War Is The Atrocity Generator

Bear in mind this is police investigating military/military police so not exactly an independent of the establishment process (and the GMP have their own secrets of involvement in torture)-

A military investigation into one of the most notorious incidents of the Iraq conflict, in which British soldiers allegedly murdered and mutilated unarmed Iraqis, has been severely criticised by police called in to assess its credibility.

A new inquiry has found that the Royal Military Police – who are responsible for investigating claims of wrongdoing by soldiers – failed to collect forensic evidence, ignored key witnesses and did not ask Iraqi witnesses relevant questions as they investigated the “Battle of Danny Boy” and its aftermath.

The 120-page Greater Manchester police report into the RMP’s Special Investigation Branch (SIB), which has been obtained by the Observer, concludes that some interviews with Iraqi detainees may have been conducted in an effort to justify their arrest, not to probe human rights abuses. The report is expected to be significant for a judicial review that will examine the Iraqi claims next week.

The army investigation centred on a firefight between soldiers from the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (PWRR) and insurgents at a road checkpoint known among the troops as Danny Boy, near Majar al-Kabir in Maysan province, on 14 May 2004. The next day the bodies of 20 Iraqis were returned to their families.

Several Iraqi witnesses claimed that some of the 20 were taken as prisoners to Camp Abu Naji, an army base in Amara, to be interrogated and tortured, before being killed. Evidence of torture and mutilation allegedly included close-range bullet wounds, the removal of eyes and stab wounds, according to evidence presented by human rights lawyers.

And this is the week seven years ago when-

Matthew Rycroft, aide to Blair foreign policy guru David Manning, was taking minutes at the Downing Street meeting on July 23, 2002, minutes he immediately circulated to Blair and other participants. The minutes observed quite bluntly that “Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.”

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War is Cancer

It spreads.

(CBS/ AP) Soldiers from a Colorado unit accused in nearly a dozen slayings since returning home – including a couple gunned down as they put up a garage sale sign – could be showing a hostility fueled by intense combat in Iraq, where the troops suffered heavy losses and told of witnessing war crimes, the military said Wednesday.

Well, Duh.

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D Day

Surely the the best way to commemorate D Day would be to hold war crimes trials for all those who perpetrate wars of aggression. Otherwise all the dead are just being disrespected by politicians/defendants having a do.

Posted in War Criminals. Tags: . 5 Comments »

We Bombed Iraq For 19 Years

A salutary reminder that the war on Iraq was a very long one indeed- RAF ends 19-year mission in Iraq, any news on when the US plans to really leave?

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Sri Lankan Army Follow The Israeli Trend & Shell a Hospital

At least 20 people were killed and nearly 300 injured yesterday when a hospital in the last area of Sri Lanka held by the Tamil Tigers was shelled in what one doctor described as the worst day of bloodshed since the start of the military campaign.

The doctor, Thangamutha Sathiyamorthy, blamed the Sri Lankan army for firing shells that landed next to two health facilities in Putumattalan, on the northern end of the tiny strip of the Sri Lankan coastline where tens of thousands of civilians are trapped by the fighting. The military strenuously denied the allegation.

Sathiyamorthy said 22 people, including an 18-month-old child and a medical worker, were killed and 283 injured in the attack, which started soon after dawn yesterday. He described how he found dead and wounded civilians on the site of the first blasts, which occurred as about 500 people queued beside a mother and baby clinic to receive milk powder and food rations.

Since stepping up the military campaign since the start of the year the Sri Lankan armed forces have driven the last remnants of the once-powerful Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) into a narrow strip of land estimated to be no larger than 20 sq km. Estimates of the number of civilians trapped alongside them vary, with the UN putting the figure at about 100,000 and Sri Lankan authorities claiming it is no more than 40,000.

Yesterday Sathiyamorthy said conditions inside the no-fire zone were now desperate, with 13 people dead from starvation and 69% of children below the age of five showing signs of malnutrition.

“Of course the food supply is inadequate. Many children are at risk. Yesterday we distributed milk powder and I saw very thin children coming to the clinic,” he said. He estimated that more than 5,000 people had died since the start of the latest offensive. “Every day they expect some solution because everybody was asked to go to the no-fire zone, but actually the people reached this area and unfortunately the government is shelling this area,” he said. “It is a real disaster. We didn’t expect this amount of disaster.”

A Good Question

James @ Mahatma X Files pondered-

Will there be a blogswarm to mark the 6th anniversary of the current phase of the US war against and occupation of Iraq – much like last year’s? Or did the election of the Pope of Hope usher in a new era of complacency? I wonder.

The 5th Anniversary Blogswarm grew from the idea of Godless Liberal Homo (and I helped) who is no slouch when calling the current situation-

Barack Obama has broken his most important campaign promise. He has pushed an even smaller withdrawal out to 20 months, instead of the larger withdrawal promised in 16. Given our economic crises, we need to get all of our troops out of the war on Iraq ASAP. We cannot afford to divert hundreds of billions of dollars to destroying another company’s economy and slaughtering its people.

The blogswarm was very successful although it became a lot more work than we had anticipated. My thoughts are, yes it should happen again, but more people administering it and it needs to also involve Afghanistan in some way perhaps. It’s very dangerous in a recession/depression to let governments get away with using wars to distract and to ‘regenerate’ the economy because by definition it means other people are gonna die and schools, hospitals, infrastructure, welfare all are further weakened in order to wage state terror on others. It is also notable that the longer Iraq remains occupied the greater the cost so that sooner or later the idea of needing to be repaid for that ‘largesse’ gains greater credence, throw in the crisis of capitalism and it will be very easy to get a majority of people to support Iraq’s resources being exploited more to repay the invader’s costs rather than paying reparations. Simultaneously further entrenching hydrocarbons at a time we should be reducing their use. The subtler point of Jame’s question remains to be answered, have people either through blind faith/hope abandoned their critical distance from government and/or are some now locked into the two party puppet show that they take it as a zero sum game and any criticism of ‘their team’ is helping the enemy so they remain quiet even as that becomes de facto support for actions identical to those they attacked the other side for. And bottom line, leaving up to 50,000 troops in a country does not sound all that withdrawal-y to me.

PS. I saw a BBC report on this and while it noted disputed casualty figures the journo only presented IBC’s under 100,000 figure. Is that what Obama means, because he’s likable we will not mind being bullshitted so much?

Posted in Media. Tags: , . 6 Comments »

11th And all That

Spinwatch on Robert Newman’s History of Oil– Firstly, he traces the history of nearly a century of Iraq policy. He tells the astonishing statistic that in the 95 years since oil was discovered in Iraq and a telegram was sent to the Glasgow office of Burma Oil saying “see psalm 104 verse 15 line 3” (“that He may bring forth out of the earth, oil, to make a cheerful countenance”) the United Kingdom has been at war with or occupying that particular country for 45 of them.

His contention that World War 1 should be taught in our schools as an invasion of Iraq seems outlandish at first but he is extremely convincing.

“I am sure many of you, like me, have never been entirely satisfied with the standard explanation we were given at secondary school for the causes and origins of WW1… the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand…I mean, NO ONE is that popular…The war breaks out, and remember it’s a war to defend plucky Belgian neutrality while the Belgians are pluckily defending Congolese rubber and ivory. The FIRST British regiment to be deployed in the First World War, the Dorset regiment, goes to….Basra, 1914, where it is joined by 51 other British divisions.

“Therefore I think we can conclude that had Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon fought by the Tigris or the Euphrates instead of the Somme we would never have heard of them.

‘They could have sent truckloads to the front, full of nothing but poets, if they had fought in Iraq during the first world war we would not know of a single man jack of them. There could even have been a First special poets battalion but had it fought in Iraq we would never have known of its existence, although…one can’t help feeling that the first special poets battalion would have been wiped out quite early on in the hostilities.”

One of the possible reasons for this was that just before WW1 the Germans were constructing the Berlin-Baghdad railway (part of which is now known as the Orient Express). This was at a time that the British and German Navies were switching from coal to oil. The British Navy at that time was probably the most powerful military force in the world so access (and denying access) to the newly discovered oil fields was vital. Also, the British government knew that people would simply not accept the Sarajevo to Basra replacement bus service.

It’s all over the web to watch if you haven’t seen it but in many versions the a/v sync is out, this one seems ok (Real Player link).

Posted in Media. Tags: , , . 2 Comments »

Death Star Jnr.

Take the Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) that U.S. Special Forces have begun to test-fire. Intended for “covert strikes,” the ATL has been sold on its ability to blast away with pinpoint accuracy. A very rough estimate shows, however, that the effects when you target an individual are not quite what you might expect.

So if the beam stays on the same spot of the target for a full two seconds –- which is a very long time under the circumstances –- it would in theory boil off a disc around one centimeter deep. In real life, the laser would be much less effective, as smoke and steam would rapidly degrade the effectiveness of the beam. Also in real life, the energy is likely to be focused at the center of the beam. And flesh is not water. And nobody is going to hand around being lasered that long… But we’re just trying to get a general idea of orders of magnitude here.

A rough calculation suggests that exposed skin would be blistered/burned in under a twentieth of a second, so the beam could play over the target at quite a high rate. It’s unclear whether clothing would have much protective effect or whether it would simply ignite and cause secondary burns. So instead of “zap-and-you’re-dead” in normal science fiction style, with a hundred kilowatt laser, it’s more a matter of spraying the target all over to ensure they’re done. The description of the ATL as a “long range blow torch” is probably quite accurate.

With this type of weapon, the effects are more like napalm than bullets. Humanitarian protests are likely. And one accidental lasering of a civilian could be enough to prevent the ATL being used as an anti-personnel weapon.

That’s the thing about some geeks, they can get such a hard on for shiny hi-tech death machines they sound rather sulky about those damned ‘humanitarians’ and their pesky aversion to endless imperial war. And ‘accidental’ so people still think the US doesn’t intentionally kill civilians? How quaint. But I’m sure this is the best use of America’s capital…

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.

Well known pacifist pinko hippy terrorist Dwight D. Eisenhower.

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Hit

So Magomed Yevloyev, owner of the ingushetiya.ru site much hated by the President of Ingushetia Murat Zyazikov, (a former KGB general and Putin thug) is on a flight the President is also on, when the plane lands in Ingushetia Yevloyev is arrested at the airport then is led away by police and dies from a gunshot wound to the head. The BBC sez-

Reports quoting local police said Yevloyev had tried to seize a policeman’s gun when he was being led to a vehicle. A shot was fired and Yevloyev was injured in the head.

Al Jazeera though have him already in the car-

Vladimir Markin, the prosecutor’s office spokesman, said “an incident” took place after Yevloyev was taken into a police car “resulting in a shooting injury to the head and he later died in hospital”, Interfax reported.

Kaloi Akhilgov, a lawyer from the site, told the Reuters news agency: “As they drove he [Yevloyev] was shot in the temple … They threw him out of the car near the hospital.

Background-

BBC-His website reported on alleged Russian security force brutality in Ingushetia, an impoverished province of some half a million people, mostly Muslims, which is now more turbulent than neighbouring Chechnya.

Ingushetia borders Chechnya and has suffered from overflowing unrest. There is a low-level insurgency, with regular small-scale ambushes against police and soldiers. In June 2008, the Human Rights Watch group accused Russian security forces there of carrying out widespread human rights abuses. HRW said it had documented dozens of arbitrary detentions, disappearances, acts of torture and extra-judicial executions.

AJ- The website is among the most-visited for news on Ingushetia and has openly criticised Zyazikov, who threatened to shut it down on several occasions. Russian officials ordered the closure of the site in June, saying it was disseminating “extremist” views. Moscow had also blocked access to the site late last year after it urged readers to protest against the local administration, which the opposition had accused of corruption and mismanagement. Rosa Malsagova, the website’s chief editor, announced plans to seek asylum in France earlier this month.

Looks an awful lot like he pissed off the Pres a bit too much and maybe something on the flight was the last straw and he was whacked. Check out the action packed wiki profile of Murat Zyazikov and the BBC country profile. Hard not to see that it being a neighbour of North Ossetia this is part of the Russian security lockdown or at least with that underway Zyazikov figures he will be backed on anything he does. Meanwhile Russia does an Israel and keeps buffer zones in Georgia, ironic given the Israeli ‘consultants’ working with Saakashvili.

Oh Shit

Russia are doing the Kossova shuffle and recognising Ossetia and Abkhazia, and McCain is using Georgia in his campaign, this is not good. Lots of people in the break away regions seem to be pretty pleased but I wouldn’t bet on them staying that way. But culturally I find it appalling that the old guard cold warriors are seeing the chance to do it all over again. Even today there is evidence of the military industrial power that demands it’s pre-eminent entitlement to public wealth-

FT.com– Britain risks losing its influence abroad unless it makes defence a bigger priority, according to Mike Turner, BAE Systems’ chief executive. Mr Turner also warned that his company could be forced to consider leaving the UK if military spending ever declined below a “reasonable level”.

The chief executive, who retires on Friday after 42 years with BAE, told the Financial Times in a final interview that what he would miss least was “the bloody allegations”, a reference to the corruption claims surrounding the multibillion-pound contract to sell arms to Saudi Arabia that have dogged the company for the past four years and which BAE has consistently denied.

“They are annoying and I know it’s wrong; wrong for the company, for my employees and for the country,” Mr Turner said.

The 60-year-old, who has been chief executive of BAE, Britain’s largest defence contractor, for the past 6½ years, said Britain needed to give greater priority to defence or risk losing its “say in the world”.

“I’m very concerned that the politicians, and it’s up to the politicians to decide, are not giving the priority to defence that is needed,” he said.

“It’s right for the country to keep the Armed Forces strong, you get listened to in the world . . . It’s also good for jobs, for skills, for technology and for exports,” he said.

What was lacking, he said, was investment in future programmes, which was needed if the UK wanted to continue to “have say in the world”.

(ht2 Chicken Yoghurt)

There is a market incentive towards war, cold or otherwise, and as ‘free’ market capitalism dominates the planet woohoo, the future is going to be just fucking great. And please- ‘defence’, fuck that newspeak bullshit, it’s fucking arms & war spending you murderous kleptomaniacs. D’you think maybe late at night in this guys house (one of many) the walls run with blood and the moans of the dead and dying echo down the halls. But he doesn’t wake, a smile crosses his lips, his cock gets hard and he turns over and sleeps like a fucking baby.

US Ambassador Says Initial Russian Response Was Legitimate

I think he’s going to get an angry phone call-

ynet- The US ambassador to Moscow, in a rare US comment endorsing Russia’s initial moves in Georgia, described the Kremlin’s first military response as legitimate after Russian troops came under attack.

In his first major interview since his arrival as Ambassador last month, John Beyrle gave the Russian daily Kommersant his views on the conflict and warned about its impact on US investor confidence in Russia.

“Now we see Russian forces, which responded to attacks on Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia, legitimately, we see those forces now having advanced on to the soil of Georgia; Georgian territorial integrity is in question here,” Beyrle told the newspaper.

He said Washington had not sanctioned Georgia’s initial actions when on August 8, after a succession of tense skirmishes, Georgian forces attacked South Ossetia, triggering a massive Russian reaction when its peacekeepers there came under fire.

“We did not want to see a recourse to violence and force and we made that very, very clear,” Beyrle was cited as saying in quotes the US embassy confirmed as accurate.

“The fact that we were trying to convince the Georgian side not to take this step is clear evidence that we did not want all this to happen,” Beyrle said in the interview, which was published on Friday.

So also they were in talks with Georgia before and knew of their plans, interesting. But doesn’t that raise the question of- if the US really wanted to stop it, why not tell Russia who could put defensive measures in place that would deter the Georgian attack and once Georgia was told the Russians knew they would most likely of stood down. Really, is the US saying they could not have made Georgia stop the attack? Plus clearly Bush, McCain et al lied when they went all ‘Russia’s attacking, it’s the Cold War 2!’, they knew Georgia was the aggressor, they were talking to them about the planned attack! Meanwhile Russia is withdrawing -sort of- having done their worst.

Threat. War. Procurement. Profit.

Chris Floyd joins the dots-

Just as the rash and bloody deed of Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili – who assaulted South Ossetia in a ferocious sneak attack — gave the Kremlin war machine the excuse it needed to flex its muscles, so the Russian response has been a godsend for the Pentagon. Now you see why we need all them big new weapons we’ve been hankering for, say the boys from Hell’s Bottom: we got to keep them Russkies down. And of course, in keeping with the noble tradition of our bipartisan foreign policy establishment, a top Democrat (an erstwhile hero of the “anti-war” movement, no less), is in the forefront of the Pentagon’s fear-mongering gobble at the pork barrel. From the Journal:

Russia’s attack on Georgia has become an unexpected source of support for big U.S. weapons programs, including flashy fighter jets and high-tech destroyers, that have had to battle for funding this year because they appear obsolete for today’s conflicts with insurgent opponents.

“The threat always drives procurement. It doesn’t matter what party is in office.”

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Off The Field Of Competition

Across the beaches and cranes
Rivers and trains
All the money I’ve made
Bodies I’ve maimed
Time was when I seemed to know
Just like any other G.I. Joe
Should I cry like a baby
Or die like a man?
While all the planets little wars
Start joining hands
Oh, what a heaven what a hell
Y’know there’s nothing can be done
In this whole wide world

You honestly could make this stuff up, but you don’t need to-

Russian Chargé D’affaires in Tel Aviv sits down with Ynet to explain his country’s military objectives in Georgia: ‘We’re only there to push the Georgian army out of the region. We have no plans to annex South Ossetia.’ As for civilian casualties, says Dr. Yurkov, ‘sometimes civilians get hurt in war, just like in Israeli operations in Gaza’

That’s a not so subtle dig at Israel’s arms and training deals with Georgia, see the Mask for an all points state of play. And it ain’t just Putin and Saakashvili settling business-

Almost 130,000 people have fled their homes following clashes between Philippine government security forces and Muslim separatist rebels in the central Mindanao province of North Cotabato, according to officials.

The military launched air and ground attacks over the weekend when hundreds of rebels from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front failed to comply with a government deadline to leave about a dozen villages in North Cotabato. Political leaders in the largely Christian province about 885km south of Manila are opposing a landmark peace deal with the MILF.

The attacks came days after the Philippine Supreme Court blocked government representatives from signing the peace deal.

Despite the fighting, the government proceeded with voting on Monday for government posts in the autonomous region encompassing neighbouring predominantly Muslim areas of Mindanao.

“Generally, the elections there [were] very, very peaceful. The turnout is very, very good,” said José Melo, chairman of the Commission on Elections, indicating that 50-60 per cent of the region’s 1.7m voters took part. Poll officials also used the elections to test automated vote counting technology being considered for the presidential and legislative polls in 2010.

Like Georgia, was this helped along by leaders meeting and otherwise engaged Olympics wise, much like the sequences in the Godfather films with big events punctuated by concurrent assassinations neatly obscured by the dazzling social whirl.

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And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead

(Reuters) – New estimates of war deaths in 13 nations including Vietnam, Ethiopia and Bangladesh show that previous counts vastly understated the lives lost to war in the past half century, researchers said on Thursday. The new estimates relied on data from nationally representative population surveys done by the U.N. World Health Organization in these countries earlier this decade to calculate death tolls in wars waged from 1955 to 2002.

In most of the countries, this method pointed to much higher loss of life than broadly cited media estimates of the various war death counts had shown, the researchers said. For example, the method indicated 3.8 million Vietnamese died in the protracted fighting in Vietnam, mostly from 1955 to 1975, compared to previous estimates cited by the researchers of 2.1 million. Christopher Murray of the University of Washington said the findings, published in the British Medical Journal, suggest standard ways of tracking war deaths using media, eyewitness and combatant accounts tend to underestimate deaths, particularly in smaller wars. Ziad Obermeyer of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, another of the researchers, said accurate estimates of death tolls during wartime are extremely difficult to make. He also said the findings undercut the idea that the advent of modern weapons like “smart bombs” had made war less lethal.

But…

The study did not look at war dead in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Because that is a topical example of ruling elites and their media chums hiding corpses from view. Although also rather pathetically even people who claim anti-war positions still refuse to use Lancet or Orb figures, I think because they simply can’t get past their nationalistic ego of we can’t be as evil as those… others. Yeah, because no one ever told themselves that as they stuffed people into gas chambers…

UK Number 1!

Britain was the world’s biggest arms seller last year, accounting for a third of global arms exports, the Government’s trade promotion organisation said.

UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) said that arms exporters had added £9.7 billion in new business last year, giving them a larger share of global arms exports than the United States.

“As demonstrated by this outstanding export performance, the UK has a first-class defence industry, with some of the world’s most technologically sophisticated companies,” Digby Jones, the Minister for Trade and Investment, said.

Digby does like the shade of scarlet his hands are,

The US is still the world’s biggest exporter over the past five years, with $63 billion in total arms exports. Britain was second with $53 billion and Russia third with $33 billion.

But as the Raytheon 9 have shown stopping war crimes at the weapon making source is a much better idea for a growth industry.