Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair advised the people accused over the phone hacking scandal, according to a court hearing. ● During a hearing at the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales, known as the Old Bailey, in London on Wednesday, it was revealed that Blair offered to help media mogul Rupert Murdoch and former chief executive of Murdoch’s British newspapers, Rebekah Brooks, at the height of the hacking scandal in 2011. In an hour-long phone conversation with Brooks the day after the closure of the News of the World tabloid in July 2011, the former UK premier advised her to “keep strong” and “tough up” as the crisis would pass. She summarized Blair’s advice in an email, saying he had offered to act as an “unofficial adviser” to her, Rupert Murdoch and his son James on a “between-us” basis at the height of the phone hacking scandal. According to Brooks’s note, Blair had also suggested that Murdoch follow steps he took to address the public anger over Britain’s involvement in the Iraq war.
Death tolls in Iraq continue to reach new highs these days, with the month of January ending with 1,840 dead and 2,088 others wounded nationwide, up from 1,180 dead last month. ● Iraq’s own “official” death tolls were somewhat lower, claiming 1,202 killed (1,013 plus 189 militants) and 2,024 wounded, and Agence-France Presse was preposterously low, putting the toll at just over 900. Iraq’s toll was just slightly up from December though, which doesn’t make much sense as the Anbar Province exploded in violence, the whole city of Fallujah fell to al-Qaeda, and there have been huge, daily battles across that province. The violence elsewhere across Iraq does appear roughly flat, but the official government figures appear to entirely ignore reported deaths in all of the Anbar fighting, which would explain the discrepancy.
Britain has been referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague over allegations of war crimes committed during the occupation of Iraq. There was a call for an ICC investigation under Article 15 of the Rome Statute into the actions of senior British officials during the conflict. The submission specifically names the former chief of staff General Sir Peter Wall and two ministers in Tony Blair’s Labour government, former defence secretary Geoff Hoon and former defence minister Adam Ingram, as officials who should have to answer claims about the systematic use of torture and cruelty.
The United States military is conducting a formal investigation into American soldiers burning the dead bodies of what appear to be Iraqi insurgents. ● TMZ obtained 41 pictures that we're told were shot in Fallujah in 2004. Two pictures show a Marine appearing to pour gasoline or some other flammable on the remains of what officials believe are 2 insurgents. Two other photos show the bodies on fire. You then see charred remains. Another photo shows a Marine crouched down next to a dead body and mugging for the camera. Still another pic shows a Marine rifling through the pocket of the pants on a corpse. We have not included all of the photos. Many are just too gruesome. There are well over a dozen bodies in the pics and some are covered with flies and one is being eaten by a dog. We turned them all over to the Pentagon last week, and a Pentagon official tells us the pics have triggered a Marine Corps investigation.
Xymphora ■ "Neocons Who Brought You The Iraq War Endorse AIPAC’s Iran Bill" - Again with the public etters advocating mass slaughter, and quite a grisly list of signatories. This isn't a game they are playing. World Jewry - and let me stop and emphasize that that is exactly who it is - is trying to start World War III for the sole reason they think it would be 'good for the Jews'. All you 'progressives' who dislike talking about the realities of Jewish power (ZOG), and its vile methods and goals, can stick your fawning to power in the guise of taking a stand against 'bigotry' or 'racism' up your corrupted asses. The games you are playing have a massive cost.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has been asked to examine the actions of former British cabinet members and troops over claims of torture in Iraq. ● The European Centre for Constitutional Human Rights (ECCHR) and the Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) firm said in a statement that they have filed a joint complaint to the ICC, calling for a probe into British war crimes in the war-torn country. In their 250-page complaint, the two NGOs called for a probe into the actions of senior British officials, particularly the former Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon and Minister of State for the Armed forces Adam Ingram for “systematic torture and abuse” of prisoners in Iraq between 2003 and 2008. Over the past few years, more than 400 Iraqi prisoners have contacted PIL, based in Birmingham, central England, alleging “serious abuse and humiliation” by British soldiers. According to the law firm, the allegations ranged from sexual and religious humiliation to physical violence.
Bill Van Auken ■ A decade after the US military waged two barbaric sieges of Fallujah, the Iraqi city is once again facing a bloody armed conflict. The army of Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki has massed artillery and tanks on Fallujah’s outskirts and has already bombed and shelled civilian neighborhoods, inflicting an unknown number of casualties. Thousands have fled the city in fear for their lives, and the United Nations has warned that the cut-off of water, food and fuel is creating a humanitarian catastrophe. Maliki has vowed to launch a full-scale assault on the city unless its inhabitants succeed in persuading armed insurgents to surrender. In April and again in November-December of 2004, Fallujah was turned into a killing field by the US occupation. From the air it was pummeled by AC-130 Specter gunships, F-16 fighter jets and Apache attack helicopters. On the ground, a force of over 10,000 US troops backed by tanks and artillery was assembled to attack the city. Bombs, missiles and white phosphorous shells—chemical weapons banned under the Geneva conventions—were unleashed against the population. Hospitals and ambulances were targeted.
Stephen Lendman: The Third Battle of Fallujah ■ On August 31, 2010, Obama displayed criminal contempt. He's done it many times. He declared an end to America's combat mission in Iraq, saying: "Through this remarkable chapter in the history of the United States and Iraq, we have met our responsibility." Ignored was America's genocidal legacy. Iraq was ravaged and destroyed. Pre-1990 Iraq no longer exists. Charnel house conditions replaced it. So did plunder on the grandest of grand scales, millions of internal and external refugees, ongoing violence, dozens of daily deaths, a plague of preventable diseases, ecocide, and overall conditions too horrific to ignore.
More than 13,000 families have fled Fallujah in the past few days amid clashes and shelling after the city fell to Al-Qaeda-linked militants, the Iraqi Red Crescent said on Wednesday. "Most of them are now living in schools, public buildings or with relatives," said Mohammed al-Khuzaie, a Red Crescent official.
Tony Blair has banked over £13 million to mark his most financially successful year since stepping down as prime minister. [HuffPost] Blair's wealth, including a London home, a country estate and numerous other properties, is estimated to come to £70m. The former PM has built up his fortune over the years as an official adviser to investment bank JP Morgan and Swiss-based global insurance giant Zurich International. Blair also advises governments such as the Kazakhstan regime and earns as much as £250,000 a time for private speeches and appearances. The bumper financial results for the 12 months to April 2013 have been revealed in the latest accounts for Blair's two firms, Windrush Ventures and Firerush Ventures, which were lodged with Companies House last week. Windrush Ventures, which employs 35 people, posted a £14.9m turnover and a post-tax profit of nearly £2m, marking a £650,000 rise over the previous year. It paid corporation tax on its profits of £653,000, the accounts show. Windrush also paid out £12.1 million in expenses, to cover the cost of office rents, travel and hotel bills for Blair and his entourage. Blair's staff are estimated to earn an average of £86,000, with the company's highest paid director getting £273,000. One City accountant told the Sunday Telegraph: “These numbers are a big improvement on last year. Mr Blair has had a very good year. This is a bumper year – his best year yet.” A statement on Tony Blair's website said: "The latest annual financial statements...[are]...the financial statements of the two companies through which the operating costs of the Tony Blair group’s global activities are paid. They do not represent his earnings or the earnings or the profit of his businesses and are not referable to them."
The US has delivered dozens of missiles to Iraq to help "combat al-Qaeda". ● They said that about 75 Hellfire air-to-ground missiles had been sent last week. A shipment of unmanned ScanEagles surveillance drones is also expected next year. Iraqi troops have recently launched an operation against al-Qaeda militants in the desert province of Anbar, which borders war-torn Syria. US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki on Thursday confirmed the Hellfire missile delivery and said the drones would be sent soon.
Consortium of Defense Analysts: US sends missiles and drones "to fight al-Qaeda in Iraq" ■ More confused and confusing foreign policy from the Obama administration. While the State Department is “considering” forging closer ties with “rebel” jihadists in Syria, the same Obama administration just dispatched 75 Hellfire missiles to fight al-Qaeda jihadists in Iraq. The question must also be asked: I thought the U.S. war in Iraq had ended? - Didn’t Obama travel to Fort Bragg on December 21, 2011 and there, with great fanfare, marked the exit of the last American troops from Iraq, officially ending nearly nine years of war there and leaving Iraq’s future in the hands of its people?
Bill Van Auken: Iraq slides toward civil war ■ [The] fact [is] that Maliki’s own sectarian policies have fueled bitter resentment within the Sunni population, driven by lack of services, indiscriminate “terror” raids, imprisonment of thousands without charges, and a de-Baathification program that has been used to expel public workers from their jobs. The pretense that the government is simply engaged in a war on Al Qaeda terrorism has been utilized to secure backing from both Iran and Washington. The latter recently ordered shipments of Hellfire missiles and other advanced weaponry to the Iraqi security forces. Some of these missiles were reportedly used Thursday in the government assault on Fallujah. New acts of violence were recorded elsewhere in Iraq.
Abby Martin calls out the Daily Show's Jon Stewart for his soft ball interview with former Blackwater CEO Erik Prince, showing how the exchange between the two men only serves to whitewash the company's history of war crimes and legal impunity.
The United States lacks moral authority to condemn other nations' use of chemical weapons.
Simon Jenkins: The bloody disaster of Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan is laid bare: Bombs and militia violence make clear the folly of Britain's wars – the removal of law and order from a nation is devastating ■ In each case – Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan – it was easy to see evil in the prevailing regime. These are bad guys that we need to go after, said the Americans. Yet the removal of law and order from a nation is devastating, however cruel that order may have been. Iraqis today repeat that, whatever the ills of Saddam Hussein, under his rule most ordinary citizens and their families could walk the streets at night without fear of murder or kidnap. Religious differences were tolerated. Iraq should have been an oil-rich modern state. Even the Kurds, scourged by Saddam in the past, enjoyed autonomy and relative peace. In each of these cases Britain and its allies, chiefly America, intervened to overthrow the army, disband government, dismantle the judiciary and leave militias to run riot. Little or no attempt was made to replace anarchy with a new order. "Nation building" was a fiasco. The British bombs that flattened government buildings in Kabul, Baghdad and Tripoli did not replace them, or those who worked in them. Those who dropped them congratulated themselves on their work and went home.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair had “deliberately” excluded members of the government from the decision-making process in the run-up to the US-led invasion of Iraq, ex-Cabinet secretary says.
● Speaking at a Foreign Office seminar in February, former top British civil servant Lord Butler said Blair intentionally kept away the majority of the Cabinet from documents drawn up to examine the case for the Iraq war in 2003, the Civil Service World magazine reported on Wednesday. “A lot of very good official papers were prepared. None of them was ever circulated to the Cabinet, just as the Attorney General’s advice was not circulated to the Cabinet,” Butler said. He also concluded that the British Cabinet was not as “well-informed” as the premier, foreign secretary and defence secretary.
● Blair, the former leader of Britain’s Labour party, is globally discredited for his war crimes, as under his premiership between 1997 and 2007 hundreds of thousands were killed and injured in illegal military interventions. On March 19, 2003, US-led forces invaded Iraq under the pretext of wiping out the stocks of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) belonging to the executed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s regime. However, no such weapons were ever found in the country. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed and Iraq’s infrastructure was destroyed following the US-led invasion and subsequent occupation of the country. [Image: horrorshow-artwork]
Blair's Pre-War Talks With Bush 'Secret' by US Orders. ● The British government has invested a lot of effort into a four-year-long inquiry into the Iraq War headed by Sir John Chilcot, but the report never seems to come out. Diplomatic sources are now saying that this is because of explicit US orders, and that the report, if released at all, may end up heavily redacted at the Obama Administration’s insistence. A major portion of the inquiry centered on then-Prime Minister Tony Blair lying Britain into war, and therefore focuses on the pre-war plotting by Blair and then-US President George W. Bush. That’s apparently the rub, with the US government insisting all of those conversations, and even just Tony Blair’s part, are adjacent to a US president and therefore the property of the US government, which has decided everything is classified. The argument is that neither Chilcot nor anyone else in the British government has the authority to decide which of the documents can be published, so instead they’re just letting the Obama Administration dictate terms, and that means everything is secret.
Member of U.S. Army National Guard's Tactical Human Intelligence Team commits suicide; his suicide note says he was forced to commit "war crimes, crimes against humanity" in Iraq. ● Daniel returned home in the fall of 2007. In conversations over the next few months, he told us that he had made several attempts to get medical treatment for an array of health problems. Because his National Guard unit was still in ready reserve status, the Veterans Affairs Department medical center in Phoenix refused him treatment because he was not yet officially a veteran. The local Defense Department health care facility denied him services because he was not on active duty. He told us that he had suffered innumerable concussions in the course of more than 400 missions in the turret of a Humvee. He spoke of having flashbacks, and he appeared tense and nervous in person. But for the most part, he hid the severity of his symptoms from us. When he was finally deemed eligible for veterans benefits, he began treatment at the Phoenix medical center in February 2008. There, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury, and given a disability rating of 40 percent. By the end of that year, Daniel was so frustrated with the problems with his care, including long wait times for appointments and turnover in health care providers, that he sought treatment from outside providers at his own expense. From time to time he attempted to re-enter the Veterans Affairs system, only to experience the persistent problems of access and availability. Daniel took his own life on June 10 of this year, a block and a half from his Phoenix home. He left the family a letter listing the many roadblocks to care he had encountered in the Veterans Affairs system.
Iraq is still suffering from the US invasion because the apparatus of state oppression and terror is still in place, killing people every day. But few in the US seem to realize the scale of the war crimes committed in Iraq, an expert author told RT. In an exclusive interview with RT, Nicolas J.S. Davies, author of “Blood On Our Hands: The American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq,” said that the world should learn the lessons from US invasions, such as respect for international law and the futility of military force.
A new report from a special U.N. investigator says drone strikes have killed far more civilians than U.S. officials have publicly acknowledged – at least 400 in Pakistan and as many as 58 in Yemen – and chides the U.S. for failing to aid the investigation by disclosing its own figures. U.N. Special Rapporteur Ben Emmerson, who issued the "interim" report, said the U.S. had created "an almost insurmountable obstacle to transparency." "The Special Rapporteur does not accept that considerations of national security justify withholding statistical and basic methodological data of this kind," wrote Emmerson in the report, which is due to be presented to the U.N. General Assembly next Friday. Read the report on drone casualties here [.pdf].
One in three American servicemen permanently disabled, 'the worst genetic damage in any population ever studied', 'confirmed' US govt behind world record Afghan opium crop, and October's protest calendar. Seek truth from facts with Iraqi-Kurdish activist Houzan Mahmoud, Afghan war specialist Prof. Anatol Lieven, former intelligence officer Scott Rickard, Foreign Policy In Focus columnist Conn Hallinan, and the author of Questioning the War on Terror Dr. Kevin Barrett. READ FULL SCRIPT
Russia has evidence that chemical weapons components are used by terrorists in Syria and smuggled into Iraq for possible provocations, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday, reports VoR's Polina Chernitsa. ● "We read reports and hear from various sources, semi-official and trustworthy, that some official representatives of a number of the countries of the region surrounding Syria allegedly established contacts and meet regularly with leaders of Jabhat al-Nusra and other terrorist groups, and also that those radicals have some components of chemical weapons maybe found in Syria or maybe brought from somewhere, and not just on the Syrian territory, but also that chemical weapons components have been brought to Iraq and that provocations are being prepared there,” Lavrov said at a news conference following talks with Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid. All that has intensified after the UN Security Council passed a Russian-US-proposed resolution on Syria’s chemical weapons and the Geneva-2 conference, the Russian minister said.
Nearly Threefold Increase From Last Year's Toll. ● September has come and gone, and a summer surge in violence in Iraq has officially lasted through the entire summer and moved straight on into autumn. The United Nations toll for Iraqi deaths in September was 979, though as usual this toll was quite a bit lower than figures collected in media reports daily by Antiwar.com’s Margaret Griffis, who put the figure at 1,271 killed. That’s up a fair bit from last month continuing a trend of increases in death toll that began in late April and still shows no sign of ending. The monthly tolls are now putting Iraq in a similar state as it was during the US occupation and military surge, figures not seen since summer of 2007. Iraq never got close to pre-war normals after the occupation ended, but the toll did dropped considerably. September of 2012 had a toll of only 444, meaning we’re now seeing a nearly threefold increase.
Press TV: You know the United States says it is sure that the Syrian government carried out this chemical attack, Russia says the attack was falsified and now the UN says the attack site may have been manipulated. What really is happening here?
Escobar: Manipulation. In short that is what is happening. The Americans have been saying from the beginning they had 99 percent certainty based on Israeli Intel which was probably compromised from the start. This is the Intel that they have from Benny Gantz, the IDF [Chief of Staff] passed to General Martin Dempsey of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They stand by it. On the other hand we had independent analysts from all over. Even myself I wrote about this as well. The possibility of a false flag attack with kitchen sarin [gas] which was apprehended in Iraq by the Iraqi ministry of defense one month before the attack came the attack in Ghouta was transferred to Jabhat al-Nusra jihadists in Ghouta and it was probably a false flag operation.
This has not been investigated. How can the Americans, the French and the British say they have 99 percent certainty? It is absolutely impossible and this is part of a concerted effort by Washington along with Paris to derail the Geneva Agreement between Kerry and Lavrov even before it’s been implemented.
■ As of this writing, America is planning military action against Syria under the pretext that the Syrian government allegedly used chemical weapons in an attack in a Damascus suburb on August 21. Leading figures in the Obama administration can be heard referring to chemical weapons as a “moral obscenity,” such that the United States has a “moral obligation” to punish the country that uses them.
■ Recently declassified CIA files prove that, during the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988), US intelligence agencies actively assisted in some of the most horrific chemical weapons attacks in history, which resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of people. These CIA files are the subject of an important new exposé by reporters Shane Harris and Matthew M. Aid in Foreign Policy dated August 26, 2013.
John Robles: US use of chemical weapons extensive
The clip from Revelations in which Bill talks about Iraqis converting "machine tools" and "farming equipment" into military equipment.
Tony Cartalucci: Reuters: US to Strike Syria Before UN Evidence Collected
Syrian Radio & TV: Information Minister : US has no evidence on Syria's use of chemical weapons
Reuters: Remember bogus U.S. excuses for Iraq war before attacking Syria: China's Xinhua
LibertyBlitzKrieg: CIA Documents Show the U.S. Helped Saddam Hussein Use Chemical Weapons
■ The U.S. government may be considering military action in response to chemical strikes near Damascus. But a generation ago, America’s military and intelligence communities knew about and did nothing to stop a series of nerve gas attacks far more devastating than anything Syria has seen, Foreign Policy has learned.
■ In 1988, during the waning days of Iraq’s war with Iran, the United States learned through satellite imagery that Iran was about to gain a major strategic advantage by exploiting a hole in Iraqi defenses. U.S. intelligence officials conveyed the location of the Iranian troops to Iraq, fully aware that Hussein’s military would attack with chemical weapons, including sarin, a lethal nerve agent.
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