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Iraq Today: America’s Genocidal Legacy


Steven Gaal
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http://www.globalresearch.ca/iraq-today-americas-genocidal-legacy/5356592

America came to Iraq to stay. Contingents of US forces remain. America’s embassy cost over a billion dollars to build. It’s the world’s largest.

It’s inside Baghdad’s Green Zone. It includes 21 buildings. Extraordinary security measures protect them. They’re on 104 acres of land. It’s the equivalent of 80 football fields.

Democracy is verboten. So-called liberation is a convenient illusion. Iraq was ravaged and destroyed. Daily violence rages out-of-control. Unemployment, poverty and human misery are extreme.

An epidemic of birth defects, cancer and other war related diseases plague the country. So do tens of thousands of US and other Western private military contractors, advisors and security personnel.

At issue is controlling the region’s oil, gas, other strategic resources as well as economic policy and politics.

America’s imperial legacy reflects destroying the cradle of civilization. Pre-1990 Iraq no longer exists. Charnel house conditions replaced it.

Over two decades of war, sanctions, and occupation wrecked Iraq’s ecosystem. Scores of pollutants contaminate vast parts of country’s soil and water.

They include depleted and enriched uranium, benzene and other harmful chemicals, toxic metals, oil, bacteria and other poisons.

One hundred Paul Bremer orders raped Iraq. They turned it into a cutthroat free-market laboratory. Inside the bubble is paradise. Outside is hell. Basic services for the vast majority of Iraqis don’t exist.

Pillaging on the grandest of grand scales continues. Iraq remains a virtual US colony. Its sovereign independence is gone.

Gideon Polya maintains body count numbers. War related deaths come from violence, starvation, preventable diseases, poverty and neglect. Apocalyptic conditions follow.

Polya defines avoidable mortality as “the difference between actual deaths in a country and (those) expected for a peaceful, decently governed (one) with the same demographics.”

On the 10th anniversary of Washington’s invasion, he said Iraqi deaths from sanctions, violence, and violently-imposed deprivation since 1990 totaled 4.6 million.

Extinguishing human lives on this massive a scale constitutes genocide.

Article II of the Genocide Convention defines it as including “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;

( B) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

© Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

In stark contrast to “science-based estimates,” said Polya, imperial liars and complicit media scoundrels lowball numbers disgracefully.

They practically ignore daily violence and horrific conditions. Millions of internally and externally displaced refugees don’t matter. Washington’s full responsibility gets no coverage.

Some of the greatest ever crimes of war and against humanity are airbrushed from history. They continue daily out of sight and mind. No end game suggests relief.

Puppet Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki serves at America’s pleasure. His tenure began in May 2006. His longevity reflects his subservience.

On November 1, he arrived in Washington. He did so hat in hand. Oval office photos with Obama followed. Earlier ones showed him with Bush. A duplicitous joint statement said in part:

“In their meeting today at the White House, President Obama and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki reaffirmed the strategic partnership between the United States and the Republic of Iraq and pledged to advance common interests to support a stable, secure, and prosperous Iraq and Middle East.”

“Since most US forces redeployed nearby in the region, both countries “entered a new phase of their relationship, based on mutual respect and a shared commitment to build a strategic partnership between two sovereign nations.”

“They recalled the thousands of Americans and Iraqis who have given their lives in our common fight against terrorism and extremism in Iraq.”

“The President and Prime Minister renewed their determination to honor the memory and sacrifice of those killed by strengthening our joint long-term strategic partnership across the fields covered by the SFA, including security, diplomacy, trade, education, energy, culture, science, and justice.”

Obama calls Iraq an emerging democracy. Bush said its future reflects a “beacon of democracy.” Reality reveals otherwise. High-minded rhetoric rings hollow.

Iraq is a failed state. It’s totally dysfunctional. Basic services and security don’t exist. Corruption and daily violence are out-of-control.

Hopes for eventual stability and prosperity are ill-founded. Destroying the cradle of civilization created a blank slate. Iraq, Inc. replaced it.

Chicago School fundamentalism rules run things. US corporations got first dibs. Bremer orders institutionalized plunder. Occupation harshness persists.

Today’s Iraq reflects everything wrong with imperial wars, colonization, and predatory capitalist ruthlessness. Ordinary Iraqis are entirely shut out. They’re on their own, out of luck, sink or swim.

Survival is their problem. Shock and awe, invasion, occupation, and rapid transformation from what was to what is killed millions.

Survivors struggle to get by. Doing so isn’t easy. Many don’t make it. Puppet governance masquerades as legitimate.

America calls the shots on what matters most. Maliki and other stooges do it bidding. Failure assures replicating Saddam’s fate. White House photo-ops reward subservience.

George Bush said America came to Iraq “to plant seeds of democracy.” Ghoulish dystopia reflects today’s reality.

Iraq is a violent dysfunctional wasteland. Nightmarish conditions exist. Washington bears full responsibility. Multiple car bombings occur almost daily.

July was the bloodiest month since 2008. Violence killed over 1,000. Over 2,300 others were wounded. Maliki’s response is severe repression.

Thousands of suspected regime opponents are imprisoned uncharged. Torture and other forms of abuse follow. Mass arrests continue.

According to Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Iraq and Afghanistan are America’s most expensive wars by far.

No one knows when they’ll end. No one can determine their final cost. From what’s known to date, up to $6 trillion may be spent. Costs go way beyond combat.

Externalities include longterm medical care, disability and survivor benefits, interest on debt related to war and occupation, as well as other social, economic and political costs.

War doesn’t come cheap. Multiple ones are hugely expensive. Waging them one after another sacrifices other budget priorities.

Most US resources go for militarism, aggression, corporate handouts, and homeland police state harshness.

Social America is being destroyed. It’s to maintain what demands condemnation. Bipartisan complicity is turning the nation into a dystopian backwater. It’s being thirdworldized.

Perhaps it’ll end up like Iraq. October exceeded July’s violence. Deadly car bombings killed over 1,000. Thousands more were wounded.

Fear, human misery and deprivation grip the country. Normalcy is nonexistent. Bloodshed, insecurity, and extreme repression reflect daily life. Obama wants Maliki to crack down harder.

New York Times editors march in lockstep with America’s imperial agenda. They supported the Gulf war, years of genocidal sanctions, Bush’s shock and awe lawlessness, and occupation that followed.

They’ve done so unapologetically. On November 1, they headlined “Can Iraq Be Saved?”

Maliki came to Washington looking for help. Times editors blame him for ongoing turmoil. True enough for complicity with America.

Times editors pointed fingers the wrong way. Bush and Obama administrations bear full responsibility. Maliki does what he’s told.

According to Times editors, Iraq might be safer with more US troops on the ground. Their arrival instigated what’s now ongoing.

“(T)here is no reason to trust Maliki unless he adopts a more inclusive approach to governing and ensures that next April’s election will be fair and democratic,” they said.

Reality is polar opposite. America deplores democracy. Iraq has none for sure. Ordinary people have no say.

America decides who runs things. Strings are pulled in Washington. Maliki’s in charge as long as he remembers who’s boss. Don’t expect Times editors to explain.

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Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net .

His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour\

http://www.dailycensored.com/iraq-today-americas-genocidal-legacy/

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  • 2 weeks later...

TO LEARN ABOUT America’s Genocidal Legacy in IRAQ just go to GOOGLE NEWS once a week and put in IRAQ BOMBING.

The horror is unending. JUST IN TODAY

Iraq has seen more than 8,000 people killed this year, mainly by bombings.

http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/the-monitors-view/2013/1212/Saving-Islam-from-suicide-bombs

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TO LEARN ABOUT America’s Genocidal Legacy in IRAQ just go to GOOGLE NEWS once a week and put in IRAQ BOMBING.

The horror is unending. JUST IN TODAY

Over 100 Killed as al-Qaeda Seizes Most of Fallujah

Fighting Continues on Outskirts, But City Has Fallen

by Jason Ditz, January 03, 2014

Final death tolls are still up in the air and the fighting is ongoing, but well over 100 people are confirmed dead today in fighting over the Western Iraqi cities of Ramadi and Fallujah, and Fallujah appears to have fallen more or less entirely under al-Qaeda of Iraq’s (AQI) control.

fallujah.pngOfficials reported 71 AQI fighters and 32 civilians dead, and an unknown number of tribal fighters as well as Iraqi military and police are also dead in the fighting, which has grown in intensity over the past few days.

Monday’s violent crackdown on protests in Ramadi gave way to mass resignations in parliament and bigger protests in Anbar Province, which AQI used as an opportunity to attack police stations and seize chunks of both Ramadi and Fallujah.

They still hold part of Ramadi, but their big possession is Fallujah, where Iraqi security forces are no longer seen, and where virtually the whole city is under their control. AQI has issued a statement declaring Fallujah an “independent Islamic state,” and at the moment the only resistence they’re facing anywhere near the city is from local tribal leaders, with the military pushed back to the highway leading from the area into Baghdad.

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PLEASE VISIT POST 1 this THREAD

Is The Media Now Just Another Word for ‘Control’?

by John Pilger, January 06, 2014

A recent poll asked people in Britain how many Iraqis had been killed as a result of the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The answers they gave were shocking. A majority said that fewer than 10,000 had been killed. Scientific studies report that up to a million Iraqi men, women and children died in an inferno lit by the British government and its ally in Washington. That’s the equivalent of the genocide in Rwanda. And the carnage goes on. Relentlessly. What this reveals is how we in Britain have been misled by those whose job is to keep the record straight.

The American writer and academic Edward Herman calls this "normalizing the unthinkable." He describes two types of victims in the world of news – "worthy victims" and "unworthy victims." The "worthy victims" are those who suffer at the hands of our enemies: the likes of Assad, Qadaffi, Saddam Hussein. "Worthy victims" qualify for what we call "humanitarian intervention," whereas "unworthy victims" are those who get in the way of our punitive might and that of the "good" dictators we employ. Saddam Hussein was once a "good" dictator, but he got uppity and disobedient and was relegated to "bad" dictator.

In Indonesia, General Suharto was a "good" dictator, regardless of his slaughter of perhaps a million people, aided by the governments of Britain and America. He also wiped out a third of the population of East Timor with the help of British fighter aircraft and British machine guns. Suharto was even welcomed to London by the Queen and when he died peacefully in his bed, he was lauded as enlightened, a modernizer – one of us. Unlike Saddam Hussein, he never got uppity.

When I traveled in Iraq in the 1990s, the two principal Moslem groups, the Shia and Sunni, had their differences but they lived side by side, even intermarried and regarded themselves with pride as Iraqis. There was no Al Qaeda, there were no jihadists. We blew all that to bits in 2003 with "shock and awe." And today Sunni and Shia are fighting each other right across the Middle East. This mass murder is being funded by the regime in Saudi Arabia which beheads people and discriminates against women. Most of the 9/11 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia.

In 2010, WikiLeaks released a cable sent to US embassies by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She wrote this: "Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support for Al Qaeda, the Taliban, al Nusra and other terrorist groups … worldwide."

And yet the Saudis are our valued allies. They’re good dictators. The British royals visit them often. We sell them all the weapons they want. I use the first person "we" and "our" in line with newsreaders and commentators who often say "we," preferring not to distinguish between the criminal power of our governments and us, the public. We are all assumed to be part of a consensus: Tory and Labour, Obama’s White House too.

When Nelson Mandela died, the BBC went straight to David Cameron, then to Obama. Cameron who went to South Africa during Mandela’s 25th was tantamount to support for the apartheid regime, and it was Obama who recently shed a tear in Mandela’s cell on Robben Island – he who presides over the cages of Guantanamo.

What were they really mourning about Mandela? Clearly not his extraordinary will to resist an oppressive system whose depravity the US and British governments backed year after year. Rather they were grateful for the crucial role Mandela had played in quelling an uprising in black South Africa against the injustice of white political and economic power. This was surely the only reason he was released. Today the same ruthless economic power is apartheid in another form, making South Africa the most unequal society on earth. Some call this "reconciliation."

We all live in an information age – or so we tell each other as we caress our smart phones like rosary beads, heads down, checking, monitoring, tweeting. We’re wired; we’re on message; and the dominant theme of the message is ourselves. Identity is the zeitgeist.

A lifetime ago in Brave New World, Aldous Huxley predicted this as the ultimate means of social control because it was voluntary, addictive and shrouded in illusions of personal freedom. Perhaps the truth is that we live not in an information age but a media age. Like the memory of Mandela, the media’s wondrous technology has been hijacked. From the BBC to CNN, the echo chamber is vast.

In his acceptance of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005, Harold Pinter spoke about a "manipulation of power worldwide, while masquerading as a force for universal good, a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis." But, said Pinter, "it never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest."

Pinter was referring to the systematic crimes of the United States and to an undeclared censorship by omission – that is leaving out crucial information that might help us make sense of the world.

Today liberal democracy is being replaced by a system in which people are accountable to a corporate state and not the other way around as it should be. In Britain, the parliamentary parties are devoted to the same doctrine of care for the rich and struggle for the poor. This denial of real democracy is an historic shift. It’s why the courage of Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange is such a threat to the powerful and unaccountable. And it’s an object lesson for those of us who are meant to keep the record straight.

The great reporter Claud Cockburn put it well: "Never believe anything until it’s officially denied." Imagine if the lies of governments had been properly challenged and exposed as they secretly prepared to invade Iraq – perhaps a million people would be alive today.

This is a transcript of John Pilger’s contribution to a special edition of BBC Radio 4′s "Today" program, on 2 January 2014, guest-edited by the artist and musician P.J. Harvey.

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Published on Friday, February 7, 2014 by The Guardian
The Truth about the Criminal Bloodbath in Iraq Can't Be 'Countered' Indefinitely
The media cover-up has been a weapon in the crimes of western states since the first world war. But a reckoning is coming for those paid to keep the record straight

babt-pilger-011.jpgA baby in a Baghdad hospital in July 2003. 'Half a million Iraqi infants died as a result of sanctions, according to Unicef.' (Photograph: Joseph Barrak/AFP/Getty Images)The BBC's Today programme is enjoying high ratings, and the Mail and Telegraph are, as usual, attacking the corporation as leftwing. Last month a single edition of the Radio 4 show was edited by the artist and musician PJ Harvey. What happened was illuminating.

Harvey's guests caused panic from the moment she proposed the likes of Mark Curtis, a historian rarely heard on the BBC who chronicles the crimes of the British state; the lawyer Phil Shiner and the Guardian journalist Ian Cobain, who reveal how the British kidnap and torture; the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange; and myself.

There were weeks of absurd negotiation at Broadcasting House about ways of "countering" us and whether or not we could be allowed to speak without interruption from Today's establishment choristers. What this brief insurrection demonstrated was the fear of a reckoning. The crimes of western states like Britain have made accessories of those in the media who suppress or minimise the carnage.

The Faustian pacts that contrived a world war a century ago resonate today across the Middle East and Asia, from Syria to Japan. Then, as now, cover-up was the principal weapon. In 1917 David Lloyd George, the British prime minister, declared: "If people knew the truth, the war would be stopped tomorrow. But of course they don't know and can't know."

On Harvey's Today programme I referred to a poll conducted by ComRes last year that asked people in Britain how many Iraqis had been killed as a result of the 2003 invasion. A majority said that fewer than 10,000 had been killed: a figure so shockingly low it was a profanity.

I compared this with scientific estimates of "up to a million men, women and children [who] had died in the inferno lit by Britain and the US". In fact, academic estimates range from less than half a million to more than a million. John Tirman, the principal research scientist at the MIT Centre for International Studies, has examined all the credible estimates; he told me that an average figure "suggests roughly 700,000". Tirman pointed out that this excluded deaths among the millions of displaced Iraqis, up to 20% of the population.

The day after the Harvey programme, Today "countered" with Toby Dodge of the LSE – a former adviser to General Petraeus, one of the architects of the disasters in both Iraq and Afghanistan – along with Mowaffak al-Rubaie, a former Iraqi "national security adviser" in the occupation regime, and the man who led Saddam Hussein to his lynching.

These BBC-accredited "experts" rubbished, without evidence, the studies and reduced the number of dead by hundreds of thousands. The interviewer, Mishal Husain, offered no challenge to their propaganda. They then "debated" who was responsible. Lloyd George's dictum held; culpability was diverted.

But for how long? There is no question that the epic crime committed in Iraq has burrowed into the public consciousness. Many recall that "shock and awe" was the extension of a murderous blockade imposed for 13 years by Britain and the US and suppressed by much of the mainstream media, including the BBC. Half a million Iraqi infants died as a result of sanctions, according to Unicef. I watched children dying in hospitals, denied basic painkillers.

Ten years later, in New York, I met the senior British official responsible for these "sanctions". He is Carne Ross, once known in the UN as "Mr Iraq". He is now a truth-teller. I read to him a statement he had made to a parliamentary select committee in 2007: "The weight of evidence clearly indicates that sanctions caused massive human suffering among ordinary Iraqis, particularly children. We, the US and UK governments, were the primary engineers and offenders of sanctions and were well aware of the evidence at the time but we largely ignored it and blamed it on the Saddam government … effectively denying the entire population the means to live."

I said to him: "That's a shocking admission."

"Yes, I agree," he replied. "I feel ashamed about it ..." He described how the Foreign Office manipulated a willing media. "We would control access to the foreign secretary as a form of reward to journalists. If they were critical, we would not give them the goodies of trips around the world. We would feed them factoids of sanitised intelligence, or we'd freeze them out."

In the build-up to the 2003 invasion, according to studies by Cardiff University and Media Tenor, the BBC followed the Blair government's line and lies, and restricted airtime to those opposing the invasion. When Andrew Gilligan famously presented a dissenting report on Today, he and the director general were crushed.

The truth about the criminal bloodbath in Iraq cannot be "countered" indefinitely. Neither can the truth about our support for the medievalists in Saudi Arabia, the nuclear-armed predators in Israel, the new military fascists in Egypt and the jihadist "liberators" of Syria, whose propaganda is now BBC news. There will be a reckoning – not just for the Blairs, Straws and Campbells, but for those paid to keep the record straight.

© 2014 Guardian News and Media POSTED IN FAIR USE

John Pilger was born and educated in Sydney, Australia. He has been a war correspondent, film-maker and playwright. Based in London, he has written from many countries and has twice won British journalism's highest award, that of "Journalist of the Year," for his work in Vietnam and Cambodia.

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Water Wars: Ankara suspends pumping Euphrates’ water, cutting off the water supply to Syria and Iraq (= link)

The Turkish government recently cut off the flow of the Euphrates River, threatening primarily Syria but also Iraq with a major water crisis. Al-Akhbar found out that the water level in Lake Assad has dropped by about six meters, leaving millions of Syrians without drinking water.

Two weeks ago, the Turkish government once again intervened in the Syrian crisis. This time was different from anything it had attempted before and the repercussions of which may bring unprecedented catastrophes onto both Iraq and Syria.

Webmaster's Commentary:

The deprivation of clean, potable water should be considered a war crime.

I have to wonder if this move wasn't "suggested" to the Turkish government by the US government, and timed to create added misery, right before the Syrian elections where Al-Assad is positioned to be re-elected in a landslide

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British Government Coverup and Whitewash of Iraq War Crimes: The Chilcot Inquiry (= link)

Sir John Chilcot ran from autumn 2009 to February 2011. Their Report is expected to run to several thousand pages with the total cost incurred from the date of the establishment of the hearings: “on 15th June 2009 up to 31st March 2012 … £6,129,000.”
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UPDATE
Iraq Today: America’s Genocidal Legacy
  1. Clashes Near Iraq's Fallujah as Conflict Toll Reaches 366
    NDTV‎ - May 31, 2014
    Baghdad: Clashes erupted between Iraqi troops and anti-government fighters on the outskirts of Fallujah on Saturday, as the militant-held city's ...
    19 casualties in Fallujah hospital reported Aswat Al Iraq
  2. Iraq army 'using barrel bombs' in Fallujah
    Aljazeera.com‎ - May 11, 2014
    Iraq army 'using barrel bombs' in Fallujah ... the government's denial, there was strong evidence that barrel bombs havd been used in Fallujah.
    Months-long fighting in Iraq's Anbar province hits business, adds ... Fox News
    Deadly bombings sweep Iraq after army shelling in Fallujah The Guardian
    Deadly attack launched on Iraq's Fallujah Al-Arabiya
    Al Jazeera America - Asharq Alawsat English
  3. Iraq: Medical supplies reach Fallujah
    ICRC (press release)‎ - 4 days ago
    Geneva/Baghdad (ICRC) – Staff from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have delivered badly needed medical supplies to ...
    First Red Cross medical delivery to Iraq's Fallujah in months GlobalPost
  4. Iraq: Government Attacking Fallujah Hospital
    Human Rights Watch‎ - May 26, 2014
    Remnant of a direct-fire rocket-assisted projectile outside Fallujah General Hospital in Anbar Province. Photo taken January 13, 2014.
    Iraq Dropping Barrel Bombs On Fallujah, Attacking Hospital: Human ... Huffington Post
    Iraq: Civilians and medical facilities bear brunt of fighting in Fallujah ICRC (press release)
    HRW: Iraqi army uses explosive barrels in Fallujah Middle East Monitor
  5. The battle for Fallujah: Fighting returns to Iraqi city as al-Qa'ida ...
    The Independent‎ - May 18, 2014
    Thousands of civilians are fleeing Fallujah as the rebel-held city just west of Baghdad comes under heavy bombardment amid fears that the ...
  6. Iraq: Shell Kills 12 from one Family in Fallujah – Fighting Outbreak in ...
    Center for Research on Globalization‎ - 4 days ago
    12 people from one family were killed after the fall of mortar shells on Tuesday at their home in Fallujah city, where fierce fighting and shelling ...
    18 killed in Fallujah shelling gulfnews.com
    At least 18 killed in shelling in Fallujah RTE.ie
    Unrest In Iraq's Fallujah Killed 22 on Sunday: Doctor NDTV
    The News International
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U.S. Has Been Secretly Flying Unmanned Surveillance Drones Over Iraq For The Last Year

(Great surprise at ISIS attack.....you believe that ??....how deep a fool are you ???? ,GAAL)

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

http://www.blacklistednews.com/U.S._Has_Been_Secretly_Flying_Unmanned_Surveillance_Drones_Over_Iraq_For_The_Last_Year/35914/0/38/38/Y/M.html

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U.S. Has Been Secretly Flying Unmanned Surveillance Drones Over Iraq For The Last Year

(Great surprise at ISIS attack.....you believe that ??....how deep a fool are you ???? ,GAAL)

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

http://www.blacklistednews.com/U.S._Has_Been_Secretly_Flying_Unmanned_Surveillance_Drones_Over_Iraq_For_The_Last_Year/35914/0/38/38/Y/M.html

AND NOW the rest of the story

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Weekend Edition June 13-15, 2014
The War on Terror Has Failed
How Obama Lost Iraq
by SHAMUS COOKE

The fall of Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, to an al-Qaeda linked militia elicited a curiously muted response from the Obama administration. Yes, Obama “denounced” the terrorist invasion, but when the Iraqi government asked for U.S. airstrikes to repel perhaps the most powerful terrorist group in the world, Obama thus far refused, only hinting at some form of aid in the yet-to-be-determined future.

This is perhaps the first time Obama has initially refused such an offer from an allied government. Indeed, he’s suspected to have approved airstrikes in 8 other countries under the guise of fighting terrorism. So why the hesitation?

One might also ask why the Obama administration didn’t act earlier to prevent this invasion, since the Iraqi government has been asking for U.S. aid for over a year to combat the terrorist group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which has been building its strength on the borderlands between Iraq and Syria.

One likely reason that Obama refused aid to his Iraqi ally is that he has other, much closer allies, who are funding the terrorist group invading Iraq. For example, since the war in Syria started, it’s been an open secret that Qatar, Kuwait, andSaudi Arabia have been giving at least hundreds of millions of dollars to the Islamic extremist groups attacking the Syrian government.

This fact is occasionally mentioned in the mainstream media, but the full implications are never fleshed out, and now that the Syrian war is gushing over its borders the media would rather pretend that ISIS sprang from a desert oasis, rather than the pocket books of the U.S. allied Gulf States.

The Obama administration has consistently looked the other way during this buildup of Islamic extremism, since its foreign policy priority —toppling the secular Syrian government — perfectly aligned with the goals of the terrorists. Thus the terror groups were allowed to grow exponentially, as their ranks were filled with Gulf State cash, foreign fighters from Saudi Arabia and illegal guns trafficked with the help of the CIA.

The Obama administration hid the reality of this dynamic from view, calling the Syrian rebels “moderates” — yet what moderates existed were always a tiny, ineffectual minority. The big dogs in this fight are the Sunni Islamic jihadi groups who view Shia Muslims as heretics worthy of death and other religious and ethnic minorities as second-class citizens polluting their Islamic caliphate.

Middle East journalist Patrick Cockburn recently noted: “ISIS now controls or can operate with impunity in a great stretch of territory in western Iraq and eastern Syria, making it militarily the most successful jihadi movement ever.”

Now that ISIS has invaded Iraq, a U.S. ally, you’d think a different approach would be used. But Obama’s hesitation to support the Iraqi government against ISIS may be a reflection of the U.S. having yet more shared goals with the terrorist organization.

For example, the U.S. has never trusted the Iraqi government. Ever since the Iraqi elections brought a Shia-dominated government to power, the Bush and Obama administrations have looked at Iraq as an untrustworthy pawn of Iran. And there is some truth to this: the Shia dominated Iraqi government has many close religious and political ties with Iran.

Further upsetting Obama is that Iraq hasn’t prevented Shia fighters from traveling to Syria to fight on the side of Assad. Many in Shia-majority Iraq were stunned by the Sunni extremist massacres against the Syrian Shia population, which consequently drew Iraqi and Hezbollah Shia fighters into the Syrian war. Thus, Iraq was on the “wrong side” of the U.S. sponsored proxy war in Syria. In fact, Iraq went so far as to refuse Obama’s ”request” that Iraq deny Iran use of Iraqi airspace to fly military weapons to Assad. Iraq’s consistent refusal to bend to key U.S. demands has strained relations with the U.S., which demands obedience from its “allies”.

Most importantly, a strong independent Iraq is seen as a threat to U.S. “regional interests,” since Iraq is a potential ally to Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, the regional powers that the U.S. does not have influence over and consequently desires either their “regime change” or annihilation.

Thus, when the Iraqi president came to the U.S. to plead for aid in October to fight ISIS, he was largely given the runaround, as U.S. politicians shifted the focus away from ISIS toward the Iraqi president’s “authoritarian” government. Of course, this criticism was pure hypocrisy; the U.S. never questions its Gulf State allies about their “authoritarianism,” even as these countries continue to be ruled by the most brutal dictatorships on earth.

Some analysts have speculated that Obama will allow the Sunni terror groups to carve out a section of Iraq to help partition the country into smaller nations based on ethnic-religious regions, each represented by a Shia, Sunni, or Kurdish government. This would be the easiest way to ensure that Iraq remains weak and is not a threat to “U.S. interests.” Mike Whitney describes the Iraqi partition idea:

“The plan was first proposed by Leslie Gelb, the former president of the Council on Foreign Relations, and then-senator Joe Biden. According to The New York Times the ‘so-called soft-partition plan ….calls for dividing Iraq into three semi-autonomous regions…There would be a loose Kurdistan, a loose Shiastan and a loose Sunnistan, all under a big, if weak, Iraq umbrella.’”

The events in Iraq and Syria further prove that the Bush-Obama “war on terror” is not only a complete failure, but a fraud. Bush and Obama have not waged a war against terrorists, but wars against independent nation-states.

The secular nations of Iraq, Libya, and Syria were virtually free of terrorism before U.S. military intervention, and now they’re infested. The war on terror has done nothing but destabilize the Middle East, create more terrorists, and drain the U.S. economy of billions of dollars it could have otherwise used towards jobs and social programs.

***********************************

***********************************

Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action (www.workerscompass.org). He can be reached at shamuscooke@gmail.com

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THIS IS NOT GOING AS PLANNED: IRAQ PRIME MINISTER DEFIES US, ACCUSES SAUDI ARABIA OF “GENOCIDE”
June 18, 2014
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Source: Zero Hedge

Shortly after the US revealed that, in addition to aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships it was also sending a few hundred “special forces” on the ground in Iraq, contrary to what Obama had stated previously, Washington made quite clear it wants Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to embrace Sunni politicians as a condition of U.S. support to fight a lightning advance by forces from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Then something unexpected happened: Iraq’s Shi’ite rulers defied Western calls on Tuesday to reach out to Sunnis to defuse the uprising in the north of the country, declaring a boycott of Iraq’s main Sunni political bloc and accusing Sunni power Saudi Arabia of promoting “genocide.”

In fact, as Reuters reported moments ago, the Shi’ite prime minister has moved in the opposite direction of Obama’s demands, announcing a crackdown on politicians and officers he considers “traitors” and lashing out at neighbouring Sunni countries for stoking militancy.

Not only did Iraq defy the US, but it also called out America’s BFF (or at least formerly so until the arrival of Iran, which the US is aggressively, and inexplicably, rushing to make its new key partner in the region) for being the real aggressor behind the scenes? How dare Maliki point out the truth – doesn’t he know that those US troops in Iraq can just as easily be used to depose the current regime as “fight” the Al Qaeda Jihadists the US itself armed in the first place?

Apparently not, and instead of seeking a broad coalition with Sunnis as the US ordered, the latest target of his government’s fury was Saudi Arabia, the main Sunni power in the Gulf, which funds Sunni militants in neighbouring Syria but denies it is behind ISIL.

“We hold them responsible for supporting these groups financially and morally, and for the outcome of that – which includes crimes that may qualify as genocide: the spilling of Iraqi blood, the destruction of Iraqi state institutions and historic and religious sites,” the Iraqi government said of Riyadh in a statement.

As Reuters notes, Maliki has blamed Saudi Arabia for supporting militants in the past, but the severe language was unprecedented.

And just to show it won’t take being exposed for the whole world to see sitting down, on Monday Riyadh blamed sectarianism in Baghdad for fueling the violence.

The rest of the story is largely known: Iraq is slowly sinking into sectarian violence which is exposing age-old rifts, and even forcing leaders to speak out of place, in the process revealing very undiplomatic truths:

ISIL fighters who aim to build a Caliphate based on mediaeval Sunni precepts across the Iraqi-Syrian frontier launched their revolt by seizing the north’s main city, Mosul, last week and swept through the Tigris valley towards Baghdad. The fighters, who consider all Shi’ites to be heretics deserving death, pride themselves on their brutality and have boasted of massacring hundreds of troops who surrendered.

Most Iraqi Sunnis abhor such violence, but nevertheless the ISIL-led uprising has been joined by other Sunni factions, including former members of ousted dictator Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party and tribal figures, who share widespread anger at perceived oppression by Maliki’s government.

Western countries, including the United States, have urged Maliki to reach out to Sunnis to rebuild national unity as the only way of preventing the disintegration of Iraq.

“There is a real risk of further sectarian violence on a massive scale, within Iraq and beyond its borders,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday. “I have been urging Iraqi government leaders including Prime Minister al-Maliki to reach out for an inclusive dialogue and solution of this issue.”

But the long-serving prime minister, who won an election two months ago, seems instead to be relying more heavily than ever on his own sect, who form the majority in Iraq. Hassan Suneid, a close Maliki ally, said on Tuesday the governing Shi’ite National Alliance should boycott all work with the largest Sunni political bloc, Mutahidoon.

In the meantime, until the solution to Iraq violence is found, alliances in the mid-east are changing at a ferocious pace and pitting such one time enemies as Saudi Arabia and Iran (not to mention the US) on the same side, forced to fight an extremist Jihadist movement that the US itself was funding. “Iran, the leading Shi’ite power, has close ties to Maliki and the Shi’ite parties that have held power in Baghdad since U.S. forces toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003. But although both Washington and Tehran are close allies of Baghdad, they have not cooperated in the past.”

Domestically, the chaos is just as bad, if not worse:

Tens of thousands of Shi’ites have rallied at volunteer centres in recent days, answering a call by the top Shi’ite cleric to defend the nation. Many recruits have gone off to train at Iraqi military bases.

But with the million-strong regular army abandoning ground despite being armed and trained by the United States at a cost of $25 billion, the government is increasingly relying on extra-legal Shi’ite militia to fight on its behalf, re-establishing groups that fought during the 2006-2007 bloodletting.

According to one Shi’ite Islamist working in the government, well-trained fighters from the Shi’ite organisations Asaib Ahl Haq, Khetaeb Hezbollah and the Badr Organisation are now being deployed as the main combat force, while new civilian volunteers will be used to hold ground after it is taken.

The Sunni militants have moved at lightning speed since seizing Mosul last Tuesday, slicing through northern and central Iraq, capturing the towns of Hawija and Tikrit in the north before facing resistance in southern Salahuddin province, where there is a large Shi’ite population.

The battle lines are now formalising, with the insurgents held at bay about an hour’s drive north of Baghdad and just on the capital’s outskirts to the west.

Meanwhile to the north, as we reported previously, the town of Kirkuk has been taken by forces from the autonomous Kurdish region. In a further sign of ethnic and sectarian polarisation, Maliki allies have accused the Kurds of colluding with Sunnis to dislodge government forces in the north.

That, however, is hardly the case, at least for now. As Fox reports, ISIS is so far mostly bent on taking their march south toward Baghdad, and not into the autonomous zone of Kurdistan, where hardened fighters are prepared to defend their oil-rich turf. This northern front is one of the few places where ISIS have encountered resistance — for unlike the Iraqi Army, the cohesive Kurdish force has held them back.

The Kurds, of course, were lucky to seize the long-disputed oil rich lands in the north – they did so with the help of ISIS whose arrival promptly scattered the Iraq army.

Whatever the reason, the army here fled – and into the vacuum came the Peshmerga — the Kurdish Army that has for decades been fighting for freedom in this mountainous land, and who are now taking advantage of the chaos below them.

Today on the front lines in Kirkuk, Kurdish forces were digging in, excavating trenches and building defenses. This is becoming a permanent boundary.

As to the question of whether these impressive Peshmerga troops might help reclaim Mosul, Nechervan Idris Barzani, the prime minister of Iraqi Kurdistan, was clear. Until a political solution is embarked upon, they will not help. To do so would be foolish without the support of other Sunni tribes in the area.

Perhaps the best summary of all the unfolding confusion comes from the following just released update chart from the Institute for the Study of War.

Iraq%20situation%20update%206-17_0.jpg

But where it would get most messy – literally – is if as the previously reported shuttering of Iraq’s largest refinery leads to electricity blackouts for Baghdad. Because nothing gets people in a murderous rage quite as 115 degrees and no air conditioning.

Edited by Steven Gaal
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(TPNN) On Memorial Day in 2013, John McCain went on a secret trip to Syria to meet with the rebels who were fighting against Bassar Assad. At the time, McCain described his visit as ‘moving.’ During an appearance on CNN, McCain elaborated on his experience.

“It was a very moving experience to meet these fighters who have been struggling now for over two years. And they’re very aware of the battlefield situation and they’re very disturbed about the dramatic influx of Hezbollah fighters, more Iranians, and of course, stepped-up activities of Bashar Assad.”

McCain posed for pictures with these rebels, smiling as the camera snapped. Now, ISIS, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria formerly known as Al Qaeda in Iraq, is using those pictures as a campaign ad.

So, the ISIS terrorists not only have American weaponry that they have seized from the Iraqi army, but they are using our politicians to push their brutality.

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  • 4 months later...

The United States of Genocide: Putting the US on Trial for Genocide Against the Peoples of Korea, Laos, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Iraq, and Elsewhere

Global Research, September 30, 2013
On Genocide 28 September 2013

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The United States of America was built on a foundation of genocide against the Indigenous peoples of North America. In fact, all successful settler colonial societies are founded in genocide. The process is one of dispossession – the erasure of one group identity and the imposition of another on the people and/or on the land. But genocide is not merely the foundation of the US nation state, it is also the foundation of the US empire. The US habit of genocide has not died, but has transformed. The US has become a serial perpetrator of genocide with the blood of many millions of innocents spilled in pursuit of imperial hegemony.

There is a fight going on for the very meaning of the term “genocide”. Western powers assert their right to accuse enemies of committing genocide using the broadest possible definitions whilst also touting a twisted undefined sense of “genocide” which can never, ever be applied to their own actions. Aotearoa (New Zealand) Prime Minister John Key, apparently taking his cue from the US, is currently pushing for reform of the UN Security Council such that the veto power would be unavailable. The UNSC is a political body and “genocide” will simply become a political term cited by powerful states to rationalise aggression against the weak. Key notoriously said that his country was “missing in action” because it did not invade Iraq in 2003, reminding Kiwis that “blood is thicker than water”. If his desired reforms existed now, the US would probably have a UN Security Council resolution authorising the use of force against Syria on the grounds of “genocide”.

All of those who oppose Western aggression justified as humanitarian intervention under the “responsibility to protect” must stop burying their heads in the sand over this matter. This is a very real fight for the future of humanity. We can either learn and propagate the understanding that US imperial interventions are, by nature, genocidal. Or we can just pretend the word has no meaning; indulge our childish moral impulses and the lazy fatuousness of our scholars and pundits and let Western mass-murderers use this Orwellian buzzword (for that is what “genocide” currently is) to commit heinous acts of horrific violence which ensure the continued domination of the world’s masses by a tiny imperialist elite.

(An aside: apparently people like a pragmatic focus to accompany a call to action. So, am I making the most obvious appeal – that US officials be tried for committing genocide? No I am not. They can be tried for war crimes if people really think that “holding people accountable” is more important than preventing suffering and protecting the vulnerable. But it has been a terrible mistake to construct genocide as being an aggravated crime against humanity, as if it were simply a vicious felony writ large. This has played completely into the hands of those propagandists for whom every new enemy of the West is the new Hitler. The means by which genocides are perpetrated are the crimes of individuals – war crimes, for example – but genocide itself is the crime of a state or para-state regime. That is the proper target of inquisition and censure. Though the attempt was tragically abortive, the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal recently began hearing charges of genocide against Israel. We need this sort of process to hear charges of genocide against the US. I fully support such efforts, but my real call to action is a call for thought, for clarity, and for self-discipline. People are drawn to using woolly thinking over genocide, wishing to use it as the ultimate condemnation of mass violence without reference to any actual meaning of the term. We must not tolerate it in ourselves or others. We are a hair’s breadth away from the point where “genocide prevention” will be used by major Western powers to justify genocidal mass violence.)

US “Wars” are Actually Genocides

Every major military action by the US since World War II has first and foremost been an act of genocide. I do not state this as a moral condemnation. If I were seeking to condemn I would try to convey the enormous scale of suffering, death, loss and misery caused by US mass violence. My purpose instead is to correct a terrible misconception of US actions – their nature, their meaning and their strategic utility. This understanding which I am trying to convey is a very dangerous notion with an inescapable moral dimension because the US has always maintained that the suffering, death and destruction it causes are incidental to military purposes – they are instances of “collateral damage”. But, with all due respect to the fact that US personnel may face real dangers, these are not real wars. These are genocides and it is the military aspect that is incidental. In fact, it is straining credulity to continue believing in a string of military defeats being sustained by the most powerful military in the history of the world at the hands of impoverished Third World combatants. The US hasn’t really been defeated in any real sense. They committed genocide in Indochina, increasing the level of killing as much as possible right through to the clearly foreseen inevitable conclusion which was a cessation of direct mass violence, not a defeat. The US signed a peace agreement which they completely ignored. The Vietnamese did not occupy US territory and force the US to disarm and pay crippling reparations.

There is no question that the US has committed actions which fit the description of genocide. Genocide does not mean the successful extermination of a defined group (there is no such thing as “attempted genocide”). It was never conceived that way, but rather as any systematic attack on “a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such.” Those who deny US genocides usually only deny that there is any intent to commit genocide. The UN definition of genocide (recognised by 142 states) is:

… any of the following acts committed with
,
, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;

(
B)
Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

© Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

The US has committed these acts many times and in many different countries. Some people object that this is some watered down version of genocide that risks diluting the significance of this “ultimate crime”. However, bear in mind that the victims of US armed violence are not usually combatants and are not engaged in some sort of contested combat that gives them some ability to defend themselves or to kill or be killed. They are helpless as they die of incineration, asphyxiation, dismemberment, cancer, starvation, disease. People of all ages die in terror unable to protect themselves from the machinery of death. Make no mistake, that is what it is: a large complex co-ordinated machinery of mass killing. There is nothing watered down about the horrors of the genocides committed by the US, and their victims number many millions. The violence is mostly impersonal, implacable, arbitrary and industrial.

There are at least three specific times at which US mass violence has taken lives in the millions through direct killing: the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the wars and sanctions against Iraq in combination with the occupation of Iraq. I refer to them as the Korea Genocide (which was against both South and North Koreans), the Indochina Genocide (against Laotians, Cambodians, and Vietnamese), and the Iraq Genocide (which took place over at least a 20 year period).

There are many ways to show that the US committed genocides in these cases. On one level the case is straightforward. For example, if the US commits acts of “strategic bombing” which systematically kills civilians by the hundreds of thousands, and it turns out that not only is there no rational proportionate military reason, but that US military and intelligence analysis is clear that these are in fact militarily counter-productive acts of gratuitous mass-murder, then by any reasonable definition these must be acts of genocide. The logic is simple and inescapable. I have written lengthy pieces showing in detail that these were large scale systematic and intentional genocides which you can read.1

For a long time I have tried to think of ways to condense this in a readable form. The problem in many respects lies with the necessity of overcoming misapprehensions. Genocide is an emotive topic; people are very reluctant to read that those who rule in their name (with whom they sometimes actively identify) are in the moral vicinity of the Nazi leaders of Germany. Permeating every level of the discourse is the constant position (whether as the unspoken assumption or as the active assertion) that the US has never acted with genocidal intent. Intentionality is a topic in its own right, but to be brief I will point out that intent does not require that “genocide” be its own motive. If I kill someone because I want their watch, I can’t turn around and say it isn’t murder because I didn’t intend to kill them because I was really just intending to take their watch. It may seem a ridiculous example, but the discourse of genocide is so twisted that it is the norm even amongst genocide scholars. Primed by our political leaders and various media, we keep looking for the people, the bloodthirsty psychopathic monsters, who kill people just for the fun of it and grab their watch afterwards as an afterthought. Unsurprisingly, most Westerners find those people among the leaders of those countries who oppose Western political power. Now our leaders are trying to persuade us that that includes Syria’s Bashar al-Assad (though many are becoming skeptical of this “Hitler-of-the-month” propaganda).

The best way of demonstrating US intentionality is to demonstrate the consistency of their approach in different times and places. However, this is a necessarily exhaustive approach, so I have decided to take a different tack here. I wish to sketch a fragment of autobiography here – an outline of the process by which I came to my current understanding of the topic. I didn’t seek these conclusions out, but had it made clear to me, by rather comfortably embedded scholars, that they think that I am being provocative out of ambition. It is a testament to the self-satisfaction of such people that they somehow think that being provocative is some advantage. Academia thrives on the journal-filling peer-reviewed “controversies” of rival schools and scholars, but they aren’t really keen on anything that might actually be of any interest to anyone else. The fact is that I didn’t seek this out and it certainly has not endeared me to anyone that I can think of. On the other hand, I have had people act as if I had smeared my own faeces all over myself for using the g-word with respect to Iraq, and I have had many metaphorical doors slammed in my face. As I hope the following will indicate, at least partially, I cannot but characterise US genocides as such and I cannot but view the subject of absolute urgent fundamental importance.

Coming to Understand

The Vietnam War loomed large in my childhood. I was five when it ended. I watched the critical documentary series Vietnam: The 10,000 Day War when I was ten or eleven years old. During the 1980s Vietnam War movie craze I was sucked into that powerful quagmire of pathos and adrenaline – not to mention the evocative music. But even then, as a teen, I could not abide the apologism and the way in which American lives and American suffering were privileged. The US personnel were portrayed as the victims, even in films which showed US atrocities. I knew far too much about things such as the nature of the atrocities carried out by the Contras to find that sort of propaganda palatable. For one thing, I had read William Blum’s The CIA: A Forgotten History. This book (now titled Killing Hope) doesn’t leave the reader much room for illusions about the US role in international politics. Perhaps if I had been a little older I might have been “educated” enough to be blind to the obvious, but I wasn’t. While most people managed to avoid facing the facts, I knew from this book and others like it that although the atrocities of the Soviet Bloc were substantial, they were dwarfed by those of the US and its closest clients. If Cuba, for example, has been repressive, then what words remain to describe the US installed regimes in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, El Salvador, or Chile?

How could one characterise a state that backed and created death squad regimes that massacred entire villages, that tortured children to death in front of parents? How does one describe a militarised country whose meticulously planned and executed bombing raids systematically visited untold death and suffering on innocents as an intended purpose. Any informed person who had an objective proportionate viewpoint could only conclude, as Martin Luther King Jr. had already concluded, that the US government and the wider US corporate state were “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.” Fred Branfman, who saw the results of US bombing first-hand in Laos, has more recently concluded that the executive branch of the US government is “the world’s most evil and lawless institution.”

On moral terms I could not have been more condemnatory of the US government. I considered the US government and military-corporate-intelligence complex to be the worst thing in the world since the demise of the Third Reich. I believed this on the basis that they had demonstrably brought about more suffering, death and destruction than anyone else. If someone had tried to claim that it was for “freedom,” I would have laughed bitterly, thinking of the brutally crushed democracies and popular movements that were victims of the US. But if someone had said to me that the US had committed genocide in Korea and Indochina I would have most likely dismissed the claim as emotive overstatement. I didn’t actually know what the word genocide meant precisely, but I would still have seen its use as being a form of exaggeration. Implicitly, I took the word “genocide” to be a form of subjective moral condemnation, as if it were an inchoate scream rather than a word that might have a consistent meaning. (You can’t exaggerate by calling something “arson,” for example. It is either a lie or it is the truth. Genocide is the same). However, “genocide,” as a word, has been subjected to the ideological processes (described so well by Orwell in Nineteen Eighty-Four) which destroy the meaning of words. Here is how I put it in an academicpiece:

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Certain words are so highly politicised in their usage that, in Orwellian fashion, they are stripped of all meaning and become merely signals designed to provoke in impassioned unreasoning involuntary response. In this fashion ‘democracy’means ‘double-plus good’ and the Party members2 respond with cheers and tears of joy. Equally, ‘terrorism’ means ‘double-plus bad’ provoking among Party members, ‘[a] hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, totorture, to smash faces in with a sledge-hammer….’3 Genocide plays a starring role in an entire discourse shaped in such a way as to not only excuse but to facilitate the perpetration of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Stripped of any actual meaning but given the significance of being the ‘ultimate crime’ it becomes a tool by which powerful Western states are able to threaten or carry out attacks against weaker states – attacks which are in themselves criminal andwhich in some instances are actually genocidal. The emotive misuse of the term genocide has become a powerful political tool. As Jeremy Scahill reveals after accusations of genocide by Arabs against black Africans, “even at antiwar rallies, scores of protesters held signs reading, ‘Out of Iraq, into Darfur.’” Scahill adds that, ‘[a] quick survey of Sudan’s vast natural resources dispels any notion that U.S./corporate desires to move into Sudan derive from purely humanitarian motives.’4

So, US violence mostly caused civilian deaths and the vast majority of those civilians were, in fact, subjects of the US installed puppet [sic] regime in Saigon. They were killing their own supposed allies. I have read all of the rationalisations for why the US thought it was a good idea to kill the civilians of their own client state, and they are all completely insane. I don’t even believe that killing the civilian populations of enemy countries is militarily effective, and in that belief I am supported by the strategic analyses of the US itself going back to 1944. Killing the civilian population of an allied state makes no military sense whatsoever. Often killing civilians was rationalised in terms of counterinsurgency (usually crudely reversing Maoist doctrine about the relationship between the guerrilla and the rural population) despite the fact that it was recognised from very early on that the civilian deaths were recruiting and strengthening the enemy.

What brought me around to using the term genocide was realising that there was no other word to describe what the US did in South Viet Nam. I had been aware that the vast majority of victims of the US military were civilians. It was commonplace to say that 90% of casualties were civilian. (Tellingly Western commentators, including those in the peace movement, would vouch that the figure of 90% civilian casualties was proof of how cruel and deadly “modern war” had become – as if US practices were some sort of universal standard and as if the fact that other belligerents did not produce such high rates of civilian death was not of any interest whatsoever.)

That was the other striking thing about US activities in Indochina – they were systematically killing civilians without apparent purpose, but they were also undermining their own political and military efforts. This happened at all levels. As I was reading and coming to grips with this aspect of history, it seemed that exactly the same thing was playing out in Iraq. In 2003, as invasion loomed, I had initially expected that the US would conduct a fast vicious campaign particularly aimed at inflicting maximum damage to economic infrastructure. They would then leave, crowing about their surgical use of force and minuscule US fatalities. The US would continue to enhance the perceived legitimacy of its acts of aggression and would be able to use economic blackmail to exert neocolonial control. However, I was woefully naïve for believing that. In contrast, Paul Wolfowitz was absolutely clear on this point – you cannot use normal neocolonial power on Iraq: “…[W]e just had no choice in Iraq. The country swims on a sea of oil.” Instead, the US invaded, occupied and then acted repeatedly and systematically in ways which would very predictably cause armed resistance, just as they had in Indochina. But without that resistance they could not have justified a major military presence and the proconsular rule of the occupation imposed on Iraq.

In 2006 I was able to devote quite a lot of time to the subject of genocide in Indochina as it was the topic of my Honours research paper. My initial understanding of genocide was pretty thin and one-dimensional, but it was sound in the given context. The most important aspect for me was that genocide matched means with ends. War is always a matter of uncertain outcome. To wage war is to wager (the words are cognates). Indeed that is why we use such terms as “wage” and “adventure” for military action. Carl von Clausewitz wrote that a belligerent will never be able to attain their intended war aims because the war they pursue will itself change matters and impose its own realities. In that sense, war is a gamble which will always be lost. Genocide is not a gamble.

Genocide was an attack on the peoples of Indochina which avoided the uncertainties of waging military war. The maximal aim of the genocide was the eventual neocolonial domination of Indochina. It worked. In Viet Nam the war and subsequent US economic sanctions were devastating. By 1990 the per capita GDP was only $114.5 Under doi moi liberalisation, Viet Nam has achieved much greater formal economic activity (GDP), but only by submitting to the Washington Consensus, which means no price supports for staples such as rice, which in turn means that the real income of the poorest urban dwellers has dropped.6 Genocide doesn’t need an end goal such as such as submitting to neoliberal WTO regulations and IMF conditions. Chomsky called Vietnamese poverty “a vivid refutation of the claim that the US lost.”7Similar stories could be related with regard to Laos and Cambodia. Whether these nation states are considered enemies or vanquished vassals or friends is of no relevance, the weakness of their populations is a gain in relative power for the US empire, and empires intrinsically function on relative gains.

This is what I wrote in 2006:

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…[A]clever strategist, where possible, matches means and ends, thus making results more predictable. In a situation where there is a stated end and a given means are employed and continue to be employed despite continued demonstrable “failure” and are then employed elsewhere under the same rationale with the same results – in such a situation it is possibly worth considering that the “means” are themselves the end. In the case of the Second Indochina War, I will argue the means were widespread general destruction, employed on as many of the people and as much of the societal fabric or infrastructure as was physically and politically feasible. If those were the means, I will suggest, they were also the end. The results are predictable. The dead stay dead.

When Raphäel Lemkin first coined the word “genocide,” he wrote “genocide is a new technique of occupation aimed at winning the peace even though the war itself is lost.” He also wrote: “Genocide is the antithesis of the … doctrine [which] holds that war is directed against sovereigns and armies, not against subjects and civilians. In its modern application in civilized society, the doctrine means that war is conducted against states and armed forces and not against populations. … [T]he Germans prepared, waged, and continued a war not merely against states and their armies but against peoples. For the German occupying authorities war thus appears to offer the most appropriate occasion for carrying out their policy of genocide.”

(At this point I would like to urge people to read what Lemkin actually wrote when trying to describe genocide. It is not a time consuming task. You can find the chapter here.)

The US was maintaining the “war.” It helped to recruit its enemies, to arm them, finance them, and to supply them. Just as I was researching this,Endless War? by David Keen was published about the War on Terror which claimed that it was a self-perpetuating endless “war system”. It focused on clearly “counterproductive” actions undertaken by the US, belying its stated aims:

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When it comes to war in other words, winning is not everything; it may be the taking part that counts. Indeed, as Orwell saw in his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, certain kinds of regimes may thrive off energies and perpetual war. The irrationality of counterproductive tactics, in short, may be more apparent than real, and even an endless war may not be endless in the sense of lacking aims or functions.8

Keen never mentioned Indochina. The precedents he cited of were civil wars in Africa. However it was as if the idea of a war system was, in a sense, on the tip of people’s tongues towards the end of the US involevment in Indochina, as if they knew deep-down that the US was not trying to win the war. It seems almost the implicit subtext of Magnum photographer Philip Jones Griffiths’ book, Vietnam Inc., which by its title alone suggests an enterprise quite differently conceived than war. Even the orthodox political discourse (with talk of quagmires and a “stab in the back” story of brave soldiers hamstrung by politicians) hints at a war system. What the US did in Indochina was an absolute textbook example of what Keen was describing.

From this way of understanding the past, I was also viewing events in Iraq with the same apprehension. What was occurring on a daily basis was very clearly indicating a parallel process. Captured weapons were dumped unsecured in the countryside. Efforts to secure borders (to at least impede the flow of weapons, resistance fighters and money) were systematically undermined. Just as in Viet Nam, diverted cash sloshed through networks of corruption and was available to resistance groups. People were driven into the arms of the resistance by the random brutality of US personnel, the murderous use of indiscriminate ordnance, and the systematic degradation of the civilian economic sphere. On top of this, the US fomented a civil war.

It is a pity that Keen did not know of the Indochina precedent because what we know of it goes much deeper and reaches much higher than the what we know of the “War on Terror” (which Keen takes to include Iraq and Afghanistan interventions). Keen discusses various tactics and policies which are counterproductive. But it is not just the counterproductive things which sustain US enemies, it is the ways in which US leaders ensure that they cannot ever achieve a victory. This is what I wrote:

Numerous people, including Jeffrey Record9 and Harry Summers10 have in effect suggested that the US lacked any winning strategy. In fact, what they had were three no-win strategies – strategies which did not, even in theory, have an end point at which a military victory would be obtained. These were the fire-power/attrition, the graduated response and the enclave strategies. The only strategy by which the US could have attained its stated objective was the pacification strategy, but this too was no threat because the pacification strategy was only weakly implemented while being misapplied, subverted, sabotaged and contravened – not least by the more vigorous application of the fire-power/attrition and graduated response strategies.

You can read all about that stuff in detail if you want, otherwise you’ll just have to take my word for it. The US systematically ensured that it could never achieve “victory” in Indochina. Perhaps the most blatant example was the brutal genocide unleashed on Cambodia from 1970 until 1975. Not the “genocide” or “autogenocide” of the Khmer Rouge, but the genocide before that, without which there would never have been a Khmer Rouge takeover. Here’s a long excerpt from my Honours piece:

When the the US generated a war in Cambodia they had already had a great deal of experience in Viet Nam and Laos, and what occurred in Cambodia is, in many ways, a naked exposure of the logic behind the genocidal war system, less obfuscated because, ironically, Cambodia was a “sideshow” where it was not the details but the whole war which was kept obscure from the public.

Within a year of Lon Nol’s coup, as mentioned, the economy of Cambodia was virtually destroyed, not only by bombing, but also by US aid. Aid was channelled to the import of commodities and surplus US agricultural goods. It also underwrote the Cambodian government and armed forces: “By the end of 1970, the government was spending five times its revenue and earning nothing abroad.”
Most of the population became reliant on US aid to eat, and rice supplies were kept at the minimum level needed to prevent food riots. By 1975, malnutrition was widespread and many children starved to death.

Less than two months after the coup that brought Lon Nol to power, the US invaded Cambodia, along with ARVN forces. They did not bother to forewarn Lon Nol who found out after Richard Nixon had announced the invasion publicly.
This invasion along US and RVN bombing and the civil war made refugees of around half of the Cambodian population.
Lon Nol was outraged by the invasion and when later briefed by Alexander Haig (then military assistant to Kissinger) about US intentions he wept with frustration. According to Shawcross, “He wished that the Americans had blocked the communists’ escape route before attacking, instead of spreading them across Cambodia. … The Cambodian leader told Haig that there was no way his small force could stop them. … [Haig] informed Lon Nol that President Nixon intended to limit the involvement of American forces…. They would be withdrawn at the end of June. The the President hoped to introduce a program of restricted military and economic aid. As the implications of Haig’s words for the future of Cambodia became clear to Lon Nol, he began to weep. Cambodia, he said, could never defend itself.”

As has been detailed, US actions, particularly in bombing, were directly responsible for creating the communist enemy which overthrew Lon Nol. The bombing between 1969 and 1973 took up to 150,000 lives.
If averaged out, over 33 tons of ordnance were used to kill each Khmer Rouge insurgent.
Despite the fact that Vietnamese pilots bombed any Cambodian they could, which aided only the Khmer Rouge, Lon Nol acceded to a US demand that he request an increase in VNAF bombing in 1971.

By May 1972, the Lon Nol regime had control of perhaps 10 per cent of the country and continued to lose territory which was thereafter fragmented into ever smaller enclaves.
The result was by that stage foregone, and yet the war dragged on for three years with the greater part of the 1 million casualties occurring after that point.

In 1970, when Henry Kissinger briefed Jonathan “Fred” Ladd, who was slated to conduct the war in Cambodia, he told him: “Don’t even think of victory; just keep it alive.”

When the US Congress finally blocked aid to Cambodia and South Viet Nam, it was with the belated realisation that such aid would not give any hope of victory or improve a bargaining position. Senator Mike Mansfield spoke out, “Ultimately Cambodia cannot survive…. Additional aid means more killing, more fighting. This has got to stop sometime.”

It was pretty clear that the US was maintaining the situation of armed conflict in order to commit genocide. This was a comprehensive act of genocide which did not merely involve the systematic killing of the target populations, it also involved every other “technique of genocide” described by Lemkin. There was systematic economic, social, cultural, political, and religious destruction. There was the systematic and deliberate ecocidal poisoning of the land and people with defoliants. There was very raw brutality. People were slaughtered by bombs, but there was also murder, rape and torture on a scale beyond imagining. In one book co-written by Nick Turse he finds that when he sets out to find the site of a massacre in Vietnam it becomes like trying to find a needle in a haystack of massacre sites.22 In his next book Kill Anything that Moves Turse tries to show that haystack for what it is. The results would be hard to believe if they were not so well documented. I cannot reduce its contents here, I can only recommend that people acquire and read the book. It is a litany of slaughter that seems almost endless and through it all the command structure and the political structure provide the framework for the personnel to commit atrocities.

This is not just about the choice of tactics – it is also about “grand tactics”, strategy, doctrine, and indoctrination. Psychiatrist and author Robert Jay Lifton famously discussed “atrocity producing situations” as a driving factor behind US war crimes, and I believe we can now conclude these situations were deliberately created, not just because we have other evidence that atrocities were tacitly encouraged, but because the US went to great lengths to replicate these these “atrocity producing situations” in Iraq.

Why Genocide and Not War?

By the end of my honours thesis I was convinced that both the second Indochina War and the “Iraq War” were “genocidal war systems”. Since then I have learnt a great deal more, and my thinking has developed a great deal more. I won’t bore you with the detail, but I came to realise the the “war system” appellation was largely redundant. Genocides are “war systems” by nature. Almost every perpetrator of genocide explains their violence as fighting war.

Genocide was a key means by which the US secured global hegemony in the post-WWII era. I learnt that Korea was also a case of US genocide. US actions there were as shocking, as deadly and as militarily nonsensical as they were in Indochina. Hundreds of thousands were massacred and hundreds of thousands incinerated. 25% of the entire population of North Korea was killed and we should not forget that many hundreds of thousands of the ostensibly allied South Koreans died at US hands or those of US commanded troops. The whole war became widely recognised as a pointless killing machine (described as “the meatgrinder”) while the US needlessly sabotaged and prolonged armistice negotiations.

I can’t explain in this space why Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq posed such great threats to US imperial hegemony, but they did, and the US successfully dealt with those dangers by committing genocide. These are successful uses of genocide to establish, deepen, and maintain imperialist hegemony, but we have wilfully blinded ourselves to their nature. Critics of US interventions have evidently been scared to entertain the notion that there was some successfully applied rationale to US behaviour. They have joined with the lovers of war, the nationalists, the racists and the fanatics in declaring over and over and over again the wrong-headedness and failures of US military endeavours. The victims of US genocide quite understandably prefer to see themselves as the plucky Davids that beat the Pentagon Goliath. These are all lies.

US forces storm into one house after another, claiming to be trying to kill flies with sledgehammers. Given that they have entirely demolished several houses and severely damaged many others; and given that they have been caught red-handed releasing flies into targeted houses; and given that they forcibly try to make people buy very expensive fly “insurance”; maybe it is time we consider that neither they, nor their sledgehammers, are concerned in any way with flies (except as a pretext).

Where people might once have been terrified that to suggest any cogent purpose to US actions for fear of giving credit to warmongers, we need not be so worried now. It is very clear that the US does not exert imperialist hegemony for the sake of peace and stability or even for the sake of the enrichment of the US and its people. They never protected us from the nefarious existential evil threat of communism and they don’t protect us from the nefarious existential evil threat of Islam. A very narrow group of imperialists who share a cohesive long-term hegemonic programme have successfully concentrated power and wealth levels of disparity akin to those in slavery-based economies. They have also created a neofeudal framework of privatised regnal rights. No doubt many of these people have noble intentions, believing that only by such ruthless action can they exert enough control to save humanity from its self-destructive impulses. Many elitists will openly express such opinions and we can certainly understand having concern over the future of the planet. But such people are, in fact, completely insane and they should be taken out of circulation and treated exactly like any other dangerous megalomaniac who believes that they are the new Napoleon. It is not the masses that are threatening the planet. It is not the masses who bring about wars. And though communal violence seems almost the epitome of the mob in action, I know of no genocide that did not result from the actions of a narrow elite.

The reason that we must view US genocides as being genocides and not wars is that we cannot ever understand the logic of their actions in any other way. People shy away from the term genocide and people react violently to what they perceive as its misuse. That indicates just how important it is. I mentioned Nick Turse’s Kill Anything that Moves which is an entire book devoted primarily to the systematic killing of non-combatants. He never uses the term “genocide”. In a work based on veteran testimony, Chris Hedges and Laila al-Arian explain that the very nature of the Iraq occupation is that of an atrocity producing situation and that US personnel have gone “from killing – the shooting of someone who [can] harm you – to murder. The war in Iraq is primarily about murder. There is very little killing.”23 They are talking about the systematic murder of civilians in small increments multiplied many times over, but they never use the term “genocide”. This despite the fact that US actions in Indochina have widely been adjudged genocidal and despite the fact that it was very strongly argued that the US and UK controlled sanctions against Iraq were genocidal. Ask yourself this: if someone was documenting the same thing being perpetrated by Sudan, or by Zimbabwe do you think the word “genocide” would be left out of such works?

Above all we must end the continuing fatuous nonsense spouted by security geeks (including high ranking military and civilian personnel) who seem to believe every exaggerated claim about threats from the Cubans, the Iranians, the Soviets, Al Qaeda in the Falklands (AQIF) or whomever. The morons with their clichés about “fighting the last war” will never ever tire of telling us how the US just doesn’t know how to do counterinsurgency. Really? The question must be, then how did they manage to remain so bad at counterinsurgency when they have spent more person hours on counterinsurgency and counter-guerilla warfare that all other states throughout the entirety of humanity added together? (I could list a few examples here starting with the “Indian” Wars, mentioning 200 years of interventions in the Western hemisphere, Cuba, Philippines, Pacific War, Korea and Indochina. Then there is also the institutional knowledge built and disseminated by “security co-operation”. Moreover, the US is trains many of the rest of the world’s military leaders to conduct counterinsurgency at Fort Benning.)

The point is that you can’t understand what the US does through the lens of war. It is very satisfying, no doubt, for young liberal reporters to outsmart generals (who clearly have no idea how to fight wars because they are just stupid Republicans), but it is seriously delusional. There is an instant exculpation given when these genocides are misrepresented as wars. It is very, very important for perpetrators of aggression or genocide (or both) to conceal their intentionality. The UK government and Tony Blair, in particular, showed far more concern with convincing people that they themselves believed in their fictitious casus belli, than with convincing people that Iraq really did have pose a threat. All of the British media seemed to echo the mantra that you might not agree with Blair but, “no one can doubt his sincerity”. So for moral reasons, in order to end the impunity of the worlds worst war criminals, as well as for intellectual reasons we must grasp the nettle and begin using the term genocide.

Textbook Cases

There are many problematic areas in the subject of genocide. Sometimes it is hard to tell when war ends and genocide begins. It can be hard to tell where state repression becomes persecution and when persecution becomes genocide. Were not the Nuremburg Laws an epitome of what we now call apartheid? Is apartheid a form of slow genocide? Is there structural genocide? Should something only be called genocide if there are mass fatalities?

These are all important considerations and questions, but none of them are relevant here. The genocides I have referenced are absolute textbook cases of genocide. It is impossible to create a coherent and rational definition of the term “genocide” which does not include these genocides.

These genocides were more demonstrably genocidal in nature than the Armenian Holocaust. We should always remember that for the Turkish government, and for most Turks, there was no such thing as a genocide of Armenians. In their own eyes they were fighting a war against Armenian insurgents. Sound familiar?

Notes

  1. Beyond Stalemate, Context of Iraq Genocide, Genocide Scholarship, Korean Genocide before the US Occupation: Part 1, Korean Genocide before the US Occupation: Part 2, and Korean Genocide before the US Occupation: Part 3, and Korean Genocide before the US Occupation: Part 4.
  2. In Orwell’s allegory the ‘Party’ represented the ‘educated’ sector of society – people such as the central character Winston Smith, who worked as a journalist.
  3. George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four. London: Penguin, 1983.
  4. Jeremy Scahill, Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, London: Serpent’s Tail, 2007, p 350.
  5. Hy V. Luong, ‘Postwar Vietnamese Society: An Overview of Transformational Dynamic’ in Hy V. Luong (ed.), Postwar Vietnam: Dynamics of a Transforming Society. Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield, 2003, pp 12, 14.
  6. Nicholas Minot; Francesco Goletti, ‘Export Liberalization and Household Welfare: The Case of Rice in Vietnam’ in American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Vol. 80, No. 4. (Nov., 1998), p 743. Minot and Goletti actually (to their own evident surprise) projected a slight overall drop in poverty, but they do so on the basis of changes in real income which do not take into account that rural persons are better able to acquire food without income expenditure. They also slightly underestimate the level of urbanisation – they use the 1990 figure of 20 per cent, when by the time of their writing the figure was over 23 per cent (Michael DiGregorio, A. Terry Rambo, Masayuki Yanagisawa, ‘Clean, Green, and Beautiful: Environment and Development under the Renovation Economy’ in Hy V. Luong (ed.), Postwar Vietnam: Dynamics of a Transforming Society. Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield, 2003, p 189.) and do not account for future urbanisation. Michel Chossudovsky suggests that the Vietnamese did, in the actual event, become considerably poorer (Michel Chossudovsky, The Globalisation of Poverty and the New World Order. Shanty Bay, Ontario: Global Outlook, 2003, p 168).
  7. Marc Jason Gilbert, “Introduction”, in Marc Jason Gilbert (ed), Why the North Won the Vietnam War. New York: Palgrave, 2002, p 26.
  8. David Keen, Endless War? Hidden functions of the ‘War on Terror’. London, Ann Arbor: Pluto Press, 2006, p 51.>
  9. Record, “How America’s Military Performance…”, in Gilbert (ed.), Why the North Won the Vietnam War, p 117.
  10. Harry G. Summers Jr., On Strategy: A critical analysis of the Vietnam War. New York: Presidio Press, 1995 (1982), p 103.
  11. William Shawcross, Sideshow: Kissinger, Nixon and the Destruction of Cambodia. London: Fontana, 1980 (1979), p 220.
  12. Shawcross, 317-9.
  13. Shawcross, 149.
  14. Sorpong Peou, Intervention & Change in Cambodia: Towards Democracy? Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2000, p 127.
  15. Shawcross, 163.
  16. Ben Kiernan, The Pol Pot Regime: Race, Power, and Genocide in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1996, p 24.
  17. Kiernan, 19.
  18. Shawcross, 186.
  19. Shawcross, 254-5.
  20. Shawcross, 169.
  21. Nigel Cawthorne, Vietnam: A War Lost and Won. London: Arcturus Publishing, 2003, p 213; Westmoreland, ‘A Look Back’.
  22. Deborah Nelson, The War Behind Me: Vietnam Veterans Confront the Truth about U.S. War Crimes, New York: Basic Books, 2008, p 127.
  23. Chris Hedges and Laila Al-Arian, Collateral Damage: America’s War against Iraqi Civilians, New York: Nation Books, 2008, p xiii.
Edited by Steven Gaal
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Uday Al-Zaidy – Another Life in the Balance in “The New Iraq.”
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Global Research, January 21, 2015
Uday-Alzaidi-400x215.png

“This is a very serious matter – they will slaughter him.” - (Sabah Al-Mukhtar, President of the Arab Lawyers Association.)

On Saturday 10th January the BRussells Tribunal circulated a Press Release: “Iraq: Mr Uday Al-Zaidi – Appeal of Extreme Urgency.” (1)

It outlined: “an appeal for the immediate and urgent mobilization of (the relevant UN Agencies, Amnesty International. Human Rights Watch and other international NGOs and appropriate legal bodies) in securing the release of the prominent human rights defender, Mr Uday Al-Zaidi.”

The Appeal was necessarily brief, but the wider context is vital to understanding as another life hangs in the balance in the living hell of the Bush and Blair led “New Iraq.”

Mr Al-Zaidi was arrested by Iraqi security forces at 6 pm, local time, on Friday 9th January near Al-Nasriyah in southern Iraq. Al-Zaidi, a respected journalist, is internationally renowned for his courageous advocacy against the sectarian cleansing in Iraq which began with the onset of the “divide and rule” policy of the US-UK invasion, continued under the occupation, their puppet Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and now under his replacement of August 2014, Haider Al-Abadi.

Al-Abadi came in with the US-UK tanks in 2003, having lived in London since 1977, where he was on the Executive of the (Shia) Islamic Dawa Party – which is headed by Nouri al-Maliki. The Prime Ministerial change has all the hallmarks of “same car, new paint.”

The urgency and gravity of Mr Al-Zaidi’s situation cannot be over-stressed. Originally his whereabouts were not revealed, in contravention of all international legal norms.

Under Article 17 of the Geneva Convention: “No one shall be held in secret detention.”

On 19th January it was learned that Uday Al-Zaidi has now appeared before an “investigative Judge” with a lawyer who said that charges against him (details of which still remain to be known) were trumped up, false and irrelevant. He looked “tired and drained.”

Fears during his disappearance were that he would simply vanish and claims be made that he had been “kidnapped” by freelance militia, or that he had been spirited to a neighbouring country “as has happened to very many before”, according to an impeccable source. Finally it is established he is being held by the government.

Also now known is that he is being held in prison in Al-Nasiriya, being tortured, interrogated daily and has been on hunger strike in protest at his incarceration and treatment for five days.

In an interview with Al Jazeera (15th December 2014) he described graphically, at length, the reality of the humanitarian catastrophe resulting from the Iraqi government’s brutal systematic sectarian edicts.

Afterwards he said that he was “expecting” anything as a result. Warned to take extreme care in his movements, he determined to attend the funeral of a friend and was arrested.

His witness to Iraq’s ongoing tragedy has been tireless and international. On 19 March 2013 he received the BRussells Resistance Award. (2)

Two months later in May, invited by the Madrid-based State Campaign Against the Occupation and for the Sovereignty of Iraq, talking at venues in a number of cities he showed visuals, the reality of: “… killing of children, raping of women and men, secret prisons, daily humiliations”, of families assassinated by U.S bombs over eight grinding years. “An image is worth a thousand words. These images show what the occupation has done for us”, he said. (3) The numbers continue to rise daily.

“Since 2003, there have been a million deaths and four million orphans … Iraq is a wealthy country. But its people, us, have to dig in the garbage to try and survive.”

He also called courageously for an end to the corruption under Prime Minister al-Maliki – and returned to Iraq.

In January that year in Iraq he addressed the dishonour of the Iraqi people manifested by a government: “ … representing their groups, militias and parties, and their masters abroad.” He talked of the “defilements” of Iraq “in ever deepening crisis” and “tyranny.”

Nouri al-Maliki is now Vice President of Iraq.

Sabah Al-Mukhtar, President of the Arab Lawyers Association and Vice President of the Geneva International Centre for Justice states starkly of Mr Al-Zaidi’s detention:

“This is a very serious matter. They will slaughter him.”

Serious indeed. A March 2013 Amnesty International Report on Iraq’s Human Rights record (5, pdf) is chilling, including:

“Ten years after the US-led invasion that (overthrew) Saddam Hussein, Iraq remains mired in human rights abuses. Thousands of Iraqis are detained without trial or serving prison sentences imposed after unfair trials. Torture remains rife and continues to be committed with impunity, and the new Iraq is one of the world’s leading executioners. The government hanged 129 prisoners in 2012, while hundreds more languished on death row. (Emphasis mine)

“ … even the Ministry of Human Rights has listed methods of torture that detainees reported they were subjected to by Iraqi security forces, recently citing electric shock torture applied to the genitals, partial suffocation by putting a bag over the detainee’s head, threats of rape of detainees’ wives or other relatives, and beatings with cable.

“UNAMI (United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq) has also reported the use of these and other methods. Amnesty International has also done so.”

Moreover: ‘Lawyers … have told Amnesty International that they no longer take the trouble to seek access to their clients during the initial interrogation phase because they know the detaining authorities will not permit it. Moreover, seeking to do so, it would appear, can sometimes result in action being taken against the lawyers themselves. For example, in February 2012, the Ninewa branch of the Iraqi Bar Association informed UNAMI that five lawyers had been detained by the security forces because they had “attempted to represent individuals detained by the military.”’

Uday Al-Zaidi is the brother of journalist Muntadher Al-Zaidy, who threw “the shoe that went around the world” at George W. Bush on December 14th 2008: “ … for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq.”

In Court he testified that watching the US President he had: “felt the blood of the innocent people bleeding from beneath (Bush’s) feet”, compelling his action. (4.)

Representation to the Iraqi government at the highest level is incumbent on all those to whom humanity and human rights is utmost priority. No time can be wasted. Rivers of blood have bled, literally, from Iraqi feet and bodies, from Abu Ghraib to the innumerable secret prisons. Delay will near certainly be death.

It is also incumbent upon the UN’s relevant organizations, UNAMI and all other relevant international organizations that pressure be brought on the Iraqi Authorities for Mr Al-Zaidi’s immediate release.

It is further, imperative to draw Prime Minister Al-Abadi’s attention to his personal responsibility for the safety of Mr Al-Zaidi and all under government detention. Should human rights and international law in Iraq now count for even less than the woeful post-invasion standing, the Prime Minister will surely eventually be held accountable in international law for the horrifying abuses with his predecessor, Nouri al-Maliki.

Uday Al-Zaidi symbolizes all condemned to the nightmare of “freedom and democracy”, justice and Iraq’s jails, secret and overt, in the “New Iraq.”

Notes

  1. http://www.globalresearch.ca/arrest-of-internationally-renowned-iraqi-human-rights-advocate-uday-al-zaidi-appeal-of-extreme-urgency/5424015
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