Iraq Has Most Disappeared Persons in World

Dirk Adriaensens
War Is A

Forced disappearances and missing persons: The missing persons of Iraq. -Always someone’s mother or father, always someone’s child.

A forced disappearance (or enforced disappearance) is defined in Article 2 of the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly On 20 December 2006, as the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place such a person outside the protection of the law. Often forced disappearance implies murder. The victim in such a case is first abducted, then illegally detained, and often tortured; the victim is then killed, and the body is then hidden. Typically, a murder will be surreptitious, with the corpse disposed of in such a way as to prevent it ever being found, so that the person apparently vanishes. The party committing the murder has deniability, as there is no body to prove that the victim has actually died. [1]

Article 1 of the Convention further states that No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification for enforced disappearance.[2]

Neither Iraq, nor the USA have signed or ratified this convention.[3]

The United States refused to sign, saying that the text "did not meet our expectations", without giving an explanation.[4]

Once again the United States placed itself outside the provisions of International Humanitarian law.

The Stew of Corruption

Craig Murray
Craig Murray's Blog

British democracy has lost its meaning. The political and economic system has come to serve the interests of a tiny elite, vastly wealthier than the run of the population, operating through corporate control. The state itself exists to serve the interests of these corporations, guided by a political class largely devoid of ideological belief and preoccupied with building their own careers and securing their own finances.

A bloated state sector is abused and milked by a new class of massively overpaid public secotr managers in every area of public provision - university, school and hospital administration, all executive branches of local government, housing associations and other arms length bodies. All provide high six figure salaries to those at the top of a bloated bureaucratic establishment. The "left", insofar as it exists, represents only these state sector vested interests.

These people decide where the cuts fall, and they will not fall where they should - on them. They will fall largely on the services ordinary people need.

Meanwhile we are not all in this together. The Vodafone saga only lifts the lid for the merest peek at the way the corporate sector avoids paying its share, hiding behind Luxembourg or Cayman tax loopholes and conflicts between international jurisdictions - with which our well provided politicians are very happy. The often excellent Sunny Hundal provides a calm analysis of the Vodafone case here.

Appeasing the Uzbek Dictator Who's Afraid of the Ruler of the Silk Road?

Erich Follath & Christian Neef
Der Spiegel

[Craig Murray's comment to this Spiegel article HERE]

Uzbekistan is both a nation of terror led by brutal dictator Islam Karimov and a partner of the West that is an important staging ground for NATO's war in Afghanistan. Its story is best told through the eyes of two men -- the flamboyant former British ambassador and the current top German diplomat in the country.

Some cities are tedium set in stone, joyless places where people don't live but merely survive.

And then there are the cities whose names alone are the stuff of legend. They are places of stunning geography, impressive history and breathtaking architecture. Three of these cities are Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva, located on the legendary Silk Road in Uzbekistan in Central Asia, lined up like a string of pearls, each rising up from the shimmering heat of the surrounding deserts like mirages. These are magical places.

Their turquoise domes, madrassas decorated with mosaics and ornate caravanserai roadside inns are not only evidence of the skill of those who built them, but also of the ambitions of the ethnic groups that proudly left their mark on the region in past centuries: Persians, Greeks, Mongols and Turks. In the 19th century, the British and the Russians competed over strategic bases and mineral resources in the region, in what was known as the "Great Game." After 1920, Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin drew the arbitrary borders that would later outline the Central Asian nations. Today, the region's conflicts are crystallizing once again.

Uzbekistan is the most populous and probably most important of the new Central Asian countries that emerged from the former Soviet Union. Islam Karimov, the Communist Party's first secretary in Uzbekistan prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union, easily transitioned into his new role as president, brutally eliminating all opposition and placing members of his family into positions of power. Today Karimov has his eye on billions in future business. Uzbekistan is the world's sixth-largest cotton producer and has massive reserves of natural gas as well as gold and uranium deposits. It is potentially a wealthy country.

Wikileaks Confirm Western Culture of Torture & Lies Gen Taguba's Abu Ghraib Report & US Franchised Torture Revisited. Part I

K Gajendra Singh

"It would be a good idea." ~ Mahatma Gandhi, when asked about his views on western culture.

"Recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world." ~ Preamble, Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

"As usual, the Arabs knew. They knew all about the mass torture, the promiscuous shooting of civilians, the outrageous use of air power against family homes, the vicious American and British mercenaries, the cemeteries of the innocent dead. All of Iraq knew. Because they were the victims." ~ Robert Fisk

Hosting by WikiLeaks on its website some 391,832 US military messages documenting actions and reports on Iraq over the period 2004-2009,can be divided in five heads:

Reliance on private contractors aka mercenaries
the so-called "surge" of 30,000 additional US troops
the deaths of Iraqi civilians - killed mostly by other Iraqis, but also by the US
a litany of prisoner abuse by Iraqis - which US officials ignored - even more lurid than the infamous photographs of torture from Abu Ghraib prison in 2004
and the so called "aggressive" intervention of Iran's military providing "weapons, training and sanctuary" to Shia combatants.

Robert Fisk highlights the main points as follows:

Gaza Blockade Update

Vittorio Arrigoni, Gaza City, Gaza July 4, 2010

Palestinian fisherman on the shore in Gaza City. A Lebanese ship
was stopped by the Israeli navy and is being escorted into port.

[Many thanks to the anonymous commenter who posted this in response to my plea for information on the current state of the Gaza Blockade. They didn't post a link, so it is reproduced here in full. As I suspected, there has been no real change in the Israeli strangulation of Gaza. -Craig Murray]

Ketchup, mayonnaise, thread and needles are the items that were included last week by Israel on the list of those few goods now allowed into Gaza. Farming tools, spare parts for cars, toys and make-up were added to the list on Tuesday, items we watched being carried into the Strip loaded onto 130 trucks.

Taking into account the decision of the Israeli government to "loosen" the siege of Gaza by allowing the entry of more goods, B'Tselem, the Israeli organisation for human rights commented: "This is a first, tiny step towards the right direction, the direction which'll bring Israeli policy in line with its obligations."

A veritable microscopic step, considering that before the start of the siege, more than ten thousand trucks a month would drive through the Karni pass alone, and even then, these deliveries were miles away from the 500 truckfuls of goods a day (15,000 trucks a month), the minimum decreed by the United Nations to cover the basic needs of one and a half million people.

Kyrgyzstan: Hundreds Dead

Craig Murray

[Former Soviet republic Kyrgyzstan (Kyrgyz: Кыргызстан; Russian: Кыргызстан, officially the Kyrgyz Republic, is a country in Central Asia. Landlocked and mountainous, it is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest and People's Republic of China to the east. Its capital and largest city is Bishkek. WP ]

The sad fact is that any posting about Central Asia sees my visitor figures plummet. I can please myself and don't make money from this webiste. But I can see why commercial media ignore Central Asia. And the harsh truth is that, even when a dramatic crisis is occuring and this blog is one of the few sources of informed comment, only a dribble of people bother to google.

A disclaimer - I know Uzbek and Kirghiz people who don't really understand what is happening. The only journalists who might have a clue are Michael Andersen and Monica Whitlock, and the latter self-censors a lot on Central Asia for family reasons. Disgracefully Britain does not even have an Embassy in Bishkek and "covers it" in the most desultory way imaginable from Astana, more than a thousand kilometers away.

Academic analyses concentrate on "clan systems" which mean nothing to most Kirghiz, who are unaware they belong to separate "clans" according to Western universities.

Even spellings are difficult becase you are transliterating non-Russian names, which had been rendered into Russian Cyrillic, into the latin alphabet. There is therefore no dispute on the Cyrillic spelling of Kyrgyzstan, but I always spelt it Kirghizstan in latin. Similarly the country's interim leader I always spelt as Rosa Otubaeva, but now she is suddenly in tiny articles in the middle broadsheet pages as Roza Otunbayeva.

Israeli Murders, NATO and Afghanistan

Craig Murray

"But what kind of mutual support organisation is NATO when members must make decades long commitments, at huge expense and some loss of life, to support the Unted States, but cannot make even a gesture to support Turkey when Turkey is attacked by a non-member?"

I was in the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office for over 20 years and a member of its senior management structure for six years, I served in five countries and took part in 13 formal international negotiations, including the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea and a whole series of maritime boundary treaties. I headed the FCO section of a multidepartmental organisation monitoring the arms embargo on Iraq.

I am an instinctively friendly, open but unassuming person who always found it easy to get on with people, I think because I make fun of myself a lot. I have in consequence a great many friends among ex-colleagues in both British and foregin diplomatic services, security services and militaries.

I lost very few friends when I left the FCO over torture and rendition. In fact I seemed to gain several degrees of warmth with a great many acquantances still on the inside. And I have become known as a reliable outlet for grumbles, who as an ex-insider knows how to handle a discreet and unintercepted conversation.

What I was being told last night was very interesting indeed. NATO HQ in Brussels is today a very unhappy place.

Gulf Oil Disaster: A Transatlantic Pollution Catastrophe Looms

Finian Cunningham

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster threatening to wipe out tourism and fishing industries and countless numbers of marine wildlife habitats along the entire US southeast coast could be just the prelude to a much greater transatlantic pollution catastrophe.

The furthest eastern state of Florida – 600 miles from the Deepwater Horizon spill site off Louisiana – is next at risk to devastating pollution as a result of giant undersea oil plumes being swept up by fast-moving Caribbean currents known as the Gulf Loop. But US government officials are now warning neigbouring countries to also prepare for contamination. Indeed, the US state department has taken the highly unusual step of contacting the Cuban government to warn it of the pollution risk.

With efforts to curtail the flow of oil gushing from the seabed well by British Petroleum proving ineffective a month after the explosion on an exploratory rig, it is feared by several marine scientists and engineers based in the region that the spill could reach up to a total of six million barrels of crude oil equivalent – 25 times greater than the 1989 Exxon Valdez incident off Alaska, which up to this was considered one of the worst human-made environmental disasters.

With up to 70,000 barrels of oil spewing into the Caribbean every day, there are well-founded fears that the Gulf Loop will pass on its contamination load to the Gulf Stream which, in turn, pours into the North Atlantic. If this happens then the countries of Western Europe that are bathed by this giant oceanic current will also suffer the hydrocarbon toxic fallout from the Deepwater Horizon, scientists say. The multibillion-dollar damage to communities, industries and the incalculable ecological cost might then be multiplied to trillions.

New Labour's Complicity in Torture - Truly Evil

Craig Murray

The body of Farhad Usmanov, 42, who died in pre-trial
detention in June 1999. Usmanov, the son of a well-known
imam, was arrested for alleged possession of a single leaflet
of the Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir. The official cause of
death was given as heart failure, although marks on the
body and other evidence show Usmanov died from torture.

I have now obtained under the Freedom of Information Act a heavily censored copy of one of my telegrams from Tashkent protesting at the use by the UK government of intelligence obtained under torture.

Every British person should read this telegram and hang their head in the deepest of shame. This is the pitch blackness of New Labour's embrace of authoritarianism. Read it, and remember I was both smeared and sacked for this attempt to apply simply the most basic of humane standards. Page 1: Download file Page 2: Download file

The censored passages detail British ministers' receipt of the torture intelligence from the CIA, and point out that the purpose of the CIA intelligence is consistently to paint a false picture, exaggerating the strength of al-Qaida in Central Asia. Miliband approved the redactions from the telegrams "On grounds of national security". Those are precisely the grounds on which he unsuccesfully sought to suppress the evidence of UK collusion with torture in the Binyam Mohammed court cases.

The Partiality of Lord Goldsmith

Craig Murray

One of these two was an honest man. The other one caused his death.

Lord Goldsmith is partial to war. He likes to sit his well-padded bottom on comfortable leather chairs in expensive offices, and be flattered into agreeing that a bit of war would not be a bad idea.

Baha Mousa was a very quiet man, not partial to war at all. Unfortunately he is the one who got killed.

I have a policy of not using atrocity photos, not even on the issue of torture and extraordinary rendition. But the contrast between the easy glibness of Goldsmith and the consequences of his actions needs to be rammed home. The media seems imprssed by his 248 pages of well rehearsed verbiage. I am not.

To call Lord Goldsmith's evidence yesterday "Partial" is ludicrously polite. It turned on the crucial period in March, when he changed his advice to the view that UNSCR 1441 did indeed give, in itself, sufficient grounds to invade. With no personal experience of ever having negotiated a Security Council Resolution, Goldsmith did this in the teeth of fierce opposition from the FCO Legal Adviser Sir Michael Wood, a world renowned eminence in the subject of use of force and the security council, who had also served for four years in our mission to the United Nations.

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