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Year 2010 No. 39, September 7, 2010 ARCHIVE HOME JBBOOKS SUBSCRIBE

Tony Blair Condemned over "The Journey"

Workers' Daily Internet Edition: Article Index :

Tony Blair Condemned over "The Journey"

Al Quds Day Letter to Tony Blair from Lauren Booth in Iran

Protest When Tony Blair Hosts Tate Modern Event

Shoes, eggs hurled at Blair in Dublin

The British Military in Iraq: A Legacy of War Crimes and Atrocities

Tony Blair’s Bloody Memoir

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Tony Blair Condemned over "The Journey"

Tony Blair’s memoirs, The Journey, are an indictment of the former New Labour Prime Minister, whereas the author clearly intended them as a justification. In his introduction, Blair speaks of them as setting out what it meant to be the human being at the centre of his ten-year history as Prime Minister. This is entirely at one with the role given to him by the political system of which he became Prime Minister, a figure whose authority comes not from the people and being accountable to them, but as a god astride the political machinery who could take the decision to commit aggression against Iraq as a little god in opposition to the popular will because he did what he thought was right.

The book appears to be shot through with this conviction politics, a conviction not obtained through taking a stand and arguing out a case, but with a deluded sense that he alone represented public opinion, a conviction that came not from summing up events and acting as a statesman or a humble representative of the electorate but setting out the world as it appeared to Tony Blair, the creator. His self-justification in political terms comes from the fact that New Labour won three successive general elections, and he presents himself as an a-class individual who was abandoned by the Labour Party, by his former disciples, abandoned as the personification of New Labour, and that therefore the Labour government was finished.

He alone, he seems to affirm, takes responsibility for his actions, and that is why he should not be tried for any crime against humanity. His arrogance in thinking that he could proceed with a programme of book-signings without vehement opposition and attempts at citizen’s arrest, shows that despite his persona of populism that he fosters, Tony Blair is in touch neither with public opinion nor the workings and political currents of the real world.

Tony Blair takes up the theme of the world "as it may become", particularly after 9/11. And this is really the main theme of the book, as set out in the introduction: that of the Blair project of making Britain "great" again. He says: "I wanted us [‘the nation’] to realise a new set of ambitions at home and abroad. … We would use our membership of Europe and our alliance with the United States to influence the decisions of the world, even as our power relative to the emerging nations diminished. We would play a new role in continents such as Africa, as partners in development. We would forge a new politics, in which successful enterprise and ambition lived comfortably alongside a society of equal opportunity and compassion."

Blair describes this as a work in progress, a politics "beyond traditional left or right", a vision that, according to him, "powerful forces, left and right, disagree with" and try hard to inhibit, but one which the book sets out "is the only hope for Britain’s future". This is the "Third Way", the path to fascism and war.

Of the invasion, along with the United States, of Iraq, Blair underlines the position which he gave earlier this year to the Chilcot inquiry. He explains why he would not contemplate any apology for this war crime, but continues to issue warnings about "political Islam", as well as "political" Muslims. He characterises Arabs as people who would invariably regard "Jews" as enemies. As the ninth anniversary of 9/11 approaches, and many have suggested that the release of the memoirs around this time is not a coincidence, this theme, which Blair himself in August 2005 sought to link with "revolutionary communism", underlines the responsibility of Anglo-US imperialism for that crime and for all the dark reaction which followed. However, for Tony Blair, the aggression against Iraq was all a matter of calculation, a game of bluff and counter-bluff, which went wrong. His logic is that Saddam Hussein was to blame for not having WMDs, while Tony Blair was convinced that he had. Blair writes: "We thought there was an active WMD programme and there wasn’t. The aftermath, following Saddam’s removal in May 2003, was bloody, destructive and chaotic." He continues: "The intelligence on Saddam and WMD turned out to be incorrect. It is said – even I have said – that how this came to be so remains a mystery. Why should Saddam keep the inspectors out for so long when he had nothing to hide? Even when he let them in, why did he obstruct them? Why bring war upon his country to protect a myth? Was it really … as paradoxical as this: that he thought the US and its allies were bluffing when we threatened force and actually we were sincere; and we thought he genuinely had WMD when actually he was bluffing?"

Blair’s attempted justification of his crimes for which he was responsible is that Iraq was pursuing its strategic ambitions, whatever the niceties of possessing or not possessing WMDs. The conclusion which Blair does not draw in the book, is that in invading Iraq, as well as Afghanistan, and effecting regime change, Anglo-US imperialism was pursuing its strategic ambitions, whatever the niceties of Saddam Hussein possessing or not possessing WMDs. And which can be said to be the greater crime? Of that there can be no doubt.

WDIE will carry a full review of Tony Blair’s memoirs at a later date.

Extracts from Tony Blair, A Journey, can be read at: http://www.tonyblairjourney.co.uk/extracts

Article Index

Al Quds Day Letter to Tony Blair from Lauren Booth in Iran

3 September 2010

Dear Tony,

Congratulations on your political memoir becoming an instant bestseller. I'm in Iran and have the only copy in the country. I can tell you, it's so fiercely fought over, it's worth its weight in WMD's. Note to Random House; have "A Journey" translated into Farsi and Arabic asap, it'll fly off the shelves in this part of the world.

Tony, yesterday I attended the Al Quds day protest in Tehran. You may have heard of it? It's the rally where Iranians gather to protest against Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine, including the Holy city of Jerusalem.

I'm being sarcastic by asking if you've heard of Al Quds day, because I know you have. It is your very worst nightmare, right? After all, Tehran is the place where politics and Islam intertwine.

Personally I've never understood this fear of "political Islam" it seems to me that religious people should always be educated on world events rather than kept in ignorance. Like say, Mid-West Christian Zionists in the US. The kind of folk who can't find their home city on a map of their state but are certain they hate Islam even if they are not sure whether it is a type of curry or a foreign make of veh-ic-ule.

Anyway, yesterday, I stood in the midst of more than one million Iranian Muslims all chanting in unison "Marg Bar Isre-hell!" and "Marg Bar Am-ri-ca!" You know what that means Tony I'm sure; "Down with Israel, down with America". The men, women and children around me withstood a day of no water and no food (it's called Ramadan, Tony, it's a fast). Coping with hunger and thirst in the hundred degrees heat, as if it were nothing. They can withstand deprivation in the Muslim world. Here in Iran they feel proud to suffer in order to express solidarity with the people of Palestine. It's kind of like the way you express solidarity with America, except without illegal chemical weapons and a million civilian deaths.

Some mothers at the rally wept, not out of hatred for "the West" but out of empathy for the mothers of Rafah, Khan Younis, Nablus and Jenin. Do you recognise these place names Tony, as Middle East peace envoy you really should. Israel has massacred children in all of these cities in recent years. Didn't you know? 

Today when the streets of London reverberate with cries of "Allahuakbar!" and "Down Down Israel." Christians and Jews will join the thunderous cries of "Down Down Israel", marching shoulder to shoulder with the "political" Muslims you say you fear so much.

Perhaps you believe that I am in danger in Iran, especially on a day like Al Quds. Well here again Tony, you've been fed and have consumed in its entirety, a massive lie. The lie that says when Muslims express an opinion in groups, in public, it is always spurred on by hatred of "us" infidels. As if all protests that are led by Muslim communities are a kind of long held grudge against the Crusades. Perhaps they should be more, not less angry here than they are, Tony. Because having read the postscript to your bestseller its clear you are on a modern Crusade.

The "conflict" between Palestine and Israel is according to you all about religion and has nothing at all to do with the ethnic cleansing of the Arab population, nor the degradation of those who remain beneath the boots of their Israeli occupiers. You say that Arabs have and always will see "Jews" as enemies. For God's sake Tony, do your history. And if you're going to run a "Faith Foundation" then better get up on Islam 101 don't you think? Did your pals in Tel Aviv forget to tell you how many thousands of Jews lived in Historic Palestine in harmony with their Arab neighbours before 1948? Do you really not know that even today tens of thousands of Jews reside contentedly in Iran?

I've sat with Muslim families, those whose children have been burned by Israeli/US phosphorus bombs. Those who are still suffering hunger due to the Israel siege of Gaza. Those who have lived through the early days of sanctions against Iran when they needed food vouchers just to live. And every single Muslim in these suffering families has the same message; "We don't hate anyone for their race or their religion. We cannot hate Jews they are in our holy book. It is against the teachings of the Koran." But Tony let me ask you this. Why should any people, Muslim or otherwise, be expected to put up with this kind of constant threats from you and your bosses in Tel Aviv and Washington? Do you have any understanding of what it is like to live in Gaza? Under siege, attacked with chemical weapons, your children's schools razed to the ground by Israeli missiles, your hospitals shelled, your electricity limited, your water undrinkable?

Actually Tony I think you are a sympathetic person. I actually think that you do feel twinges of pain at the hardships suffered by millions in the Middle East as a direct result of your support for Israel. Then you put that feeling to one side, because on a fundamental level – you think "they" deserve it don't you? 

In your book you say you knew full well how many Beirut homes were flattened, how many civilians died in Lebanon in 2006. Yet you dismiss Lebanese rage about Israeli occupation of the "Sheba Farm" as being an irrelevance, about a "tiny" amount of land. You cannot see it as part of the constant pressure on Lebanese society as a whole by their heavily armed aggressive Israeli neighbour. You see it as: "Israel is attacked. Israel strikes back." As if Israel lives in placid peace, being kindly to all around it in between these massacres.

As other world leaders came out to demand Israel immediately cease its 2006 bombing raids on Lebanese cities, you stayed silent. "If I had condemned Israel" you say in your book "I would have been more than dishonest. It would have undermined my world view."

Your world view is that Muslims are mad, bad and dangerous; a contagion to be contained. Your final chapter is a must read here in the Middle East Tony, congratulations! For it lays out the "them" and "us" agenda of your friends in Washington and Tel Aviv.

In the final chapter you say; "we need a religious counter attack" against Islam. And by "Islam" you mean the Al Quds rallies, the Palestinian intifada (based on an anti-Apartheid struggle Tony, NOT religious bigotry), against every Arab who fails to put their arms in the air as the F16 missiles rain on their homes and refugee camps and sing a rousing chorus of  "Imagine all the people..."

When you say "extremism" must be "controlled and beaten" you mean that you and your kind of morally bankrupt (but filthy rich) world leaders wants control over the rising solidarity spreading through the Ummah and being joined by activists of all creeds on the streets of Paris, London, Bradford, Rome. "Not only extremism must be defeated" you have written but "the narrative" " has to be assailed."

Iran is indeed the place where Islamic tradition meets political action.

They are highly aware of the history of this region, the wrongs perpetrated by Israel against Palestine and the political machinations of the US and the UK governments to isolate them. All things considered are nice as the people have been during my stay. I wouldn't recommend coming over on a book tour though...

Lauren Booth is a journalist, broadcaster and human rights campaigner, and is also Tony Blair’s sister-in-law. The letter appeared on the website of Press TV on September 5, 2010.

Article Index

Protest When Tony Blair Hosts Tate Modern Event

Stop the War Coalition

Protest When Blair Hosts Book Launch Party, Wednesday, 8 September, 5.30pm Tate Modern Gallery, Park Street, Bankside, London SE1 9TG. Tube: Mansion House

It's a victory for the anti-war movement and the thousands who contacted Waterstone's, outraged at it hosting a book-signing for Tony Blair.

Blair has cancelled the book-signing, anticipating hundreds of protesters. He knows beyond doubt that he cannot go anywhere in public without being confronted by protests over his war crimes and by attempts to make a citizen's arrest.

And this applies to the "secret" book launch party that he is hosting at the Tate Modern gallery on the evening of Wednesday 8 September. This has already been termed the "war criminals' party", as Blair is sure to be joined by Alistair Campbell, Jack Straw and others who helped concoct the lies that took Britain into the illegal war in Iraq.

Prominent figures from the arts – including Brian Eno, David Gentleman, Katherine Hamnett and Cat Phillips have already expressed their outrage that the Tate Modern is being used to promote Blair's memoirs, and have called on the gallery, even at this late stage, to cancel the event.

Stop the War has called a demonstration at Tate Modern at 5.30pm on 8 September. We want this protest to be as "artistic" as possible. We are encouraging anyone who is coming to the protest who has a Blair mask or any resources from past Blair protests, to bring them to the Tate Modern.

Please spread the word as widely as you can. See the Stop the War website for updates: http://bit.ly/FeWuS

Andrew Burgin of the STWC had the following exchange with Tate Modern’s Helen Beeckmans:

Thanks for that Helen,

I see your guidelines say ‘our ability to maintain a strong relationship of trust with our public is critical..’ Yet you see no problem in hosting an event for a man who has been responsible for the deaths of 100,000's of innocent people. A man who has broken his relationship of trust with the people of this country by lying and taking Britain into an illegal war in Iraq. The fact that you seek to disassociate the Tate from this event by the sleight of hand you use in your letter is dishonorable.
We will hold a protest at the Tate on Wednesday.


Andrew Burgin
Stop the War Coalition

Helen Beeckmans wrote:

Dear Andrew
Further to your call earlier today I can confirm that Tate is not staging a launch for Tony Blair’s new book. Tate’s galleries are available for hire by companies. These events are private and details are confidential.

Please find below the link to our ethic’s policy as requested.

Yours Helen

Article Index

Shoes, eggs hurled at Blair in Dublin

Protesters hurled shoes and eggs on Saturday, September 4, at Tony Blair who held the first public signing of his memoir amid high security in Ireland’s capital. About 200 demonstrators chanted that Blair had "blood on his hands" as the former Prime Minister arrived at a Dublin bookstore. Shoes, eggs and other projectiles were thrown toward Blair as he emerged from a car. Book buyers were told to hand over bags and mobile phones before entering Eason’s bookstore on O’Connell Street, Dublin’s main shopping thoroughfare.

There were scuffles between police and demonstrators when some tried to force their way through the security cordon. Two protesters were bundled into the back of a security van. Several demonstrators, including one wheelchair user, laid themselves in the van’s path, and riot police were brought in to remove them. Police said four men were arrested and charged with public order offenses.

Protesters shouted "Whose cops? Blair's cops!" as they taunted the gardai while Blair remained inside the bookshop. They also shouted: "Hey hey Tony hey, how many kids have you killed today?"

Blair spent about two hours in the store before emerging to more shouts, boos and hurled eggs. He was quickly driven away, as a police helicopter circled overhead.

"Blair took the world to war in Iraq and Afghanistan on the basis of lies," protester Donal MacFhearraigh said. He said Blair should be indicted as a war criminal.

Another protester, 24-year-old Kate O’Sullivan, said she was taken away by security guards after approaching Blair in the store and trying to perform a citizen’s arrest. "I went up to him and I said 'Mr Blair, I'm here to make a citizen's arrest for the war crimes that you've committed'," she said.

Confrontation erupted again once Blair had left, as police stopped demonstrators from entering the bookstore. Many of the demonstrators then marched to the police station where those arrested were being held to continue their protest there.

In an interview aired Saturday, Blair rejected claims that the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan had increased Muslim radicalization, saying "wicked and backward-looking" radical Islam is the greatest threat to global security. Blair told the BBC World Service "the biggest threat in international security is this broader radicalized movement, because I think it is rather similar to revolutionary communism." He said al-Qaida-linked extremism was "loosely a global ideological movement, but Iran is a state sponsor of it."

(sources: Associated Press, The Guardian)

Article Index

The British Military in Iraq: A Legacy of War Crimes and Atrocities

by Felicity Arbuthnot, 3 September 2010

"Mine is the first generation able to contemplate the possibility that we may live our entire lives without going to war or sending our children to war." (Tony Blair, speech as newly elected Prime Minister, 1997.)

August is seemingly Spotlight on Illegal Invasion month. President Obama has made his Mission-Lost-Cause speech about US, Iraq fantasy "withdrawal" – leaving behind 50,000 troops, perhaps 50,000 mercenaries, and some have suggested 100,000 "advisors."

In context: "Last month, the Congressional Research Service reported that the Department of Defence workforce has 19 percent more contractors (207,600) than uniformed personnel ... in Iraq and Afghanistan, making these wars ... the most outsourced and privatized in US history. Worse, the oversight of contractors will rest with other contractors. As has been the case in Afghanistan, contractors will be sought to provide "operations-centre monitoring of private security contractors (PSCs) as well as PSC inspection and accountability services."(1)

Tony "I would do it again" Blair, announced, on August 16, he is to give his entire £4.6 million advance on his book: "My Journey", to the Royal British Legion, for support of British soldiers in need. As the ungracious calls for his "journey" to be to The Hague get louder – with some suggesting a far less civilized ordeal – it seems timely to assess British "achievements" in Iraq.

The British, of course, having come in flying the St George's flag on their vehicles (the Crusaders' flag) slithered out of Basra city, under cover of darkness, to hunker down at the fortified airport, some distance outside the town, in September 2007, much as US units did from other parts of Iraq, last week, fleeing in the night, over the border to Kuwait.

UK Forces, who had also illegally squatted in Basra Palace, as did their US counterparts in palaces throughout the country, taking over Iraq's cultural properties, additionally pillaging them, in defiance of the 1954 and 1977 Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property. To use such buildings in support of military effort or as a command centre is specifically prohibited. The full extent of pillaging is unlikely to ever be documented, since no one was guarding the guards. An early British example was the theft of a statue of Saddam Hussein from Basra, for which the British taxpayer paid the transport for its journey to the Unit's base in southern England.

Basra Palace was, however, handed back, after four and a half years, in a furtive ceremony at 1 am, local time. Most of the troops had already left, creeping out, to head for the desert road to the airport, from 10 pm.

Alleged British atrocities began as Iraq had barely been declared "liberated." One of their first recorded acts (after securing Basra oil installations) was less than a month after the invasion, in May 2003, when fifteen year old Ahmed Jaber Karheem, drowned, after allegedly being forced in to a canal in the former "Venice of the Middle East", by Guardsmen Martin McGing, Joseph McCleary and Colour Sergeant Carle Selman.

The alleged action was to "teach him a lesson", for suspected looting. Ahmed Jaber could not swim. In a case which took three years to come to court, Guardsman McCleary whinged that: "We were told to put looters in the canal. I was the lowest rank and we were told we weren't paid to think. Just follow orders. I don't know why the army went ahead with the prosecution ... We were scapegoats." Nuremberg's Principles apparently now irrelevant, and Iraqi lives presumably being cheap, they were acquitted.

Whilst there was undisputedly looting of food after the invasion, the population of Basra were almost entirely reliant on the government-distributed rations. The British army "secured" the food warehouses, but distributed none.

Children were begging for any sustenance and for water, throughout the south, in a near famine situation for many. So people looted. No doubt the opportunist joined the desperate, but the situation created by the food-secure occupiers, was shameful. Looters were also shot by troops. Fathers, brothers, sons, faced death for trying to feed their families, or to make a bit of money in the reigning, invasion-generated, chaos.

When the British finally requested a shipment of water for the desperate population, delivered by the unfortunately named naval ship, "Sir Galahad", they called in tankers, rather than deliver themselves. The water filled the tankers – to be contaminated with whatever it had previously transported – and was sold to those who could afford to buy. It is not known whether members of Her Majesty's navy or army, also profited from this nice little earner.

The canal drowning Court case was finally heard in June 2006. That month, the army was being accused of shooting dead a thirteen year old, in a crowd accused of throwing stones.

Casual killing started early in the invasion. Corporal Russ Aston, who later died in an assault on a police station in Al Majar, wrote, in March 2003 : " I've shot 4-5 Iraqis and one of them were quite young, about 14-15 ... I felt bad at the time, but I'm OK now." In a call to his mother he reportedly said: "It's just killing for killing's sake out here ... I don't know how I am going to cope with what I've seen." (2)

A colleague talked of being on a night patrol and: "this f… flip flop had come out", so he shot him dead. According to Amnesty, Wa'el Rahim Jabar: "... was walking along the main street, with a Kalashnikov rifle slung over his right shoulder, accompanied by two (unarmed) friends", it was dark, they did not realise there was a British patrol near by and he was shot in the chest and neck and killed instantly.

Carrying an ancient family weapon was a norm in rural areas, which had often become increasingly dangerous, even before the invasion, due often to embargo-generated desperation or criminality.

Iraqis were referred to by Britain's "boys", as: "stinking Arabs,", "yip-yaps", towel-heads", "flip-flops", and "crusties." Beautiful, battered Basra, where very small children sold fruits they had picked themselves, from the earliest light, along the Corniche, was referred to as a "viper's nest", by Major General Brims.

Aston's colleague, Sergeant Simon Hamilton-Jewell, who was also to die at Al Majar, wrote home, with excitement, of capturing three: "Ba'ath Party members." Ignorance clearly reigned. It was near impossible to get work in Iraq, during Saddam Hussein's leadership, without signing up, whatever the individual's views on Ba'athism (pan-Arabism.) "I had them lying on the floor (of a vehicle) handcuffs, sandbags on their heads and my shooter pointing straight at their heads ..." So much for the Geneva Convention.

It is not known whether two of those, were the men, arrested by Hamilton-Jewell in March 2003, accused, but never tried by the British, held in solitary confinement, allegedly subject to sleep deprivation, extreme heat, arbitrary body searches and physical abuse. A full three years after they were arrested, they were accused of the deaths of two British soldiers, and finally handed over to the Iraqi authorities for trial in 2008, at risk of torture and hanging.

In March 2010, due to the tireless work of Phil Shiner, of the UK's Birmingham based Public Interest lawyers, the two were unanimously awarded compensation for their: "mental suffering, fear of execution (amounting to) inhuman treatment", by the European Court of Human Rights, in Strasbourg. The British government and Foreign Office came in for some salutary criticism.

Just after the US-dominated, UN Security Council, approved the US and UK having interim control of Iraq, on 22nd May 2003, the deliverer of the "fine document" of fictional claims – cited by Colin Powell, at the UN, to justify the invasion – Attorney Anthony Blair, pitched up in Basra, the first "coalition" leader to visit troops.

The: "minimum loss of civilian life", their superb restraint, was now: "famous around the world ..." he said. The troops' actions were, he continued: " ... a model of how armed forces anywhere in the world should conduct themselves ..."

By this time, the family of eleven-year-old Memmon Salam al-Maliki had been looking for him for three weeks. On the April 29, 2003, Memmon was injured by unexploded munitions abandoned by the British, near his Basra home, which locals had begged them to remove, piles scattered everywhere. He lost one hand, fingers of the other and injured his right eye. Picked up by a passing British patrol, it seems he was given first aid, then transferred to the British base hospital at Shuaiba. Memmon was among numbers of children reportedly injured by this lethal, casually abandoned legacy. His parents have not seen him since the British army's intervention.

The British in Basra told his father he had been transferred to an American military hospital in Kuwait. They had, apparently, neither documentation, or knowledge of the location of the hospital. Without his parents’ knowledge and permission, they seemingly admit that Memmon was transferred, across an international border, to another country – and vanished. The US authorities, however, deny all knowledge of him or any paper trail. Seven years later, his family are still looking, still distraught.

In their last letter from the Ministry of Defence, dated October 2005, the department's chief claims officer told their lawyer that the British consulate in Basra had also failed to locate the boy. "I am sorry to say that the subsequent investigation was inconclusive and the whereabouts of your client's son remain unknown, following his transfer to an American field hospital in Kuwait", according to papers seen by the (London) Guardian

The British Ministry of Defence: "began to regard the family's appeals as claims for compensation", expressing sympathy, but denying all liability. Seven and a half years later, Liam Fox, Britain's current Defence Minister – latest in a woeful bunch – has ordered: "an urgent enquiry."

Perhaps the most detailed account of the treatment of Iraqis by the British forces can be found in the legal Inquiry (3) in to the death of Baha Mousa (26) a receptionist at Basra's Haitham Hotel. The father of two, whose 22-year-old wife had recently died of cancer, was arrested with nine others, on 14th September 2003, by personnel of the 1st Battalion, The Queen's Lancashire Regiment. Two days later he was dead, with "at least" ninety-three injuries to his body, including fractured ribs and a broken nose.

A post-mortem found he had suffered cardio-respiratory arrest, i.e. he had been asphyxiated. When his father Daoud Mousa, a Colonel in the Basra Police Force, saw the state of his son's body, "horrified", he burst in to tears. Light shone in the darkest places, again, the result of the deceptively mildly mannered, bull terrier-like lawyer, Phil Shiner.(4) Shiner is currently acting for seventy Iraqis claiming torture and mistreatment by British soldiers. His legal practise is not alone.

A former fellow detainee with Baha Mousa alleged, at London's High Court, that soldiers had competed to see who could kick them the furthest. Another survivor, Kifa Taha al-Mutari, in a witness statement, said he and others were "beaten, hooded and our hands were wired."

Hooding was deemed to constitute torture, by the United Nations Committee Against Torture in 1997, a fact brought to the attention of the relevant British personnel in Basra by 4th April 2003. Baha Mousa was held hooded for over twenty-three hours. (See 3.) Britain is both a signatory to the UN Commission and banned hooding under domestic law in the 1970's.

Whilst looters could be shot, the Inquiry transcript shows some questionable commandeering by the liberators. "The first arrest operation had yielded three Ba'athists who had 11 million dinars in three large bags in their house. Whilst I was keen to follow Geneva Convention rules and allow them to take this with them to the interrogation centre, I decided I could borrow a few thousand for use in the local market -- to demonstrate an element of trust and willingness to restore normality!"

Iraqis know instability, and in times of turmoil, expecting looting, all cash and life's savings are removed from banks and taken home for safer keeping. Three bags may well have represented all the three men had, equivalent of a few thousand pounds, to keep them and their families for however long the chaos lasted.

At the Al Haitham Hotel, as well as rounding up Mr Mousa and his colleagues, Britain's finest, reportedly, rounded up the contents of the safe.

In another incident, it was recorded that: "He was interrogated along with his associates ... after some very disconcerting 'conditioning.' Marines bashed corrugated iron with sticks for several hours. This was to maintain the shock of capture and encourage them to talk. It became apparent just how frightened these men must have been, when two of them pissed themselves."

One young Iraqi was subject to a mock execution, by soldiers pouring what they said was petrol over him, from a jerry can, and threatening to set him alight. Another youth had a gun forced in to his mouth.

Deaths at the hands of the army, disputed by the Ministry of Defence, include twenty Iraqis, which witnesses claimed were taken to the British base at Amara, on 14th May 2004. Undisputed is that the next day twenty bodies were returned to their families. Injuries alleged included evidence of torture, mutilation, removal of eyes, and stab wounds, according to lawyers.

Further: "There were several instances of prisoners ... being injured after capture ... it rendered the prisoner unfit for tactical questioning." Quite some injuries, if they were rendered speechless, it is possible to speculate. Detainees were held in a "prisoner of war cage." Chillingly: "Prisoners should arrive ...’bagged and tagged.' "(i.e.: hooded and handcuffed.) So much for the United Nations Committee on Torture.

In all, prisoner handling was cited as: "Abysmal" and "Fundamentally flawed." Communication was problematical: they lacked interpreters.

Numerous claims, seemingly week on week, year on year, of British occupation inhumanity, include a twenty-three years old security guard, Adil Abba Fadhil Mohammed, who alleges beating with rifle butts, kicking and sexual abuse by male and female soldiers, being made to strip, and being photographed by laughing male and female soldiers. Claims by others include rape, electrocution and sexual humiliation, descriptions of which, should carry a health warning.

Another claim is of the alleged torture and execution of sixty two year old Sabiha Khudur Talib, claimed by her son to be taken away by British soldiers, hit on her back with a rifle butt, and bundled in to a personnel carrier. Her body was found on Basra's al-Zubayr highway, in a British army body bag. Basra police describe: "traces of torture and a bullet wound to the abdomen." "The evidence points to a brutal murder ..." says Phil Shiner.

In October 2009, an army whistle-blower spoke to investigative reporter Donal MacIntyre, he had spent much of his career in the Royal Military Police Special Investigations Branch. He finally left believing that he was: "serving something that was party to covering up quite serious allegations of torture and murder", he commented.

"I've seen documentary evidence that there were incidents, running in to the hundreds, involving death and serious injury to Iraqis. It is the actions of a few who have shown to be bad apples. But the system in so flawed, and some of the decision making has been so perverse, that it is fair to say that the barrel is probably rotten."

In 2009, when the British finally left Iraq, their Commanding Officer saluted their bravery and told them: "We have prepared the ground for continued success ... We leave knowing that Basra is a better place now than it was in 2003."

It takes, as ever, William Blum on Iraq, to cut through this and the rest of the delusional nonsense, including that from "Peace Envoy" Blair, and utterly unworthy Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Obama, this week. Britain and America:

"... killed wantonly, tortured ... the people of that unhappy land have lost everything – their homes, their schools, their electricity, their clean water, their environment, their neighbourhoods, their mosques, their archaeology, their jobs, their careers, their professionals, their state-run enterprises, their physical health, their mental health, their health care, their welfare state, their women's rights, their religious tolerance, their safety, their security, their children, their parents, their past, their present, their future, their lives ...

More than half the population either dead, wounded, traumatized, in prison, internally displaced, or in foreign exile ... The air, soil, water, blood and genes drenched with depleted uranium ... the most awful birth defects ... unexploded cluster bombs lie in wait for children to pick them up ... a river of blood runs alongside the Euphrates and Tigris ... through a country that may never be put back together again." (5)



1. http://www.truth-out.org/another-false-ending-contracting-out-iraq-occupation62883

2. Last Round, Mark Nichol, Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 2005.

3. Full transcript: http://www.bahamousainquiry.org/linkedfiles/baha_mousa/hearings/transcripts/20090723day8fulldayredacted.pdf

4. http://www.publicinterestlawyers.co.uk/general/about.php

5. http://www.killinghope.org/bblum6/aer85.html(Anti-Empire Report, September 1, 2010)


[the original article carried a photo with this caption] The real terrorists: After shooting and killing Iraqi police and civilians in Basra, two British agents from the Special Air Service (SAS) or a branch organization of the special forces, disguised as suicide bombers from the Mehdi Army, were caught "red-handed" in a car loaded with explosives on September 19, 2005.

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Tony Blair’s Bloody Memoir

By Gilad Atzmon, 5 September 2010

Gilad Atzmon calls on the Middle East Quartet – the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Russia – to do the decent thing and hand over suspected war criminal Tony Blair to the International Criminal Court in the Hague to face justice.

Tony Blair, a man who launched a criminal war with no end, declared once again today that "Radical Islam is the world's greatest threat".

He made the remark in a BBC interview marking the publication of his memoirs.

Blair said radical Islamists believed that whatever was done in the name of their cause was justified, including the use of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.

I can’t make up my mind whether Blair’s remark is amusing or tragic, for not a single Islamic leader has ever used "chemical, biological or nuclear weapons". If anything, it is Britain and the USA who deployed weaponry that contained depleted uranium. A recent study reveals that the cancer rate in Fallujah, Iraq, is worse than it was in Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

Blair doesn’t like Iran either: "We need to give a message to Iran that is very clear – that they cannot have a nuclear weapons capability, and we will stop them." I have actually believed for many years that an Iranian bomb is the key to peace. An Iranian bomb is the only thing that may deter Western expansionism and Israeli barbarism.

One would expect the Middle East Quartet’s "peace envoy" to pretend to be impartial and to demand Israel's transparency over its nuclear affairs. I guess that this is too much to ask. Hence, I would advise the Quartet that if they are truly interested in peace in the region, first they must make sure that Blair is brought to The Hague and face justice. Such an act would be the first step towards peace. It would demonstrate ethical integrity and moral transparency.

Clearly, the British political and judicial systems are not up to the task of confronting Britain’s recent colossal war crimes. We need the international community to intervene.

"This [Islamic] extremism is so deep," said Blair "that in the end they have to know that they're facing a stronger will than theirs." Interestingly enough, the facts on the ground suggest otherwise.

The English-speaking armies are totally defeated in Iraq and Afghanistan. Evidently, not much "strong will" is detected among the British and American soldiers to die in these Zionist wars called by war criminals who are funded by Zionist lobbyists.

Gilad Atzmon is an Israeli-born musician, writer and anti-racism campaigner. His latest jazz album, "In loving memory of America", was released on March 1, 2009.

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