alongside British and Allied Forces in wars and campaigns throughout time … From the pigeon to the elephant they all played a vital role in every region of the world in the cause of human freedom. Their contribution must never be forgotten.” In Liverpool there are now two statues commemorating a dog – Jet – used to find victims of air raids in the Second World War.

I have no objection to remembering the suffering of animals. If someone started a subscription for a statue of a battery pig or a broiler chicken (conveniently forgotten by almost everyone) I might even contribute. But the emphasis given to animals’ suffering in war suggests a failure to acknowledge the suffering of human beings. The tableau in Park Lane carries the justifying motto “They had no choice”. Nor did the civilians killed in Iraq, the millions of women raped over the centuries by soldiers, or the colonial subjects who died of famine or disease in British concentration camps. You would scour this country in vain for a monument to any of them.

Bamse has been dead for 62 years. Both the Park Lane memorial and the exhibition at the Imperial War Museum were inspired by a book by Jilly Cooper – the patron saint of English bourgeois sentiment – called Animals in War(4,5). But it was first published in 1983. It is only since the invasion of Iraq that this disneyfication of war seems to have become a major industry.

READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE


Bush’s ‘Smoking Gun’ Witness Found Dead

FROM A.N.S.W.E.R.

The cover-up of Bush-era crimes is taking a shocking but not unexpected turn. A fateful move has been made and it is certain to backfire.

A prisoner who was horribly tortured in 2002 until he agreed – at the demand of Bush torturers – to say that al-Qaeda was linked to Saddam Hussein is suddenly dead. Several weeks ago, Human Rights Watch investigators discovered the missing inmate and talked to him. He had been secretly transferred by the administration to a prison in Libya after having been held by the CIA both in secret “black hole prisons” and in Egypt.

Under conditions of extreme torture, the prisoner, Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi, agreed in 2002 to supply the Bush-ordered interrogators what they sought as a political cover for Bush’s marketing of the pending war of aggression against Iraq. Mr. Libi agreed to tell them whatever they wanted in exchange for an end to the torture. The now famous Torture Memos providing legal cover for the torture were written at the same time starting in the summer of 2002.

Libi’s tortured and knowingly fabricated testimony was the source of information used by Bush to sell the war to the U.S. Senate, and the source for Colin Powell’s bogus and lying presentation to the United Nations in 2003.

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice are now running around saying that the torture regime “protected the country from terrorist attack.” But the torture was used for the personal political goals of Bush and Cheney: namely, to sell their Iraq invasion to a very skeptical and disbelieving country.

Having been discovered by human rights investigators two weeks ago, Mr. Libi’s story coincided with the release of the Torture Memos and the growing clamor for criminal prosecutions of Bush officials.

His testimony is the smoking gun that would reveal that the torture regime was not for “national security” but for the personal political aims of Bush and Cheney.

He was Exhibit A in the indictment that alleges that tortured confessions and the contrived legal justifications of torture set up by Justice Department lawyers in July/August 2002 were central to the launch of the war against Iraq.

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died and tens of thousands of U.S. service members have either been killed or badly wounded in a war that was based on lies fortified and promoted by the most sadistic torture.

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Mission Accomplished?

fear-woman

Do not let us go into that darkness with bare hands.
If you do, we shall claw our way out,
leave our nails on the back of the beast
that bears your face.

We know you and your caress
even as you pass
judgment upon our children
who are yet to know anger,

Grief with flailing arms,
solitude gone astray
among the ruined fabrics
of our homes.

When will you allow us
time and space to build
our own rooms of healing
that do not bear your name?

How can we, when every day you cast
the weight of your shadows on our lands,
bleed us of what lies beneath our feet,
speak to us with the language of corpses.

With eyes seared by your weapons
we stand
staring at all you have stolen
that can never be returned.

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Remembering one of many invasions.