Shell, BP, Exxon Mobil and Total set to sign deal with Baghdad
By Patrick Cockburn
Friday, 20 June 2008
Nearly four decades after the four biggest Western oil companies were expelled from Iraq by Saddam Hussein, they are negotiating their return. By the end of the month, Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Exxon Mobil and Total will sign agreements with the Baghdad government, Iraq's first with big Western oil firms since the US-led invasion in 2003.
The deals are for repair and technical support in some of the country's largest oilfields, the Oil Ministry in Baghdad said yesterday. The return of "Big Oil" will add to the suspicions of those in the Middle East who claimed that the overthrow of Saddam was secretly driven by the West's desire to gain control of Iraq's oil. It will also be greeted with dismay by many Iraqis who fear losing control of their vast oil reserves.
Iraq's reserves are believed to be second only to Saudi Arabia in the Middle East, but their exploitation has long been hampered by UN sanctions, imposed on Iraq after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990.
The major oil companies have been eager to go back to Iraq, but are concerned about their own security and the long-term stability of the country. The two-year no-bid agreements are service agreements that should add another 500,000 barrels of crude a day of output to Iraq's present production of 2.5 million barrels a day (b/d).
The companies have the option of being paid in cash or crude oil for the deals, each of which will reportedly be worth $500m (£250m). For Iraq, the agreements are a way of accessing foreign expertise immediately, before the Iraqi parliament passes a controversial new hydrocarbons law.
But they mean that the four oil companies, which originally formed the Iraq Petroleum Company to exploit Iraqi oil from the 1920s until the industry's nationalisation in 1972, will be well-placed to bid for contracts for the long-term development of these fields. The oilfields affected are some of the largest in Iraq, from Kirkuk in the north to Rumaila, on the border with Kuwait. Although there is oil in northern Iraq, most of the reserves are close to Basra, in the far south.
Since the US invasion, Iraqis have been wary of foreign involvement in their oil industry. Many are convinced that the hidden purpose of the US invasion was to take over Iraqi oil, but the Iraqi Oil Minister, Hussein Shahristani, has said that Iraq will hold on to its natural resources. "If Iraq needs help from international oil companies, they will be invited to co-operate with the Iraqi National Oil Company [Inoc], on terms and conditions acceptable to Iraq, to generate the highest revenue for Iraq".
Inoc's technical expertise has deteriorated sharply during the long years of sanctions. Iraq is currently exporting 2.1 million b/d and is expecting to have oil revenues of $70bn this year, but its government administration is too dysfunctional and corrupt to rebuild the electricity or water supply systems. The government has $50bn in the Federal Bank of New York.
Mr Shahristani has been highly critical of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) for auctioning off oil concessions in Iraqi Kurdistan without reference to the oil ministry in Baghdad. In an interview with The Independent last year, he said Inoc would never do business with any oil company that signed up with the KRG, and he also doubted if the oil could be exported without pipelines. "Are they going to carry it out in buckets?" he asked.
Several of the small oil companies who have signed contracts in Kurdistan are hoping that in the long term there will be an agreement between the Kurds and the central government and they will then sell out to the majors at a large profit.
The technical support agreements, as the service agreements are known, may open the door to Iraq for the majors. Mr Shahristani has said that Iraq will open up the same fields for bidding for long-term development projects soon. "We're going to announce the first licensing round by the end of this month or early next month," he said.
The high price of oil means that Iraq is not under immediate pressure to maximise its oil revenues. The Iraqi parliament has suspected anything which looks like giving foreign companies ownership of Iraq's oil through a production sharing agreement.
The nationalisation of Iraq's oil is one the few acts of Saddam Hussein's long years in power which is still highly popular, and Iraqi members of parliament are fearful of anything that looks like back-door privatisation in the interests of foreigners.
Big four have history of control
For the four oil giants, the new agreements will bring them back to a country where they have a long history. BP, Exxon Mobil, Total and Shell were co-owners of a British, American and French consortium that kept Iraq's oil reserves in foreign control for more than 40 years.
The Iraq Petroleum Company (once the Turkish Petroleum Company) was formed in 1912 by oil companies eager to grab the resources in parts of the Ottoman Empire.
The company was formalised in 1928 and each of the four shareholders had a 23.75 per cent share of all the oil produced. The final 5 per cent went to Calouste Gulbenkian, an Armenian businessman.
In 1931, an agreement was signed with Iraq, giving the company complete control over the oi fields of Mosul in return for annual royalties. After Saddam's coup in 1958, nationalisation came in 1972.
Source _________________ The Medium is the Massage - Marshall McLuhan.
TEHRAN, May 11 (UPI) -- U.S. Special Forces have raided the headquarters of one of Iraq's main opposition movements located in Northern Diyala province, eyewitnesses said Wednesday.
They told Iran's Fars News Agency that the staff of the Sadr Movement was arrested and all computers in the headquarters building were confiscated by the soldiers.
Followers of Shiite Iraqi cleric Moqtada Sadr are among the main opponents of extending the U.S. military mission in Iraq.
Late last month Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced that Baghdad will not accept an extended U.S. military mission in his country.
Radical Shiite Cleric and coalition fugitive Moqtada Sadr gives Friday prayers at a mosque in the small Iraqi town of Kufa. Followers of Shiite Iraqi cleric Moqtada Sadr are among the main opponents of extending the U.S. military mission in Iraq. (UPI Photo/Mitch Prothero)
Sadr calls rally to press for U.S. pullout
Sadr Front wants U.S. out of Iraq
NASA looking into drugs at launch site
Sadr switching sides again in Iraq?
Sadr back in Iran
Iraq's Sadr returns with anti-U.S. theme _________________ 'Come and see the violence inherent in the system.
Help, help, I'm being repressed!'
“The more you tighten your grip, the more Star Systems will slip through your fingers.”
Joined: 25 Jul 2005 Posts: 15405 Location: St. Pauls, Bristol, England
Posted: Thu May 12, 2011 7:57 pm Post subject:
Iraq dossier drawn up to make case for war – intelligence officer
Newly released evidence to Chilcot inquiry directly contradicts Blair government's claims about dossier
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 12 May 2011 15.41 BST
A top military intelligence official has said the discredited dossier on Iraq's weapons programme was drawn up "to make the case for war", flatly contradicting persistent claims to the contrary by the Blair government, and in particular by Alastair Campbell, the former prime minister's chief spin doctor.
In hitherto secret evidence to the Chilcot inquiry, Major General Michael Laurie said: "We knew at the time that the purpose of the dossier was precisely to make a case for war, rather than setting out the available intelligence, and that to make the best out of sparse and inconclusive intelligence the wording was developed with care."
His evidence is devastating, as it is the first time such a senior intelligence officer has directly contradicted the then government's claims about the dossier – and, perhaps more significantly, what Tony Blair and Campbell said when it was released seven months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Laurie, who was director general in the Defence Intelligence Staff, responsible for commanding and delivering raw and analysed intelligence, said: "I am writing to comment on the position taken by Alastair Campbell during his evidence to you … when he stated that the purpose of the dossier was not to make a case for war; I and those involved in its production saw it exactly as that, and that was the direction we were given."...
Joined: 25 Jul 2005 Posts: 15405 Location: St. Pauls, Bristol, England
Posted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 9:22 pm Post subject:
IF A CAR BLOWS UP HOW DOES ANYONE KNOW FOR SURE - IMMEDIATELY - THAT IT IS A SUICIDE BOMBER AND NOT SOMEONE WHOSE HAD A BOMB PLANTED IN THEIR CAR - ANSWER - THEY DON'T - SO WHY DO WE GET THIS BS AGAIN AND AGAIN?
IF A CAR BLOWS UP HOW DOES ANYONE KNOW FOR SURE - IMMEDIATELY - THAT IT IS A SUICIDE BOMBER AND NOT SOMEONE WHOSE HAD A BOMB PLANTED IN THEIR CAR - ANSWER - THEY DON'T - SO WHY DO WE GET THIS BS AGAIN AND AGAIN?
Kidnap a child and then force the parent to drive a car bomb or else.
Until recently, I did not know that the IRA allegedly used this tactic many times in what are called, human or proxy bombs. _________________ The Medium is the Massage - Marshall McLuhan.
Joined: 13 Sep 2006 Posts: 2543 Location: One breath from Glory
Posted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 12:05 am Post subject:
Takes a lot of coordination to pull this off. A "farewell" present from rogue US military elements using timed detonators or detonators triggered by mobile phone? _________________ JO911B.
"for we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this world, against wicked spirits in high places " Eph.6 v 12
Former U.S. soldiers who took part in the Iraq war recount stories of how they killed innocent people and plant weapons on them.
The soldiers talk about what they say is the widespread practice of using "drop weapons" to cover up the killing of innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. Huffingtonpost.com
A "drop weapon" is a weapon carried by a soldier for the purpose of placing on or near a slain individual "to make killings appear legally justified". washingtonpost.com
"When we arrived there, they gave us quite a few AKs and said keep them in case something happens," the online broadcaster, The American News Project has reported Sergio Kochergin, who served in Iraq as a scout sniper and now is a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, as saying. The video was posted on the Internet on June 3, 2011.
He added that the "drop weapons" were distributed between soldiers under the orders of the chain of command.
As a participant in BBC Newsnight special, "Iraq - 10 Years On", I found myself feeling slightly miffed at the lack of real debate on the crucial issues.
On the one hand, Newsnight presented a number of narratives of the war and its aftermath as 'fact', which are deeply questionable. On the other, there were no serious, factually-grounded criticisms of the war, despite a diverse panel which included people who did not support it.
As author of a major book on the war and its historical context, Behind the War on Terror: Western Secret Strategy and the Struggle for Iraq, as well as co-author of a new report, Executive Decisions: How British Intelligence was Hijacked for the Iraq War, I consider myself to be reasonably informed. Yet BBC Newsnight failed almost entirely to bring any of these issues to light.
What follows is my Newsnight-inspired Iraq War Myth-Busting exercise, based on what was, and wasn't, discussed on the show.
MYTH 1. Sectarian violence has increased in postwar Iraq because sectarianism has always existed in Iraq, and the removal of Saddam allowed it to erupt
One of the first Newsnight bloopers started with a short introductory clip from John Simpson, the BBC's World Affairs Editor. Amongst other things, Simpson talked about the rise of sectarian Sunni-Shi'a violence in postwar Iraq, and argued that while Saddam's regime had clamped down on sectarian divisions, regime change effectively unleashed those previously suppressed divisions and allowed them to worsen.
This was the first of many oversimplifications about the escalation of sectarian violence in Iraq. The reality, as pointed out on the show by my colleague in the audience, anthropologist Professor Nadje al-Ali, is that prior to the war, generic sectarian antagonism was unheard of in Iraqi society. Although Saddam's regime was unequivocally sectarian in its own violence against Shi'as and Kurds, as a mechanism of shoring up the Ba'athist regime, Iraqis did not largely identify in sectarian terms. As one Iraqi blogger living in Baghdad noted:
"I always hear the Iraqi pro-war crowd interviewed on television from foreign capitals (they can only appear on television from the safety of foreign capitals because I defy anyone to be publicly pro-war in Iraq)... They go on and on about Iraq's history and how Sunnis and Shia were always in conflict and I hate that. I hate that a handful of expats who haven't been to the country in decades pretend to know more about it than people actually living there. I remember Baghdad before the war- one could live anywhere. We didn't know what our neighbors were- we didn't care. No one asked about religion or sect. No one bothered with what was considered a trivial topic: are you Sunni or Shia? You only asked something like that if you were uncouth and backward. Our lives revolve around it now. Our existence depends on hiding it or highlighting it- depending on the group of masked men who stop you or raid your home in the middle of the night."
Missing from the BBC Newsnight discussion was the fact that the Bush administration planned from the outset to dominate Iraq by pursuing the de facto ethnic partition of the country into three autonomous cantons. The private US intelligence firm, Stratfor, reported that the US was “working on a plan to merge Iraq and Jordan into a unitary kingdom to be ruled by the Hashemite dynasty headed by King Abdullah of Jordan.” The plan was “authored by US Vice President Dick Cheney” as well as “Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz”, and was first discussed at “an unusual meeting between Crown Prince Hassan of Jordan and pro-US Iraqi Sunni opposition members in London in July” 2002. Under this plan, the central and largest part of Iraq populated largely by Sunnis would be joined with Jordan, and would include Baghdad, which would no longer be the capital. The Kurdish region of northern and northwestern Iraq, including Mosul and the vast Kirkuk oilfields, would become its own autonomous state. The Shi'a region in southwestern Iraq, including Basra, would make up the third canton, or more likely it would be joined with Kuwait.
Ultimately, of course, the specific detail of this plan did not come to fruition - but the 'divide-and-rule' imperial thinking behind the plan was implemented. As one US Joint Special Operations University report documented, "US elite forces in Iraq turned to fostering infighting among their Iraqi adversaries on the tactical and operational level." This included disseminating and propagating al-Qaeda jihadi activities by "US psychological warfare (PSYOP) specialists" to fuel "factional fighting" and "to set insurgents battling insurgents."
Pakistani defence sources thus reported in early 2005 that the Pentagon had "resolved to arm small militias backed by US troops and entrenched in the population," consisting of "former members of the Ba'ath Party" - linked up with al-Qaeda insurgents - to "head off" the threat of a "Shi'ite clergy-driven religious movement." Almost simultaneously, the Pentagon began preparing its 'Salvador option' to sponsor Shi'ite death squads to "target Sunni insurgents and their sympathizers" - a policy developed under the interim government of former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.
Ironically, the same Allawi also made an appearance on Newsnight via Baghdad, rightly criticising the current government for failing to incorporate an inclusive, non-sectarian political process. But Newsnight didn't bother to ask him about his role in engendering the very sectarian violence he now criticises by sponsoring death squads.
MYTH 2. We went to war in Iraq based on a legitimate parliamentary process, even if lots of people demonstrated against it - most Brits approved the war according to polls
When an audience member asked why the British government still went to war despite the millions of people who protested against it, Independent columnist John Rentoul argued that the war was in fact an example of proper democratic process - because ultimately the MPs voted for it. He pointed out that we don't run democracies based on "mob rule" - i.e. just because people protesting in the street don't want something - but on the basis of consensual parliamentary procedures. To this, host Kirsty Wark added that 54% supported the war according to opinion polls at the time.
In mid-March, before the war, "just 26% of the public was saying in mid-March that they approved of British involvement without a 'smoking gun' and a second UN vote, while 63% disapproved." It was only once the bombs began to drop that public opinion drifted slightly in favour of the war. Where did Kirsty Wark's 54% figure come from?
Disingenuously, it comes from an ICM poll which "found a persistent majority against the war, reaching a low point of 29% support (and 52% oppose) in February. Support then rose to 38% in the final pre-invasion poll (14-16 March, the same weekend as MORI's) and jumped to 54% just a week later, with the war only a few days old."
Kirsty's 54% claim applies after the war - before the war, the majority of the British public was overwhelmingly opposed to the invasion, a fact which was not reflected in the parliamentary process.
And of course, since then, opposition to the war continued to grow dramatically.
MYTH 3: The Iraq War was, at worst, a colossal c***-up, simply because we didn't have good intel on the ground about WMDs etc. So we didn't really go to war on the basis of a lie, we went to war because our intel was wrong.
As I tried to point out in my brief intervention on the show, this whole debate about whether the public approved the war or not to some extent misses the point - which is that the Iraq War was ignited on the basis of false claims about Saddam's WMD. Those false claims were promulgated by senior American and British officials precisely to manipulate public opinion, and pressurise the political system into a pre-made decision to go to war, irrespective of the UN, irrespective of international law, and irrespective of whether WMD really existed.
It's this fact which ultimately brings to light the extent to which our political system, certainly when it comes to foreign policy decisions, is broken, and has yet to be repaired. The historical record confirms that all the intelligence available to British and American security services, including information passed on through the UN weapons inspections process throughout the 1990s, confirmed unequivocally that Saddam had no functioning WMDs of any kind.
Amongst the intelligence available to the allies was the testimony of defector General Hussein Kamel, Saddam's son-in-law and head of Iraq's WMD programmes. He provided crates of documents to UN weapons inspectors, as well as authoritative testimony on the precise nature of the WMD programmes that Saddam had embarked on in preceding years. He was even cited by senior officials as the key witness on the threat posed by Saddam's WMD's. What these same officials conveniently omitted to mention is that Gen. Kamel had also confirmed to UN inspectors in 1995 that Iraq had destroyed its entire stockpile of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and banned missiles, in 1991, shortly before the Gulf War - exactly as Saddam had claimed. Yet such intelligence was ignored and suppressed.
MYTH 4: The decision to go to war was based on a legitimate parliamentary process, legal advice from the Attorney General, as well as consultations with the UN.
In reality, the decision to go to war was made jointly by senior American and British officials prior to any democratic process, behind closed doors, and irrespective of evidence or international law. This is confirmed by a range of declassified official documents.
A leaked policy options paper drafted by officials in the Cabinet Office's Overseas and Defence Secretariat (8th March 2002), records that:
"The only certain means to remove Saddam is to invade and impose a new government… [No legal justification] currently exists. This makes moving quickly to invade legally very difficult. We should therefore consider a staged approach."
Two "policy options" are considered in the paper: "a toughening of the existing containment policy, facilitated by 11 September" and "regime change by military means." Under the heading, ''Toughening Containment', a plan is set out to "put real pressure on Saddam…to lash out", and "to make clear (without overtly exposing regime change) [the] view that Iraq would be better off without Saddam." A strategy is described as follows:
"Our aim would be to tell Saddam to admit inspectors or face the risk of military action… If they found significant evidence of WMD, were expelled or, in face of an ultimatum, not re-admitted in the first place… this could provide legal justification for large scale military action.”
The document notes the imperative "to first consider what sort of Iraq we want" - namely "a pro-Western regime". The paper then concludes that: "The use of overriding force in a ground campaign is the only option." Iraq’s "refusal to admit UN weapons inspectors, or their submission and likely frustration" would provide the "justification for military action."
The paper thus effectively outlines a 'staged approach' to achieving a pre-determined policy of regime change.
In this context, the focus is not on meaningful diplomacy to achieve a real peaceful resolution, but to manufacture a crisis by tripping up Saddam. In an email dated 18th March 2002, Christopher Meyer, British Ambassador to Washington, reassured the British Foreign Policy Adviser that when he'd met with US Deputy Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz, "I stuck closely to the script you used with Condi Rice last week…I went through the need to wrongfoot Saddam on the inspectors and the UNSCR’s."
Peter Ricketts, the Political Director of the Foreign Office wrote to Jack Straw on 22nd March:
"To get public and Parliamentary support for military operations, we have to be convincing… ‘regime change’, does not stack up. It sounds like a grudge between Bush and Saddam. Much better, as you have suggested, to make the objective ending the threat to the international community from Iraqi WMD…This is at once easier to justify in terms of international law.”
The memorandum of a meeting on the 23rd July 2002 between key members of the Cabinet, the Prime Minister and the heads of MI6 and the JIC, amongst others - the notorious Downing Street memo - concludes by urging those present to "work on the assumption that the UK would take part in any military action."
The "UN route" was, in other words, conceptualised as a public relations tool to drum up support for a war that had already been decided. But the decision to go to war had nothing to do with the evidence available. In leaked UK government memoranda between March and July 2002, references are repeatedly made to "poor" intelligence about WMD, and the "thin" case for war that it presented. Indeed, the head of MI6, Richard Dearlove, confirms that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy" of regime change, "justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD."
Senior intelligence officers in MI6 and the CIA also confirmed that intelligence was being deliberately politicised to support "the opposite conclusion from the one they have drawn." One MI6 officer says: "You cannot just cherry-pick evidence that suits your case and ignore the rest. It is a cardinal rule of intelligence. Yet that is what the PM is doing." A CIA official concurs: "We've gone from a zero position, where presidents refused to cite detailed intel as a source, to the point now where partisan material is being officially attributed to these agencies."
It should not come as a surprise then, either, that the Attorney General Lord Goldsmith also came under immense political pressure to change his original legal advice that the Iraq War would be illegal without UN Security Council approval - while Foreign Secretary Jack Straw was simultaneously trying to ignore the advice of FCO lawyers to the same effect. The eventually successful pressure on Goldsmith to give "unequivocal" advice that would support the legality of the invasion was used to hammer out the chorus of legal opinion from Whitehall's own lawyers that the war would be illegal - and to drum up parliamentary and public support.
MYTH 5: Even if the WMD issue was not really the issue, we went to war to get rid of a brutal dictator who had killed tens of thousands of people with chemical weapons.
During the show, Tony Blair talked about how, personally, he went to war in Iraq because he wanted to rid the world of a brutal dictator who was a threat to regional peace, stability, and democracy. He even cited the gassings of the Kurds, and the Iran-Iraq War in the 70s, as examples of his brutality. Great that he's now being a little bit more honest about his motives for dragging the UK into this war - that WMD's were never really the issue, but merely a way of manufacturing consent for a pre-made decision.
Disregarding this, though, Blair's imperial hubris overlooked the fact that Saddam was installed and supported by the CIA and MI6; and his genocidal campaigns against the Kurds and Shi'as were pursued with the support of the British and Americans, who supplied hundreds of millions of dollars of weapons - including chemical and biological weapons - to the dictator. As one Reagan administration official put it, "Saddam Hussein is a b******. But he's our b******."
So why did we go to war in Iraq in 2003? According to the infamous Project for a New American Century document endorsed by senior Bush administration officials as far back as 1997, "While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification" for the US "to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security," "the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein."
So Saddam's WMD was not really the issue - and neither was Saddam himself.
The real issue is candidly described in a 2001 report on “energy security” - commissioned by then US Vice-President Dick Cheney - published by the Council on Foreign Relations and the James Baker Institute for Public Policy. It warned of an impending global energy crisis that would increase “US and global vulnerability to disruption”, and leave the US facing “unprecedented energy price volatility.” The main source of disruption is “Middle East tension”, in particular, the threat posed by Iraq. In 2000, Iraq had “effectively become a swing producer, turning its taps on and off when it has felt such action was in its strategic interest to do so.” There is a “possibility that Saddam Hussein may remove Iraqi oil from the market for an extended period of time” in order to damage prices.
“Iraq remains a destabilising influence to... the flow of oil to international markets from the Middle East. Saddam Hussein has also demonstrated a willingness to threaten to use the oil weapon and to use his own export programme to manipulate oil markets. This would display his personal power, enhance his image as a pan-Arab leader... and pressure others for a lifting of economic sanctions against his regime. The United States should conduct an immediate policy review toward Iraq including military, energy, economic and political/diplomatic assessments. The United States should then develop an integrated strategy with key allies in Europe and Asia, and with key countries in the Middle East, to restate goals with respect to Iraqi policy and to restore a cohesive coalition of key allies.”
The Iraq War was only partly, however, about big profits for Anglo-American oil conglomerates - that would be a bonus (one which in the end has largely failed to materialise - not for want of trying though). The real goal, as investigative journalist Greg Muttitt has documented citing declassified Foreign Office files from 2003 on wards, was stabilising global energy supplies as a whole by ensuring the free flow of Iraqi oil to world markets - benefits to US and UK companies were secondary goal:
"The most important strategic interest lay in expanding global energy supplies, through foreign investment, in some of the world’s largest oil reserves – in particular Iraq. This meshed neatly with the secondary aim of securing contracts for their companies. Note that the strategy documents released here tend to refer to 'British and global energy supplies.' British energy security is to be obtained by there being ample global supplies – it is not about the specific flow."
This primary goal - mobilising Iraqi oil production to sustain global oil flows and moderate global oil prices has, so far, been fairly successful according to the International Energy Agency - though obstacles remain (not least due to ongoing instability and internal terrorism).
MYTH 6: We didn't plan for the aftermath of the Iraq War because of hubris, incompetence and general stupidity
Toward the end of the show, we heard from Colonel Tim Collins as well as various BBC personalities that the British and Americans did not plan for what would happen after the war -a grave and regrettable mistake that has cost Iraqi lives, but which was entirely unintended.
This is only partly true. The reality is that the British and American governments planned extensively for the aftermath of the war - it just so happens that those plans did not consider the humanitarian and societal connotations of the invasion to be of any significance. In fact, extensive and detailed plans were drawn-up for postwar reconstruction, all of which were focused overwhelmingly on maintaining the authoritarian structures of Saddam's brutal regime after his removal, while upgrading Iraq's oil infrastructure to benefit foreign investors.
"Outraged Iraqi exiles report that there won’t be any equivalent of postwar de-Nazification, in which accomplices of the defeated regime were purged from public life", reported the New York Times. "Instead the Bush administration intends to preserve most of the current regime: Saddam Hussein and a few top officials will be replaced with Americans, but the rest will stay. You don’t have to be an Iraq expert to realize that many very nasty people will therefore remain in power."
Furthermore, why didn't Newsnight draw on the evidence of its own previous reporter, US investigative journalist Greg Palast? Palast obtained a February 2003 State Department document, “Moving the Iraqi Economy from Recovery to Growth,” which in 101-pages, detailed plans for a complete rewrite of Iraq’s “policies, laws and regulations”, based on low taxes on big business, and quick sales of Iraq’s banks and bridges, “all state enterprises” to foreign investors. The document also stipulated that Iraq would “privatize” its “oil and supporting industries", and set out “a strict 360-day schedule for the free-market makeover of Iraq.”
In fact, a series of news reports confirmed how the State Department had set up 17 separate working groups to work out the post-war plan. “Britain and America have been working for months on detailed proposals on how to rebuild Iraq after President Saddam”, reported The Independent. “In the initial aftermath of any war, Iraq would be governed by a senior US military officer... with a civilian administrator", which would "initially impose martial law," while Iraqis would be relegated to the sidelines as “advisers” to the US administration. The Washington Post pointed to extensive “blueprints for Iraq’s future… outlin[ing] a broad and protracted American role in managing the reconstruction of the country", particularly control of Iraq's oil reserves. US officials said that foreign troops would "likely would remain at full strength in Iraq for months after a war ended, with a continued role for thousands of US troops there for years to come", in "defence of the country’s oil fields."
Myth 7: The number of people who died as a consequence of the war is disputed, and will always be disputed - could be anything from a hundred thousand to over half a million - but who knows?
Kirsty Wark characterised the number of Iraq War civilian casualties as an inherently "disputed" matter with no real resolution in sight. But this just isn't true.
There are serious, scientific, peer-reviewed estimates of the death toll tending toward higher numbers- and then there are speculative estimates which are invariably lower - such as those produced by the Iraqi Ministry of Health, or even worse, the Iraq Body Count project, which are based on trying to cross-reference media reports alone.
The most rigorous epidemiological study of the Iraqi civilian death toll was published in the leading peer-reviewed British medical journal Lancet, and undertaken by John Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health. It estimated 655,000 excess Iraqi civilian deaths due to the war, employing standard statistical methods widely used in the scientific community.
According to the BBC itself, the Ministry of Defence’s chief scientific adviser described the survey’s methods as “close to best practice” and its results “robust”; and advised ministers henceforth not to criticise the study in public. So the MoD has privately endorsed the 655,000 figure - but BBC Newsnight wants to pretend the lower figures are still valid.
Indeed, Lancet’s figures have been empirically verified. The British polling agency, Opinion Business Research (ORB), which has tracked public opinion in Iraq since 2005, visited several locations in Iraq at random and discovered local reports of 4 to 5 times more deaths than those conventionally acknowledged . Working with an Iraqi fieldwork agency, ORB conducted face-to-face interviews with a nationally representative sample of 1,720 adults aged 18 plus. Interviewees were asked how many members of their household had died as a result of the Iraq conflict since 2003. The ORB poll found that the Iraqi civilian death toll since the invasion was 1.2 million.
That figure, of course, wasn't even mentioned on Newsnight as a possibility.
Throughout, Newsnight ignored the now well-documented fact that the war was conceived for a set of narrow strategic goals which did not genuinely have the interests of the Iraqi people at heart.
What we should have been discussing on Newsnight is the implications of having an intelligence system that was so easily politicised, such that fraudulent 'intel' was cherry-picked to justify an illegal war. Resultantly, Whitehall was co-opted and manipulated by a narrow political class for a pre-conceived military agenda.
Despite the facts being widely and easily available in the public record, Newsnight's programme on the 10 year anniversary of the war obfuscated them to such an extent that the real, serious questions were largely overlooked.
Ten years on, we need to be thinking about how British democratic institutions were hijacked for a self-serving geopolitical strategy invented by a tiny group of American neoconservative politicians; and how, therefore, we might ensure that appropriate reforms of our political, parliamentary and intelligence processes can prevent such a situation from re-occurring.
Instead, Newsnight's Iraq War special devolved into a banal non-debate, skirting around the real issues, and failing to even acknowledge the critical facts already brought to light by decent US and British journalism.
But then, given all the recent hullabaloo at the BBC, should we be surprised?
Posted by Nafeez Ahmed at 10:27 pm Email This
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America's Hired Death Squads and Torture Teams Are Still Operating in Iraq
by William Boardman on 07-04-2013
A 15-month investigation exploring war crimes long denied by the Pentagon lays out the tragic truth.
A Wave of Sexual Terrorism In Iraq
April 7, 2013 | Death squads, torture, secret prisons in Iraq, and General David Petraeus are among the featured atrocities in a recently-released new British documentary – James Steele: America’s Mystery Man in Iraq – the result of a 15-month investigation by Guardian Films and BBC Arabic, exploring war crimes long denied by the Pentagon but confirmed by thousands of military field reports made public by Wikileaks.
The hour-long film explores the arc of American counterinsurgency brutality from Viet-Nam to Iraq, with stops along the way in El Salvador and Nicaragua. James Steele is now a retired U.S. colonel who first served in Viet-Nam as a company commander in 1968-69. He later made his reputation as a military advisor in El Salvador, where he guided ruthless Salvadoran death squads in the 1980s.
When his country called again in 2003, he came out of retirement to train Iraqi police commandos in the bloodiest techniques of counterinsurgency that evolved into that country’s Shia-Sunni civil war that at its peak killed 3,000 people a month. Steele now lives in a gated golf community in Brian, Texas, and did not respond to requests for an interview for the documentary bearing his name.
James Steele: America’s Mystery Man in Iraq is online
News coverage of this documentary has been largely absent in mainstream media. The Guardian had a report, naturally, at the time of release and DemocracyNOW had a long segment on March 22 that includes an interview with veteran, award-winning reporter Maggie O’Kane, as well as several excerpts from the movie she directed.
James Steele opens with a montage of soldiers, some masked, taking prisoners, some hooded, as the woman narrator sets the stage:
“This is one of the great untold stories of the Iraq War, how just over a year after the invasion, the United States funded a sectarian police commando force that set up a network of torture centers to fight the [Sunni] insurgency….
“This is also the story of James Steele, the veteran of America’s dirty war in El Salvador. He was in charge of the U.S. advisers who trained notorious Salvadoran paramilitary units to fight left-wing guerrillas. In the course of that civil war, 75,000 people died, and over a million people became refugees.
“Steele was chosen by the Bush administration to work with General David Petraeus to organize these paramilitary police commandos.”
U.S. Counterinsurgency Requires Secret Prisons, Torture, Death Squads
The documentary concentrates on the creation and activities of the Iraqi police commandos who executed American policy in the face of Iraqi resistance the U.S. had never anticipated, having expected to be greeted as liberators. There are only glancing references to the policy failures that created the crisis, such as disbanding the army and most of the government of Iraq or assuming that six U.S. police professionals would be sufficient to train a civilian police force capable of keeping peace in a nation of 30 million people.
Steele was in Iraq early in 2003 as an “energy consultant” with easy access to authorities like Gen. Petraeus, even though what he actually did in Iraq remained a mystery to most people. As the Sunni insurgency developed, Steele was brought in to organize counterinsurgency. Though still, technically, a civilian, he worked closely with Gen. Petraeus and reported directly to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Steele set about working with Iraqi officers to organize “special police units” under military control, as the notion of a civilian police force faded. By April 2005 there were nine battalions of these police commandos operating in Iraq, with some 5,000 in Baghdad alone.
When The Body Count Rises, the New York Times Notices
With more and more bodies left on the streets during the night, with secret prisons spreading across the country, with reports of disappearances and torture proliferating, the New York Times took notice, at least to the extent of publishing a Sunday magazine cover story on May 1, 2005, by Peter Maass titled, “The Salvadorization of Iraq.” By then, anyone who wanted to know the level of American-sanctioned brutality in Iraq would have had little difficulty doing so.
Conditions worsened and reports kept coming throughout 2005 and 2006.
On October 2005, one of the Iraqi generals involved in the secret prisons fled Iraq and spoke out publicly from Jordan about what was happening in his country. Steele came to visit the general in Jordan, the general recalled, apparently to see if the general had any evidence – pictures, documents, tapes that could give Steele cause for concern. None have yet appeared.
Of course American media did not pursue the terror-fighting-terror story very hard, and the U.S. government denied most bad news. At a news conference on November 29, 2005, a reporter asked a timid question about the killings and Sec. Rumsfield said he had not seen any reports. Following a week follow-up question, he said he had no data from the field – even though the truth was that Steele had reported six weeks earlier that the Shia death squads were operating effectively from his perspective.
U.S. Was Cold, Heartless, Ruthless, and Finally Fruitless
In the documentary, Steele is described as a cold and ruthless man by an Iraqi who knew him. “He lacks human feeling,” the Iraqi general says, “his heart has died.”
The moral vacuity of the American leadership during the Iraq war is illustrated in an exchange at a press briefing on international human rights law, in particular the treatment of prisoners, that illustrates Sec. Rumsfeld’s polite but ignorant numbness:
GEN. PETER PACE: It is absolutely the responsibility of every U.S. service member, if they see inhumane treatment being conducted, to intervene, to stop it.
SECRETARY OF DEFENSE DONALD RUMSFELD: But I don’t think you mean they have an obligation to physically stop it; it’s to report it.
GEN. PETER PACE: If they are physically present when inhumane treatment is taking place, sir, they have an obligation to try to stop it.
When a Cover-up Works, No One Is Held Accountable
Sec. Rumsfeld, presumably never present during inhumane treatment of a prisoner, apparently never made any effort to stop it, or to report it, or even to know about it. In that he was following the classic pattern of a cover-up as articulated by Nixon fund-raiser Maurice Stans during Watergate: “I don’t want to know, and you don’t want to know.”
The Guardian/BBC investigation into torture and death squads on Rumsfeld’s watch started after Wikileaks provided the Guardian with almost 400,000 previously secret U.S. Army field reports, whose release is attributed to Bradley Manning. The Pentagon has not disputed the truth of the documents. The government has arrested and tortured Manning, 25, a former intelligence officer, who is currently on trial in a military court where he has pled guilty to 10 of 22 charges for which he could be sentenced to 20 years in prison. The prosecution is demanding a life sentence.
After the Stele documentary was released March 6, the Guardian invited comment from the Pentagon. Having declined to take part in the documentary as it was being made, the Pentagon said it would study the film and perhaps comment at a later date.
Unhappy with the documentary in a completely different way is Kieran Kelly whose blog critiques the movie under the headline: "The Guardian's Death Squad Documentary May Shock and Disturb, But the Truth is Far Worse" – a claim he argues at length. For example, he criticizes the movie’s acceptance that “only” 120,000 Iraqis died in this American war, and he wonders how that “fact” squares with a million widows in Iraq?
Realistically, ten years after the American invasion, the Iraq war isn’t close to over. It’s just that, having prompted the Iraqis to kill each other the U.S. has left them to it.
William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
A 15-month investigation by the Guardian and BBC Arabic reveals how retired US colonel James Steele, a veteran of American proxy wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua, played a key role in training and overseeing US-funded special police commandos who ran a network of torture centres in Iraq. Another special forces veteran, Colonel James Coffman, worked with Steele and reported directly to General David Petraeus, who had been sent into Iraq to organise the Iraqi security services
_________________ 'Come and see the violence inherent in the system.
Help, help, I'm being repressed!'
“The more you tighten your grip, the more Star Systems will slip through your fingers.”
Thanks for appending this to this old Iraq black ops thread too Disco
This is the quintessential story being actively kept off our MSM
Proof, if any more were needed, that Chris Patten & other Tory grandees, media moguls are plotting our destruction
See here too http://911forum.org.uk/board/viewtopic.php?t=21873 _________________ --
'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
As Washington ponders over whether to hammer Damascus over unidentified use of toxic agents in Syria, declassified CIA documents reveal that 25 years ago the US actually indulged ruthless Saddam Hussein to use chemical warfare gases in war with Iran.
The recently declassified documents at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland, suggest that the US was closely following the use of chemical weapons by the Saddam Hussein’s regime both against the enemy in the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) and against Iraq’s Kurdish population, reports Foreign Policy magazine.
Despite the fact that the US establishment regarded Saddam Hussein as ‘anathema’ and his officials as ‘thugs’, the policies of President Ronald Reagan’s administration through 1980s was to ensure that Iraq would win the war with Iran, the FP stated.
Former CIA official retired Air Force Colonel Rick Francona has said exclusively to Foreign Policy that starting from 1983 the US had no doubts that Hussein’s Iraq was using prohibited chemical weapons (mustard gas) against its adversary, while Iran lacked solid proof and could not bring the case to the UN.
Experienced Arabic linguist Rick Francona, who worked for both the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), shared that the first time he had proof of Iraq using toxins against Iranians was in 1984, while he was serving as the US Air attaché in Amman, Jordan. He had solid proof that Iraqis had used Tabun nerve agent (GA) against Iranian troops advancing in southern Iraq.
It has also been revealed that Saddam Hussein’s military industrial complex could not produce shells with toxic chemical substances itself and was heavily dependent on foreign equipment, with Italy been mentioned as one of the sources for the special equipment.
But Reagan’s administration was willing Baghdad to win the war, so it turned a blind eye on Iraq using lethal nerve agents against Iran, since that could turn the tide of war into a right direction, Foreign Policy reports.
Iranian troops with equipment against chemical weapon attacks parade in front of the official stand at Tehran, 21 September, during ceremonies commemorating the war between Iran and Iraq which started with the Iraqi invasion in 1980 and ended eight years later in a stalemate. (AFP Photo)
The 1925 Geneva Protocol banned chemical warfare, while the Chemical Weapons Convention banning production and use of chemical arms was introduced in 1997. Iraq never bothered to sign the document, while the US did so in 1975, and by 1980s the US had international obligations to prevent the use of chemical weapons.
During the war with its neighbor, Iran was in a state of heavy international isolation that followed the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and Iran’s military was lagging behind if compared to Iraqi Army.
Still, with the population fanatically supporting the Islamic leadership, Iran used inhumane tactics of ‘human wave’ attacks, turning its soldiers into expendables and thus nullifying Iraq’s military superiority.
In 1987, US satellite intelligence suggested that Iran was concentrating troops for a powerful offensive on Iraq’s southern Fao Peninsula in the direction of the key city of Basrah. The US believed that in spring of 1988 the Iranians might undertake a decisive attack, capitalizing on tactical mistakes by the Iraqi military which could result in Iraq’s defeat.
According to Francona, after acknowledging with the intelligence data, President Ronald Reagan wrote a margin for the US Secretary of Defense Frank C. Carlucci: “An Iranian victory is unacceptable.”
Thus, the Americans opted to share intelligence information with Baghdad, authorizing the DIA to give detailed data on exact locations of all Iranian combat units, Air Force movements, air defense systems and key logistics facilities.
Rick Francona described the satellite imagery and electronic intelligence provided as “targeting packages” enabling the Iraqi Air Force to destroy Iranian targets.
In 1988, Iraq conducted four highly successful chemical attacks on Iranian troops with sarin nerve agent, killing hundreds, if not thousands on the spot. The attacks preluded heavy artillery assaults and were disguised, being accompanied with use of smoke shells.
Official Iranian statistics of the dead in these attacks is still unavailable.
At the time Francona was serving as the US military attaché in Baghdad and he witnessed the aftermath of the attacks himself. He visited the Fao Peninsula shortly after it had been captured by the Iraqis. On the battlefield he saw hundreds of spent syringes with atropine, which Iraqi troops had been using as antidote to sarin's lethal effects. Francona took several of these injectors to Baghdad as proof of chemical weapons use.
Francona told Foreign Policy that Washington was “very pleased” with the Iranians being stricken preemptively to prevent them from launching their offensive.
Also, in March 1988, Iraq launched a nerve gas attack on separatist Kurdish village of Halabja, some 240km northeast of Baghdad, killing 5,000, while 7,000 more suffered long-lasting health problems.
A handout file picture dated March 16, 1988 and released by the Iranian official news agency IRNA shows Kurdish adults and children lying dead following an Iraqi chemical attack on the Kurdish city of Halabja in northeastern Iraq. (AFP Photo)
Senior UK military and political figures could end up in the dock as 400 victims denounce 'systemic' use of torture and cruelty
JONATHAN OWEN Sunday 12 January 2014
A devastating 250-page dossier, detailing allegations of beatings, electrocution, mock executions and sexual assault, has been presented to the International Criminal Court, and could result in some of Britain's leading defence figures facing prosecution for "systematic" war crimes.
General Sir Peter Wall, the head of the British Army; former defence secretary Geoff Hoon; and former defence minister Adam Ingram are among those named in the report, entitled "The Responsibility of UK Officials for War Crimes Involving Systematic Detainee Abuse in Iraq from 2003-2008".
The damning dossier draws on cases of more than 400 Iraqis, representing "thousands of allegations of mistreatment amounting to war crimes of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment".
They range from "hooding" prisoners to burning, electric shocks, threats to kill and "cultural and religious humiliation". Other forms of alleged abuse include sexual assault, mock executions, threats of rape, death, and torture.
The formal complaint to the ICC, lodged yesterday, is the cumulation of several years' work by Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) and the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR). It calls for an investigation into the alleged war crimes, under Article 15 of the Rome Statute.
The dossier, seen by The Independent on Sunday, is the most detailed ever submitted to the ICC's Office of the Prosecutor on war crimes allegedly committed by British forces in Iraq. The court has already acknowledged that there was little doubt that war crimes were committed.
In 2006, it concluded: "There was a reasonable basis to believe that crimes within the jurisdiction of the court had been committed, namely wilful killing and inhuman treatment." At that time, prosecutors cited the low number of cases – fewer than 20 – as a reason for not mounting an investigation. But, since then, hundreds of other claims have come to light – prompting consideration of the complaint now. It is the start of a process which could result in British politicians and generals being put in the dock on war-crimes charges. Tony Blair meeting troops in Iraq in 2003 Tony Blair meets troops in Iraq in 2003. A dossier alleging "systematic" war crimes by British forces - sent to Iraq by the former Prime Minister - has been presented to the International Criminal Court (PA)
The sheer scale and seriousness of the allegations passes the "gravity" threshold to justify an investigation, according to the complaint. It continues "those who bear the greatest responsibility" for alleged war crimes "include individuals at the highest levels" of the British Army and political system. It concludes the evidence "justifies further investigation" into the criminal responsibility "of senior individuals within the UK military and government". It adds British military commanders "knew or should have known" that forces under their control "were committing or about to commit war crimes". And "civilian superiors knew or consciously disregarded information at their disposal, which clearly indicated that UK services personnel were committing war crimes in Iraq".
The complaint argues that "the pattern of abusive treatment by UK services personnel in Iraq continued over almost six years of military operations".
A number of top British officials face serious scrutiny, according to Phil Shiner of PIL. He said: "I think we easily meet the threshold for these issues to be looked at, I would be gobsmacked and bitterly disappointed if they don't look at this."
Only a handful of courts martial relating to the conduct of British forces in Iraq have been held to date. Just one has resulted in a conviction – Corporal Donald Payne was jailed for a year in 2007 for the inhuman treatment of Iraqi civilians. This one conviction aside, "Nobody has been found guilty of anything of any seriousness at all," said Mr Shiner.
The complaint being considered by the ICC presents evidence of the "systematic use of brutal violence, that at times resulted in the death of detainees, while in the custody of UK Services Personnel". And it claims "there is evidence of brutality combined with cruelty and forms of sadism, including sexual abuse, and sexual and religious humiliation". It points to the widespread use of "hooding", forcing people to remain in painful "stress positions", sleep deprivation, noise bombardment and deprivation of food and water. These interrogation techniques were used by British soldiers in Northern Ireland before being banned in 1972. There are "clear patterns" of the banned techniques being used "in a variety of different UK facilities [in Iraq] ... from 2003 to 2008," says the complaint. And evidence "suggests that failures to follow-up on or ensure accountability for ending such practices became a cause of further abuse. The obvious conclusion is that such mistreatment was systematic."
The report will be publicly released at the Law Society, London, on Tuesday. It comes as the ICC is under mounting pressure to demonstrate a willingness to act against war crimes committed by Western countries – and not solely focus on African nations. Last October, the ICC was criticised by the Ethiopian foreign minister, Tedros Adhanom, who accused it of being "a political instrument targeting Africa and Africans".
Professor William Schabas, a renowned expert on human rights law, based at Middlesex University, said: "What this application does is throw down the challenge to the court to show there are no double standards." He added: "There is definitely a case for an investigation by the ICC," and claimed "there's no doubt" that war crimes were perpetrated by British forces in Iraq. "People should be worried," he added.
The complaint amounts to "a prima facie investigation mapped out for the prosecutor", and is "supported by sophisticated legal argument which adheres to the requirements of the [ICC]," according to Professor Andrew Williams, a law expert at the University of Warwick and author of A Very British Killing: the Death of Baha Mousa. Geoff Hoon at the Basra base camp, Iraq in December 2004 Geoff Hoon at the Basra base camp, Iraq in December 2004. The former Defence Secretary has been named in a dossier alleging widespread abuse of Iraqi prisoners by British soldiers which could see some of Britain's leading defence figures facing prosecution for "systematic" war crimes (Reuters)
In a statement, an MoD spokesperson said: "These matters are either under thorough investigation or have been dealt with ... further action through the ICC is unnecessary when the issues and allegations are already known to the UK Government, action is in hand and the UK courts have already issued judgments."
The spokesperson added: "We reject the suggestion the UK's Armed Forces – who operate in line with domestic and international law – have systematically tortured detainees."
Echoing this today, Foreign Secretary William Hague said there was no need for the ICC to investigate the allegations.
“These allegations are either under investigation already or have been dealt with already in a variety of ways, through the historic abuses system that has been established, through public inquiries, through the UK courts or the European courts,” Mr Hague told Sky News.
“There have been some cases of abuse that have been acknowledged and apologies and compensation have been paid appropriately. But the government has always been clear and the armed forces have been clear that they absolutely reject allegations of systematic abuses by the British armed forces.”
Wolfgang Kaleck, ECCHR secretary general, said: "With the current communication to the ICC we want to move forward the criminal prosecution against those political and military leaders in the UK who bear the most responsibility for systematic torture in Iraq." He added: "The International Criminal Court in The Hague is the last resort for victims of torture and mistreatment to achieve justice. Double standards in international criminal justice must end. War crimes and other severe violations of human rights must be investigated and prosecuted, regardless of whether they are committed by the most powerful."
General Sir Peter Wall, Geoff Hoon and Adam Ingram did not respond to requests for comment.
Allegations of torture
Testimonies of hundreds of Iraqis who say they were tortured by British soldiers are being considered by the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Here are a few of the accounts submitted (all names have been withheld).
A man who was beaten in front of his family said: "They made me sit in a kneeling position with my head pushed downwards and then they started to beat me. They beat me on my face, back and stomach."
Another, who suffered more than 60 punches to his head, stated: "There were many soldiers pushing and throwing me... As each soldier caught me they would punch me." He described how his son was also abused: "A soldier brought my eight-year-old son into the room. The officer started slapping my son round his face and shouting at him... I was on the floor in a terrible condition and couldn't move."
Another man who was hooded stated: "Sand kept coming into the hood. It was extremely uncomfortable and difficult to breathe... We were left to kneel in the sun for hours. If I moved position and bent my head forward at all, a soldier would come and kick me hard."
A young detainee recalled: "The soldier put his boot on my chest and pulled my trousers down.... I was shouting and was curled up against the wall. Then the soldier pulled me by my legs away from the wall. He turned me over on my stomach. He started rubbing his penis on my back, while the other soldiers watched. Then I felt him ejaculate on my back. I was trying to move away but another soldier came and pressed his foot on my legs."
Another man said: "Interrogators spent a lot of time insulting my sister and other family members. They threatened to rape my sister and force me to watch and said they would also arrest my old mother and father."
And an individual held in solitary confinement said: "I was beaten regularly, and was not allowed to go to the toilet or to shower. The psychological suffering during this period is indescribable."
March 2003 US and British forces invade Iraq.
September Baha Mousa dies in British Army custody in Basra. Inquiry finds death was caused by factors including lack of food and water and stress positions used by British troops.
April 2004 US forces launch assault on the city of Fallujah. It later emerges napalm and depleted uranium were used in the attack. Human rights abuses, including the sexual abuse, rape and killing of prisoners by US forces at Abu Ghraib prison are made public.
May In aftermath of the Battle of Danny Boy in Basra, British troops allegedly abused the human rights of a number of Iraqi nationals – allegations being examined by the Al-Sweady inquiry. British troops deny they murdered any prisoners after they were captured.
September 2007 Seventeen Iraqi civilians killed and 20 injured in Baghdad by troops from the private security firm Blackwater Security Consulting.
‘It would be a good idea.’ Mahatma Gandhi, when asked about his views on western culture.
There was an international cry and outrage in April and May, when following the collapse of the Saddam Hussein regime, US armed forces as the occupying power, had allowed the heritage Museum in Baghdad and other museums in Iraq to be damaged and looted along with libraries, institutions and ministries, except for the ministry of oil (and the oil fields) In spite of warnings, the most comprehensive archives of Iraq's history were set ablaze. Baghdad’s National Library smouldered for two days with its half a million books, newspapers and documents reduced to ashes. The Awqaf Library in Baghdad with more than 5,000 manuscripts was destroyed. The Saddam Manuscripts Library, with more than 40,000 manuscripts was looted.
Dr Charles Tripp of the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, who had used the Iraqi National Library in the 1980s said, 'It had newspapers from the 1920s and thousands of documents telling tales of the Ottoman period and the British mandate. Its hard to accept it is all gone. ' Mosul University Library with its valuable collections was also partly looted and burnt.' These collections offered a representative sample of the intellectual output of Islamic civilisation,' said Tim Winter, a divinity lecturer at Cambridge University. 'The loss of a thousand years of scholarly interpretation will impoverish Islamic thought, and strengthen the extremists indifferent to it anyway. 'Iraq's history has been savagely massacred,' said Dr Irvine Finkle of the British Museum. “To burn books is possibly the lowest form of human activity. Who would do this And why?”
During the peak of anarchy, chaos and looting US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had commented "Free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things,”
Professor Michalowski of Michigan said that this was "a tragedy that has no parallel in world history; it is as if the Uffizi, the Louvre, or all the museums of Washington DC had been wiped out in one fell swoop". Professor Zinab Bahrani from Columbia University claimed that, "Blame must be placed with the Bush administration for a catastrophic destruction of culture unparalleled in modern history. " From Edinburgh Professor Trevor Watkins lamented that, "The loss of Iraq's cultural heritage will go down in history - like the burning of the Library at Alexandria - and Britain and the US will be to blame. " Others used phrases such as cultural genocide and compared the US in particular to the Mongol invaders of 13th-century Iraq.
Cultural heritage bodies in USA and UK had requested their governments to protect hospitals, schools and cultural institutions, but these requests were largely ignored. Martin Sullivan, Chairman of President’s Advisory Committee on Cultural Property and its member Gary Vikan resigned because the US military had had advance warning of the danger to Iraq’s historical treasures. “We certainly know the value of oil but we certainly don’t know the value of historical artifacts,” said Vikan, director of the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore.
On March 20, when US and its allies began their attack on Iraq with Stealth and B-52 bombers, Tomahawk cruise missiles, smart and stupid bombs, museums and curators, universities and scholars across the world were worried what that might do to monuments in Mesopotamia, the fertile crescent land between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates, the cradle of civilisations, the land of Nineveh, Babylon, Nimrud and Uruk, the world's first city. Where the Sumerians invented writing 5,000 years ago, where the epic of Gilgamesh, which formed the model for Noah and the flood, was committed to cuneiform writing 1500 years before Homer. The land of the Old Testament, of the Tower of Babel and of Ur, where Abraham, the father of the three great monotheistic religions, was born. The museum at Mosul, with its oldest churches and from nearby Nineveh has the remains of personality cult of Sennacherib, a seventh-century BC cruel Assyrian ruler. From nearby Nimrud, the giant winged Assyrian bulls with human heads were stolen and now awe the visitors to the British Museum. The attack on the museum in Saddam's home town of Tikrit was, perhaps, a 21st century symbolic strike at the personality cult of Saddam Hussein.
So US pro-Consul in Iraq Paul Bremer allowed the gates of Baghdad’s heritage museum to be opened on July 3 for some diplomats and media, with heavily armed US troops and black-uniformed Italian carabinieri providing security. But it was only a symbolic one day photo opportunity. The opening was symbolic to convey the message that things were under control. The Museum once had one of the world's best collections of pre-Hellenic statuary, gold jewellery and cuneiform tablets "It's important that people know the museum is coming back. We hope to open properly within a year or two," said Dr Donny George, an Assyrian Christian and the museum's director of studies.
But a most remarkable thing has been the return of around 3000 priceless pieces under the ”no questions asked “amnesty in which the clerics played an important role. Some looters brought back the stolen artifacts, after imams had threatened to ban thieves from worship at mosques. The retrieved treasures included a statue of King Shalmanezzer III from 852BC, the Warka vase - a 5ft-high alabaster vessel from 3000 BC, encircled by several layers of sculpted figures, still with traces of red and grain colouring. Another rare exhibit is the gold treasures of Nimrud consisting of exquisitely crafted crowns, bracelets, cups and pendants discovered only in 1989 and rarely exhibited. These had been stored in a vault of the central bank and had survived the US invasion, when the bank building was looted, set on fire and partly flooded. When the banks vaults were opened, bodies of looters killed in shoot-outs with rival gangs, were found inside, but the seals on the crates of the antiquities were intact. The collection had been carefully stored with thousands of pieces hidden in secure rooms around the museum, in vaults in the central bank and in bunkers around Baghdad. This was done according to plans drawn up for 1991 Gulf war.
But of the 42 most valuable items, 32 are still missing, including a bronze relief from 4000 BC, “worth 100 Mona Lisas. And many pieces still remained unaccounted, with thousands gone from the storerooms. The museum did not have an inventory of its collection, not even on a handwritten card index, let alone on a computer. Who stole the museum's best items would take time to find out. Dr George denied that some of the looting was done by museum staff. But it was not just vandalism, he added. It was clear that there were some professional thieves. "They had plans, glasscutters, and knowledge. We found keys brought by the looters. They opened the museum director's safe where they found other keys. " There are reports that some retrieved pieces are copies.
Why the initial reports of the losses were exaggerated remains a mystery but Dr George clarified that it was because of a misunderstanding that the 170,000 pieces were reported missing. He had only given the total number of objects. The reports had outraged the world making it a symbol of the lawlessness of postwar Iraq and America's failure to establish security after its quick victory. Now investigations are under way, with help from Interpol and FBI teams. It is quite possible that the reports of losses were intentionally exaggerated to attract world attention for provision of security by US authorities which was then lacking and to scare away the professional as well as amateur looters
While playing down the numbers stolen, Colonel Matthew Bogdanos, head of the investigating team appointed by USA said, "Almost 3,000 items have been recovered, but over 12,000 are still missing. " He divided the looters into three kinds, those who went through the public galleries, picking out the most valuable or easily transportable items. "They were selective in what they stole," he said. When it came to the items looted from storage chambers, two dynamics were visible. "One was absolute indiscriminate looting. Bags and boxes were taken from one end of the museum and dropped at the other." The "most troubling" thefts were of items "in the most remote corner of the most remote room. Other stuff on the way to it was not taken. You couldn't get there unless you knew it well. This was the priceless collection of cylinder seals and Hellenistic, Roman and Islamic coins". Under amnesty half the items were returned by people who took them for “safe keeping “or given by friends, the other 1,500 were seized after tip offs.
About ancient monuments, experience with US armed forces is not very encouraging. American bulldozers had razed the ruins of Tell al-Lahm, south of Ur, during the 1991 Gulf war. The great arch of Ctesphion, still the widest unsupported brick arch in the world, was cracked by the vibrations of the American carpet bombing. John Curtis, the keeper of the department of the ancient near east at the British Museum, who visited Ur last year had little doubt the Americans strafed the ziggurat - a great, stepped pyramid - with heavy machine-gun fire the last time they passed that way. “Whether this was an accident, I couldn't say," he says. Another European invader Napolean had tested his artillery against Cairo’s pyramids. Talibans had bombed Buddhist statues at Bamiyan in Afghanistan a few years ago, leading to international uproar.
On the other hand US and its allies point out that Iraqis have used ancient defences for parking tanks and point out that Iraqi airbase is in the shadow of the great ziggurat of Ur, city of Abraham. Incidentally “the Ur airbase was built by the British in the days of its colonial mandate, when the RAF first demonstrated the civilising capabilities of bombing civilians from the air.” Also if you put a machine-gun emplacement anywhere in Mosul, for instance, it will only be next to antiquities. But that doesn't make Mosul a valid target.
There was another reason for the Iraqis placing machine guns outside museums. After the last Gulf war, when Kurds and Shiites of Iraq were encouraged by US president to rise up against Saddam, several important museums and archaeological sites were looted in the chaos. Of the 4,000 precious objects missing (many more were destroyed), most stolen items followed the well-worn route to Israel, Switzerland and, finally, to London, where many Assyrian pieces, broken up for easier transit, ended up on the art market or in the back rooms of antiquarian dealers. As a pariah state, Iraq could not get them back through official channels, but the Iraqis were still trying to buy some of them back from western collectors when the 2003 invasion started.” Any responsible government must protect their cultural heritage," said a western expert. Dan Cruickshank, the architectural historian whose film on the subject was screened by the BBC, said, 'It is simply not true that the people of Baghdad looted their own museum,' 'they have far too much respect for their own heritage to do that, he added.
For all his faults, Saddam Hussein was protective of archaeology, promoting it for a national rebirth and a repeat of the glories of the past, and comparing himself to Nebuchadnezzar (what about US presidents as Roman emperors ) who had built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. His rebuilding the old city walls with bricks embossed with his own name next to that of Nebuchadnezzar was a crime against archaeology and aesthetics. But to protect Iraq's heritage as a patriotic duty, five years ago, 10 men from near Mosul who had cut the head off an Assyrian winged bull at Khorsabad, were executed.
But such is the insatiable hunger of western collectors for eastern artifacts that Iraqis continue to loot and smuggle them out of Iraq. Some American and European experts say that most of the 33 missing items were taken in the first few hours of the collapse of Saddam's regime and were stolen 'to order'. Professor McGuire Gibson, an Oriental specialist from Chicago University and a member of the Unesco team investigating the thefts, had received reports that the 'top five' items among the 33 had been smuggled to Tehran and Paris within days of their removal. The loot of eastern heritage has continued since millennia. But ignorant Europeans have derided eastern civilization and culture. One ignorant Englishman gave more weight to works of William Shakespeare than the whole of Indian literature. Recently an uncouth Italian Prime minister described Muslims as culturally inferior.
MESOPOTAMIAN AND EASTERN FOUNDATIONS OF WESTERN CIVILISATION
In the arbitrary division of the world in to the West and the East along the straits of Bosporus, Dardanelles and Gibraltar ( from Arabic Jebel el Tariq ) or into Europe ( and USA ) and Asia, the Europeans first came in to contact with Asians and were either civilised or evolved their own civilisation after encountering superior and existing civilistaions in Asia. These Eastern countries i.e. Egypt, Syria, Iraq , Iran and Turkey, now Muslim countries, have fallen on bad days .In their heydays the Muslim empires, the Arabs ruled and civilised most of Spain and Ottoman Turks reached right up to the Gates of Vienna . They developed and spread culture and civilised Europe. Classical Greek and Hellenic works were translated into Arabic and thus saved as these had been lost in the west. As conservative fundamentalist forces emerged on top, Muslim empires and civilisation decayed and they were colonised by the west with superior arms for waging wars. As had been done earlier by the Indo-Europeans, Turks and Mongols.
It is rather unfortunate that Muslims, because of Islam ‘s origin in Arabian Peninsula have classified everything that existed before it, even elsewhere, as Jahilya ( ignorance). Most lands conquered by the swords of Islam or Sufis and saints had ancient and flourishing civilisations. Thus, unfortunately little work has been done by Muslim countries to discover their hoary past, which are such rich sources of ancient history, culture, human thought and philosophy. Only tourism has made them take some interest in their past i.e. Egypt and secular Turkey. Even in Turkey, Government publications on their history start with 6th century Gök Turk empire (in Mongolia) and then come to 11th century AD after the Byzantine defeat at Manzikert by Turkic tribes. Thus a mis-conceived attempt is made to black out its pre-Greek, Greek, Hellenic, Roman and Byzantine past. The percentage of Turkic blood, mostly Turcomen would not be more than 15% in the Republic of Turkey. Other examples are the governmental attitude to Pharaonic past in Egypt and Indus Valley and Vedic past in Pakistan.
Most ancient Indo-Aryan and eastern writings were brought to world attention by western scholars. But some of them were not so enlightened and writing in 19th and first half of 20th century at the height of colonial period, tended to strengthen the notion of ruling white man’s civilising mission and hence his superiority and supremacy over the native genius throughout history. The propensity of the Brahmins, the highest caste among Aryans, to control and keep everything to themselves i.e. their close family members or caste men led to lack of transparency and hindrance to the culture of writing. So there are few reliable records. Only the oral tradition remained. Lack of transparency persists even to this day in Indian polity encouraging nepotism, inefficiency and corruption. India is No 71 in world transparency order. Writing has been acknowledged as one of the most important tools of civilisation.
Apart from intrepid Buddhist travelers from China and others like Megesthnese, Alberuni, Ibn-batuta etc we have to rely mainly on Western sources or translations when it comes to the origins of history, religions, culture and civilisations. As for the western bias we can see even today how CNN and BBC moderate, distort and even tell blatant lies about events taking place in Afghanistan, Pakistani, Jammu and Kashmir and now Iraq. Even TV channels like Discovery and National Geographic distort the truth. Truth is becoming a major casualty because of western control of communications and thought, more so after fall of the Berlin Wall. Pravada and Izvestia had exercised some check. But the so-called impartiality, especially of US media has been exposed by independent Arab channels like Al Jazeera etc during the recent US war on Iraq.
How Alexander “the Great “ has been glorified as a Western conqueror of the East. He was a small town homosexual boy who was taught the intricacies of state protocol, running of an empire and the divinity of the emperor by older civilisations of Asia Minor, Egypt and Persia. If he had followed the advice of his teacher Aristotle and not learnt from the so called barbarians, his vision would have remained limited and shallow. The desert Arab tribes were civilised by the Byzantine courtiers and princesses in Damascus and Sassanians from Persia in Iraq after being conquered by Muslim Arabs. So were the nomad Central Asian Turks and Mongols (also by Chinese) by the Persians.
As there was little comparable civilisation in Western Europe and certainly USA in pre Christian era, they claim that there civilisation, culture and thought originates from the Greeks of Aegean and Asia Minor (Turkey). According to them, Greek civilisation and culture evolved and flourished in Crete and evolved when Greeks (pirates) coming from the Aegean islands settled on the west coast of Asia Minor (called Ionia-Yunani) There fore Minoan civilisation of Crete forms the basis of Greek and hence Western civilisation. It is too simplistic and illogical, if not downright absurd. Why not Cyprus, Malta, Sicily? At that time, there were flourishing civilisations in Egypt, Asia minor, Mesopotamia, Persia, Sogdiana and India. Persian Empire extended up to western Turkish coast with Sardis as its out post. Most Greek city states in Asia Minor were under the Persians, who could cross over the Dardanelles or the Bosporus at will or occupy Greek lands. The first Greek victory over Persians is celebrated as Marathon race in sports. The first victory of the West over East!
Cretian civilisation is derived from Egyptian and Phoenician. Both are indebted to Mesopotamian, verily the mother of all civilisations, which evolved mostly between Tigris in Euphrates in Iraq and southeast Turkey. The evolution in human progress took off six millennia ago. But fourth millennia BC was remarkable, not only in Mesopotamia but in the Nile valley and the Indus Valley. From family units polity developed into villages and cities, kingdoms and empires. The cities were ruled by a god and in his name by the king. To begin with, the first deity was Earth, Mother Goddess. Civilisations in Mesopotamia were created by Sumerians, Babylonians, Akkadians, Assyrians and others. Nile got cylindrical seals from Mesopotamia and the beginnings of writing. The Nile civilisation is magnificent, well preserved but unidirectional and flourished in isolation, without the stimulus of exchange.
If one studies the Egyptian or Pharoanic civilisation, much has been contributed to it by the Nubians of Upper Egypt. Many Pharao’s had thick lips and crinky hair. Or La la, Egyptians are bad enough and now to claim that the Sudanese might have influenced the Greek and hence the Western Judo-Hellenic Christian civilisation. Yes, after the development of civilisations in Mesopotamia and the Nile valley, it filtered to eastern Mediterranean, which became a cradle of civilisations, with exchange of ideas through trade and people. That is how the island of Crete acquired civilisation.
The achievement of a civilization may be expressed in terms of its best points—moral and ethical, aesthetic, scientific, and, not least, literary. Legal theory flourished and was sophisticated. Early on, it was expressed in several collections of legal decisions, the so-called codes, of which the best-known and the earliest is the Code of Hammurabi. Throughout these codes recurs the concern of the ruler for the weak, the widow, and the orphan.
There are 25 firsts achieved by Sumerians. These include wheels, the plough, the loom, the potter’s wheels, the brick, and the sail, working with metals and finally writing. Technical accomplishments were perfected in the building of amazingly accurate Ziggurats (temple towers resembling pyramids), with their huge bulk, and in irrigation, both in practical execution and in theoretical calculations. At the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC, an artificial stone often regarded as a forerunner of concrete was in use at Uruk (160 miles south-southeast of modern Baghdad), The ultimate weapon to spread civilisations remains systematic writing.
Judaism, mother of all revealed Abrahmic religions in West Asia is claimed to be the first monotheistic religion. But it could have been perhaps influenced by Avestan/Zoroastrian/ pre-Vedic religions in Mesopotamia. In 14th century BC it was an Aryan Mitanni (a kingdom at the borders of Turkey and Syria) princess Gilukhepa, perhaps the well known and famous Nefertiti, who fully supported her husband Pharaoh Akhneton’s (AmonhotepIV) efforts to bring in (and perhaps inspire) monotheism, for single God Aton (Sun or Mithra like!). This concept was too sudden and undermined the vested powers of the priests. It was dislodged and soon after Akhneton was removed from power. New work in Egypt is moving in that direction. It was from Egypt that Moses led the Hebrews out to lay the foundations of Judaism.
Now let us take the story of Illiad and Odyssey. For Western culture and civilization, they are almost like Mahabharata and Ramayana are for India, making its author Homer one of the most influential authors in the widest sense. The two epics provided the basis for Greek education and culture throughout the classical age and formed the backbone of humane education down to the time of the Roman Empire and the spread of Christianity. The Homeric epics had a profound impact on the Renaissance culture of Italy. Since then the proliferation of translations has helped to make them the most important poems of the classical European tradition.
Illiad was finalised probably around 750 BC and Odyssey 650 BC (Greek writing started around 650 BC). It is felt that Odyssey, so different from Iliad was not composed by Homer, the blind bard born in Asia Minor, but probably by a young lady (a Jane Austin) somewhere on the Sicilian coast with time to spare. Let that pass. But there certainly is historical basis for the story of abduction of Spartan King Menelus’s wife Helen by Trojan Prince Paris. Menelus’s brother King Agamemnon of Achaeans, then decided on a voyage of punishment and retrieval. This is when strangely an artificial line, straits of Dardanelles, has been introduced by the Europeans to divide the world into East and West and the victory over Trojans is taken as of the west over East. Why? Later Alexander made offerings at Troy (also at Egyptian oasis Siva) before embarking on his conquest of Asia. Ottoman Sultan Fethi after conquering Constantinople, also visited Troy.
We need not go into the details of the two epics and Troy. But in the search to find the exact place and the time of the events, credit might be given to Heinrich Schliemann. Inspired by Iliad’s description, he started digging at Troy site but damaged the real Troy. He was a mythomaniac and big liar. Paris’s father King Priam King of Troy is an hour's walk on the Asian side from the Dardanelles. This strategic site, controlling the sea borne trade from the Mediterranean and Aegean to the Black Sea and beyond has been inhabited since fourth millennium BC. Troy 6, site of Homer’s Illiad has been dated to about 1260 BC.
At the same time, there was the majestic and magnificent Asian Hittite Empire (1800 BC to 1200 BC) in central Turkey, whose capital Bogazkoy ‘s citadel has a circumference of five kilometres. The Troy fortress measures 200 yards by 150 yards. Excavations show that Troy perhaps fell as a result of weakening by an earthquake. It was assaulted and set on fire, women and children taken as slaves. Evidence from Hittite archives indicates that Troy was a small state in alliance or subordinate to it. It was attacked when the Hittite empire was in decline and fighting its new enemy the Assyrians in the East. So all this 10 year long Great Trojan war drama was a storm in a tea cup in the ocean of Hittite Empire, which extended from north of Turkey to Syria and up to Babylon (Iraq.) Hittites were contenders for the control of Syria with the Egyptian Pharaohs and local Aryan kingdom of Mitannis in Turkey and Syria.
The regions linking the river basins of Euphrates and Tigris, Oxus and Jaxartes, Indus and Ganges have contributed more to religion, culture and civilisation than the rest of the world put together. Comprising of Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Central Asian Republics, Afghanistan and the Indian sub-continent, there has always been natural interaction in the area through travel, trade, migration and conquest for over five millennia, with many civilisations having also evolved and flourished in desert oasis. The more civilised areas were dominated first by Indo-Europeans charioteers and then the horse riders from Asian Steppes who shaped the Eurasian history. Aryans of India migrated from the steppes of north of the Black and Caspian Seas and Khazakhstan from 3rd to 1st millennia BC. Later Turks and Mongols migrated from the eastern Asian steppes to the Indian sub-continent, Iran and Turkey then known as Asia Minor, where as mentioned earlier had evolved and flowered ancient Greek and Hellenic thought, culture and polity as a result of interaction of incoming Greeks with the existing Asian civilisations of Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Persia, and India beyond. Turkey has more Greek sites than Greece and more Roman monuments than Italy.
With a continuous history this area has been the cradle of most civilizations, thought, philosophy and religions; pre-Vedic to Vedic religions, Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, Avestan, Zoroasterism, Manichaeism, Judaism, Christianity with its various strands and schisms, Islam and such bye-lanes as Alevis, Alawaites, Yezidis, Druzes and many others. Indo-Iranian, Ural- Altaic and Semitic languages have mingled with each other and local languages to produce such a mosaic of languages and tongues. Culturally, linguistically, ethnically and spiritually there is no region in the world which is so rich and diverse but also has so much in common.
Let us now take western (hence Greek) philosophy, which begins with Thales (who predicted 585 BC solar eclipse). Thales who established the Miletian school (near Smyrna-Izmir, Turkey) speculated that everything consisted of liquid, his disciples Anaximander said there was unity behind multiplicity and Anaximanes that everything was vapour. They are considered spiritual forefathers of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. By 6th century BC schools of Jain and Buddhist philosophy were well established apart from Upanishads, Yoga, Charakva and Sankhya, which have an even older tradition perhaps going back to 8th century BC. While religion and philosophy in India are fused; Buddhism, Jainism and some other schools started as philosophy of life without creating or relying on Gods. Socrates with his inner (intuitive) voice and trances with Plato made a team like Ramakrishna Paramhansa with Swami Vivekananda i.e. intuitive speculator and philosopher with his eloquent spokesman. We know about Socrates only from Plato’ writings.
The Orphic and Pythagorean and later Parmenides philosophy or cults are similar to Indian philosophy. Perhaps the ideas had traveled via Alexandria, hub of eastern Mediterranean, then held in high regard as a place for learning and wisdom , where Greeks and others used to congregate and learn. Ugarit port on the Syrian coast was another meeting place for traders, travelers and wise men from the west i.e. Cyprus, Crete etc and east i.e. Iraq, Persia and India beyond. Greeks and Indians were employed in Susan, capital of the Persian Empire, which also ruled north India. So exchange of ideas and philosophy was normal. Scylax, a Greek origin Persian subject from Asia minor was commanded by Emperor Darius to navigate river Indus from Kabul to its delta on the Arabian Sea, from whose records Herodotus and West learnt about India.
Earlier Greek writings and thought had everything; logic, speculation, myths, mystery and beliefs. It's a difficult to say when the divergence between East and West commenced. And why? European rationalism and renaissance! Does it have something to do with the colder climate of Europe, which made them think more rationally and did not lend to development of intuitive powers. We can see the divergence even in the evolution of Christianity, Western and Orthodox. Western theology turns towards dualism making a distinction between the spirit and the matter. Eastern theology maintains that spirit and matter are the two interdependent manifestations of the same ultimate reality. Christianity has been influenced by Mithraism (from pre-Vedic cult ), then very popular with Roman legions, senators and even Emperors who built Mithra temples all over central and east Europe and Asia Minor. Christmas is celebrated on 24 December eve, time of Mithra’s birth ( when the Sun starts waxing ).
The divergence between conscious intuition of the East and rational thought of the West was perhaps complete after de la Carte announced “I think therefore I am. ‘ Of course there's no place for intuition in this. But many western scientists have declared that only intuition had led them to the discoveries of science. Zen masters use Kaons, apparently illogical riddles, to unlock intuitive powers. West then took as faith Darwin’s theory of evolution that mutations cause species to change at random and the fittest survives and not Lamarck’s theory that species change because they make determined effort to change. It has played havoc with human history. Survival of the fittest theory brought in colonialism, imperialism and cultural orientalism. West also evolved divisive nationalism, Marxism, capitalism, ideological totalitarianism. For these causes and ideologies many scores of millions were butchered in, so far the most violent of all , the 20th century.
And now globalisation (forceful promotion of western corporate interests), under the garb of economic deregulation and integration, creating a system akin to Capitulations ie granting sovereign power to foreign interests and expatriates, roles now played by local presidents, prime ministers and others. Capitulations undermined the mighty Ottoman empire. Globalisation is another ruse to control wealth around the world with out any accountability. No concern of the ruler for the weak, the widow, and the orphan. It started with the mercantilism of Genoa and Venice if not Miletians, when merchants started emerging as power brokers in Europe.
West now believes that there is nothing superior to human rational knowledge. In Greek philosophy, the idea of unwritten laws exists - which ''live always and forever, and no man knows from where they have arisen”. Western belief in an external moral universe, to which men owe obedience, has been changed to a rational secular alternative to this moral structure. Isaiah Berlin advice that ''solutions to the central problems existed, that one could discover them, and, with sufficient selfless effort, realize them on earth'' has been lost. Popular religious belief in the West still remains strong, but since mid 20 century its elites have become secularized with radical autonomy and absolute freedom to do whatever one chooses - alone in the universe.
What are a few centuries in human evolution ? Should we not change course. Does West need more stunning events like 11 September, which could be really devastating and catastrophic. The course being followed by US neo-conservatives in Iraq and elsewhere bodes ill for all.
The people of Fallujah, Iraq are accusing their government of 'crimes against humanity.' Over 600 civilians have been wounded and about 100 killed as a result of alleged indiscriminate shelling of the city since the Iraqi government started shelling Fallujah in January 2014. The shelling began after the Iraqi government lost control of Fallujah to al-Qaeda and rebel fighters. According to the United Nations, more than 30,000 families have fled the area in the past few weeks, but tens of thousands are trapped in the crossfire. RT's Perianne Boring takes a look at the bloody history Fallujah residents have faced since the US invasion in 2004.
Unacceptable: The findings of Sir John Chilcot's report into the Iraq War continue to be delayed
It has been four years and nearly five months since the inquiry into the Iraq War was launched.
Yet two years after Sir John Chilcot was due to deliver the results of his £7.5 million probe, nothing has been heard.
Last week Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg hinted that former Prime Minister Tony Blair had been delaying its publication.
Today Lord Morris, ex Labour MP and Attorney General in Mr Blair’s Government from 1997 to 1999, calls for its immediate publication...
The delay in the publication of the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq War is a national scandal.
Following the precedent of the Franks Inquiry into the Falklands War, a committee of Privy Councillors was set up to hopefully clear the air, remove doubt and try to pin down what happened to cause us to launch into the Iraq War together with our American allies.
The inquiry was announced by Prime Minister Gordon Brown in June 2009. The Falklands Inquiry took just six months.
It was envisaged that because of the scope of the Iraq War inquiry, a little more time would be required, say about a year.
Mr Cameron, then Leader of the Opposition, complained that a year was too long and people would conclude that the inquiry had been fixed to tide the Government over until after the election.
It was the 2010 election that Mr Cameron was thinking of when he complained. Now the real danger is that the publication will run into the 2015 election.
Gordon Brown in Afghanistan (Pic:Getty Images)Statement: Gordon Brown
Who is responsible for the delay? Not Chilcot and his colleagues who must be anxious to publish.
But two past Prime Ministers Gordon Brown and Tony Blair? A cabinet office fighting to maintain a precedent that cabinet minutes and discussions between the two previous Prime Ministers should be permanently kept private?
Parliament deserves a clear statement from Mr Cameron as to the reasons for the delays.
It was reported six months ago that the Cabinet Office was resisting requests to make public the record of the exchanges between Tony Blair and George W Bush.
I argued in my recent memoirs Fifty Years In Politics And The Law, as an ex-Attorney General I had not commented on the legal basis for going to war.
The decisions, like the ones I had in the war in Kosovo, were difficult enough and that despite the equivocation of the French, another effort should have been made to get an agreement in the Security Council to authorise action in Iraq.
But I added, “was the die already cast? The Chilcot Inquiry may tell us”
We are still in the dark.
One of the excuses for the delay is the giving of an opportunity to those who might be criticised in the report to comment to the enquiry, what is called the Maxwellisation process.
The opportunity to comment and counter comment could go on for ever and we would never be told the truth. A firm decision to publish well in advance of the next General Election should be taken by the PM.
ReutersFormer Prime Minister Tony BlairLong ago: Former Prime Minister Tony Blair addressing the Iraq Inquiry in January 2010
The Information Commissioner was disappointed that a ministerial veto was used to override his decision that the proceedings of two Cabinet meetings should be disclosed in the public interest.
When the Freedom of Information Act was introduced it was stated that an overriding Government veto against disclosure of Cabinet meetings “should only be used in exceptional circumstances and only following a collective decision in cabinet.”
A veto has been used twice. The cabinet, it seems, was consulted.
What urgently needs clarification now is where the main hold up is.
Prevarication by either of the two former Prime Ministers?
Masterly inactivity by the present Prime Minister and his Cabinet?
Opposition by the Cabinet Office who must have advised Gordon Brown in his statement to Parliament?
Or the stringing out of the process of Maxwellisation?
Prime Minister Brown, in announcing the inquiry, said: “No British document will be beyond the scope of the inquiry” and that the final report “will be able to disclose all but most sensitive information, that is all information, except that which is essential to our national security”.
David Cameron at CPC 2013Clarification needed: David Cameron
As an ex-Attorney General I would agree 100% with that.
The Information Commissioner ruled that material that could provide a better understanding of how the decision to go to war was made is subject to an exceptionally strong public interest in disclosure.
A blanket refusal to disclose Cabinet discussions in these special circumstances, having regard to the Commissioner’s carefully considered and balanced ruling of the need to publish, seems miles wider than Mr Brown’s promise to Parliament.
The Government reply to the debate I initiated in the Lords in February was one of the lamest I have ever heard in over 50 years in Parliament.
Has Mr Brown’s promise to Parliament to clear the air been breached either in the form or spirit?
Parliament was deceived at the time of Suez. It would be particularly unsatisfactory if any allegations of that nature were not disposed of by the publication of the Chilcot Report which Mr Brown promised “would receive the full cooperation of the Government.”
'...What's going on in Iraq right now is horrific. ISIS is already committing atrocities against civilians on a massive scale. Inexplicably the Obama administration did not provide the Iraqi military with immediate air support even after the fall of Mosul. I say inexplicably, not because I support airstrikes, but because on June 12th, the U.S. Military conducted its second drone strike this month in Pakistan. Why would Obama refuse to act in Iraq when civilians are being massacred, while employing drones in Pakistan without hesitation?
I'll tell you why. Because the outrage over the atrocities that the ISIS is committing may be enough to provide the U.S. government with a backdoor into Syria.
You see It turns out that Obama is considering airstrikes, but not just in Iraq. He wants to extend those strikes into Syria as well. Well, that's convenient isn't it? Once the U.S. military is able to freely conduct operations in Syrian territory getting the regime change that they will be much, much easier.
It's the classic formula Problem, Reaction, Solution..
They created the problem, they are letting the public react and build up outrage, and then they are going to propose a "solution" that will sow the seeds for another generation of conflicts.
To short circuit this pattern the public needs to come to terms with the cold hold hard truth.
No matter what the U.S. does, and no matter how long they stay, there is no happy ending to this story. The chaos that we're seeing in this region is the direct result of half a century of U.S. military interventions and covert operations in the Middle East. It's time to acknowledge that bombing for peace doesn't work, regime change for stability doesn't work, and you can't fix a mistake by repeating it over and over.
If the U.S. honestly wants to stop the spread of Islamic terrorism, then they should stop funding and arming Jihadists in Syria. That would be a good starting point don't you think?...'
Very good series of videos and transcripts; links a lot of what is going on in the region neatly with the past (Incubator Babies, Yellow Cake, WMD's, Kuwait 'Green Light', US and UK Special Forces training Syrian mercenary insurgents, Wesley Clark... _________________ 'And he (the devil) said to him: To thee will I give all this power, and the glory of them; for to me they are delivered, and to whom I will, I give them'. Luke IV 5-7.
(Aaron Klein) Members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS, were trained in 2012 by U.S. instructors working at a secret base in Jordan, according to informed Jordanian officials.
The officials said dozens of ISIS members were trained at the time as part of covert aid to the insurgents targeting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. The officials said the training was not meant to be used for any future campaign in Iraq.
The Jordanian officials said all ISIS members who received U.S. training to fight in Syria were first vetted for any links to extremist groups like al-Qaida.
In February 2012, WND was first to report the U.S., Turkey and Jordan were running a training base for the Syrian rebels in the Jordanian town of Safawi in the country’s northern desert region.
That report has since been corroborated by numerous other media accounts.
Last March, the German weekly Der Spiegel reported Americans were training Syrian rebels in Jordan.
Quoting what it said were training participants and organizers, Der Spiegel reported it was not clear whether the Americans worked for private firms or were with the U.S. Army, but the magazine said some organizers wore uniforms. The training in Jordan reportedly focused on use of anti-tank weaponry.
The German magazine reported some 200 men received the training over the previous three months amid U.S. plans to train a total of 1,200 members of the Free Syrian Army in two camps in the south and the east of Jordan.
Britain’s Guardian newspaper also reported last March that U.S. trainers were aiding Syrian rebels in Jordan along with British and French instructors.
Reuters reported a spokesman for the U.S. Defense Department declined immediate comment on the German magazine’s report. The French foreign ministry and Britain’s foreign and defense ministries also would not comment to Reuters.
The Jordanian officials spoke to WND amid concern the sectarian violence in Iraq will spill over into their own country as well as into Syria.
ISIS previously posted a video on YouTube threatening to move on Jordan and “slaughter” King Abdullah, whom they view as an enemy of Islam..' _________________ 'And he (the devil) said to him: To thee will I give all this power, and the glory of them; for to me they are delivered, and to whom I will, I give them'. Luke IV 5-7.
'..While recent developments in Iraq are being portrayed as spontaneous “spillover” from the imperialist war on Syria – still commonly referred to as an uprising, or “revolution” – they are in fact nothing of the sort and in reality represent a culmination of years of covert planning and premeditated imperial policy.
Yet before we come to any concrete conclusions on the renewed insurgency and its wider ramifications, it is first important to concretely demarcate the political actors involved, their aims and objectives, their fleeting alliances and contradictions, and in turn their concrete historical moments of unity. After all, it is not as if we are fooling ourselves with the theories of “headless capitalism” here...
'..As Lenin said, “the supplanting of free competition by monopoly is the fundamental economic feature, the quintessence of imperialism.”  Translated to the modern era, this means that fascism forms the vital expression of the desperately decaying (ie: the moribund, parasitic capitalist, the imperialist) capitalist class; the class that uses extreme violence, reaction and demagogy as replacement for its gradual yet fluctuating loss of strictly economic ability to bribe, extort, extract and control resources, to monopolise markets for profit “peacefully”; to avert the inherent contradiction within its ever-diminishing – yet still superior – social condition. In this regard, we can and must view the United States as the ultimate fascist state from the international perspective, the historic examples of extreme American violence and demagogy employed by the American capitalist class in the conscious aim of upholding superior economic position on the world stage are long and plentiful, and should not need repeating.
When viewed in this historically concrete way, perceptions and the concepts formed regarding US imperial objectives – in Iraq or elsewhere – immediately begin to transform and detach themselves from the false ideological structures avowed to furnish western capitalism its unwarranted moral platform, endlessly recycled in all avenues of western culture. The harsh reality that “political reaction all along the line is a characteristic feature of imperialism”  becomes most evident...' _________________ 'And he (the devil) said to him: To thee will I give all this power, and the glory of them; for to me they are delivered, and to whom I will, I give them'. Luke IV 5-7.
'Excluding “boots on the ground” and leaving combat missions to local and regional “partners,” President Barak Obama and his administration say the United States keeps “all options on the table” to respond militarily to the terrorists’ threat to “American interests” in Iraq, which are now in “danger.”
Similarly, former UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, on TV screens and in print has recently urged western governments to “put aside the differences of the past and act now” and to intervene militarily in Iraq “to save the future” because “we do have interests in this.”
Both men refrained from indicating what are exactly the “American” and “western” interests in Iraq that need military intervention to defend, but the major prize of their invasion of Iraq in 2003 was the country’s hydrocarbon assets. There lies their “interests.
On June 13 however, Obama hinted to a possible major “disruption” in Iraqi oil output and urged “other producers in the Gulf” to be “able to pick up the slack.”
The United States has already moved the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush, escorted by the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea and the guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun, from the northern Arabian Sea into the Arabian Gulf (Persian according to Iran) “to protect American lives, citizens and interests in Iraq,” according to Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon spokesman, on June 14. Media is reporting that U.S. intelligence units and air reconnaissance are already operating in Iraq.
The unfolding collapse of the U.S. proxy government in Baghdad has cut short a process of legalizing the de-nationalization of the hydrocarbon industry in Iraq, which became within reach with the latest electoral victory of the Iraqi prime minister since 2006, Noori al-Maliki.
Anti-American armed resistance to the U.S. proxy ruling regime in Baghdad, especially the Baath-led backbone, is on record as seeking to return to the status quo ante with regard to the country’s strategic hydrocarbon assets, i.e. nationalization.
De-nationalization and privatization of the Iraqi oil and gas industry began with the U.S.-led invasion of the country in 2003. Al-Maliki for eight years could not pass a hydrocarbons law through the parliament. Popular opposition and a political system based on sectarian distribution of power and “federal” distribution of oil revenues blocked its adoption. Ruling by political majority instead by sectarian consensus was al-Maliki’s declared hope to enact the law.
Al-Maliki’s plans towards this end together with his political ambitions for a third term were cut short by the fall to armed opposition on this June 10 of Mosul, the capital of the northern Ninawa governorate and second only to Baghdad as Iraq’s largest metropolitan area.
Three days on, with the fighting moving on to the gates of Baghdad, “the most important priority for Baghdad right now is to secure its capital and oil infrastructure,” a Stratfor analysis on June 11 concluded.
The raging war in Iraq now will determine whether Iraqi hydrocarbons are a national asset or multinational loot. Any U.S. military support to the regime it installed in Baghdad should be viewed within this context. Meanwhile this national wealth is still being pillaged as spoils of war.
Al-Maliki is not now preoccupied even with maintaining Iraq as OPEC’s No. 2 oil producer, but with maintaining a level of oil output sufficient to bring in enough revenues to finance a defensive war that left his capital besieged and his government with southern Iraq only to rule, may be not for too long.
Even this modest goal is in doubt. Al-Maliki is left with oil exports from the south only, the disruption of which is highly possible any time now.
Worries that fighting would spread to the southern city of Basra or Baghdad have already sent oil prices to nine-month high on Thursday.
Legalizing the de-nationalization of Iraqi hydrocarbon industry has thus become more elusive than it has ever been since 2003.
On June 1 forty two years ago the process of the nationalization of the hydrocarbon industry kicked off in Iraq. Now Iraq is an open field for looting its only strategic asset.
On April 15 last year the CNN, reviewing “The Iraq war, 10 years on,” reported: “Yes, the Iraq War was a war for oil, and it was a war with winners: Big Oil.”
“Before the 2003 invasion, Iraq’s domestic oil industry was fully nationalized and closed to Western oil companies. A decade of war later, it is largely privatized and utterly dominated by foreign firms,” the CNN report concluded, indicating that, “From ExxonMobil and Chevron to BP and Shell, the West’s largest oil companies have set up shop in Iraq. So have a slew of American oil service companies, including Halliburton, the Texas-based firm Dick Cheney ran before becoming George W. Bush’s running mate in 2000.
The international rush for the Iraqi “black gold” by trans-national oil and gas corporations is at its height with no national law or competent central authority to regulate it.
Iraq’s “oil industry” now “operates, gold rush–style, in an almost complete absence of oversight or regulation,” Greg Muttitt wrote in The Nation on August 23, 2012.
Nothing changed since except that the “rush” was accelerating and the de-nationalization process was taking roots, squandering the bloody sacrifices of the Iraqis over eighty two years to uproot the foreign hold on their major strategic asset. The ongoing fighting is threatening to cut this process short.
Tip of iceberg
Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq has been awarding hydrocarbon contracts to foreign firms independently without reference to the central government in Baghdad.
Since early 2014, it has been pumping crude to Turkey via its own independent pipeline built last December. On this June 4, Turkey and the KRG announced the signing of a 50-year deal to export Iraqi oil from Kurdistan via Turkey.
Hussein al-Shahristani, Iraq’s deputy prime minister, threatened legal action against firms that purchased “smuggled oil” via the Turkish-KRG arrangements; he accused Turkey of “greed” and trying “to lay (its) hands on cheap Iraqi oil.
Baghdad filed for arbitration against Turkey’s state-owned pipeline operator BOTAS with the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris.
Baghdad says those Turkish-KRG arrangements are illegal and unconstitutional, but its own contract awarding is also unlawful. Should a change of guard occur in Baghdad, al-Maliki and his government would be held accountable and probably prosecuted.
The dispute between Baghdad on the one hand and Turkey and the KRG on the other is only the surfacing tip of the iceberg of the “gold rush–style” looting of Iraq’s national wealth.
One of the main priorities of al-Maliki all along has been to legalize the de-nationalization and privatization process.
Muttitt, author of Fuel on the Fire: Oil and Politics in Occupied Iraq, wrote a few months before al-Maliki assumed his first premiership that American and British governments made sure the candidates for prime minister knew what their first priority had to be: To pass a law legalizing the return of the foreign multinationals. This would be the vital biggest prize of the U.S. 2003 invasion.
Al-Maliki is the right man to secure a pro-privatization government in Baghdad. Thomas L. Friedman described him in the New York Times on this June 4 as “our guy,” “an American-installed autocrat” and a “big gift” the U.S. occupation “left behind in Iraq.”
Various drafts of hydrocarbon privatization laws failed to gain consensus among the proxy sectarian parties to the U.S.-engineered “political process” and the “federal” entities of Iraq’s U.S.-drafted constitution.
Al-Maliki’s government endorsed the first draft of a privatization law in February 2007 and on August 28, 2011 endorsed an amended draft which the parliament has yet to adopt.
Iraqi trade unions, amid popular protests, opposed and fought the privatization draft laws. Their offices were raided, computers confiscated, equipment smashed and their leaders arrested and prosecuted. Nonetheless, the parliament could not pass the law.
Al-Maliki government began awarding contracts to international oil and gas giants without a law in place. They are illegal contracts, but valid as long as there is a pro-privatization government in Baghdad.
U.S. Executive Order 13303
Former British and U.S. leaders of the invasion of Iraq, Tony Blair and George Bush junior, were on record to deny that the invasion had anything to do with oil, but the U.S. President Barak Obama has just refuted their claim.
On last May 16, Obama signed an Executive Order to extend the national emergency with respect to Iraq for one year. His predecessor Bush signed this “order” for the first time on May 22, 2003 “to deal with the … threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by obstacles to the continued reconstruction of Iraq.”
Details of Bush’s Executive Order (EO) No. 13303 are still kept out of media spotlight. It declared that future legal claims on Iraq’s oil wealth constitute “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”
Section 1(b) eliminates all judicial process for “all Iraqi petroleum and petroleum products, and interests therein, and proceeds, obligations or any financial instruments of any nature whatsoever arising from or related to the sale or marketing thereof, and interests therein, in which any foreign country or a national thereof has any interest, that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of United States persons.”
EO 13303 was rubber-stamped by the UN Security Council Resolution No. 1483, which protected the U.S.-controlled governmental institutions in Iraq.
Muttitt wrote in August 2012: “In 2011, after nearly nine years of war and occupation, U.S. troops finally left Iraq. In their place, Big Oil is now present in force.”
“Big Oil” is now the only guarantor of the survival of the U.S. proxy government in Baghdad, but the survival of “Big Oil” itself is now threatened by the escalating and rapidly expanding armed opposition.
Obama said the “threats” and “obstacles” to U.S, interests in Iraq have not changed eleven years after the invasion; Iraq has not enacted yet a hydrocarbon law to legalize the privatization of its oil and gas industry.
The developments of the last week in Iraq vindicate Obama’s renewal of EO 13303. The U.S. war on Iraq is not over and it is not won yet. Hence Obama’s recent extension of the national emergency with respect to Iraq for one year.
Since Great Britain granted Iraq its restricted independence in 1932, the nationalization of Iraqi oil wealth was the national and popular battle cry for complete sovereignty. It is now the battle cry of the armed opposition.
Iraq has been targeted by western powers since the “republic” under the late Abd al-Karim Qasim enacted law No. 80 of 1961, which deprived foreign companies of the right to explore in 99.5% of the Iraqi territory, but mainly since the Baath regime led by the late Saddam Hussein decided to nationalize the hydrocarbon industry on June 1, 1972.
Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist based in Birzeit, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories. firstname.lastname@example.org. _________________ 'And he (the devil) said to him: To thee will I give all this power, and the glory of them; for to me they are delivered, and to whom I will, I give them'. Luke IV 5-7.
The US-trained ISIS/ISIL are 'claimed' to have seized nuclear material, which could make 'Dirty Bombs' which could be used for the next 'False Flag' attack by 'Al-CIA-dah' in London, New York or wherever. _________________ 'And he (the devil) said to him: To thee will I give all this power, and the glory of them; for to me they are delivered, and to whom I will, I give them'. Luke IV 5-7.
(Reuters) - A tanker carrying crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan is hours away from the Port of Galveston in Texas, according to Reuters ship tracking data and the U.S. Coast Guard, its arrival imminent despite Washington's concerns about independent oil sales from the autonomous region.
The Marshall Islands-flagged tanker United Kalavrvta, which left the Turkish port of Ceyhan in June carrying oil from a new Kurdish pipeline, is slated to approach the Texas port of Galveston on Saturday evening and has issued a notice of pre-arrival to ship traffic managers.
But Coast Guard Petty Officer Andy Kendrick said the ship is too large to enter the Galveston port, near Houston. That means it would have to offload its cargo onto smaller ships offshore before the oil is delivered to the U.S. mainland.
It could possibly start offloading the oil as soon as Sunday, after Coast Guard officials carry out routine safety inspections of the vessel.
Kendrick also said the Coast Guard was in contact with the U.S. State Department, the National Security Council and the Department of Homeland Security about the ship's arrival.
Trading sources in Texas, New York, London and Geneva have been unable to identify the buyer of the United Kalavrvta's cargo. The oil could go to any one of the many refineries located along the U.S. Gulf Coast.
The ship carries approximately 1 million barrels of crude, which would fetch more than $100 million at international prices.
Any sale of Kurdish crude oil to a U.S. refinery would infuriate Baghdad, which sees such deals as smuggling, raising questions about Washington's commitment to preventing oil sales from the autonomous region.
The U.S. government has expressed fears that independent oil sales from Kurdistan could contribute to the break-up of Iraq as the government in Baghdad struggles to contain ultra-hardline Islamic State, a group of Sunni Islamist insurgents who have captured vast areas of the country.
But it also has grown frustrated with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's handling of the crisis.
Washington has pressured companies and governments not to buy crude from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), but it has stopped short of banning U.S. firms from buying it outright.
The KRG has renewed its push for an independent state amid the latest violence roiling Iraq. Its relationship with Baghdad has deteriorated over what it sees as Maliki's role in stoking the crisis and the long-running dispute over oil sales.
On Thursday, Carlos Pascual, head of the U.S. State Department's Energy Bureau, told Reuters that there had been no change of policy in Washington toward Kurdish independent oil sales, but he said he hoped the central government and the region could reach an agreement in time.
'Over the past few months, the Islamic State, an al-Qaeda offshoot formerly known as ISIS, has mounted a brutal campaign in Syria and Iraq that has allowed it to expand its ranks and win large swaths of new territory. With the stated goal of establishing a Sunni caliphate -- or an Islamic state governed by a religious figurehead -- the insurgent group's fighting has taken a heavy toll on Iraq's Shiite Muslim majority, as well as a number of minority groups, including Kurds and Christians.
While reports of the Islamic State carrying out mass executions, placing heads on fence posts and imposing harsh religious restrictions have sparked concern across the world, they haven't elicited military involvement until now. Over the weekend, U.S. warplanes began bombing Islamist fighters following an announcement by President Barack Obama that he had authorized airstrikes to prevent "genocide."
In light of the recent news, here's an update on the militant group by the numbers:
The number of square miles thought to be under Islamic State control, a stretch between Syria and Iraq that is roughly the size of Belgium. Other estimates suggest the Islamic State controls an area closer to 35,000 square miles, or roughly the size of Jordan.
The number of people killed in Iraq in June, according to government figures, making it the deadliest month since May 2007. Official figures report 1,393 civilians, 380 soldiers and 149 policemen among the dead. Another 2,610 people were wounded, the majority of them civilians.
islamic state militants
Islamic militants parade in Baiji, Iraq, on July 29, 2014.
30,000 - 50,000
The number of militants now fighting with the Islamic State, according to a recent estimate by Dr. Hisham al-Hashimi, an expert on the group. Many former Iraqi Army soldiers have been forced to join and others have been recruited from around the region and beyond.
The number of nations with which the Islamic State has engaged in direct fighting. In an effort to expand its holdings, insurgents have attacked soldiers from Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey this summer alone. The group is currently pursuing a large offensive against the Syrian Arab Army in the northeast of the country, snatching up large quantities of munitions from military bases.
The approximate value of the Islamic State's cash and assets, according to estimates from terrorism experts. In the midst of its most substantial campaign in June, Islamic State fighters captured the city of Mosul, looting hundreds of million of dollars from banks and acquiring hundreds more in military assets from the Iraqi Army.
The estimated daily revenue of the Islamic State, from its oil and gas resources alone. Fighters with the group have taken control of oil and gas fields across northern Iraq and Syria, and it “now controls a volume of resources and territory unmatched in the history of extremist organizations,” according to Janine Davidson of the Council of Foreign Relations.
The number of high-profile jailbreaks carried out by Islamic State forces in the past several months, which led to the freeing of at least 1,500 insurgents, likely including leaders, bomb makers and other militants, according to reports. In an apparent response to these incidents and widespread brutality by Islamic State fighters, Human Rights Watch accused Shiite militia members and other Iraqi Army soldiers last month of having illegally executed at least 255 Sunni prisoners in at least five different massacres.
The number of openly practicing Christians thought to be left in the city of Mosul, where the Islamic State has made Christianity punishable by death. While it's impossible to know if Islamic State militants have actually chased every Christian out of the city, recent reports suggest that all remaining Christians had fled Mosul.
Up to 40,000
The number of civilians initially estimated to have been trapped on Mount Sinjar last week after the Islamic State captured the town of Sinjar, near the Kurdish region in northern Iraq, and drove people out of the surrounding areas. While at least 20,000 were reportedly rescued over the weekend by Kurdish rebels from neighboring Syria, the remaining Yazidis are still trapped.
A family with sick children takes shelter under a sheet as thousands of Iraqis who have fled recent fighting in the cities of Mosul and Tal Afar try to enter a temporary displacement camp.
At least 500
The number of Yazidis killed so far by Islamic State fighters in northern Iraq. An Iraqi government minister told Reuters on Sunday that militants had buried some of the Yazidis alive, while they killed others in a mass execution.
At least 300
The number of Yazidi women taken as slaves by the Islamic State, according to human rights minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani. Sudani said there are still concerns that many of the victims will be moved outside of the country, which would make it harder to rescue them. Recent reports also suggest that at least two women were publicly stoned to death by the Islamic State, one of whom faced the punishment for adultery.
According to a 2011 report in Water Power magazine, this is the number of civilians who could die if the Mosul Dam, the largest dam in Iraq, stops working. Late last week, the Islamic State reportedly seized the dam, which lies on the Tigris River and provides power and water to Mosul and other parts of the region. It requires extensive engineering work to remain operational. It remains unclear what the Islamic State intends to do with it, but simply neglecting the required upkeep would potentially lead to large-scale structural failure.
The amount of water (in feet) that would roar toward the city of Mosul if the Islamic State decided to destroy the Mosul Dam, or if were to suffer a catastrophic collapse for any other reason, according to a 2007 letter from U.S. generals stressing the need to secure the dam.
The estimated population of Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. This number includes an unknown number of foreign workers, some of whom are American military personnel who were dispatched earlier this summer to aid Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in their resistance efforts against the Islamic State. On Saturday, American warplanes began launching airstrikes to help Kurdish forces fighting to defend Erbil.
The number of towns reclaimed by Kurdish forces on Sunday following U.S. airstrikes to protect the area from Islamic State militants.'
Where are the calls for sanctions against the trainers and supporters of these Mercenary thugs, US, Britain, France, Israel (ISIS Leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi Trained by Israeli Mossad, NSA Documents Reveal: http://www.globalresearch.ca/isis-leader-abu-bakr-al-baghdadi-trained- by-israeli-mossad-nsa-documents-reveal/5391593 ), Turkey, Saudi, Qatar, Jordan? To paraphrase Bush: 'You're either with the Terrorists, or your against us'. _________________ 'And he (the devil) said to him: To thee will I give all this power, and the glory of them; for to me they are delivered, and to whom I will, I give them'. Luke IV 5-7.
The video is in Arabic, but subtitles are available. This guy (and his interviewer) would put almost any Western interviewer/interviewee to shame; transcript below. I can't get over how good it is!:
'ISIS: The Bombshell Interview to Impeach Obama
Posted by: Arabi Souri July 3, 2014 in Iraq, Syria 11 Comments
The author found some difficulties in finding a proper title for this post, which is based on a TV interview with the founder of Jihadist movement in Egypt and a former top Al-Qaeda commander. Each line of the interview is a title by itself, each piece of information is more than enough to put tens of western officials and their regional stooges behind bars for long times, those who are acting as the Humanitarian b****** crying for the suffering of the innocent they only inflicted their suffering.
Finally, I decided to post the text of the interview as it is without my usual adding in, noting how the western citizens are played by their own governments, so I’ll leave you with the interview conducted by pan Arab Al-Maydeen TV with Sheikh Nabeel Naiem, who was introduced by the TV presenter as: ‘the former founder of Jihad Organization & expert in Islamist groups’, enjoy:
The interview text:
- With us here in the studio Sheikh Nabeel Naim former founder of Jihad Organization & expert in Islamist groups, welcome..
Noting that you were in Afghanistan with Osama Bin Laden & Dr. Ayman Zawahri, in accommodation and also in prison with Dr. Ayman Zawahri, can we say now you retired from Al-Qaeda?
Nabeel Naiem: Not really, they are the ones who deviated, we went there to fight the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and there was almost a unanimous agreement among Islamic clerics that time on that (Jihad against Soviets), and after that they deviated and turned their activities against Islamic and Arabic countries, and they committed the prohibited which is killing Muslims, and at the same time after the death of Osama Bin Laden, Al-Qaeda turned into a mercenary (group)..
- You are one of the founders of Jihad in Egypt, and you were at the beginning times of Al-Qaeda so to speak, can a member of that rank distance himself from Al-Qaeda, leave the organization? Will the organization leave him? Some say it is not accepted in the ideology of the organization..
Nabeel Naiem: No, the organization deviated, they became Takfiris, they are killing Muslims.. Am I fighting Jihad (holy war) to go to hell or seeking heaven?!
What is the cause of Jihad? (whoever kills a believer intentionally – his recompense is Hell, wherein he will abide eternally, and Allah has become angry with him and has cursed him and has prepared for him a great punishment) [Quran 4:93]
- Did they call you a Kafir (non-believer) now?
Nabeel Naiem: The high ranks, like Ayman, no they did not, but the small lads they’re the ones who consider me Kafir.
- The natural question one would ask: Why wouldn’t some who consider you Kafir try to assassinate you?
Nabeel Naiem: No, I’m a legend.. I have a history those same boys are astonished with my history, and they wonder why I changed, I was the cloud above those boys..
I was a solid warrior and I fought and have a horrible history whether inside Egypt or outside it, I’m not just a lad, or someone who just joined, I was everything in the organization..
- I mean now after the Takfiri ideology (labeling people as Kuffar – non-believers) why nobody tried to liquidate you with this Takfiri ideology?
Nabeel Naiem: This is with God’s grace upon me, and then I have a history.. When they get to know my history.. none of them have achieved the history I did.
- Back to the question, I understand you’re telling me the main structure of Al-Qaeda does not exist anymore.. Are we talking now about schism? Can we say that (Daesh) ISIS is part of Al-Qaeda?
Nabeel Naiem: No, the old commanders have left the whole organization, only Ayman is left and around him a few we call them mentally retarded or crazy, Takfiri people.. But all the founders have left, some died and the others just left..
As for ISIS, it follows the ideology of Al-Qaeda organization, which was founded by Sayyed Imam Sherif and put it in his book Al Jamei Fi Talab Al-ilm Al Sharif (Bible of Seeking Honorable Learning), & it’s one of the most dangerous books circulated in the world, and it’s translated to all languages by the way, Kurdish, Urdu, Persian, Turkish.. etc.
- You say that ISIS is a branch of Al-Qaeda?
Nabeel Naiem: It adopts the ideology of Al-Qaeda. ISIS was established in 2006, we created Al-Qaeda since 1989.
- Explain to me now the position of Dr. Ayman Zawahri from ISIS and Abu Bakr Baghdadi (head of ISIS), what do they consider him?
Nabeel Naiem: He (Zawahri) asked Abu Bakr Baghdadi to pledge allegiance to him (as the Emir..) but Abu Bakr Baghdadi, since he’s basically a U.S. agent, told him: we are the people of cause, the cause of liberating Iraq, Syria and so.. You’re the one who should pledge allegiance to us, Ayman (Zawahri) refused so there was a dispute and a fight between them.
- How he is an American agent? Explain to us how?
Nabeel Naiem: It is known that the USA released him from prison and he spent 20 to 30 million US Dollars to establish these ISIS groups and the first ISIS camps were established in Jordan, and Jordan doesn’t allow camps for charity, when Jordan establish camps to train terrorist groups, it doesn’t do that out of good will and charity, these camps were supervised by the Marines, and the arming of ISIS is all American.. and how do they arrange their expenses? I was in charge of a camp of 120 men, we were spending thousands of thousands (of dollars).. food, drinks, weapons, munition, training..
- Excuse me, you’re talking about ISIS? You were in charge of an ISIS camp?
Nabeel Naiem: No, I am telling you I was once in charge of a camp of 120 men and we were spending that time thousands (of Dollars), imagine how much this ISIS is spending?! Let me tell you something.. The wounded from ISIS during (terrorist) operations, are they being treated here in Lebanon? No, neither in Syria, nor in Saudi nor in Egypt, where do they go? They go to Israel. Now as we speak there are 1,500 of ISIS & Nusra (Front) are in Tel Aviv hospitals.
- From where this information?
Nabeel Naiem: Where are their wounded? Don’t they have wounded? Where are they being treated? This is well known..
- They have field hospitals, and it’s remarkable that they have a number of doctors in their ranks, even doctors from European countries..
Nabeel Naiem: Yes, the field doctor would only give first aid until you reach the hospital.
- You mentioned an important point about financing, I read for your a lot actually when at the beginning of Al-Qaeda when talking about Osama Bin Laden you were talking about self-financing..
Nabeel Naiem: Osama was spending by himself, but before Osama there was the International Islamic Relief Organization and the connection between us and them was Dr. Abdulla Azzam, then we had some issues with Adbulla Azzam so he cut off from us the money and expenses so we replaced him with Osama Bin Laden, and the brothers in Al-Qaeda, mainly from the GCC countries called him Emir of Arabs.
- You just mentioned that 120 members required thousands, we are talking about a structure spread worldwide, could this be understood in the context of self-financing reaching ISIS today? I’ll read what the British Independent Newspaper said, it reveals there are a number of donors from Saudi who played an essential role in establishing Jihadist groups since over 30 years, that’s why I ask you about the beginnings as you were there then.. It’s a CIA report and it’s after September 11 attacks and it suggests Al-Qaeda had relied on middlemen who collected money from Saudi & other GCC donors..
Nabeel Naiem: This is ‘nonsense’ what the Independent says, these are foolish people, a fool journalist who doesn’t know what to say. First of all, the donations of GCC citizens to the Jihadist groups in Afghanistan was known and done publicly and it was advertised in newspapers and on TV, what is this Independent guy adding?
I’m one of the people who took more than a thousand free air tickets from the International Islamic Relief Organization
- Please explain what are you aiming at with the International Islamic Relief Org.?
Nabeel Naiem: It was paying our expenses while we were in the Afghani Jihad, bring weapons, ammunition, training, food, drinks.. all of this we were getting from the Islamic Relief Org.. they were spending..
- This is what I meant, Islamic Relief Org. is specialized in collecting Zakat (charity) and it’s in Saudi (Arabia)..
Nabeel Naiem: These are fools.. Prince Sulaiman Bin Abdul Aziz was in charge of it, it was not running loose you just grab what you want and go on.. It was Saudi Intelligence and Prince Sulaiman Bin Abdul Aziz was in charge of it, it wasn’t a loose charity you fill your pockets and walk, No.
Secondly, there was a hospital called Kuwaiti Crescent Hospital, it had 250 beds, it had all kinds of operations, and it had doctors employed there, money (budget), medicine, used to spend millions, it was under Kuwaiti (Red) Crescent.
So what new this Independent is telling? USA itself was supporting Hikmatyar.. Who brought Stinger missiles to the Afghani Mujahideen? The missiles which badly hurt the USSR? It was brought in by the USA..
- This is the point you mentioned when talking about Al-Qaeda, USA supported Al-Qaeda because it was fighting Russia, today when we come closer to this region, who supports who in favor of who? ISIS works for who?
Nabeel Naiem: Look, there’s nothing constant in these matters, take for example after Russia was defeated (in Afghanistan) the Americans wanted to get rid of the Arab Afghanis, and in fact the Arab Afghanis were arrested, deported and some like us were jailed, so Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan was struck by September 11 attacks and after Osama Bin Laden’s death Al-Qaeda was bought by the Qatari Intelligence, and I tell you during the International Conference of Ikhwan (Muslim Brotherhood) in Istanbul, Qatar decided to create a fund to sponsor Free Egyptian Army and paid 1 billion dollar for it, and the person in charge of this fund is Ali Kurrah Zadah, Muslim Brotherhood official in Turkey, this is the finance, not like someone says 1 sheikh is donating..!
- This is one side, what’s important to know is what ISIS wants from Iraq? Is it the issue of borders? The borders strategy? Borders war? But this ideology is trans-borders it seems, how did ISIS expand from Syria into Iraq? What does it want exactly from Iraq?
Nabeel Naiem: No dear, ISIS started in Iraq, and Ibrahim Abu Bakr Baghdadi is Iraqi (national), and after that they were given camps to train in Jordan and they smuggled into Syria from Jordan and they were defeated in Syria then they moved back into Iraq once again.
As to what’s happening in Iraq, it’s bigger than ISIS, Mosul city has 4 million residents & it’s second largest province, in Iraq there’s a problem between the Arabs in Anbar and (Prime Minister) Maliki, and ‘Maliki Army’, who handed over their weapons, had Shiite commanders, so nobody would argue ISIS and Shiites, those commanders handed over their weapons to Arab tribes but ISIS is in the headlines.
ISIS has something called Management of Savagery, a book titled Management of Savagery..
- We have shown some details about this book on our channel..
Nabeel Naiem: Abu Bakr Muhammad Maqdisi in this book has taken the same policy of Genghis Khan, thanks God they didn’t claim they derived their policies from prophet Muhammad, because God said: ‘There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often.’ [Quran 33:21].. So their ‘excellent pattern’ was Genghis Khan.
Genghis Khan used to enter a village and annihilates all living in it, even animals he’d slaughter it, and burn down the houses, so the next village hears that Genghis Khan is coming they flee away and this is what ISIS is doing in Iraq, and what’s the goal of ISIS? When ISIS entered Samerra they killed a thousand Sunni, and now killing Shiites, and this is the American policy.
Henry Kissinger wrote a memo in 1982 or 1984, don’t remember exactly, it’s titled The 100 Years War. When asked where this 100 years war will occur? He said in the Middle East when we ignite the war between the Sunnah and the Shiites.
So they’re working on igniting the war between the Sunna and the Shiites, just like what Abu Mussab (Zarqawi) used to blow up Sunnah mosques then blow up Shiite mosques, to start the sectarian war in the region; and this is of course an American plot, and I tell you ISIS didn’t kill a single American.
ISIS didn’t behead a single American and didn’t play football with his head, they beheaded Muslims and ate livers of Muslims and didn’t kill a single American though it’s established since 2006..
- You’re talking about ISIS’s brutality and ideology but it finds popularity among the youth.. and popularity among many sides and it practices the highest level of violence and brutality, can you explain to us what makes all these groups with all its diversities to join this organization?
Nabeel Naiem: It’s the Takfiri ideology, the problem with this Takfiri ideology it’s widely spread among the European Muslims, why?
I sat with them.. The European Muslims denounced everything they saw in Europe..
- But they also come from GCC countries and Islamic countries even..
Nabeel Naiem: I’m with you, it’s spread among the Muslims in Europe and it’s spread in Saudi because Wahhabism is the closest to Takfir than others. And when I sat with them I found out they have a single-sided Takfiri thinking, like when I spoke with Sayyed Imam in the judgment against the ruler’s assistants, where he said there’s no ruler who can rule by himself, he must have the support of the police and army thus the police & army are all also Kuffar (infidels) like him, so I asked what about who goes to the polls to elect the ruler? He replied: He’s a Kafir (infidel).
I told him: you have labeled the Army, police and the people as Kuffar (infidels), you’re a Takfiri..
The religion (Islam) is not so strict, it includes prevention excuses like ignorance, circumstances, causes.. they didn’t study all this, for them the ruler is an infidel that means all of those with him are infidels.. Bashar (Assad) is a Nusairi then all of those with him are Nusairis, although that the Syrian Army 90% of it is Sunni, because that’s the Sunni percentage of Syrians.
But they are one-sided thinking and they’re ignorant..
- Ignorant in what sense?
Nabeel Naiem: Ignorant of the religion (Islam). I was living with Ayman (Zawahri), Ayman is ignorant, he wasn’t saying anything without consulting me first..
- In spite that you mentioned that Ayman Zawahri was refusing at one stage of time to accept the Takfiris (in Al-Qaeda)..
Nabeel Naiem: Yes, we were the ones who didn’t allow them. I told him: If your brother Muhammad joins the organization we will dissolve it because your brother is Takfiri. So he agreed until we entered jail and we’re separated, his brother came in and took over the whole organization, and his brother is retarded actually, he’s Takfiri and retarded, if you talk with him you feel you’re talking with someone who is brainless..
- That’s what’s strange as I mentioned we’re talking about different segments of societies from different countries and even from different education levels, we see PHD holders, how do you call all of these ignorant?
Nabeel Naiem: Ignorance in religion is something and being a doctor is something else.. I’ll give you an example. If I’m a doctor in a clinic, and with me is a nurse, and for 30 years he will be with me, will he become a doctor after 30 years?
Will this nurse become a doctor after 30 years being a nurse?
- This is as a description, right?
Nabeel Naiem: They’re like this, they educate themselves by themselves, they’re like the nurses, they’ll never become doctors. I am specialized in Islamic Sharia, for me he’s ignorant, ignorant in the religion, he doesn’t understand the religion.
- We should explain, you’re talking about Jihad? Salafist Jihad or Takfiris? These are the segments?
Nabeel Naiem: Yes, they’re ignorant..
- All of them?
Nabeel Naiem: I argued with their top sheikh (cleric) – Salafists, Salafist Jihadist and Takfiris, these are 3 different samples, all of them are ignorant?
They’re not different they’re all ignorant, I was living with Sayyed Imam Sharif, he’s the international founder of the whole ideology spread in the region from Jakarta to Nouakchott (in Mauritania), he wrote them a book titled ‘Al Jamei Fi Talab Al-ilm Al-Sharif (Bible in Seeking Honorable Learning), this book is the manifest and ideology of all the Takfiri groups like ISIS, Nusra Front, Ansar Bet Maqdas (Jerusalem House Supporters), Salafist Jihadist, and all of those you can imagine, and nobody wrote after the book of Sayyed Imam (Sharif).
I debated with Sayyed Imam and debated with him about a lot of matters, he told me in the next edition of the book he will rectify & mention the comments I said, he didn’t, he re-issued the book as it is.
I also argued with someone a Takfiri just for sins, a sin is infidelity, like the one committing adultery doesn’t do so and he’s a believer thus he’s a Kafir (infidel), so I argued with him: the punishment for the believer who becomes a disbeliever (leaves Islam) is death, and the adulterer’s punishment is flogging, how does the punishment differ (when committing a sin only)?
The differ in ideology and thinking is long since the beginnings, after Osama Bin Laden (era) between (Ayman) Zawahri & (Abu Bakr) Maqdisi, which resulted in the schism among other organizations, but when we talk now about ISIS, if we compare them with Al-Qaeda, there’s an essential difference between them..
There’s no difference in ideology, only organizational difference..
- Then what is the future of ISIS based on?
Nabeel Naiem: As long as the youth are convinced with the Takfir ideology, ISIS will continue.
Secondly, ISIS is playing on 2 levels: Bashar Assad (Syrian president) is a Nusairi infidel & should be fought, and they use the Fatwas (religious judicial opinion) of Ibn Taymiyyah in regards with the Nusairi sect..
- Depending on feeding these thoughts will ensure its continuity, and maybe other interests..
Nabeel Naiem: And oil.. All sorts of feeding: intellectual, money, gears, munition, all of that.. As long as there are sources feeding this ideology ISIS will continue..
Bernard Lewis founder of Fourth-Generation Warfare said so, he said: we do not need trans-continent armies that would awake nationalism and they return to us as bodies like what happened in Afghanistan & Vietnam, but we should find agents inside the (targeted) country who will carry out the task of the soldiers, and we need a media tool to falsify truths for the people, and money to spend on them..
This is the Fourth-Generation Warfare, agents instead of soldiers..
- This is an alternative army, a war by proxy?
Nabeel Naiem: Yes of course.
- Between who (this war)? We are talking about armies on the ground, Al Qaeda and all what branches out of it, these armies work for the account of which battle and between who?
Nabeel Naiem: It works for the US Intelligence (CIA).
- Who it fights?
Nabeel Naiem: The regimes, they put a plan in 1998 called Clean Break (PNAC)..
- In Iraq, who is it fighting? Is it fighting Nouri Maliki (Iraqi PM)?
Nabeel Naiem: It fights both Sunnah and Shiites, when they entered Sammerra, Sheikh Ali Hatimi, head of Anbar Tribes said: ISIS entered Sammerra and killed a thousand Sunni in cold blood.. and it kills Shiites and kills Christians and kills whoever it faces, ISIS considers all people infidels and their bloods are free.
Who killed Imam Ali appropriated his blood, who slaughtered Hussein wasn’t he a Muslim and from a sect that claims they’re Islamist?
All these have a shameless historic extension, the prophet PBuH called them Dogs of Hell, the prophet said: ‘if I meet them I will kill them the same killing of ‘Aad and Iram of the Pillars’, those are the ones behind these ideologies, the ideologies of Khawarij (outlaws in Islam) who the prophet warned of them, and these will continue, as for ISIS, ISIS did not kill a single American. The opposition fighting Bashar Al-Assad fiercefully for 3 years did not shoot a single bullet against Israel..
- What makes the close enemy, so to speak, in the ideology of these groups, the close enemy is these countries and its leaders, geographically speaking, this term as close enemy and far enemy exists in Al-Qaeda, you mentioned Israel which is not far geographically, what makes it far for them?
Nabeel Naiem: No, they don’t say this, they say: fighting an apostate is a more priority than fighting the original infidel, close and far that’s an old saying.. The apostate is us now..
- As per their understanding?
Nabeel Naiem: Yes, we are apostate, the Arab rulers are apostate, the Arab armies are apostate, thus fighting the apostate is a priority over fighting the original infidel, the Jew.
For instance, Issam Hattito, head of Muslim Brotherhood responsible for leading the battles against Bashar Assad, where does he reside? Is he in Beirut? Riyadh or Cairo? He’s residing in Tel Aviv.
Ahmad Jarba, does he stay in Riyadh, Cairo or Tehran? He’s moving between New York, Paris and London, his employers, who pay his expenses..
When Obama was exposed and it was learned that he’s arming ISIS and Nusra Front with American and Turkish weapons said: ‘We will stop the arming because the American weaposn were leaked to Nusra..’ Didn’t Obama say that?
Leaked?! You discovered it was leaked after 2 years war?!
Nusra Front fighters are 10,000 and ISIS fighters are another 10,000, all 20,000 fighters using American weapons, and Obama claims after 2 years he discovers his (American) weapons are leaked to them?! Are you thinking we are fools?
This is a conspiracy against the region, and I told you Netenyahu & Dick Chenney put the Clean Break plan in the year 1998, and it’s destroying 4 countries, they start with Iraq, then Syria then Egypt then Saudi Arabia. It’s called Clean Break plan (PNAC), well known.. Using radical groups in the region.
The legal case (former Egyptian president) Mohammad Morsi is being tried for, the case of communicating (with the enemy) and contacting Ayman Zawahri was an assignment of Issam Haddad by Obama in person on 28 December 2012, he was at the White House in a meeting with the CIA, he says in his confessions when interrogated by the public prosecution in the case..
- How did you get it?
Nabeel Naiem: These public prosecution confessions are published and are available.. Obama entered (the meeting room) and gave the CIA team a paper and left, they read it and told him: it’s required by the Muslim Brotherhood to contain the radical groups in the region starting with Hamas & Al-Qaeda, so he called Ayman Zawahri through Rifa’a Tahtawi, head of presidential court, who happens to be Ayman’s cousin from Rifa’a Tahtawi’s phone.
Ayman (Zawahri) talking to Mohammad Morsi and Morsi says to him: Peace be Upon You Emir (Prince) of Believers, we need your people here in Sinai, and I will provide them with expenses, food and water and prevent security from pursuing them..
This was recorded and sent to the public prosecutor and this is what Mohammad Morsi is being tried for.
If you ask how I got to know this? I was in Channel 2 of Egyptian TV, and with me was General Gamal, 1st secretary of Egyptian Intelligence, who recorded the call and written it down and based on it the memo was written and handed to the Public Prosecutor.
The TV presenter asked him: Is it allowed for the Intelligence Services to tap the telephone of the president of the republic?
He replied: I’m not tapping the president’s phone, I was tapping Ayman’s (Zawahri) phone and found the president talking to him, telling him Peace be Upon You Emir of Believers, so I wrote down the tape, wrote a report and submitted to the head of intelligence..
She asked him: Did you inform the president? He replied: It’s not my job, I do not deal with the president (directly), I deal with the head of intelligence and that’s my limits.
She asked him: What did you write in your investigations and your own report, what did you write after you wrote down the tape (contents)?
I swear to God he told her, & I was in the same studio,: I wrote that Mr. Mohammad Morsi Ayyat president of the republic is a danger for Egypt’s National Security.
So the ignorant should know why the army stood by the side of the people on 30 June, because the president is dealing with Al-Qaeda organization, and it’s recorded, and he’s being on trial for it now, and head of intelligence wrote that the president of the republic is a danger on Egypt’s National Security.
This is the task of these groups in the region. When Obama said he supported Morsi’s campaign with 50 million (Dollars), and when (Yousuf) Qaradawi said: Obama sent us 60 million Dollars for the Syrian ‘Resistance’, God bless you Obama, and we need more..
Did Obama convert to Islam or America became a Hijabi (wore a burqa, veil)?
I ask Qaradawi: When Obama supports the Syrian opposition, is it to establish the Caliphate? And return the days of the Rashideen Caliphates? Or Obama converted to Islam or America became a Hijabi to support the Syrian opposition?
This is the work of agents (spies), exposed and debunked, and we don’t want to fool ourselves and hide our heads in the sand, the region is under a conspiracy and it’s to drag Iran to a war of attrition..
The first statement ISIS announced after the fight with Maliki it said: ‘We will head to Najaf & Karballa and destroy the sacred shrines’, they dragged the legs of Iran (into Iraq).
Iran said they’ll defend the sacred shrines, it has to, it cannot (not defend them), this is what’s required,
It’s required to clash Saudi and Iran in the 100 years war, an endless war, it exhausts Saudi resources and its monies, and it exhausts Iran resources and its monies, like what they did during the days of Saddam in Iraq (with Iran). This is what we should understand, fight and stand against..
- You mentioned Egypt, Syria and Iraq, we see in all of it similar activities, and you also mentioned Saudi, is it in a coming phase Saudi will be targeted?
Nabeel Naiem: It was meant when Muslim Brotherhood lay their ground in ruling Egypt, problems would start in Saudi in 2016 and in the whole Gulf (GCC), this is not my words, this what the head of national security in United Arab Emirates Dhahi Khalfan said, he arrested those who confessed.
From where did Dhahi Khalfan get this? They arrested cells which confessed in details: If Muslim Brotherhood settles in Egypt, they’ll start exporting problems to the Gulf (GCC) through their existing cells, and destabilize the security of the Gulf, and this is what Dhahi Khalfan, head of national security in UAE said, not what I say.
- The circumstances and factors we saw in Cairo, Damascus and Baghdad, in the countries: Syria, Egypt and Iraq, there was a security vacuum and repercussions of so called Arab Spring, what vacuum we are talking about in Saudi Arabia? Where to find the circumstances and factors that would allow these organizations to enter the (Saudi) kingdom? Opening gaps? Where?
Nabeel Naiem: Look, they have a book being circulated in London titled The Rule of Al Saud, in this book they called the Saudi family as Kuffar (infidels), and that it is unjust, and it steals the monies of the Saudis, and it’s an infidel doesn’t rule by God’s commands, and only applies Sharia law on the weak while the strong and the princess no law being applied on them, a book to educate the Saudi youths abroad to fight a war against the Saudi government, they also say: we call on the kingdom to become a constitutional monarchy, ie. the king doesn’t rule, like the British queen, and this trend is being supported by America and Britain and the people working on this are residing in London, the nest of spies, all the spies of the world reside in London..
Their goal is to divide the region in order to achieve Israel’s security.
Israel is a weak and despicable state, by the way, geopolitical, Israel is not a state, like Qatar, is Qatar a state? Qatar is only a tent and a man sitting it with his money and that’s it..
There are countries like Iran, Saudi and Egypt, in geography it exists until the end of times, and there are countries called the Satanic Shrubs, it’s just found you don’t know how, like Israel and Qatar, it can vanish in one day and you won’t find it..
So for Israel to guarantee its existence, all the surrounding entities around it should be shredded.. Kurds to take one piece, Sunnah take one piece, Maliki takes one piece.. each sect has their own piece just like Lebanon they keep fighting between each other, once they finish beating each other they drink tea then go for a second round beating each other..
- I want to get back to the factors in regards with the Saudi Kingdom, you mentioned what is planned for based on this ideology, and you know better, you have experience and you talk about examples and evidences, but how they will enter?
True there was a statement by the Saudi ministry of interior in last May claiming they dismantled a cell that follows ISIS of 62 members, as they stated, but how they’ll enter (Saudi), what are the factors they’ll be depending on to enter?
Nabeel Naiem: I’m telling you they are preparing for the revolution against the ruling family, that it’s a corrupt family, this family steals the money of the Saudis, talks about the roots of the family..
- From inside the kingdom?
Nabeel Naiem: From inside the kingdom, and there are strong Takfiri members inside the kingdom, because as you know the difference beteween Wahhabi and Takfiri ideologies is as thin as a single hair, thus there are a lot of youths who follow this (Takfiri) ideology, add to it the feeding against the kingdom and its government and against the ruling family, it’s very easy for him to blow himself up with anything..
- So it will be only based on these factors, we don’t want to disregard an important point that groups of the ISIS are from the Gulf countries, and there are reports that the (governments of GCC) are turning a blind eye away from recruiting a number of them and sending them to fight in Syria and in a number of other countries including Iraq, as per these reports, could there be recruiting to use inside the kingdom? To move inside the kingdom?
Nabeel Naiem: Yes, yes, most are Saudis & the move will be like that but they were hoping for the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt to settle in power, that’s why when (Saudi) king Abdallah supported the 30 June revolution (in Egypt), he did so based on the information he has of what will happen in the region
Why did he stand against the Muslim Brotherhood? Saudi was always containing the MBs, and if the MBs (Muslim Brotherhood) ever made money, it was from Saudi, and Mohammad Qotb, the father of all Takfir in the world, spent 40 years of his life in Saudi, he wrote a book called The Ignorance in the Twentieth Century, and he claims we’re living in an ignorance more than the one in the days of the prophet PBuH, and Saudi hosted him and he was teaching in the university.. What made them go against them (MBs)?
Because the Muslim Brotherhood have no religion, no nation, not safe to be with them, they’ll betray anyone.
- On the other hand, how to deal with such an organization and such an ideology?
Nabeel Naiem: The voices of the Islamic moderation very low, throaty, so to speak..
- We do not hear that loud voice who would stand against them, is it not convincing? Or need mediums?
Nabeel Naiem: No, the sapien voice doesn’t have a vim, they’re employees, they’d say let ISIS burn out with who brought it..
It doesn’t have the vim to respond, doesn’t feel the danger, secondly, Azhar in Egypt, which was leading the movement of religious enlightenment, is absented for the past 40 years, the reason for its absent for 40 years is the oil boom, and the voices of the Saudi clergy becoming higher than the Azhar clergy. Salafism was found in Egypt just to fight Azhar (Islamic University), then, the scholars duty is to respond to the ideology of ISIS, detail it and respond to it, scholars should come and say this is what ISIS is saying and the right respond is this.. and I sat with people who came from London to fight in Syria, they sat with me and thanks to God they went from Egypt back to London.
They came to ask me, and I told them, let’s assume that Bashar (Assad) died in the morning, would I be saying: Why God did you take Bashar while the war is not over yet? Who will replace Bashar?
They replied: (Ahmad) Jarba..
I said: Jarba is worth of Bashar shoes only.. They said: true. And they went back.
I told them you are going to fight in favor of America and Israel, will you be the one to rule Syria?
If you were the one who will rule Syria I will come and fight on your side, I swear by God I’ll come and fight on your side..
But are you going to rule Syria after Bashar? He said no, I told him you are being used to remove Bashar and then Jarba, Salim Idress, Issam Hattito will come, all of those are being raised in the spy nest in London, it’s not you who will rule.
- How can we differentiate between religious commitment and the national responsibility? Is there a problem in combining both?
Nabeel Naiem: Yes, yes, of course, there is a strong fault between the national responsibility and the religious commitment. I’ll tell you what the General Guide (leader) of (Muslim) Brotherhood said? He said Toz (B.S.) with Egypt. This is their vision of the national responsibility.
And when the MBs ruled Egypt.. I’ll give you one evidence for their despise to the nation (Egypt), in the last interview done by the Consular Adli Mansour, the interim president of Egypt with Mrs. Lamis Hadidi, the last question she asked him was about the background picture of the map of Egypt behind him, she asked him to tell her the story about this picture behind him..
He said: this picture was done by King Fouad a 100 years ago, we know that first was King Fouad, then King Farouq then Abdul Nasser, Sadat then Mubarak. He told her since King Fouad did this photo a 100 years ago and it’s hanged there, it was removed for 1 year only, when the Muslim Brotherhood ruled Egypt. They removed it and put in the stores..
And they were working on a plot to concede 600 square kilometers to Hamas to resolve the Palestinian cause..
There is a link between the national responsibility and the religious commitment, and this contradicts with the understanding of the Salafists clerics, and I’ll tell you the political theory of imam Ibn Taymiyyah, who people consider him the most strict imam, Ibn Taymiyyah was asked: if the nation’s interest conflicts with applying Sharia, if we apply Sharia will lose the country, what to do?
He said: Maintaining the homeland is a priority over applying Sharia, because if you lose the country, where will you apply Sharia?
I’ll give you an example to make it clearer, if someone is naked and will fall from the 10th floor, will you rescue him or get him something to wear?
Thus, to preserve the country is more important than to apply Sharia if there’s interest conflict.
- And the interest now?
Nabeel Naiem: To preserve the nation.
- And in fact this is the most absented side between the politics, we called the national responsibility and..
Nabeel Naiem: This is because of ignorance, not knowing what’s the national responsibility, there’s no conflict between national responsibility and religious commitment, it’s because those are ignorants the conflict is happening between the nation and the belief.
- This topic needs more discussing, especially in regards with the relations with regional countries, western countries, in regards with the nature of these countries, its backgrounds and its beliefs, we see relations are allowed with India and China, and when we talk about countries like Iran then the religious backgrounds are mentioned and this also might require further research if possible we can get a comment from you on it?
Nabeel Naiem: What I want to tell you, the efforts of all Islamic countries, Sunnah and Shiites, must combine, to eradicate these groups, because these groups are the claws of colonialism in the region, it’s not on religious bases, there are members of ISIS who do not pray, so in Al-Qaeda, there are members who didn’t pray a single kneeling, there must be a combination of the countries efforts to organically eliminate these groups by security and by intellect, disprove their ideology..
There must be a response to these groups and explaining its ideology is a stray ideology, contrary to the Islamic Sharia, and this is the ideology that the prophet warned from when he said about Khawarij (Outlaws in Islam):
‘Newly in the religion, ribald in their aims, they go through the religion like how an arrow goes through the bow, if I meet them I will kill them the way Iram and A’ad were killed, they’re the worse killers under the skies, blessed who they kill or who kills of them..’ and he called them: ‘the dogs of hell.’
Thank you a lot sheikh Nabil Naiem, our guest here in the studio, founder of Jihad Organization formerly, and expert in the Islamist groups. – end of interview.' _________________ 'And he (the devil) said to him: To thee will I give all this power, and the glory of them; for to me they are delivered, and to whom I will, I give them'. Luke IV 5-7.
'September 11, 2014 "ICH" -Approximately 3.3 million Iraqis, including 750,000 children, were “exterminated” by economic sanctions and/or illegal wars conducted by the U.S. and Great Britain between 1990 and 2012, an eminent international legal authority says.
The slaughter fits the classic definition of Genocide Convention Article II of, “Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part,” says Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois, Champaign, and who in 1991 filed a class-action complaint with the UN against President George H.W. Bush.
The U.S. and U.K. “obstinately insisted” that their sanctions remain in place until after the “illegal” Gulf War II aggression perpetrated by President George W. Bush and UK’s Tony Blair in March, 2003, “not with a view to easing the over decade-long suffering of the Iraqi people and children” but “to better facilitate the U.S./U.K. unsupervised looting and plundering of the Iraqi economy and oil fields in violation of the international laws of war as well as to the grave detriment of the Iraqi people,” Boyle said.
In an address last Nov. 22 to The International Conference on War-affected Children in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Boyle tallied the death toll on Iraq by U.S.-U.K. actions as follows:
# The slaughter of 200,000 Iraqis by President Bush in his illegal 1991 Gulf War I.
# The deaths of 1.4 million Iraqis as a result of the illegal 2003 war of aggression ordered by President Bush Jr. and Prime Minister Blair.
# The deaths of 1.7 million Iraqis “as a direct result” of the genocidal sanctions.
Boyle’s class-action complaint demanded an end to all economic sanctions against Iraq; criminal proceedings for genocide against President George H.W. Bush; monetary compensation to the children of Iraq and their families for deaths, physical and mental injury; and for shipping massive humanitarian relief supplies to that country.
The “grossly hypocritical” UN refused to terminate the sanctions, Boyle pointed out, even though its own Food and Agricultural Organization’s Report estimated that by 1995 the sanctions had killed 560,000 Iraqi children during the previous five years.
Boyle noted that then U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright was interviewed on CBS-TV on May 12, 1996, in response to a question by Leslie Stahl if the price of half a million dead children was worth it, and replied, “we (the U.S. government) think the price is worth it.”
Albright’s shocking response provides “proof positive of the genocidal intent by the U.S. government against Iraq” under the Genocide Convention, Boyle said, adding that the government of Iraq today could still bring legal action against the U.S. and the U.K. in the International Court of Justice. He said the U.S.-U.K. genocide also violated the municipal legal systems of all civilized nations in the world; the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child; and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and its Additional Protocol 1 of 1977.
Boyle, who was stirred to take action pro bono by Mothers in Iraq after the economic sanctions had been imposed upon them by the Security Council in August, 1990, in response to pressure from the Bush Senior Administration. He is the author of numerous books on international affairs, including “Destroying World Order” (Clarity Press.)
Sherwood Ross is a columnist, broadcast commentator and public relations consultant “for good causes.” He formerly reported for major dailies and wire services and is the author of “Gruening of Alaska”(Best). Reach him at email@example.com' _________________ 'And he (the devil) said to him: To thee will I give all this power, and the glory of them; for to me they are delivered, and to whom I will, I give them'. Luke IV 5-7.
Yes, well might the US be worried! What about the 'Yinon Plan'? If the West stops airdropping arms to IS, and Russia instead really targets them, who will implement the 'Yinon Plan'?
And the US won't even have the fig leaf excuse they have given in Syria, that Russia is bombing the 'wrong' terrorists, because supposedly there are no terrorists in Iraq that the US and West 'officially' back!!!!! _________________ 'And he (the devil) said to him: To thee will I give all this power, and the glory of them; for to me they are delivered, and to whom I will, I give them'. Luke IV 5-7.
I wonder what Chilcott will make of this? _________________ 'And he (the devil) said to him: To thee will I give all this power, and the glory of them; for to me they are delivered, and to whom I will, I give them'. Luke IV 5-7.
Joined: 25 Jul 2005 Posts: 15405 Location: St. Pauls, Bristol, England
Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2015 6:56 pm Post subject:
Smoking gun emails reveal Blair's 'deal in blood' with George Bush over Iraq war was forged a YEAR before the invasion had even started
Leaked White House memo shows former Prime Minister's support for war at summit with U.S. President in 2002
Bombshell document shows Blair preparing to act as spin doctor for Bush, who was told 'the UK will follow our lead'
Publicly, Blair still claimed to be looking for diplomatic solution - in direct contrast to email revelations
New light was shed on Bush-Blair relations by material disclosed by Hillary Clinton at the order of the U.S. courts
By GLEN OWEN and WILLIAM LOWTHER IN WASHINGTON FOR THE MAIL ON SUNDAY
A bombshell White House memo has revealed for the first time details of the ‘deal in blood’ forged by Tony Blair and George Bush over the Iraq War.
The sensational leak shows that Blair had given an unqualified pledge to sign up to the conflict a year before the invasion started.
It flies in the face of the Prime Minister’s public claims at the time that he was seeking a diplomatic solution to the crisis.
He told voters: ‘We’re not proposing military action’ – in direct contrast to what the secret email now reveals.
All sewn up: President George Bush and UK prime minister Tony Blair at the infamous 2002 summit at Bush's ranch house in Crawford, Texas, where the two men spoke about invading Iraq
Bombshell dossier: U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, left of Bush, wrote to the president to say the UK 'will be with us'
The classified document also discloses that Blair agreed to act as a glorified spin doctor for the President by presenting ‘public affairs lines’ to convince a sceptical public that Saddam had Weapons of Mass Destruction – when none existed.
In return, the President would flatter Blair’s ego and give the impression that Britain was not America’s poodle but an equal partner in the ‘special relationship’.
Chilcot names the date - but not one Iraq families want:...
Former British Prime Minister and former Labour MP for Sedgefield, Tony Blair gives a speech to waiting party members ahead of a visit to the construction site for the new Hitachi Trains Europe factory on April 7, 2015 in Sedgefield, England.
The visit came as part of Labour's campaign build up ahead of the General Election on May 7 which is predicted to be Britain's closest national election.
The damning memo, from Secretary of State Colin Powell to President George Bush, was written on March 28, 2002, a week before Bush’s famous summit with Blair at his Crawford ranch in Texas.
In it, Powell tells Bush that Blair ‘will be with us’ on military action. Powell assures the President: ‘The UK will follow our lead’.
Big man? Blair's ego was flattered by the President during his visit to his ranch home. He is pictured above embracing First Lady Laura Bush
The disclosure is certain to lead for calls for Sir John Chilcot to reopen his inquiry into the Iraq War if, as is believed, he has not seen the Powell memo.
A second explosive memo from the same cache also reveals how Bush used ‘spies’ in the Labour Party to help him to manipulate British public opinion in favour of the war.
The documents, obtained by The Mail on Sunday, are part of a batch of secret emails held on the private server of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton which U.S. courts have forced her to reveal.
Former Tory Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said: ‘The memos prove in explicit terms what many of us have believed all along: Tony Blair effectively agreed to act as a frontman for American foreign policy in advance of any decision by the House of Commons or the British Cabinet.
‘He was happy to launder George Bush’s policy on Iraq and sub-contract British foreign policy to another country without having the remotest ability to have any real influence over it. And in return for what?
'For George Bush pretending Blair was a player on the world stage to impress voters in the UK when the Americans didn’t even believe it themselves’.
Davis was backed by a senior diplomat with close knowledge of Blair-Bush relations who said: ‘This memo shows beyond doubt for the first time Blair was committed to the Iraq War before he even set foot in Crawford.
'And it shows how the Americans planned to make Blair look an equal partner in the special relationship to bolster his position in the UK.’
Blair’s spokesman insisted last night that Powell’s memo was ‘consistent with what he was saying publicly at the time’.
The former Prime Minister has always hotly denied the claim that the two men signed a deal ‘in blood’ at Crawford to embark on the war, which started on March 20, 2003.
The Powell document, headed ‘Secret... Memorandum for the President’, lifts the lid on how Blair and Bush secretly plotted the war behind closed doors at Crawford.
Powell says to Bush: ‘He will present to you the strategic, tactical and public affairs lines that he believes will strengthen global support for our common cause,’ adding that Blair has the presentational skills to ‘make a credible public case on current Iraqi threats to international peace’.
Five months after the summit, Downing Street produced the notorious ‘45 minutes from doom’ dossier on Saddam Hussein’s supposed Weapons of Mass Destruction. After Saddam was toppled, the dossier’s claims were exposed as bogus.
Nowhere in the memo is a diplomatic route suggested as the preferred option.
Instead, Powell says that Blair will also advise on how to ‘handle calls’ for the ‘blessing’ of the United Nations Security Council, and to ‘demonstrate that we have thought through “the day after” ’ – in other words, made adequate provision for a post-Saddam Iraq.
Critics of the war say that the lack of post-conflict planning has contributed to the loss of more than 100,000 lives since the invasion – and a power vacuum which has contributed to the rise of Islamic State terrorism.
Significantly, Powell warns Bush that Blair has hit ‘domestic turbulence’ for being ‘too pro-U.S. in foreign and security policy, too arrogant and “presidential” ’, which Powell points out is ‘not a compliment in the British context’.
Powell also reveals that the splits in Blair’s Cabinet were deeper than was realised: he says that apart from Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon, ‘Blair’s Cabinet shows signs of division, and the British public are unconvinced that military action is warranted now’.
Powell says that although Blair will ‘stick with us on the big issues’, he wants to minimise the ‘political price’ he would have to pay: ‘His voters will look for signs that Britain and America are truly equity partners in the special relationship.’
The President certainly did his best to flatter Blair’s ego during the Crawford summit, where he was the first world leader to be invited into Bush’s sanctuary for two nights.
Tony and Cherie Blair stayed in the guesthouse close to the main residence with their daughter Kathryn and Cherie’s mother, Gale Booth. Bush took the highly unusual step of inviting Blair to sit in on his daily CIA briefing, and drove the Prime Minister around in a pick-up truck.
Mystery has long surrounded what was discussed at Crawford as advisers were kept out of a key meeting between the two men.
Sir Christopher Meyer, who was present in Crawford as Britain’s Ambassador to the U.S., told Chilcot that his exclusion meant he was ‘not entirely clear to this day... what degree of convergence was, if you like, signed in blood at the Crawford ranch’.
But in public comments during his time at Crawford, Blair denied that Britain was on an unstoppable path to war.
‘This is a matter for considering all the options’, he said. ‘We’re not proposing military action at this point in time’.
Close: Bush and Blair are pictured above shaking hands at a meeting near Camp Davis in February 2001
Bush and Blair on Saddam's weapons of mass destruction in '02
During his appearance before the Chilcot inquiry in January 2010, Blair denied that he had struck a secret deal with Bush at Crawford to overthrow Saddam. Blair said the two men had agreed on the need to confront the Iraqi dictator, but insisted they did not get into ‘specifics’.
‘The one thing I was not doing was dissembling in that position,’ he told Chilcot.
‘The position was not a covert position, it was an open position. This isn’t about a lie or a conspiracy or a deceit or a deception. It’s a decision. What I was saying... was “We are going to be with you in confronting and dealing with this threat.” ’
Pressed on what he thought Mr Bush took from their meeting, he said the President had realised Britain would support military action if the diplomatic route had been exhausted.
In his memoirs, Blair again said it was ‘a myth’ he had signed a promise ‘in blood’ to go to war, insisting: ‘I made no such commitment’.
Critics who claimed that Mr Blair acted as the ‘poodle’ of the US will point to a reference in Mr Powell’s memo to the fact Mr Blair ‘readily committed to deploy 1,700 commandos’ to Afghanistan ‘even though his experts warn that British forces are overstretched’.
The decision made the previous October in the wake of the September 11 attacks led to widespread concern that the UK was entering an open-ended commitment to a bloody conflict in Afghanistan – a concern many critics now say was well-founded.
Mr Powell’s memo goes on to say that a recent move by the U.S. to protect its steel industry with tariffs, which had damaged UK exports, was a ‘bitter blow’ for Blair, but he was prepared to ‘insulate our broader relationship from this and other trade disputes’.
The memo was included in a batch of 30,000 emails which were received by Mrs Clinton on her private server when she was US Secretary of State between 2009 and 2013.
Another document included in the email batch is a confidential briefing for Powell prepared by the U.S. Embassy in London, shortly before the Crawford summit.
The memo, dated ‘April 02’, includes a detailed assessment of the effect on Blair’s domestic position if he backs US military action.
The document says: ‘A sizeable number of his [Blair’s] MPs remain at present opposed to military action against Iraq... some would favor shifting from a policy of containment of Iraq if they had recent (and publicly usable) proof that Iraq is developing WMD/missiles... most seem to want some sort of UN endorsement for military action.
‘Blair’s challenge now is to judge the timing and evolution of America’s Iraq policy and to bring his party and the British people on board.
'There have been a few speculative pieces in the more feverish press about Labor [sic] unease re Iraq policy… which have gone on to identify the beginnings of a challenge to Blair’s leadership of the party.
'Former Cabinet member Peter Mandelson, still an insider, called it all "froth". Nonetheless, this is the first time since the 1997 election that such a story is even being printed’.
The paper draws on information given to it by Labour ‘spies’, whose identities have been hidden.
It states: ‘[name redacted] told us the intention of those feeding the story is not to bring down Blair but to influence him on the Iraq issue’.
‘Some MPs would endorse action if they had proof that Iraq has continued to develop WMD since UN inspectors left.
‘More would follow if convinced that Iraq has succeeded in developing significant WMD capability and the missiles to deliver it.
'Many more would follow if they see compelling evidence that Iraq intends and plans to use such weapons. A clear majority would support military action if Saddam is implicated in the 9/11 attacks or other egregious acts of terrorism’.
‘Blair has proved an excellent judge of political timing, and he will need to be especially careful about when to launch a ramped-up campaign to build support for action against Iraq.
'He will want neither to be too far in front or behind US policy... if he waits too long, then the keystone of any coalition we wish to build may not be firmly in place. No doubt these are the calculations that Blair hopes to firm up when he meets the President’.
A spokesperson for Tony Blair said: ‘This is consistent with what Blair was saying publicly at the time and with Blair’s evidence given to the Chilcot Inquiry’.
Neither Mrs Clinton nor Mr Powell replied to requests for comment.
SENSATIONAL BLAIR EXPOSÉ - YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Why have these memos come out now?
The U.S. courts have ruled that 30,000 emails received by Hillary Clinton when she was U.S. Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013 should be released.
She may have asked for these documents to grasp the background to the Iraq War.
What was the Crawford summit?
The meeting between Blair and Bush at the President’s Texan ranch in April 2002, 11 months before the outbreak of war. The pair spent long periods discussing Iraq without their advisers, leading to suspicion that they privately cut a deal for the conflict.
UK Ambassador Sir Christopher Meyer said it was impossible to know whether a deal was ‘signed in blood’.
What did Blair say at Crawford?
At the start of the summit, Mr Blair said: ‘We’re not proposing military action at this point in time.’
For the whole of 2002, Blair claimed no decision had been taken and in the run-up to war. He said that Saddam Hussein could avoid conflict by co-operating with UN weapons inspectors.
What happened after Crawford?
In September 2002, in an attempt to prove Saddam was a threat, No 10 falsely claimed Saddam could deploy biological weapons ‘within 45 minutes’, and Mr Blair went around the world trying to drum up UN backing for action against Iraq.
Despite mass anti-war protests, Britain and America invaded Iraq in March 2003 without the backing of the UN.
Had the allies prepared for ‘the day after’?
The invasion was declared complete on April 15, 2003. But the reason for war proved spurious, and Saddam’s removal left a power vacuum filled by warring factions which some say helped Islamic State rise.
Have the memos been seen by the Chilcot Inquiry?
It is not thought the £10million, six-year inquiry has asked to see American Government material.
Stunning memo proves Blair signed up for Iraq even before Americans - comment by former shadow home secretary David Davis
This is one of the most astonishing documents I have ever read.
It proves in explicit terms what many of us have believed all along: Tony Blair effectively agreed to act as a front man for American foreign policy in advance of any decision by the House of Commons or the British Cabinet.
He was happy to launder George Bush’s policy on Iraq and sub-contract British foreign policy to another country without having the remotest ability to have any real influence over it.
And in return for what? For George Bush pretending Blair was a player on the world stage to impress voters in the UK when the Americans didn’t even believe it themselves.
Blair was content to cynically use Britain’s international reputation for honest dealing in diplomacy, built up over many years, as a shield against worldwide opprobrium for Bush’s ill-considered policy.
Judging from this memorandum, Blair signed up for the Iraq War even before the Americans themselves did. It beggars belief.
Blair was telling MPs and voters back home that he was still pursuing a diplomatic solution while Colin Powell was telling President Bush: ‘Don’t worry, George, Tony is signed up for the war come what may – he’ll handle the PR for you, just make him look big in return.’
It should never be forgotten that a minimum of 120,000 people died as a direct result of the Iraq War.
What is truly shocking is the casualness of it all, such as the reference in the memo to ‘the day after’ – meaning the day after Saddam would be toppled.
The offhand tone gives the game away: it is patently obvious nobody thought about ‘the day after’ when Bush and Blair met in Crawford.
And they gave it no more thought right through to the moment ‘the day after’ came about a year later when Saddam’s statue fell to the ground.
We saw the catastrophic so-called ‘de-Baathification’ of Iraq, with the country’s entire civil and military structure dismantled, leading to years of bloodshed and chaos. It has infected surrounding countries to this day and created the vacuum into which Islamic State has stepped.
This may well be the Iraq ‘smoking gun’ we have all been looking for.
In full: The Blair/Bush White House documents
Pictured below is the memo from Secretary of State Colin Powell to George W Bush
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