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Re: Iraq


Unread post by anajmi » Sat Apr 28, 2007 8:03 pm

Originally posted by anajmi:
WHouse downplays Iraq demonstrations

"But Iraq, four years on, is now a place where people can freely gather and express their opinions. And that was something they could not do under Saddam,"
Four students arrested for heckling FBI director

Mueller was unfazed by the student chants to "free all political prisoners" and "close Guantanamo, stop the lies," and instead commended the protest, saying they were a testament to freedom of expression.

American style democracy in Iraq or Iraq style democracy in America?

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Unread post by anajmi » Sat May 12, 2007 1:03 am

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Unread post by anajmi » Sat May 12, 2007 2:46 am

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Unread post by anajmi » Sun May 13, 2007 1:26 am

A regional security pact to calm the Middle East

But..but.. the world is a much better place now that Saddam is gone, literally.

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Unread post by anajmi » Tue May 15, 2007 11:46 pm

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Unread post by anajmi » Sun Jul 13, 2008 1:42 pm

And finally, some good news from Iraq.

U.S., Iraq scale down negotiations over forces

Iraqis want to know that foreign troops are not going to be here forever." (forever = till the oil runs out)

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Unread post by anajmi » Sun Jul 20, 2008 2:37 pm

Iraqi Premier Says US Should Leave Soon

Yeah. Boot them out of there.

Troop withdrawal timeline concerns Pentagon chief

A fixed timetable for withdrawing U.S. combat troops from Iraq could jeopardize political and economic progress, the Pentagon's top military officer said Sunday.

Actually, that would jeopardize the joker's plans for Iraqi oil reserves!!

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Unread post by feelgud » Mon Dec 15, 2008 2:20 am

Shoes thrown at Bush on Iraq trip

In the middle of the news conference with Mr Maliki, Iraqi television journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi stood up and shouted "this is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog," before hurling a shoe at Mr Bush which narrowly missed him.
Showing the soles of shoes to someone is a sign of contempt in Arab culture.

With his second shoe, which the president also managed to dodge, Mr Zaidi said: "This is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq."
Mr Zaidi, a correspondent for Cairo-based al-Baghdadiya TV, was then wrestled to the ground by security personnel and hauled away.

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Unread post by feelgud » Wed Feb 04, 2009 2:07 am

"Hard Lessons,"

"Hundreds of billions of dollars have disappeared. Everything has been stolen - from money to heavy equipment to guns," said Senator McCaskill. "The scandalous part about the guns that we didn't keep track of is that people in the military will tell you that they are confident that our weapons were stolen, sold and used against our own soldiers. If we do not find accountability, then really, we have added to the problem of wasting taxpayers' money."

Inspector General Bowen told the commission it is important to learn from these lessons in order to avoid making similar mistakes in Afghanistan.

"Frequently, those deployed didn't have the right skills to carry out the missions to which they were assigned," said Bowen. "This is essential to ensure that next time a contingency operation is confronted by the United States that there are personnel ready to deploy who can do the job. And actually, the next time is upon us. It's in Afghanistan."

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Unread post by ghulam muhammed » Fri Jul 31, 2009 6:39 pm

Americans stay in Iraq stinks 'like fish', says memo A top US military adviser says Iraqi forces are now able to protect the government, admitting that US troops are no longer welcome in Iraq. In an unusually blunt memo, Col. Timothy R. Reese details the deficiency roots of the Iraqi army, but admits that any US military presence beyond August 2010 will do little to improve their performance while deepening resentment of Americans. "As the old saying goes, 'Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days,' " Colonel Reese wrote. "Since the signing of the 2009 Security Agreement, we are guests in Iraq, and after six years in Iraq, we now smell bad to the Iraqi nose."

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Unread post by ghulam muhammed » Fri Jul 31, 2009 6:53 pm

A startling two-part series published in the Gazette newspaper of Colorado Springs titled “Casualties of War” examines a part of war seldom discussed by the media or government officials: the difficulty of returning to civilian life after being trained to be a killer. The story focuses on a single battalion based at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment. Soldiers from the brigade have been involved in brawls, beatings, rapes, drunk driving, drug deals, domestic violence, shootings, stabbings, kidnapping and suicides. The Army unit’s murder rate is 114 times the rate for Colorado Springs.

The story focuses on a single battalion based at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, the 2nd Batallion, 12th Infantry Regiment. The battalion’s nickname is the “Lethal Warriors.” In Iraq, the unit fought in some of the war’s bloodiest battles, in Ramadi on its first tour, downtown Baghdad on its second. In May, the unit deployed again, this time to Afghanistan.

DAVE PHILIPPS: Well, what we wanted to do is talk to some of the soldiers who are now in prison and really find out the whole story, starting in Iraq and following it all the way to where they are now in their prison cells.

We focused one brigade, the 4th Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division. And what we found is the murders you mentioned, but they were just sort of the tip of an iceberg of violent crime. There’s been assaults. There have been rapes. There have been fights. There have been kidnapping. There’s just a—there’s a lot of things that happened back in town, and we wanted to follow up on what was causing this.

What we found is that this unit has been sent to what was the deadliest place in Iraq in 2004. They went to the Sunni Triangle around Ramadi. And then they came home after a year tour there, had a year off, and then they were sent to what became the next deadliest place, downtown Baghdad. Both times, they had an almost impossible task of putting down an insurgency with no clear enemy, and they took heavy, heavy casualties. This one brigade makes up almost half of the casualties at Fort Carson, even though it’s just a fraction of the population there. And then what we found is, when they came home, a lot of them, not surprisingly, had problems, emotional and mental problems, that came out of this combat. ... comes_home

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Unread post by ghulam muhammed » Sat Nov 28, 2009 6:30 pm

Huge rise in birth defects in Falluja

Martin Chulov in Falluja, Friday 13 November 2009

Doctors in Iraq's war-ravaged enclave of Falluja are dealing with up to 15 times as many chronic deformities in infants, compared to a year ago, and a spike in early life cancers that may be linked to toxic materials left over from the fighting.

The extraordinary rise in birth defects has crystallised over recent months as specialists working in Falluja's over-stretched health system have started compiling detailed clinical records of all babies born.

Neurologists and obstetricians in the city interviewed by the Guardian say the rise in birth defects – which include a baby born with two heads, babies with multiple tumours, and others with nervous system problems - are unprecedented and at present unexplainable.

A group of Iraqi and British officials, including the former Iraqi minister for women's affairs, Dr Nawal Majeed a-Sammarai, and the British doctors David Halpin and Chris Burns-Cox, have petitioned the UN general assembly to ask that an independent committee fully investigate the defects and help clean up toxic materials left over decades of war – including the six years since Saddam Hussein was ousted.

"We are seeing a very significant increase in central nervous system anomalies," said Falluja general hospital's director and senior specialist, Dr Ayman Qais. "Before 2003 [the start of the war] I was seeing sporadic numbers of deformities in babies. Now the frequency of deformities has increased dramatically."

The rise in frequency is stark – from two admissions a fortnight a year ago to two a day now. "Most are in the head and spinal cord, but there are also many deficiencies in lower limbs," he said. "There is also a very marked increase in the number of cases of less than two years [old] with brain tumours. This is now a focus area of multiple tumours."

After several years of speculation and anecdotal evidence, a picture of a highly disturbing phenomenon in one of Iraq's most battered areas has now taken shape. Previously all miscarried babies, including those with birth defects or infants who were not given ongoing care, were not listed as abnormal cases.

The Guardian asked a paediatrician, Samira Abdul Ghani, to keep precise records over a three-week period. Her records reveal that 37 babies with anomalies, many of them neural tube defects, were born during that period at Falluja general hospital alone.

Dr Bassam Allah, the head of the hospital's children's ward, this week urged international experts to take soil samples across Falluja and for scientists to mount an investigation into the causes of so many ailments, most of which he said had been "acquired" by mothers before or during pregnancy.

Other health officials are also starting to focus on possible reasons, chief among them potential chemical or radiation poisonings. Abnormal clusters of infant tumours have also been repeatedly cited in Basra and Najaf – areas that have in the past also been intense battle zones where modern munitions have been heavily used.

Falluja's frontline doctors are reluctant to draw a direct link with the fighting. They instead cite multiple factors that could be contributors.

"These include air pollution, radiation, chemicals, drug use during pregnancy, malnutrition, or the psychological status of the mother," said Dr Qais. "We simply don't have the answers yet."

The anomalies are evident all through Falluja's newly opened general hospital and in centres for disabled people across the city. On 2 November alone, there were four cases of neuro-tube defects in the neo-natal ward and several more were in the intensive care ward and an outpatient clinic.

Falluja was the scene of the only two setpiece battles that followed the US-led invasion. Twice in 2004, US marines and infantry units were engaged in heavy fighting with Sunni militia groups who had aligned with former Ba'athists and Iraqi army elements.

The first battle was fought to find those responsible for the deaths of four Blackwater private security contractors working for the US. The city was bombarded heavily by American artillery and fighter jets. Controversial weaponry was used, including white phosphorus, which the US government admitted deploying.

Statistics on infant tumours are not considered as reliable as new data about nervous system anomalies, which are usually evident immediately after birth. Dr Abdul Wahid Salah, a neurosurgeon, said: "With neuro-tube defects, their heads are often larger than normal, they can have deficiencies in hearts and eyes and their lower limbs are often listless. There has been no orderly registration here in the period after the war and we have suffered from that. But [in relation to the rise in tumours] I can say with certainty that we have noticed a sharp rise in malignancy of the blood and this is not a congenital anomaly – it is an acquired disease."

Despite fully funding the construction of the new hospital, a well-equipped facility that opened in August, Iraq's health ministry remains largely disfunctional and unable to co-ordinate a response to the city's pressing needs.

The government's lack of capacity has led Falluja officials, who have historically been wary of foreign intervention, to ask for help from the international community. "Even in the scientific field, there has been a reluctance to reach out to the exterior countries," said Dr Salah. "But we have passed that point now. I am doing multiple surgeries every day. I have one assistant and I am obliged to do everything myself."

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Unread post by anajmi » Sat Dec 12, 2009 1:02 pm

Iraq Awards Oil Deals, But No Boon For U.S. Invaders ... a-oil.html

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Unread post by Fatwa Banker » Fri Dec 25, 2009 12:34 am

There goes your "steal Iraqi Oil" theory.

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Unread post by anajmi » Fri Dec 25, 2009 3:26 am

And there goes your "steal Iraqi Oil" plot. :mrgreen:

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Unread post by ghulam muhammed » Thu Mar 04, 2010 6:26 pm


For two decades, Iraqi children, along with all other elements of Iraqi society, have been subjected to grave human rights violations.

These violations began with the destruction of all civil services and Iraqi civil infrastructure by the US/UK aggression on Iraq during the Gulf War of 1991, and were followed by the brutal economical sanctions which deprived the people of Iraq of food,
clean water, health care, education and security.

As a result more than half a million Iraqi children died during the nineties .The thirteen years of suffering under embargo ended with the American invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Another form of suffering was born in 2003 under the American occupation. As if the causalities of the excessive use of power during military operations were not enough, the invasion operations consisted of systematically burning and looting of civil services and infrastructure, health care centers, schools and universities, industrial compounds, etc. As stated in UNAMI's report of November 2006, Iraq can be described as "a nation that has been plunged into barbarism since the US-invasion in 2003".

It has been reported that one out of eight children in Iraq die before their fifth birthday.

The forces of the American occupation, and the occupation-assigned Iraqi government, grossly failed to fulfill their most basic duties towards the children of Iraq in accordance with the UN/CRC Convention on the Rights of the Child, Resolution 25/ Session 44, November 1989. The convention was ratified by 194 countries of the United Nations, except the USA and Somalia.

In this report the status and violations of Iraqi children’s rights under the American occupation is presented with special emphasis on the problems of the Iraqi children refugees in Syria. ... ng2010.pdf

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Unread post by ghulam muhammed » Sun Oct 30, 2011 6:31 pm

Iraq war will cost more than World War II
Iraq war, now winding down with US troop exit by December, has cost more than $800 billion so far. But ongoing medical treatment, replacement vehicles, etc., will push costs to $4 trillion or more.

Anyone curious about the cost of America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan can look it up on, up to the latest fraction of a second. Last weekend, the Iraq war had cost more than $800 billion since 2001; the Afghan war, $467 billion plus.

For the 8-1/2-year conflict in Iraq alone, that works out to nearly $3,000 a second.

Tragically, beside the financial cost, there is the human toll. The war in Iraq has resulted in some 4,480 US troops killed and more than 32,000 wounded. (The Iraqis have suffered far more fatalities, about 654,965, according to the British medical journal The Lancet.) Thus, ongoing medical and disability claims and treatment of US veterans will boost the costs of the Iraq war even more.

Another interesting note: It is estimated Al Qaeda spent roughly half a million dollars to destroy the World Trade Center and damage the Pentagon. ... rld-War-II

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Unread post by ghulam muhammed » Thu Aug 30, 2012 5:05 pm

Iraq announces 21 executions in single day: Justice ministry

BAGHDAD: Iraq has executed 21 people convicted of terror-related charges, including three women, on the same day, a justice ministry spokesman said on Tuesday.

"The justice ministry carried out 21 executions against those condemned of terrorist charges, including three women terrorists," Haidar al-Saadi said in a text message. He did not give any further details.

A justice ministry official said the executions were carried out on Monday morning.

Amnesty International in June condemned the "alarming" increase in executions in Iraq, which had at that point put at least 70 people to death this year, more than all of 2011.

Iraq has carried out several mass executions in 2012, including one in which 14 people were put to death on February 7, and another in which 17 were executed on January 31.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay expressed shock earlier this year at the number of executions, criticising the lack of transparency in court proceedings and calling for an immediate suspension of the death penalty. ... 885228.cms

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Unread post by ghulam muhammed » Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:32 pm

Nobody wants to know WHO killed half a million Iraqi children!

In the following article, Elias Davidsson suggests that the war crimes committed against the Iraqi people are in the process of being erased by the Western media, which is ultimately complicit in the Criminalization of the State.

The trial of Saddam Hussein is being used precisely for that purpose: to erase the war crimes committed by the Anglo-American coalition during the sanctions regime as well as in its aftermath.

The Criminalization of the State is when those who commit war crimes not only occupy high office within the state system, but also decide "who are the war criminals", when in fact they are the war criminals.

The media becomes criminalised when realties are deliberately turned upside down, when the lie becomes the truth, when the war criminals are presented as defenders of justice and human rights.

The Criminalization of the State describes the current trend, not only in America but broadly in Western society, where not a single head of state or head of government has had the courage to state the obvious:

The Bush administration and its indefectible British ally are responsible for war crimes.

Those who hold high office as well as those who --within the the upper echelons of the financial establishment--- are pulling the strings behind the scenes, are war criminals. And that is precisely why they need Saddam Hussein, as a cover-up of their own war crimes.

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Unread post by ghulam muhammed » Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:40 pm

Iraq’s unveiled women face rising crackdown

Iraqi women who do not wear the Islamic headscarf, commonly known as the hijab, are increasingly coming under crackdown as conservative Islam gradually permeates the Iraqi political scene.

“Day after day, I am seeing more indicators that there is discrimination against women who choose not to wear hijab in Iraq,” Hanaa Edwar, General Secretary of the non-government organization, Iraqi Al-Amal Association, told Al Arabiya.

Edwar, also founder of Iraqi Women’s Network, sounded the alarm about attempts to force women to wear the hijab, especially in government offices.

Head of Iraq’s Ministry of Women, Ibtihal Kasid al-Zubaidi, ordered in January that women working in government offices dress “modestly.” Zubaidi axed tight pants, short skirts and colorful clothes.

More women are approaching Edwar to file their complaints about government institutions and even TV channels belonging to religious political which enforce strict dress code and gender segregation.

Edwar, a member of the High Preparatory Committee for National Congress of Iraq, said that there is an interference even with the way some women wear their scarves. She said, they were forced to cover their chin as well.

The frustration over sexual harassment prompted some women to speak out during a Ministry of Interior conference last month.

“A number of women from the media came and boldly expressed their frustration in front of interior ministry officials about sexual harassment even from the highest of all ranks,” she said.

“We do not live in a real country. There is no real administration that feels responsible over the country …everyone has become a prince of his own.”

Even when finding employment, professionalism ceased to exist, with people bringing their background or tribal lineage to get a position, she said.

Iraq, which was one of the most progressive countries in the region, had the first female cabinet minister in the Arab World and women enjoyed the liberty to pursue their profession.

“In Iraq, we never had temporary marriage. This is clearly an imported phenomenon from Iran,” she said.

While in Shiite Islam, temporary marriage is allowed, it was rarely practiced nor was culturally accepted in Iraq as the conventional, permanent type of marriage was prevalent.

Other waves of conservatism in Iraq included the ministry of education banning music and arts in late 2010. The ban was lifted in Jan. 2011 as a more liberal new education minister took office.

Late September, human rights groups in Iraq voiced frustration at a wave of assaults on nightclubs and other alcohol-serving places. ... 51194.html

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Unread post by ghulam muhammed » Thu Dec 06, 2012 4:02 pm

The Dark And Secret Dungeons Of Iraq: Horror Stories Of Female Prisoners

When women in Iraq are arrested, they routinely go through three gruesome phases, starting with humiliation, followed by torture, and often ending with rape. I have received disturbing information from two different, well informed sources: one from qualified social workers in Al-Kadimiyah Women Prison, the other from three national guards officers who worked in the prison.

The torture journey starts when security forces raid and search the houses, through random raids or ordered raids. The Fourth Commander of the Second Brigade – Team 6, Major Jumaa Al-Musawi, has confirmed this information. This man has a criminal record, and he was assigned to this position by the American Forces during their first training courses in intelligence gathering. He used to live in Al-Thawra (now called Sadr City) / Sector 87. In his own words:

“When we receive the raid and search orders from the Brigade Intelligence, we usually start with a little party and drink alcohol, or take some drugs. We choose the most cruel soldiers to carry out such operations. The first thing we do is to lock the men and youngsters in a room, and the women and children in another room. We start to steal what can be taken fast, like jewelry, and we mess up the house, like throwing the women’s underwear here and there; some soldiers even steal some of this underwear. After that, we start to do a body search on the women, and having fun touching their private parts or breasts. We threaten them to arrest the men in the house when they refuse to be touched. If those women are pretty, we usually rape them immediately, and leave the house when we find no weapons or incriminating material. In case we find some weapons, every man and youngster in the house will be arrested, and if there are no men at home, we arrest all the women instead. This is totally according to the orders we receive.”

What follows is one of many stories about the crimes committed by these corrupt creatures, who shamelessly brag about their misdeeds to each other.


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Unread post by ghulam muhammed » Fri Dec 07, 2012 6:47 pm

The Iraqi Children Genocide

We have heard that a half a million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died when-wh-in-in Hiroshima. And-and, you know, is the price worth it?

Ambassador Albright: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price – we think the price is worth it.

This shocking and revolting statement made by the U.S. Secretary of State provided proof positive of the genocidal intent by the United States Government against Iraq and its children and its people as defined by and in violation of Genocide Convention Article II

The 500,000 dead Iraqi children, as conceded and approved by U.S. Secretary of State Albright, constituted a “substantial part” of the people of Iraq, which is the threshold numerical test for genocide recognized by the International Court of Justice itself that I had successfully argued there for Bosnia and Herzegovina against Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) in 1993. Albright incriminated both herself and the United States of America at the same time, apparently without thought or concern as to any future international legal determination of their culpability. Such is the arrogance of the powerful—which is usually the source of their downfall.

Approximately 1.7 million Iraqis died as a direct result of these genocidal economic sanctions, including within that number about 750,000 Iraqi children. In addition, another 1.4 million Iraqis died as a result of the Bush Junior/Tony Blair genocidal war of aggression against Iraq. To this appalling genocidal death toll must be added the 200,000 Iraqis President Bush Senior slaughtered in his 1991 Gulf War I. In other words, approximately 3.3 million Iraqis were exterminated by the United States and the United Kingdom from August of 1990 until the end of 2011 when President Obama had ordered the purported “final” withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Iraq. And these are very conservative figures that I believe could be proven to the satisfaction of the International Court of Justice.

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Unread post by ghulam muhammed » Fri Dec 07, 2012 7:11 pm

Iraq: Child Kidnapping On The Rise Again,
Another Legacy Of The US Occupation

Almost one year after the so-called withdrawal of American military troops, the security situation in Baghdad has not improved. Families are living in fear because of a dramatic increase in the number of cases of child abduction. These kidnappings have different aims. Some are meant to finance terrorist groups. But Iraqi children are also abducted for the very lucrative trafficking of human organs.

The ransom a family has to pay varies between $ 20.000 and $ 100.000, depending on the financial situation of the family. The kidnappers already know the financial capacities of the family.

Social researcher Sawsan Al-Ubaidi said that sometimes little girls are kidnapped, raped and then killed, even after the ransom is paid.

An anonymous source in the Ministry of Interior assured that the issue is bigger than kidnapping for a ransom, because organized gangs are currently operating in Iraq and they are supervised by human traffickers and people who work in the prostitution sector. It’s not only about selling girls for sexual pleasure.Rather, it’s about selling human organs, or using the kidnapped girls for pregnancy purposes to sell the new born babies to sell them on the International market.

Whatever the motives of the kidnappers, the consequences can be easily predicted: a decrease in school attendance, children who have to stay inside the house, the parents who live in a constant state of fear and have to accompany their children wherever they go etc. In such circumstances it’s impossible to restore community life, impossible to give a decent education to a whole generation of young Iraqis. But maybe that’s exactly the intention, to keep the Iraqi populace in a constant state of fear and chaos.

Iraqi orphans are extremely vulnerable and are an easy target for criminal gangs. A recent survey in Iraq, revealed in a BBC article of 28 November, found that between 800,000 to a million Iraqi children have lost one or both of their parents.According to aid workers this figure is a conservative estimate of the many thousands growing up in the shadow of violence.

As a consequence around 50% of children were not going to school, according to a spokesman for Save the Children UK.

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Unread post by ghulam muhammed » Mon Feb 25, 2013 3:17 pm

"Hubris": New Documentary Reexamines the Iraq War "Hoax"

A decade ago, on March 19, 2003, President George W. Bush launched the invasion of Iraq that would lead to a nine-year war resulting in 4,486 dead American troops, 32,226 service members wounded, and over 100,000 dead Iraqi civilians. The tab for the war topped $3 trillion. Bush did succeed in removing Saddam Hussein, but it turned out there were no weapons of mass destruction and no significant operational ties between Saddam's regime and Al Qaeda. That is, the two main assertions used by Bush and his crew to justify the war were not true. Three years after the war began, Michael Isikoff, then an investigative reporter for Newsweek (he's since moved to NBC News), and I published Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War, a behind-the-scenes account of how Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and their lieutenants deployed false claims, iffy intelligence, and unsupported hyperbole to win popular backing for the invasion.

Our book—hailed by the New York Times as "the most comprehensive account of the White House's political machinations"—was the first cut at an important topic: how a president had swindled the nation into war with a deliberate effort to hype the threat. The book is now the basis for an MSNBC documentary of the same name that marks the 10th anniversary of the Iraq war. Hosted by Rachel Maddow, the film premieres Monday night in her usual time slot (9PM ET/PT). But the documentary goes beyond what Isikoff and I covered in Hubris, presenting new scoops and showing that the complete story of the selling of that war has yet to be told. ... david-corn

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Unread post by ghulam muhammed » Sat Mar 09, 2013 5:14 pm

From El Salvador to Iraq, the U.S. torture trail

Media investigation links Gen. Petraeus to Iraqi torture centres set up by a Special Forces veteran who was also involved in the 1980s ‘dirty wars’ in Central America

The Pentagon sent a U.S. veteran of the “dirty wars” in Central America to oversee sectarian police commando units in Iraq, that set up secret detention and torture centres to get information from insurgents. These units conducted some of the worst acts of torture during the U.S. occupation and accelerated the country’s descent into full-scale civil war.

Colonel James Steele, then 58, was a retired special forces veteran nominated by Donald Rumsfeld to help organise the paramilitaries in an attempt to quell a Sunni insurgency, according to an investigation by the Guardian and BBC Arabic. After the Pentagon lifted a ban on Shia militias joining the security forces, the membership of the Special police commandos was increasingly drawn from violent Shia groups like the Badr brigades.

A second special adviser, retired Colonel James H. Coffman (now 59) worked alongside Steele in detention centres that were set up with millions of dollars of U.S. funding. Coffman reported directly to General David Petraeus, sent to Iraq in June 2004 to organise and train the new Iraqi security forces. Steele, who was in Iraq between 2003-2005, and kept returning to the country through 2006, reported directly to Rumsfeld.

The allegations made by both American and Iraqi witnesses in the Guardian/BBC documentary, for the first time implicates U.S. advisers in the human rights abuses committed by the commandos. It is also the first time that General David Petraeus — who last November was forced to resign as director of the CIA after a sex scandal — has been linked through an adviser to this abuse. Coffman reported to Petraeus and described himself in an interview with the U.S. military newspaper Stars and Stripes as Petraeus’s “eyes and ears out on the ground” in Iraq.

Details of torture

“They worked hand in hand,” said General Muntadher al-Samari, who worked with Steele and Coffman for a year while the commandos were being set up. “I never saw them apart in the 40 or 50 times I saw them inside the detention centres. They knew everything that was going on there ... the torture, the most horrible kinds of torture.” Additional reporting by the Guardian confirmed further details of how the interrogation system worked. “Every single detention centre would have its own interrogation committee,” claimed the former General, who has for the first time talked in detail about the U.S. role in the brutal interrogation units. “Each one was made up of an intelligence officer and eight interrogators. This committee will use all means of torture to make the detainee confess like using electricity or hanging him upside down, pulling out their nails, and beating them on sensitive parts.” There is no evidence that Steele or Coffman tortured prisoners themselves, only that they were sometimes present in the detention centres where torture took place, and were involved in the processing of thousands of detainees.

The Guardian/BBC Arabic investigation was sparked by the release of classified U.S. military logs on WikiLeaks that detailed hundreds of incidents where U.S. soldiers came across tortured detainees in a network of detention centres run by the police commandos across Iraq. Private Bradley Manning, 25, is facing a prison sentence of up to 20 years after he pleaded guilty to leaking the documents.

Samari claimed that torture was routine in the commando-controlled detention centres. “I remember a 14-year-old who was tied to one of the library’s columns. And he was tied up, with his legs above his head. Tied up. His whole body was blue because of the impact of the cables with which he had been beaten.” Gilles Peress, a photographer, came across Steele when he was on assignment for The New York Times, visiting one of the commando centres in the same library, in Samarra. “We were in a room in the library interviewing Steele and I’m looking around I see blood everywhere.” The reporter Peter Maass was also there, working on the story with Peress. “And while this interview was going on with a Saudi jihadi with Jim Steele also in the room, there were these terrible screams, somebody shouting ‘Allah, Allah, Allah!’ But it wasn’t kind of religious ecstasy or something like that, these were screams of pain and terror.” The pattern in Iraq provides an eerie parallel to the well-documented human rights abuses committed by U.S.-advised and funded paramilitary squads in Central America in the 1980s. Steele was head of a U.S. team of special military advisers that trained units of El Salvador’s security forces in counterinsurgency. Petraeus visited El Salvador in 1986 while Steele was there and became a major advocate of counterinsurgency methods.

Steele has not responded to any questions from the Guardian and BBC Arabic about his role in El Salvador or Iraq. He has in the past denied any involvement in torture and said publicly he is “opposed to human rights abuses.” Coffman declined to comment.

An official speaking for Petraeus has told the BBC/Guardian investigation: “During the course of his years in Iraq, General Petraeus did learn of allegations of Iraqi forces torturing detainees. In each incident, he shared information immediately with the U.S. military chain of command, the U.S. ambassador in Baghdad ... and the relevant Iraqi leaders.” The Guardian has learned that the Special police commandos unit’s involvement with torture entered the popular consciousness in Iraq when some of their victims were paraded in front of the television audience on a TV programme called “Terrorism In The Hands of Justice.” SPC detention centres bought Canon video cameras, funded by the U.S. military, which they used to film detainees for the television show. When the show began to outrage the Iraqi public, Samari remembers being in the home of General Adnan Thabit — head of the special commandos — when a call came from Petraeus’s office demanding that they stop showing tortured men on television.

“General Petraeus’s special translator, Sadi Othman, rang up to pass on a message from General Petraeus telling us not to show the prisoners on TV after they had been tortured,” said Samari. “Then 20 minutes later we got a call from the Iraqi ministry of interior telling us the same thing, that General Petraeus didn’t want the torture victims shown on TV.” Othman, who now lives in New York, confirmed to the Guardian that he made the phone call on behalf of Petraeus to the head of the SPC to ask him to stop showing the tortured prisoners. “But General Petraeus does not agree with torture,” he added, “to suggest he does support torture is horses***.”

Created civil war

Thabit is dismissive of the idea that the Americans he dealt with were unaware of what the commandos were doing. “Until I left, the Americans knew about everything I did; they knew what was going on in the interrogations and they knew the detainees. And even some of the intelligence about the detainees came to us from them — they are lying.” Just before Petraeus and Steele left Iraq in September 2005, Jabr al-Solagh was appointed as the new minister of the interior. Under Solagh, who was closely associated with the violent Badr Brigades militia, allegations of torture and brutality against the commandos soared. It was also widely believed that the unit had evolved into death squads.

The Guardian has learned that high-ranking Iraqis who worked with the U.S. after the invasion had warned Petraeus of the consequences of appointing Solagh to the interior ministry but their pleas had been ignored.

The long-term impact of funding and arming this paramilitary force was to unleash a deadly sectarian force that terrorised the Sunni community and helped germinate a civil war that claimed tens of thousands of lives. At the height of that sectarian conflict, 3,000 bodies a month were strewn on the streets of Iraq. — © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2013 ... 485333.ece

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Unread post by ghulam muhammed » Sat Mar 09, 2013 6:44 pm

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Unread post by ghulam muhammed » Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:39 pm

Iraq's Pain Has Only Intensified Since 2003

The country of my birth, already so damaged, is now crippled by fear of all-out civil war. But in the people there is hope.

By Sami Ramadani

March 14, 2013 "Information Clearing House" -"The Guardian" - The country of my birth, already so damaged, is now crippled by fear of all-out civil war. But in the people there is hope. It has always been painful for me to write about Iraq and Baghdad, the land of my birth and the city of my childhood. They say that time is a great healer, but, along with most Iraqis, I feel the pain even more deeply today. But this time the tears for what has already happened are mixed with a crippling fear that worse is yet to come: an all-out civil war. Ten years on from the shock and awe of the 2003 Bush and Blair war — which followed 13 years of murderous sanctions, and 35 years of Saddamist dictatorship — my tormented land, once a cradle of civilisation, is staring into the abyss.

Wanton imperialist intervention and dictatorial rule have together been responsible for the deaths of more than a million people since 1991. And yet, according to both Tony Blair and the former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright, the “price is worth it”. Blair, whom most Iraqis regard as a war criminal, is given VIP treatment by a culpable media. Iraqis listen in disbelief when he says: “I feel responsibility but no regret for removing Saddam Hussein.” (As if Saddam and his henchmen were simply whisked away, leaving the people to build a democratic state). It enrages us to see Blair build a business empire, capitalising on his role in piling up more Iraqi skulls than even Saddam managed.

As an exile, I was painfully aware of Saddam’s crimes, which for me started with the disappearance from Baghdad’s medical college of my dearest school friend, Hazim. The Iraqi people are fully aware, too, that Saddam committed all his major crimes while an ally of western powers. But when it was no longer in their interests to back him, the US and UK drowned Iraq in blood. That war has still not been consigned to history — not for the people of Iraq or the region.

We haven’t even counted the dead yet, let alone the injured, displaced and traumatised. Countless thousands are still missing. Of the more than 4 million refugees, at least a million are yet to go back to their homeland, and there still about a million internal refugees. On an almost daily basis, explosions and shootings continue to kill the innocent.

The US and UK still refuse to accept the harmful consequences of radioactive depleted uranium munitions, and the US denies that it used chemical weapons in Falluja — but Iraqis see the evidence: the poisoned environment, the cancer and deformities. Lack of electricity, clean water and other essential services continues to hit millions of impoverished and unemployed people, in one of the richest countries on the planet. Women and children pay the highest price. Women’s rights, and human rights in general, are daily suppressed.

And what of democracy, supposedly the point of it all? The US-led occupying authorities nurtured a “political process” and a constitution designed to sow sectarian and ethnic discord. Having failed to crush the resistance to direct occupation, they resorted to divide-and-rule to keep their foothold in Iraq. Using torture, sectarian death squads and billions of dollars, the occupation has succeeded in weakening the social fabric and elevating a corrupt ruling class that gets richer by the day, salivating at the prospect of acquiring a bigger share of Iraq’s natural resources, which are mostly mortgaged to foreign oil companies and construction firms.

Warring sectarian and ethnic forces, either allied to or fearing US influence, dominate the dysfunctional and corrupt Iraqi state institutions, but the US embassy in Baghdad — the biggest in the world — still calls the shots. Iraq is not really a sovereign state, languishing under the punitive Chapter VII of the UN charter.

Political ironies abound. We have a so-called Shia-controlled government, yet most of Iraq’s Shia population remain the poorest of all. And we have an Iraqi Kurdistan that is a separate state in all but name. The Kurdistan regional government is in alliance with the US and Turkey, a ruthless oppressor of the Kurdish people. It also has growing links to Israel (which it is at pains to deny).

Meanwhile, conflict over oil and territory is aggravating relations between the centre and the Kurdistan government. Popular anger against corruption and human rights violations is growing; for weeks now, we have had large-scale protests in the west of the country.

To add to the increased tension within the country, the war in Syria is threatening to create a wider regional conflict, with Iraq and Lebanon being sucked in. Israeli-championed anti-Iranian moves further widen the war’s scope. The north-western region of Iraq borders Syria and it is where General Petraeus funded the Sahwa “awakening” militias in order to crush resistance in that region. Al-Qaeda-type terrorists are also active in the area. They are natural allies of the terrorist al-Nusra Front of Syria. The de facto alliance between the US, Turkey, Israel and militants that has appeared in Syria is being mirrored in Iraq, with the additional ingredient of Saddamist remnants. US pragmatism knows no bounds! These are just some of the ramifications of the US-led war on Iraq. It has been an unmitigated disaster, with genocidal dimensions for the Iraqi people, and continues to fuel conflicts and sow discord in the region.

There was once a strong democratic unifying force in Iraq, but this was crushed by the CIA-backed Ba’athist coup of 1963, and Saddam’s regime. The re-emergence of such a force is now the Iraqi people’s only hope. Without that, how will we count and mourn the millions of innocent victims, heal those wounds, and then, finally, build a better, more peaceful tomorrow? The immediate prospects are frightening, but I write with the image of a brave Iraqi child imprinted in my mind. I saw him in Baghdad in July 2003; he was shouting angrily, waving a clenched fist of defiance at a US soldier whose machine gun was menacingly aimed at him. With that free spirit, and with solidarity among the people, a democratic, free Iraq shall surely rise strong and prosperous.

Sami Ramadani, a political refugee from Saddam Hussein’s regime, is a lecturer at London Metropolitan University

© Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2013

http://www.informationclearinghouse.inf ... e34294.htm

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Unread post by ghulam muhammed » Sat Mar 23, 2013 4:51 pm

Maliki's Iraq: Rape, Executions and Torture

Iraq is wracked by detentions, torture, and executions, and fingers are pointing at Prime Minister Maliki.

According to international human rights groups, at least 3,000 Iraqis received death sentences since 2005, which was the year capital punishment was reinstated after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

At least 447 prisoners have been executed since 2005, and hundreds of prisoners wait on death row. In addition, 129 prisoners were hanged in 2012.

The government of Prime Minister Maliki has been strongly criticised by both the UN and several other human rights groups for the number of executions being carried out.

Stories of detentions and torture and executions are everywhere in today's Iraq."The fighting from 2004 has never stopped," he added. "We simply switched from fighting the Americans to fighting Maliki and his injustice and corruption."

Hassan told Al Jazeera the prison was run by the Ministry of Interior, but alleged it was overseen by Prime Minister al-Maliki himself.

Iraqis held in what are now commonly referred to as "Maliki's jails" are telling horror stories of torture techniques used, including beatings, hangings, and electricity.

"They forced me to drink huge amounts of water and then would tie up the head of my penis so I could not urinate. This was really harmful to me,"

Another method was to "take off my fingernails with a pair of pliers, one by one." This was an attempt to elicit confessions for crimes he said he never committed.

Hassan said he was also hung upside down from his feet with his head placed in a bucket of water while he was whipped with plastic rods.

Iraq currently has one of the highest rates of death sentences in the world, and Sunnis say they are suffering disproportionately from the killings.

Heba was charged with terrorism, a fate faced by many Iraqis who are detained by security forces.

"I now want to explain to people what is occurring in the prisons that [Prime Minister Nouri al-] Maliki and his gangs are running," Heba added. "I was raped over and over again, I was kicked and beaten and insulted and spit upon."

One Iraqi woman, speaking on condition of anonymity, said her nephew was first detained when he was just 18. Held under the infamous Article Four which gives the government the ability to arrest anyone "suspected" of terrorism, he was charged with terrorism. This law gives the government of Prime Minister Maliki broad license to detain Iraqis. Article four and other laws provide the government the ability to impose the death penalty for nearly 50 crimes, including terrorism, kidnapping, and murder, but also for offenses such as damage to public property.

"They beat him with metal pipes, used harsh curse words and swore against his sect and his Allah (because he is Sunni) and why God was not helping him, and that they would bring up the prisoners' mothers and sisters to rape them," she explained to Al Jazeera. "Then they used electricity to burn different places of his body. They took all his cloths off in winter and left them naked out in the yard to freeze."

"They made some other inmates stand barefoot during Iraq's summer on burning concrete pavement to have sunburn, and without drinking water until they fainted. They took some of them, broke so many of their bones, mutilated their faces with a knife and threw them back in the cell to let the others know that this is what will happen to them."

"I was kept in a Maliki prison, where they dumped cold water on me and used electricity on me," he told Al Jazeera. "Many of the prisoners with me were raped. They were raped with sticks and bottles. I saw the blood on their bodies, and I saw so many men this happened to."

"Detainees have alleged that they were tortured to force them to 'confess' to serious crimes or to incriminate others while held in these conditions. Many have repudiated their confessions at trial only to see the courts admit them as evidence of their guilt, without investigating their torture allegations, sentencing them to long term imprisonment or death."

FULL ARTICLE :- ... nd-torture

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Unread post by ghulam muhammed » Sat May 18, 2013 6:12 pm

How Baghdad Fuels Iraq's Sectarian Fire

BAGHDAD — The Iraqi government has hurled the country to the brink of a new civil war. In under a month, Baghdad launched a vicious assault on a Sunni protest camp, resulting in 44 deaths; executed 21 alleged Sunni terrorists in one day, and suspended the licenses of 10 satellite channels, 9 of them deemed pro-Sunni.

Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s message to his country’s extremely disaffected Sunni minority, which resists with an increasing sense of futility joining the battles between Maliki’s forces and extremists? “Bring It On!”

The country remains in shambles after years of gruesome civil war pitting the minority Sunnis against the newly dominant Shias. Ten years after the U.S.-led invasion, most people still experience electricity and water shortages. Iraq’s education and health services, once Middle East jewels, are skeletons of their past. And unemployment and poverty have spiraled to record peace-time levels.

A promise of power-sharing helped wind the war down, but sheer exhaustion probably had more to do with the relative calm of recent years than any wise political leadership.

The government has failed to address any of the major grievances of the Sunni — and even some Shia — communities. Those include ongoing exclusion from the political process, with regular delays in elections; no real reforms in the punitive, wildly overbroad “De-Baathification” and antiterrorism laws; increasingly centralized power in the hands of the prime minister; and brutal policing, with mass arrests, unfair trials and endemic torture in Iraqi prisons. But since early 2012, Sunnis have challenged the status quo with persistent, overwhelmingly peaceful protests, despite violent incursions by the state authorities.

It is in this environment that Maliki’s SWAT security forces, along with army and federal police, carried out an armed attack on one of the longest-running protest camps, in the Sunni village of Hawija. A parliamentary committee’s preliminary findings were that 44 people were killed and 104 injured, with the government saying 3 police officers were killed. Remarkably, the attack came after several days of negotiations with the protesters, whom the government accused of harboring militants who had killed a soldier, and taking weapons from a nearby checkpoint.

The government has not made public any finding of weapons or killers. In an apparent acknowledgement that the attack had gone too far, Maliki announced the appointment of a ministerial committee, headed by the Sunni deputy prime minister, Saleh al-Mutlaq, to investigate. But the committee seems designed to placate the Sunni community with compensation for the victims, with no intent to identify what really happened or who ordered the attack, much less punish those responsible. The committee has no actual investigators or resources to gather evidence, relying only on the ministers themselves to conduct the inquiry.

When I asked Mutlaq whether they would interview the security forces about who ordered the attack, he shook his head, almost amused at the question. Hussain al-Shahristani, the Shia deputy prime minister who is also on the committee, told me in a meeting in Baghdad last week: “Don’t expect too much from us. We really don’t have much time for this.” The government’s efforts to brush the shocking incident under the rug will only enrage its aggrieved minority even more.

The mass Hawija killings may have been a bloodier message to Sunni protesters than even Maliki may have intended, but there was no room for accident in his decision to execute 21 alleged terrorists whose identities and crimes remain unknown to the public.

Following an outcry against revelations of abuse of women detainees and the arrest of several bodyguards of the popular Sunni finance minister, the government promised in January to reform the judicial system, including reviewing the cases of 6,000 people who have been detained but not tried or even ordered released, in some cases for years, under the country’s antiterrorism law, and initiating an inquiry into widespread allegations of forced confessions and reliance on secret informants.

High-level officials even promised a moratorium on the death penalty until they reviewed all death sentences. But the government apparently decided to flex its law-and-order muscle in the face of escalating terrorist attacks, most frequently in Shia neighborhoods, which killed 712 people in April, the deadliest month since 2008. It resumed executions, generating a new cycle of protests and condemnations.

Although its roads are in ruins and bombed-out buildings litter Baghdad’s streets, the government has found the resources to equip the Communication and Media Commission with state-of-the-art surveillance equipment. Mujahid Abu al-Hail, the director of its Audiovisual Media Regulation Department, proudly displayed the center where a sizable staff continuously monitors the programming of over 15 satellite stations in the country, and an office filled with binders of records on their compliance.

On April 29, the commission suspended the licenses of 10 stations because they promoted sectarian views that contributed to violence, he said, but so far he has failed to share a report documenting evidence of this. The inclusion of a small Shia station among the nine banned “pro-Sunni” stations, including Al Jazeera, did nothing to mask this blatant effort to silence Sunni news outlets that have been critical of the government. It follows numerous attacks on media covering the protests, and last year’s announcement that it would close 44 stations operating “illegally.”

There’s no doubt that Iraqi media are extremely partisan, and that Sunni and Shia stations often indulge in gross misinformation to stoke sectarian tensions. But a government concerned with tamping down these tensions might spend more time carrying out real efforts to address community grievances, not silencing the aggrieved voices themselves.

The predictable outcome of these moves has been further radicalization of the Sunni community, with newly established militias vowing to defend them. Maliki needs a new playbook — one with lessons on leadership and reform that will bring the country together on the basis of protecting every citizen’s freedom, not tear it further apart. ... d=all&_r=0

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Unread post by ghulam muhammed » Mon May 27, 2013 5:12 pm


We've moved on from the Iraq war – but Iraqis don't have that choice

Like characters from The Great Gatsby, Britain and the US have arrogantly turned their backs and left a country in ruins

Iraq's ministry of social affairs estimates 4.5 million children have lost one or both parents. This means 14% of the population are orphans.

The dust in Iraq rolls down the long roads that are the desert's fingers. It gets in your eyes and nose and throat; it swirls in markets and school playgrounds, consuming children kicking a ball; and it carries, according to Dr Jawad Al-Ali, "the seeds of our death". An internationally respected cancer specialist at the Sadr teaching hospital in Basra, Dr Ali told me that in 1999, and today his warning is irrefutable. "Before the Gulf war," he said, "we had two or three cancer patients a month. Now we have 30 to 35 dying every month. Our studies indicate that 40 to 48% of the population in this area will get cancer: in five years' time to begin with, then long after. That's almost half the population. Most of my own family have it, and we have no history of the disease. It is like Chernobyl here; the genetic effects are new to us; the mushrooms grow huge; even the grapes in my garden have mutated and can't be eaten."

Along the corridor, Dr Ginan Ghalib Hassen, a paediatrician, kept a photo album of the children she was trying to save. Many had neuroblastoma. "Before the war, we saw only one case of this unusual tumour in two years," she said. "Now we have many cases, mostly with no family history. I have studied what happened in Hiroshima. The sudden increase of such congenital malformations is the same."

Among the doctors I interviewed, there was little doubt that depleted uranium shells used by the Americans and British in the Gulf war were the cause. A US military physicist assigned to clean up the Gulf war battlefield across the border in Kuwait said, "Each round fired by an A-10 Warthog attack aircraft carried over 4,500 grams of solid uranium. Well over 300 tons of DU was used. It was a form of nuclear warfare."

Although the link with cancer is always difficult to prove absolutely, the Iraqi doctors argue that "the epidemic speaks for itself". The British oncologist Karol Sikora, chief of the World Health Organisation's cancer programme in the 1990s, wrote in the British Medical Journal: "Requested radiotherapy equipment, chemotherapy drugs and analgesics are consistently blocked by United States and British advisers [to the Iraq sanctions committee]." He told me, "We were specifically told [by the WHO] not to talk about the whole Iraq business. The WHO is not an organisation that likes to get involved in politics."

Recently, Hans von Sponeck, former assistant secretary general of the United Nations and senior UN humanitarian official in Iraq, wrote to me: "The US government sought to prevent WHO from surveying areas in southern Iraq where depleted uranium had been used and caused serious health and environmental dangers." A WHO report, the result of a landmark study conducted with the Iraqi ministry of health, has been "delayed". Covering 10,800 households, it contains "damning evidence", says a ministry official and, according to one of its researchers, remains "top secret". The report says birth defects have risen to a "crisis" right across Iraqi society where depleted uranium and other toxic heavy metals were used by the US and Britain. Fourteen years after he sounded the alarm, Dr Jawad Al-Ali reports "phenomenal" multiple cancers in entire families.

Iraq is no longer news. Last week, the killing of 57 Iraqis in one day was a non-event compared with the murder of a British soldier in London. Yet the two atrocities are connected. Their emblem might be a lavish new movie of F Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. Two of the main characters, as Fitzgerald wrote, "smashed up things and creatures and retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness … and let other people clean up the mess".

The "mess" left by George Bush and Tony Blair in Iraq is a sectarian war, the bombs of 7/7 and now a man waving a bloody meat cleaver in Woolwich. Bush has retreated back into his Mickey Mouse "presidential library and museum" and Tony Blair into his jackdaw travels and his money.

Their "mess" is a crime of epic proportions, wrote Von Sponeck, referring to the Iraqi ministry of social affairs' estimate of 4.5 million children who have lost one or both parents. "This means a horrific 14% of Iraq's population are orphans," he wrote. "An estimated one million families are headed by women, most of them widows". Domestic violence and child abuse are rightly urgent issues in Britain; in Iraq the catastrophe ignited by Britain has brought violence and abuse into millions of homes.

In her book Dispatches from the Dark Side, Gareth Peirce, Britain's greatest human rights lawyer, applies the rule of law to Blair, his propagandist Alastair Campbell and his colluding cabinet. For Blair, she wrote, "human beings presumed to hold [Islamist] views, were to be disabled by any means possible, and permanently … in Blair's language a 'virus' to be 'eliminated' and requiring 'a myriad of interventions [sic] deep into the affairs of other nations.' The very concept of war was mutated to 'our values versus theirs'." And yet, says Peirce, "the threads of emails, internal government communiques, reveal no dissent". For foreign secretary Jack Straw, sending innocent British citizens to Guantánamo was "the best way to meet our counter-terrorism objective".

These crimes, their iniquity on a par with Woolwich, await prosecution. But who will demand it? In the kabuki theatre of Westminster politics, the faraway violence of "our values" is of no interest. Do the rest of us also turn our backs? ... f-comments