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Archive for the ‘iraq’ Category

Intelligence officer says officers did not know rules on treatment of prisoners and one tried to mount ‘arse-covering exercise’ after Baha Mousa’s death

Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian/UK, April 27, 2010

Baha Mousa inquiryBaha Mousa, a Basra hotel worker, was beaten to death in 2003 while in the custody of 1 Battalion Queen’s Lancashire Regiment. Photograph: Liberty/PA

An officer of the regiment detaining Baha Mousa, a Basra hotel worker, when he was beaten to death said his soldiers held the view that “all Iraqis were scum”, it was disclosed today.

One officer tried to mount an “arse covering” exercise after Mousa’s death, while others expressed ignorance of basic rules covering the treatment of prisoners, the public inquiry into the incident heard.

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By William Blum, ZNet, April 17, 2010

When did it begin, all this “We take your [call/problem/question] very seriously”? With answering-machine hell? As you wait endlessly, the company or government agency assures you that they take seriously whatever reason you’re calling. What a kind and thoughtful world we live in.

The BBC reported last month that doctors in the Iraqi city of Fallujah are reporting a high level of birth defects, with some blaming weapons used by the United States during its fierce onslaughts of 2004 and subsequently, which left much of the city in ruins. “It was like an earthquake,” a local engineer who was running for a national assembly seat told the Washington Post in 2005. “After Hiroshima and Nagasaki, there was Fallujah.” Now, the level of heart defects among newborn babies is said to be 13 times higher than in Europe.

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Robert Dreyfuss, The Nation, April 13, 2010

War crimes, massacres, and, as Al Jazeera properly calls it, “collateral murder,” are all part of the US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001.

The release last week of the Wikileaks video, thirty-eight grisly minutes long, of US airmen casually slaughtering a dozen Iraqis in 2007 — including two Reuters newsmen — puts it into focus not because it shows us something we didn’t know, but because we can watch it unfold in real time. Real people, flesh and blood, gunned down from above in a hellish rain of fire.

The events in Iraq, nearly three years old, were repeated this week in Afghanistan, when trigger-happy US soldiers slaughtered five Afghans cruising along on a huge, comfortable civilian bus near Kandahar.

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Anny Shaw
UK Daily Mail
March 4, 2010

A sharp increase in birth defects in the Iraqi city of Fallujah could be linked to sophisticated weaponry used by U.S. troops in 2004, it has been revealed.

There has been a ‘massive unprecedented number’ of heart defects and an increase in the number of central nervous system defects in newborns, Fallujah doctors have told British-based Iraqi researcher Malik Hamdan.

‘I’ve seen footage of babies born with an eye in the middle of the forehead, the nose on the forehead,’ Hamdan claims.

BBC correspondent John Simpson reported seeing children in the city who were suffering from paralysis or brain damage – and a photograph of one baby who was born with three heads.

Full article here

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• Blair ‘lied’ over war preparations
• Attorney general ‘misled’ government
• Brown ‘marginalised and unhappy’
Clare Short at the Iraq war inquiry – as it happened
James Sturcke, The Guardian/UK, Feb 2, 2010
Clare Short arriving to give evidence at the Iraq Inquiry

Clare Short arriving to give evidence at the Iraq inquiry. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Clare Short, the former international development secretary, today accused Tony Blair of lying to her and misleading parliament in the build-up to the Iraq invasion.

Short, giving evidence to the Chilcot inquiry into the war, also said that the 2003 conflict had put the world in greater danger of international terrorism.

Declassified letters between Short and Blair released today show she believed that invading Iraq without a second UN resolution would be illegal and there was a significant risk of a humanitarian catastrophe.

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Letter from Clare Short to Tony Blair on humanitarian planning and the role of the UN, 14 February 2003 (pdf).

Letter from Short to Blair on the UN and US roles in post-conflict Iraq, 5 March 2003 (pdf).

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Baghdad's Nisour Square, where 17 Iraqis died in a shooting involving Blackwater Worldwide.

U.S. Examines Whether Blackwater Tried Bribery

The New York Times
Published: January 31, 2010

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department is investigating whether officials of Blackwater Worldwide tried to bribe Iraqi government officials in hopes of retaining the firm’s security work in Iraq after a deadly shooting episode in 2007, according to current and former government officials.

The officials said that the Justice Department’s fraud section opened the inquiry late last year to determine whether Blackwater employees violated a federal law banning American corporations from paying bribes to foreign officials.

The inquiry is the latest fallout from the shooting in Nisour Square in Baghdad, which left 17 Iraqis dead and stoked bitter resentment against the United States.

A federal judge in December dismissed criminal charges against five former Blackwater guards implicated in the episode, but Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. recently announced that the Obama administration would appeal that decision.

The investigation, which was confirmed by three current and former officials speaking on condition of anonymity, follows a report in The New York Times in November that top executives at Blackwater had authorized secret payments of about $1 million to Iraqi officials to buy their support after the shooting. The newspaper account said it could not determine whether any bribes were actually paid or identify Iraqi officials who might have received the money.

The Justice Department has obtained two documents from the State Department, which had security contracts with the company, that have raised questions about Blackwater’s efforts to influence Iraqi government officials after the Nisour Square shootings, according to two American officials familiar with the inquiry.

MORE HERE

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Chilcot and the courts won’t do it, so it is up to us to show that we won’t let an illegal act of mass murder go unpunished

by George Monbiot, The Guardian/UK, January 26, 2010

The only question that counts is the one that the Chilcot inquiry won’t address: was the war with Iraq illegal? If the answer is yes, everything changes. The war is no longer a political matter, but a criminal one, and those who commissioned it should be committed for trial for what the Nuremberg tribunal called “the supreme international crime”: the crime of aggression.

But there’s a problem with official inquiries in the United Kingdom: the government appoints their members and sets their terms of reference. It’s the equivalent of a criminal suspect being allowed to choose what the charges should be, who should judge his case and who should sit on the jury. As a senior judge told the Guardian in November: “Looking into the legality of the war is the last thing the government wants. And actually, it’s the last thing the opposition wants either because they voted for the war. There simply is not the political pressure to explore the question of legality – they have not asked because they don’t want the answer.”

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