Dragged To Hell

Andy Worthington recounts Muhammad Ahmad Abdallah Salih’s final years-

Like the other prisoners who died of “apparent suicides” at Guantánamo, Salih had been a long-term hunger striker, refusing food as the only method available to protest his long imprisonment without charge or trial. According to weight records issued by the Pentagon in 2007, he weighed 124 pounds on his arrival at Guantánamo, but at one point in December 2005, during the largest hunger strike in the prison’s history, his weight dropped to just 86 pounds.

Salih was one of around 50 prisoners at Guantánamo who had survived a massacre at Qala-i-Janghi, a fort in northern Afghanistan, at the end of November 2001, when, after the surrender of the city of Kunduz, several hundred foreign fighters surrendered to General Rashid Dostum, one of the leaders of the Northern Alliance, in the mistaken belief that they would be allowed to return home. Instead, they were imprisoned in Qala-i-Janghi, a nineteenth century mud fort in Mazar-e-Sharif, and when some of the men started an uprising against their captors, which led to the death of a CIA operative, US Special Forces, working with the Northern Alliance and British Special Forces, called in bombing raids to suppress the uprising, leading to hundreds of deaths. The survivors – who, for the most part, had not taken part in the fighting – took shelter in the basement of the fort, where they endured further bombing, and they emerged only after many more had died when the basement was set on fire and then flooded.

Like many of the prisoners at Guantánamo, Salih had traveled to Afghanistan many months before the 9/11 attacks, to fight as a foot soldier for the Taliban in Afghanistan’s long-running civil war against the Muslims of the Northern Alliance. When the US military reviewed his case at Guantánamo in 2004, he refused to attend the hearing, but provided a statement via his Personal Representative (a representative of the military assigned in place of a lawyer), in which he said that he arrived in Afghanistan eight or nine months before the 9/11 attacks, and admitted being a member of the Taliban, but made a point of adding, “Yes, but that doesn’t mean I supported Osama bin Laden.”

 He also admitted fighting on the front lines against the Northern Alliance, but added “that he fired at the enemy, but did not kill anyone,” and also admitted staying in four different Taliban-run guest houses in Afghanistan and Pakistan, although he also made a point of saying that he hadn’t heard of al-Qaeda “until from the media on the front lines.” He also explained that he did not participate in military operations against the United States or its coalition partners, saying, “The first time I saw Americans was in Kandahar” (at the US prison used for processing prisoners after their capture). He also denied an allegation that Osama bin Laden spoke to “his group” in Tora Bora (the site of a battle between US/Afghan forces and remnants of al-Qaeda and the Taliban in late November and early December 2001), saying that he had never been in Tora Bora, which was, of course, true, as he was in Qala-i-Janghi instead, and was then moved to General Dostum’s prison at Sheberghan, where he was imprisoned when the Battle of Tora Bora took place.

Proportionate Response

Ret. Gen. Thomas McInerney: Here’s what I would suggest to you. Number one, we take the National Council for Resistance to Iran off the terrorist list that the Clinton Administration put them on as well as the Mujahedin-e Khalq at the Camp Ashraf in Iraq. Then I would start a tit-for-tat strategy which I wrote up in the Wall Street Journal a year ago: For every EFP that goes off and kills Americans, two go off in Iran. No questions asked. People don’t have to know how it was done. It’s a covert action. They become the most unlucky country in the world…

As the piece goes on to say this is pretty well much already happening, but when it is openly advocated- the terrorism of the Empire’s War OF Terror- that the IDF’s idea of several eyes for an eye has more fans in the Homeland, along with the torture and wars of aggression…

Also the UK weakly (as in not enough to effect it and piss off it’s Whitehouse masters) gave up appealing the neocons favourite terrorist group be taken off the the list. A Confederacy of Wankers!

Leni Riefenstahl

From todays Democracy Now!

AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to Philippe Sands. His book is called The Torture Team. It’s coming out in a few weeks. His piece in Vanity Fair is called “The Green Light.” Can you talk about 24, the TV show?

PHILIPPE SANDS: I can. I can also reveal an embarrassment, which is that when I was interviewing Diane Beaver, she—and I wasn’t recording it; I was taking handwritten notes—I wrote down very quickly “24 Becker.” And then when I got back to my hotel room and typed up the notes, it didn’t ring any bells for me, so I typed it out, I typed it into Google, and it came up with “24—do you mean ‘24 Bauer’?” So I typed yes, I went and followed it, and of course that opened the door to something that came completely unexpectedly, that the individuals down at Guantanamo were watching and were being influenced by the film program—the TV program 24.

I went back. I spoke with others, including Diane Beaver again and Mike Dunlavey, and went into great detail. And it turns out, as she described it to me, the TV program 24 had many friends down at Guantanamo. And the timing is fascinating. The abusive interrogations started in November 2002, just three weeks after the start of the second series of 24. And it seems that there was a direct connection between that program and the creating of an environment in which individuals felt it was permissible to push the envelope, as it was put to me.

AMY GOODMAN: And what did the lawyers say about 24?

PHILIPPE SANDS: Diane Beaver no longer feels able to watch 24. I mean, she told me she recognizes now that this is extremely problematic, but that 24 was being broadcast into Guantanamo by cable television. The first series ran throughout 2002, and they were active viewers. It was an extremely popular program.

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Techno Lynch Mob

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba — A defense lawyer lets slip at the war court convening here that a battlefield commander changed an Afghanistan firefight report in a way that seemed to help a U.S. government murder case. Reporters hear the field commander’s name but are forbidden to report it.

In another case, a judge approves the release of a captive’s interrogation video showing the blurred face of an American agent. But a federal prosecutor on loan to the Pentagon withholds it “out of an abundance of caution.”

Even as the U.S. government edges toward full-blown, war-crimes trials by military commission here, with more hearings next week, all sides are grappling with what information can be made public and what must be kept secret.

Consider: A new courtroom here sequesters Pentagon-approved spectators behind a soundproofed window. If a terror suspect tries to shout about his treatment in U.S. custody, a military censor can mute the audio feed that observers hear.

Under rules that protect interrogation techniques, the Pentagon’s war court won’t let the reputed 9/11 architect, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, say he was waterboarded — something the CIA director, Air Force Gen. Michael V. Hayden, confirmed on Feb. 5.

Reporters and other observers must agree to a series of regulations that have no counterpart in the civilian court system. Journalists are forbidden, for example, to report anything uttered in court that a Pentagon security officer declares “protected information.”

Under the system, the Pentagon says the Office of Military Commissions — not the judge — has the last word on what the public can see. 

To call these things a ‘trial’ is akin to calling torture ‘enhanced interrogation’, oh… they already did that. The abyss is certainly staring back hard. Good German style Mushroom Soup.

Iranians Disapprove of Attacks On Civilians More Than Americans

Via The Fanonite, a survey of Muslim attitudes and reflections on prejudiced assumptions:

The results showed plainly that much of the conventional wisdom about Muslims — views touted by U.S. policymakers and pundits and accepted by voters — is simply false.

How much do Americans know about the views and beliefs of Muslims around the world? According to polls, not much. Perhaps not surprising, the majority of Americans (66%) admit to having at least some prejudice against Muslims; one in five say they have “a great deal” of prejudice. Almost half do not believe American Muslims are “loyal” to this country, and one in four do not want a Muslim as a neighbor.

Gallup found that 72% of Americans disagreed with this statement: “The majority of those living in Muslim countries thought men and women should have equal rights.” In fact, majorities in even some of the most conservative Muslim societies directly refute this assessment: 73% of Saudis, 89% of Iranians and 94% of Indonesians say that men and women should have equal legal rights. Majorities of Muslim men and women in dozens of countries around the world also believe that a woman should have the right to work outside the home at any job for which she is qualified (88% in Indonesia, 72% in Egypt and even 78% in Saudi Arabia), and to vote without interference from family members (87% in Indonesia, 91% in Egypt, 98% in Lebanon).

What about Muslim sympathy for terrorism? Many charge that Islam encourages violence more than other faiths, but studies show that Muslims around the world are at least as likely as Americans to condemn attacks on civilians. Polls show that 6% of the American public thinks attacks in which civilians are targets are “completely justified.” In Saudi Arabia, this figure is 4%. In Lebanon and Iran, it’s 2%.
Read the rest of this entry »

Torture From The Top

Edited excerpts from the Vanity Fair piece The Green Light by Phillippe Sands, go read the whole piece here, it’s quite a polite article to say the least. Here are some of the main perpetrators, people who should be tried for war crimes, over torture, also many are responsible for the supreme crime- the invasion of Iraq:

  • George W. Bush, Dick Cheney & Donald Rumsfeld.
  • David Addington
  • Lieutenant Colonel Diane Beaver
  • Jay Bybee
  • Lieutenant General Bantz Craddock
  • Daniel Dell’Orto
  • Major General Michael E. Dunlavey
  • Douglas Feith
  • Alberto Gonzales
  • Jim Haynes
  • General Tom Hill
  • Major General Geoffrey Miller
  • General Richard Myers
  • Lieutenant Colonel Jerald Phifer
  • Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez
  • George Tenet
  • Paul Wolfowitz
  • John Yoo

John Yoo is a law professor at  Berkley in California, Larisa Alexandrovna has all the details to contact his employer and make them aware of your feelings that they are tolerating a war criminal in their midst. Here is his shit eating defence of some of his actions in a Wall Street Journal opinion column providing an illuminating insight into the self serving delusional worldview him and maybe many of the people listed above maintain.

In my efforts to get to the heart of this story, and its possible consequences, I visited a judge and a prosecutor in a major European city, and guided them through all the materials pertaining to the Guantánamo case. The judge and prosecutor were particularly struck by the immunity from prosecution provided by the Military Commissions Act. “That is very stupid,” said the prosecutor, explaining that it would make it much easier for investigators outside the United States to argue that possible war crimes would never be addressed by the justice system in the home country—one of the trip wires enabling foreign courts to intervene. For some of those involved in the Guantánamo decisions, prudence may well dictate a more cautious approach to international travel. And for some the future may hold a tap on the shoulder. 

The real story, pieced together from many hours of interviews with most of the people involved in the decisions about interrogation, goes something like this: The Geneva decision was not a case of following the logic of the law but rather was designed to give effect to a prior decision to take the gloves off and allow coercive interrogation; it deliberately created a legal black hole into which the detainees were meant to fall. The new interrogation techniques did not arise spontaneously from the field but came about as a direct result of intense pressure and input from Rumsfeld’s office. The Yoo-Bybee Memo was not simply some theoretical document, an academic exercise in blue-sky hypothesizing, but rather played a crucial role in giving those at the top the confidence to put pressure on those at the bottom.

The fingerprints of the most senior lawyers in the administration were all over the design and implementation of the abusive interrogation policies. Addington, Bybee, Gonzales, Haynes, and Yoo became, in effect, a torture team of lawyers, freeing the administration from the constraints of all international rules prohibiting abuse. Read the rest of this entry »

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28 Daze Later

While we fight an extension to detention (oh yeah!) without charge to 42 days/six weeks (maybe they think 42 days will give them the answer to life, the universe & everything- or in other words 41 days of torture and one day to sign the piece of paper they put in front of you), let’s not forget it already is 28 days/4 weeks which puts us in line with…Burma and Ming the Merciless probably. At the end of all this the best we have achieved is not to have a 42 day/6 week limit. We are still busily building ourselves a real world theme park based on the hit film Brazil.

So Dear Establishment-

I am not afraid of terrorism, and I want you to stop being afraid on my behalf. Please start scaling back the official government war on terror. Please replace it with a smaller, more focused anti-terrorist police effort in keeping with the rule of law. Please stop overreacting. I understand that it will not be possible to stop all terrorist acts. I accept that. I am not afraid.

Let ’em know- They Work For You.

Sadr Agrees A Cease Fire

Muqtada al-Sadr, an Iraqi Shia leader, has ordered his fighters to withdraw from the streets of several provinces, six days after Iraqi forces mounted a crackdown against Shia armed groups.

“We want the Iraqi people to stop this bloodshed and maintain Iraq’s independence and stability,” al-Sadr said in a statement released on Sunday. “For that we have decided to withdraw [al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army] from the streets of Basra and all other provinces.”

Al-Sadr’s nine-point plan, agreed with the Iraqi government, was issued by his headquarters in the city of Najaf and broadcast through loudspeakers on Shia mosques.

James Bays, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Baghdad, said: “The main elements are that Muqtada al-Sadr’s fighters should leave the streets … in return, apparently, they will not be pursued, the Iraqi government will not arrest any of them unless they have arrest warrants for them.

“The big question now is whether the Mahdi army fighters will obey this command because there are all sorts of factions and splinter groups in existence.” 

There is also a defence of the UK involvement-

Tom Holloway, British military spokesman for Iraq, told Al Jazeera that British forces in Basra had fired artillery rounds at people they had identified as opposition fighters.

“We’ve been firing in support of Iraqi ground forces. They’ve been in contact, they’ve requested support from the coalition and artillery on a couple of occasions has been deemed the most appropriate response.”

“We use our surveillance assets and conduct a collateral damage assessment. Obviously, once we’ve positively identified the target we make an assessment that we are able to attack it,” he said.

Holloway said that British involvement in the operation is “entirely in line with the agreements with the government of Iraq”, known as operational overwatch.

There’s just one thing here, artillery is in sense of the word a precision weapon. They always state they identified ‘turrists’ or bad guys or whatever, but the reality is shelling is awfully haphazard and in a built up area you will be raining death on a large area, civilians and fighters. Just because a spokesman said they aimed at ‘opposition fighters’ (citizens of the country you invaded) does not change the reality of artilleries widespread devastating effect. You can believe the Disneyland spokes people and think how splendid and sportsmanlike the war is when our chaps weigh in, but you sleep easy with civilians blood on your deluded hands.

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Cockburn, Ramadani & Jarrar On Iraq

From Iraqi Police Refuse to Back Maliki’s Attacks on Mehdi Army By PATRICK COCKBURN

  • The officer said four of his men were killed and 15 wounded in the fighting. “Some of the men told me that they did not want to go back to the fight until they have better support and more protection,” he added. The Interior Ministry threatened that the men would be court-martialled for refusing to fight.
  • Government troops arriving in Basra complain that they are being fired on by local police loyal to Mr Sadr.
  • Members of one police unit had fist fights with their officers after they refused to join the battle.
  • US aircraft are dropping bombs in Basra and US armored vehicles made an incursion into Sadr City in Baghdad
  • Sadr City, which has a population of two million and is almost a twin city to Baghdad. The densely packed slum has been sealed off by US troops. “We are trapped in our homes with no water or electricity since yesterday,” said a resident 
  • A measure of the anarchy in Iraq is that it is unclear who controls large swaths of the country. By one report the Mehdi Army has taken over the centre of the city of Nassariya. The Green Zone in Baghdad, the headquarters of the Iraqi government and of US political influence, is being mortared every day. One mortar round killed two guards outside the Vice-President’s office in the zone.
  • Nobody knows on whose side sections of the security services belong. In a further blow to the belief that the surge has restored law and order, one of the two Iraqi spokesmen for the Baghdad security plan, which is at the heart of the surge strategy, was kidnapped and three of his bodyguards killed before his house was set on fire. The victim was Tahseen Sheikhly, a Sunni who often appeared with American officials to proclaim the success of the surge.
  • In Baghdad, tens of thousands of supporters of Mr Sadr, whose base of support is the Shia poor, marched through the streets shouting slogans demanding that Mr Maliki’s government be overthrown. “We demand the downfall of the Maliki government,”

 Mystery surrounds Mr Maliki’s motive in launching an assault on the Mehdi Army after Mr Sadr renewed his six-month ceasefire last month. A likely explanation is that Mr Maliki, who has little support outside the holy city of Kerbala, was under pressure from the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), his main ally, to attack the Sadrists now. The Sadrists were expected to do well against ISCI in provincial elections which are to be held in October under an agreement brokered by the US Vice-President Dick Cheney during his visit to Baghdad earlier in the month.

You can add to that now UK artillery and planes are engaged.

Sami Ramadani-

A trade union leader in Basra reminded me this week that March was the month in 1991 when Saddam launched his infamous campaign to crush an uprising, which began in Basra and spread to most of the country. This week’s attacks, he said, were much more ferocious that those 17 years ago. There are other disturbing echoes: Saddam’s forces were being observed by US and British planes, which were in full control of Iraqi air space as the March uprising was so brutally crushed.

The scale of the outcry has forced Grand Ayattollah Sistani to call for a peaceful solution to the conflict, even though his various spokespeople initially supported the assault. 

Many Iraqis are linking what they regard as a premeditated and unprovoked attack on a relatively peaceful city with Cheney’s visit and Washington’s insistence that the US-trained Iraqi armed forces should do more of the ground-fighting, while the occupation forces resort to air attacks and emergency support. 

They are also linking it to the fact that oil and dock workers’ unions, declared illegal, are in full control of the ports and the major oil fields. These unions are strongly opposed to the US-backed oil law to privatise the Iraqi industry and allow the major oil companies to control production and marketing. The law is also opposed by the Sadr movement, which was expected to win a decisive victories in forthcoming elections. 

Raed Jarrar on the misleading coverage-

Iraqi and US media quotes al-Maliki calling Sadrists “worse than al Qaeda”. This doesn’t come as a surprise to me because Al-Qaeda is indeed closer to Al-Maliki’s political and military agenda.

I know that this will shock to many US readers because both Al-Maliki and Al-Sadr are Shiites, and al-Qaeda is a Sunni organization. But this is yet another piece of evidence showing that the fight in Iraq is not a sectarian or religious struggle between “the soooooniz” and “the shiiteeeez”.

Separatist Sunnis who want to create an “Sunnistan” in the middle and west of Iraq, like Al-qaeda’s “Islamic state of Iraq”, work for the same end goal as the separatist Shiites who want to create a “Shiastan” in the south, and the separatist Kurds with their existing “Kurdistan” in the north. So why would Al-Maliki and Al-Hakim, the two hardcore separatists, see al-qaeda as an enemy? After all, they all share the same vision for Iraq.

But Al-Sadr and Al-Fadhela, as two nationalist political powers who are against partitioning, are indeed a bigger threat to Shiastan than al-qaeda.

Niki and I were talking last night about how this “Sunni/Shiite civil war” has became a dogma in the US, and how all the indicators that this is not a sectarian war are being dismissed. Instead of admitting that this conflict was never sectarian, they hold on to their original explanations and simply say that the sectarian war has taken on a new component. 

Moqtada al-Sadr Punks Maliki

NAJAF, Iraq, March 29 (Reuters) – Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has told his followers not to lay down their arms, rejecting a demand by the Iraqi government which launched a crackdown against them this week, a top aide said on Saturday.“Moqtada al-Sadr asks his followers not to deliver weapons to the government. Weapons should be turned over only to a government which can expel the occupiers,” aide Hassan Zargani told Reuters by telephone.Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has given Shi’ite militants in Basra until April 8 to surrender their weapons. Mehdi Army fighters in the city have rejected the ultimatum.

Update: And calls for recognition-

In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera in Damascus, al-Sadr called on the Arab League, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference and the United Nations to recognise “the Iraqi resistance”.

“I appeal to these parties to add legitimacy to the resistance and to stand by, not against, the Iraqi people because the Iraqi people need Arabs as much as they need any other person,” he said.

“Iraq is still under occupation and the United States’ popularity is reducing every day and every minute in Iraq.

“I call, through Al Jazeera, for the departure of the occupying troops from Iraq as soon as possible.”

Al Jazeera interview and report on Basra-

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Brown Does A Blair, UK Attacks Mehdi Army

Shock horror! NOT. UK troops were sent in to help the US/Maliki assault on the Sadrist nationalists

British forces have become directly involved in the fighting in Basra, as clashes continue between the Iraqi army and militiamen of the Mehdi Army. British troops launched artillery shells at a mortar position in the al-Klalaf area of northern Basra, which had been firing on Iraqi troops.

In Basra, British aircraft had been patrolling the skies during the course of the Iraqi government forces’ operation, but had previously not been used to attack militiamen. 

That’s why withdrawal doesn’t count unless they are out of the region and home, because it’s one phone call from the Whitehouse and bingo! They are back in the shit.

MOD Admits…A Little Bit Of Torture, Then Keeps Lying

Britain’s Defence Ministry is to admit that its troops tortured and breached the human rights of nine Iraqi men they detained in southern Iraq in 2003, opening the way to potentially large compensation claims. The decision follows years of legal wrangling in which the family of Baha Musa, an Iraqi hotel worker who was beaten and died in British custody, and eight other Iraqis who survived the beatings, have sought justice.

Seven officers and soldiers were court-martialled in the case of Musa and the others, but only one was found guilty after admitting mistreatment of prisoners.

Well first, it’s not a Ministry of Defence, it’s the Ministry of War, or Violence, or Military. Defence? Newspeak bullshit it is time to abandon. Now then can you spot the effectiveness of the Military investigating itself? And how long did the establishment deny this treatment, ie. lie? And what about the gag order on Ben Griffin who says British complicity in torture was widespread and from the top? In other words this is a tiny admission while they work furiously to keep the truth of the extent of involvement in torture top secret. After all they make sure to state this was tiny number, isolated incident, rotten apple blah blah blah-

“I deeply regret the actions of a very small number of troops and I offer my sincere apologies and sympathy to the family of Baha Musa and the eight others,” armed forces minister Bob Ainsworth said in a statement issued along with the ministry’s admission of its breach of human rights.

Contrast with the last thing Ben Griffin was allowed to say before the same people who have just made that statement gagged him soviet stylee-

As UK soldiers within this Task Force a policy that we would detain individuals but not arrest them was continually enforced. Since it was commonly assumed by my colleagues that anyone we detained would subsequently be tortured this policy of detention and not arrest was regarded as a clumsy legal tool used to distance British soldiers from the whole process.

The joint US/UK Task Force has broken International Law, contravened The Geneva Conventions and disregarded the UN Convention Against Torture. British soldiers are intimately involved in the actions of this Task Force. Jack Straw, Margaret Beckett David Miliband, Geoff Hoon, Des Browne, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown. In their respective positions over the last five years they must know that British soldiers have been operating within this joint US/UK task force. They must have been briefed on the actions of this unit.

Seems like Bob is looking to be added to the list. I think Amnesty put it well-

Rather than seeking to silence people who might have credible evidence of alleged human rights violations, which may include war crimes, the UK authorities should be seeking to investigate those allegations.’

It has taken 5 years and constant fighting to get the government to admit to the torture of Baha Musa and 8 others which makes it clear they are not remotely interested in transparency or human rights.

The Border and Immigration Agency In Denial

Today-

The most comprehensive examination of the UK’s asylum system ever conducted has found it “marred by inhumanity” and “not yet fit for purpose”.

The report, published by the Independent Asylum Commission, is a damning indictment of the Home Office’s failure to deal fairly with those applying for sanctuary in this country.

The commission found that Britain’s treatment of asylum-seekers “falls seriously below the standards to be expected of a humane and civilised society“. Its interim report will be delivered to the Home Office today by a delegation of asylum-seekers.

The report details how the “adversarial” system is failing applicants from the very first point of interview, with officials accused of stacking the odds against genuine claimants. “A ‘culture of disbelief’ persists among decision-makers,” it said. “Along with lack of access to legal advice for applicants this is leading to perverse and unjust decisions.

The findings are the result of the most thorough look at the system in history, with testimonies from every sphere of society, including three former home secretaries, more than 100 NGOs, 90 asylum-seekers, the police, local authorities, and hundreds of citizens.

All-day hearings were held in seven major cities, where hundreds of people gave evidence, from those who brand the system too lenient to those who think it is a blot on the country’s human rights record.

As well as this current information, an independent academic body was tasked to gather all documents already published on the issue in the past five years, from both sides of the political spectrum.

But the Border and Immigration Agency has rejected the report, claiming it operates a “firm but humane” system.

Cognitive dissonance much BIA? To say the least the BIA’s response is totally unacceptable (I’m being awfully fucking polite here). It’s nice of the Independent Asylum Commission to catch up though, below are two previous posts that detail that the Border and Immigration Agency is a big stinking pile of arrogant, cruel, racist shit (in that way one might reflect it is the perfect institutional embodiment of the ignorant spiteful racism of the gutter press and their imbecilic fucking readers)-

Buried Alive, The Migrant Gulag

Chief Exec Lin Homer (more of whom in those links) says-

“I totally refute any suggestion that we treat asylum applicants without care and compassion. We have a proud tradition in Britain of offering sanctuary to those who truly need our protection. We operate a firm but humane system, supporting those who are vulnerable with accommodation and assistance. But we expect those that a court says have no genuine need for asylum to return home voluntarily, saving taxpayers the expense of enforcing their return. We will enforce the removal of those who refuse to comply, always ensuring first that it is safe to do so.”

Well here are your choices Lin, you are either-
a/. a big fat liar…or
b/. mentally ill.
I’m sorry but those are your only choices here in reality. Either way you should not be holding your current position (something Birmingham people can appreciate after her NuLabour vote rigging exploits there, ahem. Oh look, we just found the reason she keeps failing upwards). This would be the agency that recently deported a cancer patient who then died, I would call that corporate manslaughter and is now trying to deport people to…Iraq (you honestly can’t make this shit up). So Lin, you should be fired and prosecuted. But in the post Blair -hey what’s so wrong with being a war criminal- Britain we have no such standards of ethical behaviour, that is another consequence of this war, an epidemic corruption at the heart of the state with no end in sight.

Fight the scum in the BIA- National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns

Politicised Asylum

At the same time the government is allowing 2,000 Iraqis (and had to be shamed into that) who worked for UK occupation forces to come to the UK it is determined to deport other Iraqis already here. They pretend they do not send people into dangerous situations yet-

Foreign and Commonwealth website paints a different picture:
We advise against all travel to Baghdad and its surrounding area, the provinces of Basra, Maysan, Al Anbar, Salah Ad Din, Diyala, Wasit, Babil, Ninawa and At-Tamim (At-Tamim is often referred to as “Kirkuk Province”). We also advise against all but essential travel to the provinces of Al Qadisiyah, Muthanna, Najaf, Karbala, and Dhi Qar. The security situation in Iraq remains highly dangerous with a continuing high threat of terrorism throughout Iraq, violence and kidnapping …”

As does the recent appeal from the UNHCR for EU countries to provide more support for Iraqi refugees.

NCADC has been reliably informed that an “Ethnic Charter Flight” to Iraq is planned for 19:00hrs on Thursday of this week (27th March 2008). We now know of 39 people in Campsfield, Colnbrook and Oakington, who are likely passengers on this flight. There are known to be 39 refused asylum seekers from Iraq in detention and facing forced removal to Iraq tomorrow Thursday 27th March; 30 in Campsfield, 5 in Colnbrook and 4 in Oakington. We suspect the actual number detained is much higher.

What you can do:
Send urgent faxes/emails immediately to Rt. Hon. Jacqui Smith, Secretary of State for the Home Office asking that all those Iraqi’s currently detained are released and granted protection in the UK. Download model letter Iraqi’sJS.doc which you can copy/amend/write your own version.

Fax: 020 8760 3132 If you are faxing from outside UK – Fax: 20 8760 3132

Email: jacqui.smith@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

public.enquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

2) As this is a general issue, you should also contact your local MP

Please notify campaign of any faxes/emails sent:
Swansea Campaign for Asylum Justice
C/o Flat 4 Brockley Court
103 St Helen’s Avenue
Swansea
SA1 4NW
Tel No: 0845 345 5768
scaj.iraq1@ntlworld.com

Source for this page:
Swansea Campaign for Asylum Justice (ht2 Chicken Yoghurt)

Sadly the government has in part responded to the campaign to give asylum to Iraqi’s who worked for the UK forces in the narrowest terms. What had to be called for is asylum for any Iraqi, for example Syria has taken in around a million refugees and they weren’t responsible for the war that created the crisis. The call needs to be- asylum for those request it, no deportations of Iraqis- until the home secretary would be happy to go on a caravanning holiday around Iraq… without a platoon of body guards in an armoured column & 4 helicopter gunships giving dedicated close air supoport. If the price for asylum is in-country collaboration with the occupiers then that is an unholy a bargain as any offered by the militias.

Iraq War Blogswarm- Withdrawal, Reparations, Prosecutions

There must have been a moment, at the beginning, when we could have said — no. But somehow we missed it.
-Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead

Except there wasn’t. We never stood a chance. The will for war and the structural needs of Empire, for resources, for wealth, for domination came together more acutely than ever when the Bush cabal stole the election at the dawn of the millennium. Their intentions were no secret, their history was known but the media dominated by members of the same social economic strata saw little reason to rock the shiny pretty boat they both shared. Absent a fourth estate and a political opposition to empire among the Democrats the war project developed. 911 made it all the more easier to incite the US into a war of aggression, psychologically, emotionally. The meme of -Why do they hate us?- propagated further demonstrating the mass ignorance and callous disregard for the foreign policy practices of the United States among most of its citizens. To obscure and prevent too much analysis the bogeyman of Islamic fundamentalism was made synonymous with ‘Terrorist’ and Islamofascism had to be stopped from taking over the entire world! This from a country that spends more than the rest of the world combined on weapons and the military and has 1000 bases in 140 countries. An elephant afraid of a mouse. So the laughable lies, top down incitement of paranoia and jingoistic fervour once again stimulated the nation into doing the bidding of its bloodthirsty ruling class.

Meanwhile on a piddly little island off France Anthony Charles Lynton “Tony” Blair decided to wholeheartedly help George W. Bush cook their peoples into a frenzy of war enabling stupidity. They passed some made up intelligence back and forth laundering it and feeding it into the compliant Geisha media. Afghanistan was used to advertise ‘humanitarian intervention’ which helped add an argument to the pro-war side, after WMD’s they would suddenly come up with removing Saddam the torture dungeon master. Except…something very odd was happening here, people who previously had been thoroughly dismissive of notions of human rights suddenly were holding forth on the terrible plight of people in countries who just happened to be in the Empire’s cross hairs and nobody in Disneyland media world called them out on this. Of course it was an old scam, associate your objective with noble moral motives and you can label your opposition as scurrilous evil lovers. But here’s the rub, does it really take a genius to ask themselves- why does a country that within its own borders perpetuates all manner of cruelty, inequality and injustice and in fact exports those same values in various colonial and imperial adventures. Why do people think that it will bring the milk of human kindness to another nation by means of a large force of people trained and equipped to kill? Because it’s not just the intent one has to question it is also the means to achieve the stated goals.

As it turned out both were frauds, the intent was/is to secure the region and its resources, the means were mass slaughter and fundamentalist right wing market theology. So let’s leave Disneyland behind and realise the plan for Iraq is this: Balkanisation- split into 3 provinces, this minimises the scale of resistance and lets you play divide and rule games. Control of the natural resources by corporations friendly to the political establishment of America (particularly the Bush cabal within the GOP, never forget this is the oil administration, a mistake some bloodthirsty rightists made was thinking they could kill Iraqis and get their oil, what actually is happening is they are killing Iraqis so that corporations can get that oil, so not only an imperial murderer, a sucker too). Withdrawal and remaining garrison forces will be contingent on the achievement of those objectives. Iraq will be a client state like many others, an elite ruling the provinces who will be supported and kept friendly by being given a slice of the revenue. A NeoLiberal illusion of democracy will be used to keep the populations misdirected as the wealth of the nation is slowly siphoned out by global entities (global corporations, ephemeral borderless capitalist dictatorships) beyond the law and taxation.

That is what is going to happen. But what could or should happen:

What’s the first thing you feel when you shoot a civilian? The recoil of your rifle”
Marine Corps black humour p284, Generation Kill by Evan Wright.

Withdrawal– Simply put soldiers are not policeman, soldiers from the west are also culturally alien and the situation so perilous this incites hatred of Iraqis rather than a willingness to respect and understand them. Soldiers are good at fighting wars, occupations? Not so much. The sectarian violence (that which is not incited by the ‘Salvador Option‘) however does mean that while the invaders must leave some replacement police forces are needed, the ‘coalition’ needs to negotiate to arrange that and fund it, any such force will be subject to Iraqi law and will leave when asked (so bye bye Blackwater & chums, I’m guessing when your high prices aren’t funded by public debt to enrich private wealth you might not be quite so useful…or popular to your masters). Which leads to…

Reparations– Remember ‘Shock & Awe’ well it wasn’t a celebrity ice dance show, it was a fucking blitzkrieg. There was also a decade of sanctions so the devastation to Iraq is huge, the invaders are morally obliged to pay towards repairing that damage. Recently some Democrats have bemoaned the corrupt ‘government’ of al Maliki not using oil revenue to rebuild, instead lining their pockets or the money going to the resistance. Well how colonial old chap, we smash up the place put in our contracts to steal the wealth and then tell the puppets we install to rebuild using their nations wealth as we have almost bankrupted our treasury killing and stealing form you fuckers. That model simply paves the way for another Imperial war, this have to cost the perpetrators and the domestic populations of coalition countries have to insist that payment comes not from them but from the wealthy elites who originally and currently profit from warfare. No more $10m Bat Mitzvahs, still look at it this way rich scum, you ain’t being tortured, napalmed, phosphorus bombed or raped. So stop whining and pay up (hey can you believe it, most people think one house is plenty luxurious) and those who don’t, well war profiteers used to be prosecuted which brings me too-

Prosecutions– Committed the supreme crime against man, god and international law? Profited from the slaughter and torture of other human beings? If we make any claim to be civilised this is where those people get their day in court. Live, on global satellite. Now there are many others who should be tried but off the top of my head- George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Paul Wolfowitz, Michael Ledeen, L Paul Bremer, Alberto Gonzalez, Jay S. Bybee, John Yoo, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, Condoleeza Rice, David Addington. Tony Blair, Jack Straw, Gordon Brown, Geoff Hoon, John Reid, Margaret Beckett, Des Browne, David Miliband.

Now then do you see a slight problem with this? Yep most of those people still wield considerable power and have armed guards paid for out of our taxes protecting them from arrest. Which is the other problem, no authority has shown any courage or willingness to prosecute these war criminals. Hmmm.

Still call me cynical but the moment reparations bite and these criminals are seen to have cost people money, bingo! Out come the arrest warrants. But that is all so much moonshine, the real need and importance is to make the lives of Iraqis better which puts us into the withdrawal mode. The problem with a UN force (recently called for by a group of Iraqis) is the US power over the UN, any force seen to be continuing the aims of the invaders will be similarly illegitimate. The truth is a varied force will consist of people the current occupiers view as enemies in fact as they are there to secure resources they simply won’t give that up, they will have to be forced to do that. Which is our job, I guess we shouldn’t have let our democracies fall into such disrepair, now we need our share of power and the forums to exercise it where are they…maybe we could have a focus group yah? Or write a blog (ouch!).

One way of forcing the vampires to leave their victim is inextricably linked to something vaguely important- the survival of the human race. Although given our exploits, would it be a great loss? Well misanthropy (accurate as it may be) aside let’s presume we want a future on planet Earth. That means the end of the fossil fuel powered era. If demand for oil fell, killing and stealing it would not be such a good line of business. Which is easy to say but just the teensiest bit harder to make happen, but the Iraq invasion is not in spite of the current system we live by, it is because of it. Could we come up with technology that provides clean energy? Dunno, but if we used the $3 trillion the invasion costs on global scientific efforts it might put us in a better position, except we’ve already pissed that money up the wall because an oil administration still operates old skool- fossil fuels and killing, stealing & bribing to get them. It’s a bit like we went to war to secure herds of woolly mammoths- Hey wait a minute this is caveman shit, we have other challenges to face and doing this makes the chances of dealing with those well and truly fuct. Not only is the Iraq invasion an appalling war crime, it is a really stupid act from a bygone age, a past that like zombies, it is eating us alive simply in order to feed more death. Last one in the shopping mall’s a zombie’s breakfast.

But that still does not deal with the virus loose in the world, a plague so common and so devastating yet which nevertheless goes unremarked on in the worst infected- Imperialism. Communist hippy peacenik Dwight D. Eisenhower warned of the military industrial (& congressional) complex, he was nervous of what he could see developing. It is now fully in control as befits the sole superpower, the hyperpower of the USA, The Empire. Is the pre-eminent levels of military expenditure and global deployment of those forces an issue in the current Presidential campaign? Not in relation to Iraq, but in the context of empire? The homeland does not provide healthcare but offers a young person (often with no other options) a place in the military. In the civilian realm talented students will often have their work subsided/funded by military sources. How many universities receive Pentagon money, how many corporations exist to supply the military? Is the risk of a coordinated Canadian & Mexican attack so large?

Luckily for the Empire the right wing dogma going unchallenged from coast to coast means education will remain underfunded and the issues surrounding joining the military largely skirt around topics of volunteering your labour for imperial domination-

I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

Yet another filthy red pacifist scumbag, Major General Smedley Butler USMC. In an empire the military does/must have a disproportionate power in the culture. The destruction of Iraq is because of imperialism and to demand a just outcome there yet leave the underlying imperialism alone just stores up trouble until another President on the make decides to spread ‘freedom & democracy™’. Bush isn’t the real problem, his witless savagery just brought it into stark relief. Take it from a country that used to be the big empire in town, like reflecting on a destructive obsessional love affair, in the midst of it you won’t listen to any outside warnings, but empire only goes one way, you will collapse and you will be hated. You will learn the dark uses to which patriotism is put, already stark examples send warning signs-

Harman became increasingly unnerved by what she witnessed, and said she would simply try to forget whatever had happened the day before with each new morning. She was asked how the other MPs could participate in the abuses without similar reservations.

“They’re more patriotic,” is all she could say.

This soldier is reflecting a culture where patriotism meant the willingness to torture. And we meet another essential component of Empire- Torture. A dedicated group of legal scholars and political appointees within the Bush administration have worked hard to legalise torture, the iceberg tips of public scandals need to be understood for that, this is not bad apples, this is a bad barrel and the architects of the new torture regime (as named above) have succeeded in making the same alterations as the Nazis made. ‘Enhanced interrogation‘, ‘abuse’ and often just ‘interrogation’ are the newspeak memes to hide torture and the supreme law officer in the land concurs. The metastasis of this cancer already claims popular culture, medical professionals and prison, law & immigration enforcement. Because that’s the important thing about an imperial war of aggression, it re-energises the forces of domination and violence, it re-asserts their values and most crucially the sheer physical immensity of the project once engaged in means there is no easy way to put things right and certainly no chance to repair the damage done, the dead shall not be brought back to life. You can’t unshit the bed.

That is what the liars and flim flam artists of the Bush/Blair axis knew, it doesn’t matter how wrong you are revealed to be, once you invade a country the act generates its own momentum, you will get away with everything you did. Solving the new problems will keep everyone busy. They knew all that had to be done was put forces in the area, get one shot fired and the natural economy of conflict would carry the project through. So while withdrawal and rebuilding is the most important practical step, if these criminals go unpunished…well put it this way, the Iran-Contra crooks got away with it and they showed their remorse by killing one million+ people in Iraq & Afghanistan. So impeachment off the table? Only if you like for this shit to keep happening.

Which it will, conflict becomes its own amplifying feedback mechanism, the widening gyre. Tortures and deaths are avenged, that is avenged, damaged returning troops uncared for by underfunded healthcare- suicides, substance abuse, spousal abuse, law enforcement both chasing them and having their ranks swelled by them becomes more brutal. Damaged people and then damaged children, who with few choices find some belonging among comrades, the next profitable war comes along, repeat.

And wars are good to take your mind off the collapsing infrastructure, of which there will be more of. Debts to be repaid, the military budget to be maintained, that has to come from somewhere, no politician dares to tax the rich, the working class can’t afford it, the middle class refuse any more so public services will be cut. Healthcare, schools, libraries, welfare, arts. How awfully nice and totally coincidental that wars serve to spend public money to aggregate capital to the wealthy while simultaneously creating debts, that in order to repay all those evil public spending programs -so hated by the conservatives who run both parties in the US & UK- will be cut.

So we have challenges ahead, to-

  • force a withdrawal.
  • ensure that the Iraqi people are given the means to rebuild their nation.
  • bring to account the elites who instigated this and who profit from it.

Otherwise this is just one more miserable chapter in the idiot history of the bloody human race with many more like it to come.

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

Fucking hippy.

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