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Archive for the ‘iraq’ Category

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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Biden: US To Appeal Dismissal Of Blackwater Case

Huffington Post

MATT APUZZO | 01/23/10 09:10 PM | AP

BAGHDAD — The U.S. will appeal a court decision dismissing manslaughter charges against five Blackwater Worldwide guards involved in a deadly 2007 Baghdad shooting, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said Saturday.

Biden’s announcement after a meeting with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani shows just how diplomatically sensitive the incident remains nearly three years later. A lawyer for one guard, noting that word of the intended appeal came in Iraq, accused the Obama administration of political expediency and said the U.S. was pursuing an innocent man, rather than justice.

Blackwater security contractors were guarding U.S. diplomats when the guards opened fire in Nisoor Square, a crowded Baghdad intersection, on Sept. 16, 2007. Seventeen people were killed, including women and children, in a shooting that inflamed anti-American sentiment in Iraq.

Biden expressed his “personal regret” for the shooting and said the Obama administration was disappointed by the dismissal. “A dismissal is not an acquittal,” he said.

The U.S. rebuffed Iraqi demands that the U.S. contractors face trial in Iraqi courts. After a lengthy investigation, U.S. prosecutors charged five of the contractors with manslaughter and took a guilty plea from a sixth.

MORE HERE

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Prince thought Tony Blair was wrong on Iraq and mocked him as 'our glorious leader'

By Robert Jobson, 03/01/2010  

PRINCE Charles was so convinced Tony Blair was WRONG to take Britain to war in Iraq he broke Royal tradition and actively campaigned against the invasion, the News of the World can reveal.

Behind closed doors, the heir to the throne voiced his fears to senior politicians and mounted a staunch anti-war crusade in which he:  

  • ATTACKED the then prime minister’s stance, mockingly calling him “our glorious leader”.
  • BLAMED American president George W Bush for action he believed to be misguided after reviewing secret intelligence.
  • WARNED the war would only stir up more serious trouble in the region.
  • ACCUSED western leaders of failing to deal with what he feels is the real cause of Islamic unrest – the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Meddling

Our extraordinary revelations – from the most impeccable inside sources – are certain to pile pressure on former premier Blair as he prepares to give evidence to the Chilcott inquiry into the war.  

And they come as ex-PM Sir John Major twisted the knife yesterday, accusing Blair’s handling of the 2003 invasion of damaging trust in the UK political system more than the expenses scandal.  

Read more…

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The purpose of the Chilcot inquiry is to normalise an epic crime by providing enough of a theatre of guilt to satisfy the media

by John Pilger, The New Statesman, Dec 13, 2009

[President George W. Bush gestures as he answers a reporter’s question during a joint press availability with Prime Minister Tony Blair of the United Kingdom Friday, July 28, 2006, in the East Room of the White House. (Photo by Paul Morse - CC license)]
President George W. Bush gestures as he answers a reporter’s question during a joint press availability with Prime Minister Tony Blair of the United Kingdom Friday, July 28, 2006, in the East Room of the White House. (Photo by Paul Morse – CC license)

I tried to contact Mark Higson the other day, only to learn that he had died nine years ago. He was just 40, an honourable man. We met soon after he 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.

“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.”

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VirginMedia
11 December 2009 11:55pm

Tony Blair said he believes it still would have been right to have invaded Iraq even if it was known then that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction.

The former Prime Minister – who is due to give evidence in the New Year to the Chilcot inquiry into the war – said other arguments would have been needed to justify the military action in 2003.

But in an interview to be broadcast on BBC1′s Fern Britton Meets … Tony Blair, he said the threat posed by Saddam to the wider region meant it was right to remove him from power.

“I would still have thought it right to remove him. Obviously you would have had to use and deploy different arguments, about the nature of the threat. I can’t really think we’d be better with him and his two sons still in charge but it’s incredibly difficult,” he said.

He added: “It was the notion of him as a threat to the region, of which the development of WMD was obviously one, and because you’d had 12 years of United Nations to and fro on this subject, he used chemical weapons on his own people – so this was obviously the thing that was upper most in my mind.”

[Source]

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Blackwater ‘became an extension’ of the CIA: report

By Raw Story
Thursday, December 10th, 2009 — 10:42 pm

The role of Blackwater employees in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars was so central to the US’s efforts that the lines between the controversial security contractor, the CIA and the military were effectively “blurred,” says a report in the New York Times.

During the height of the Iraqi insurgency from 2004 to 2006, Blackwater guards participated almost nightly in “snatch and grab” raids on suspected militants, the Times reported in a story published late Thursday.

The company’s cooperation in top-secret CIA operations “illuminate[s] a far deeper relationship between the spy agency and the private security company than government officials have previously acknowledged,” the Times reports.

“Blackwater’s partnership with the CIA has been enormously profitable for the North Carolina-based company, and became even closer after several top agency officials joined Blackwater.”

“It became a very brotherly relationship,” an unnamed “former top CIA officer” told the Times. “There was a feeling that Blackwater eventually became an extension of the agency.”

MORE HERE

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Pakistanis skeptical about a new one billion dollar US embassy

By T9 Times Articles

Posted on 19 Aug 2009 at 1:18am GMT

The Pakistani government is suspicious of a nearly one billion dollar U.S. plan to expand the American embassy in Islamabad, a senior Pakistani official told The Media Line.

Following reports earlier this week that the scheduled $945.2 million expansion of the U.S. embassy in Islamabad was to include the deployment of up to 1,000 U.S. Marines to the Pakistani capital, a highly-placed official in the Pakistani Foreign Ministry said the government is increasingly sceptical of the U.S. plan and intends to raise the issue with Richard Holbrooke, U.S. President Barack Obama’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Well, here we go again, the 2nd. largest embassy on the planet, only to be exceeded by “Fortress America” in Baghdad. I suppose that “suspicious” could be called a vast understatement, when considering the secrecy and then the final unveiling four years later, of an embassy that actually serves as a military installation.

The Military Petrochemical Agrocorporate Fusion Energy Complex is obviously still Hell bent on “the long war” and will go to any lengths to pursue their efforts to control Middle Eastern oil.

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