The Secret Atrocity- UK War Crime Cover Up Fails

The High Court today lifted a gagging order stopping the media reporting allegations of torture and brutality by British troops in Iraq.  Soldiers are said to have captured 31 Iraqis following an ambush in May 2004 before killing 22 and leaving only nine injured survivors after detaining them at military headquarters in Abu Naji. However reporting restrictions imposed earlier on by the court have now been lifted following a petition by several national newspapers and the BBC.

It has been claimed the men were seized by the British Army following a firefight on the road from Amara to Basra, near Majar al-Kabir in south-east Iraq. Iraqi families and survivors are seeking compensation and a ruling at a High Court hearing, due to start in the near future, that the Government is legally obliged to set up an independent inquiry into the incident. Death certificates to go before the court are said to state that corpses of Iraqis rounded up showed signs of “mutilation” and “torture”.

Lawyers investigating the allegations say the testimonies of five witnesses to the events “combine to give a harrowing account of what took place”. The Ministry of Defence has denied there was evidence of wrongdoing by soldiers, including the deliberate mutilation of corpses.

Lawyers Phil Shiner and Martyn Day of Leigh Day are representing the Iraqis. They travelled out to Istanbul earlier this month to meet with some of the alleged survivors and the other witnesses to the events. Mr Shiner said today: “The testimonies of these five men taken over five days in Istanbul by myself and Martyn contain shocking material and combine to give a harrowing account of what took place. I have never heard such evidence in nearly 30 years of being a solicitor.”

Martyn Day said: “Phil and I are clear that what took place in Majar is of massive consequence not just for the British Army and the British Government but for the British people. Today is the first step in ensuring what happened in Majar is brought out into the open.”

The fresh allegations of brutality by UK forces come after it was announced that no one will be held responsible for the killing of Iraqi civilian Baha Mousa who was beaten to death in Army custody five years ago. The decision was branded a shameful indictment of the way politicians, the military and its prosecuting authority dealt with the tragic case. And now the MoD faces further pressure after it failed to keep secret these new alllegations of abuse by British troops.

The gagging order blocked the naming of any of the Iraqi claimants, or the telling of their stories, until a final decision was taken on whether there will be any criminal prosecutions against any soldiers. The ban was imposed last December by Lord Justice Thomas, sitting with Mr Justice Silber, after the Ministry of Defence confirmed the possibility of criminal prosecutions.

Lord Justice Thomas said “adverse publicity” arising from the civil High Court case would be “highly undesirable”. But today, in an extraordinary judicial clash of views, another senior judge, Lord Justice Moses – also sitting with Mr Justice Silber – overturned the ban “in its entirety”. He ruled there was “ample material” to support the proposition that the proceedings to be brought in the High Court should be “in the public domain”, and ample authority “for the good reasons why that should be so”.

The MoD had wanted to keep secret the names of the Army regiments allegedly involved. But Lord Justice Moses ruled there was no basis for keeping secret the names of those who were subject to investigation. The possibility of there being any prosecution was “far too remote”, said the judge, and there was certainly no statutory prohibition on the publication of names.

Mr Justice Silber said: “For the reasons given by (Lord Justice Moses), I agree with him.” The BBC’s Panorama programme, which is preparing an item on the Majar incident, welcomed today’s ruling. Deputy editor Frank Simmonds said: “Panorama is very pleased with the judgment as it clears the way for a more constructive dialogue with the MoD on matters of clear public interest.”

During the hearing, Lord Justice Moses said it was “barmy” that it had taken so long for the military authorities to investigate what had happened at Majar in 2004. He said: “It is not fair on them (the soldiers) as well as on everybody else.”

Jonathan Swift, appearing for the MoD, said fresh investigations had become necessary as a result of the witness statements made by the Iraqi claimants in the pending High Court hearing. He said he was only seeking to uphold the gagging order in so far as it prohibited the naming of the regiments involved. The judge said: “It is not the way it works. If you are right then it is one rule for the MoD and another rule for the ordinary citizen.”

Mr Swift said he was not suggesting there should be different rules for different categories, but a no-names order was necessary in the present case “on a precautionary basis” because possible criminal proceedings could be undermined by publicity.

But the judge said: “There is nothing unusual in this case in relation to the disclosure of the identity of someone who is being investigated and where there remains the possibility of future criminal proceedings.” There was no basis for an order that there should not be disclosure of those who were subject to investigation.

So the cover up has failed, what else remains hidden by the establishment? This is war, this always happens. This is what was chosen, this is why Blair must be prosecuted.

(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;  {Nuremberg Tribunal defined Crimes against Peace}

Sit Rep

HAL small Power has been down, the phone is intermittent, net access likewise.

So…with gales and hail and wobbly comms & power this may be the only post, or it might not, but if it is- now you know why. Like they say rather than curse the darkness light a candle and I have many candles ready, can’t run a mac and a telecom exchange off ’em though.

The Police State ConsenSUS

Mr Cameron said concern about a return to “sus” laws – one of the factors behind inner city riots in the early 1980s – were misplaced and the police were no longer racist.

Labour has been locked in a war of words with the Conservatives over stop and search, with the two parties promoting apparently similar policies.

In an interim report published last year, Sir Ronnie Flanagan, the chief inspector of constabulary in England and Wales, said police were bogged down in red tape and afraid to use their own judgement. 

Well I’m reassured, white, rich, Eton educated conservative leader can categorically tell the police aren’t racist and he should golly gosh well know being the aforementioned- white, rich, Eton educated conservative leader. And better yet both parties want to outdo each other in how much power they give to the police, go democracy! And dear old ‘Sir’ Ronnie Flanagan, former head of the RUC-

In RFJ’s submission to The Patten Commission on Policing, we recall an incident that occurred during an investigation into threats against defence lawyers by the UN Special Rapporteur on The Independence of Judges and Lawyers Mr.Param Cumaraswamy in October 1997. This incident involved the then Chief Constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan and his Assistant Chief Constable and then Head of Special Branch, Raymond White, during a meeting between the Special Rapporteur, Flanagan and White, which they stated that ‘some lawyers are working to the agenda of the paramilitaries’.

The comments so alarmed the Rapporteur and his assistant, Mr. Alan Parra, given that they were reminiscent of similar comments made by Mr. Douglas Hogg MP in the British Parliament after he was briefed by senior RUC officers in Downing St. in 1989. Within weeks of these comments being made human rights lawyer Pat Finucane was murdered. Mr. Finucane’s murder had been at the core of the Special Rapporteur’s inquiries during his visit to the North.

Special Branch officers protected loyalist paramilitary informants and failed to stop them committing up to 15 murders, according to a damning report by the police ombudsman for Northern Ireland published yesterday. There was clear evidence of collusion between members of the banned Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) in north Belfast and police officers over a period of 12 years, the ombudsman, Nuala O’Loan, declared.

Last night there were calls for the resignation of the former chief constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, Sir Ronnie Flanagan, who is now head of the Inspectorate of Constabulary, with an overview of standards throughout policing.

Yeah, so let’s trust them with more power, what could possibly go wrong?

The Writing On The Wall


Thanks to (click pic for bigger size) and you too can have any message you want sprayed on the wall by Palestinian artists for a bargain 30 euros (or equivalent dollars) up to 100 characters and all the proceeds go to NGO‘s, FAQ here. My mum will see this on Sunday and I am quietly confident I have cornered the more unusual end of the get well greetings market (ok it’s missing a second ‘as’ so sue me). Now, what other artefacts of oppression can I advertise on? (Crass, moi?)

Also a good opportunity to mention Chest Doc in Palestine again- In summer 2007, a UK doctor spent two weeks in the West Bank. This is his story. Really worth your time to read his account.
(ht2 People’s Geography)

Suharto Posthumously Nominated For Nobel Peace Prize

Well not quite and hey after Kissinger…anyways, I am genuinely disturbed by this, in both the UK & US corporate mainstream media Suharto and our roles in his murderous reign have been whitewashed. A complete and thorough use of the memory hole. What disrespect for his victims, the raped, beaten, killed and tortured, they have been disappeared yet again, exactly how is this any different at all from morons denying the Holocaust? I am fucking disgusted.

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The Widening Gyre: Monolines

The underpinnings of the irrational addictive cruel greed fantasy that is global capitalism are crumbling, it’s going to be bad-

A NEW and serious crack in the world’s financial system appeared last week when problems surfaced at a small set of obscure, but vitally important institutions – monoline insurers.

They make money by insuring against loans going wrong. If the issuer of a bond goes bust, they guarantee to step in and make interest payments and repay the principal. This security makes borrowing cheaper for companies.

Though the monolines started out in the 1970s to insure bonds issued by American local authorities, they have jumped on the boom in debt markets to grow explosively in recent years. They are estimated to stand behind bonds worth $2.5-$3.3 trillion.

In America, they have helped fund everything from building power stations to schools and hospitals. In Britain, they played a key role in financing the Channel Tunnel, upgrades to the London Underground, Arsenal’s new stadium and in £5.7 billion of private finance initiative projects.

Now the good times have come to a juddering halt. For many, the crisis has been building for six years after the monolines aggressively expanded into insuring collateralised debt obligations (CDOs) – exotic parcels of debt created by investment banks. It looked like a lucrative business as the debt markets boomed. But it has morphed into a monster that now threatens to consume them.

(Reuters) – An attempt by a New York insurance regulator to bailout monoline bond insurers is coming “too late” to avert ratings downgrades, with a broader multi-faceted regulatory response likely required, CreditSights said on Tuesday.

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MI5 has expanded fast, particularly into the regions. New offices were opened in the South East and Wales in 2006/7 – and by 2008, regional stations will house three times the number of staff originally planned, the report reveals.The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) – or, to use its more popular name, MI6 – grew at a rate of 3.6% in the last year compared to nearly 30% for MI5, but it has still been undergoing significant changes.

In its broadest definition, counter-terrorism now takes up 56% of MI6’s work and that figure is rising.

The committee also looked at the issue of whether the government was justified in saying that there were real national security considerations when it came to halting the Serious Fraud Office’s investigation into BAE Systems’ dealings with Saudi Arabia. Sir John told the committee that if Saudi Arabia had carried out a threat to withdraw counter-terrorist co-operation the results would be serious since it was a ‘an absolutely key country’, although the government declined to show the committee one note from the prime minister on the subject.

The government’s eavesdropping agency, GCHQ, has also been put under pressure with resources increasingly devoted to supporting MI5 operations. Making sure its resources keep pace has not always been easy.

Ooh, regional expansion, so kind of London centric England to give us the chance for more of this. And the spooks are pissed the media is leaked to, by whom though? This creates pressure from them to the government for more state control of the media, nice little circular grift that. Just how believable and independent of political interference are these cloak & dagger merchants…they support the government’s blocking of the fraud investigation of the BAE/Saudi/govt deals/bribes. Apart from y’know, promoting and rewarding the liars of Iraq, still, who wants to end up like David Kelly?