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.
The Iraqi government has said it will not allow its airspace or territory be used in any action against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Army PFC Bradley Manning’s sentencing hearings concluded Monday as US government prosecutors and Manning’s defense presented closing arguments. Earlier this month, Manning was convicted on 19 criminal counts—including five violations of the Espionage Act—for making public information detailing US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. The government used the final pre-appellate phase of the trial to call for a 60-year prison term for the young whistleblower. Army Colonel Judge Denise Lind is expected to issue a sentence today. If you “betray your country, you do not deserve the mercy of a court of law,” said the government’s lead prosecutor, Army Captain Joe Morrow. Repeating the government refrain that Manning is a traitor, Morrow declared that Manning’s leak “wasn’t a greater good. It wasn’t a good at all. It was destructive,” and that the whistleblower serves as an example of “arrogance meet[ing] access to sensitive information.” Morrow emphasized that the sentence “must send a message to any soldier contemplating stealing classified information” to “ensure we never see an act like this again.”
● The US military’s use of depleted uranium in Iraq has led to a sharp increase in Leukemia and birth defects in the city of Najaf – and panicked residents are fearing for their health. Cancer is now more common than the flu, a local doctor told RT. ● The city of Najaf saw one of the most severe military actions during the 2003 invasion. RT traveled to the area, quickly learning that every residential street in several neighborhoods has seen multiple cases of families whose children are ill, as well as families who have lost children, and families who have many relatives suffering from cancer. ● Speaking on the rooftop of her house instead of her laboratory, Dr. Sundus Nsaif says the city has seen a “dramatic rise” in cancer and birth defects since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq. Nsaif said the alternative location was chosen because there is an active push by the government not to talk about the issue, perhaps in an effort not to embarrass coalition forces. ● “After the start of the Iraq war, rates of cancer, leukemia and birth defects rose dramatically in Najaf. The areas affected by American attacks saw the biggest increases. We believe it’s because of the' illegal' weapons like depleted uranium that were used by the Americans. When you visit the hospital here you see that cancer is more common than the flu," Nsaif told RT's Lucy Kafanov.
The former head of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove, said he’s going to reveal new details behind the ‘dodgy dossier’ if he disagrees with the findings of the Chilcot Inquiry into UK’s role in the Iraq War. - Dearlove provided intelligence about Saddam Hussein’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) that was
allegedly exaggerated and “sexed-up” by Tony Blair's government. The 68-year-old intelligence veteran has spent the last year writing a detailed account of events leading up to the Iraq War, which started in 2003. Initially, he intended to make his work available to historians after his death but Sir Richard told the Daily Mail that he could well change.
“What I have written (am writing) is a record of events surrounding the invasion of Iraq from my then professional perspective,” he wrote in an e-mail addressed to the paper. “My intention is that this should be a resource available to scholars, but after my decease (may be sooner depending on what Chilcot publishes). I have no intention, however, of violating my vows of official secrecy by publishing any memoir.”
Dearlove is expected to face criticism from the inquiry’s chairman, Sir John Chilcot, over the accuracy of intelligence provided by the MI6 agents inside Iraq, which was used in the so-called “dodgy dossier.”
A long-awaited study on congenital birth defects by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health (MOH) in Iraq is expected to be very extensive in nature. According to WHO, 10,800 households were selected as a sample size for the study, which was scheduled to be released early this year but has not yet been made public. Many scientists and experts have started questioning the time delay in publishing the study, but there is another aspect that is a cause for concern among some health experts. The report will not examine the link between the prevalence of birth defects and use of depleted uranium (DU) munitions used during the war and occupation in Iraq, according to WHO. A by-product of the uranium enrichment process, DU is prized by the military for its use in ammunition that can punch through walls and armoured tanks. The main problem, experts say, is that DU munitions vaporise on contact, generating dust that is easily inhaled into the lungs. The WHO study will also not consider pollutants such as lead and mercury as factors or variables, Syed Jaffar Hussain, representative and head of mission for the WHO in Iraq, told IPS.
Abel Bult-Ito: Nothing depleted about 'depleted uranium'
Gerry Georgatos: Victims of war - Iraqi children and families - Depleted uranium and trauma
Felicity Arbuthnot: Lies, Perfidies and Tony Blair - Having learned nothing from the catastrophes of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, it seems President Obama, the equally clueless UK Prime Minister Cameron and his culturally challenged Foreign Secretary William Hague are cheer-leading another bloodbath in formerly peaceful, secular, outward looking Syria. Having covertly provided arms and equipment to insurgents from numerous different countries for over two years, they have now moved to the overt stage, a move over which even arch hawks such as former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, and former Republican Senator Richard Luger, six term leader of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee urged caution. Luger said such action would boost extremists, with Brzezinski dismissing Obama’s talk of “red lines” as thoughtless and risking: “a large-scale disaster for the United States.”
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