Iraq Invasion’s Atrocities, Unearthing the Unthinkable

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” François-Marie Arouet -“Voltaire” (1694-1778.)

 

Felicity Arbuthnot

I have a deeply held belief that the duty of a commentator is, to the best of one’s ability, to record, to shine light in often dark places, to act as a voice for those whose own voice, fears, plights might not be heard or known. To write about the emotions one sometimes feels when doing it, is an anathema and anyway a redundancy. The purpose is to attempt to draw attention to wrongs, not to whinge about the effects they can have – and any way, a private life should be just that. If politicians wish to strip themselves of their dignity and allude to everything from their sex life, to using private grief to gain sympathy votes, those with a shred of self-respect do not wish to emulate them. Here, I am breaking my taboo, for a reason.

Over the last several weeks I have again researched in depth, invasion’s atrocities in Iraq, unearthing the unthinkable, switching off emotion and reading of terror, torture, monstrous wickednesses, word after sickening word. Then, Fallujah revisited (1) with document after document revealing the depth of the darkest depravities towards others, which can be plumbed, by “some mother’s son” – or daughter. Indeed, some child’s father or mother, able to shoot the children, toddlers, babies of others, in cold blood, drive over them in tanks, leaving the pathetic remains to be eaten by stray dogs.

Photographs viewed have included many which even hardened investigators have deemed: “too disturbing to view.” This is not a view I hold. If family members who have survived, emergency workers (when not incinerated by U.S., troops themselves) medical staff, if not shot, imprisoned, tortured, or tied up with a bag over their head) can view, identify, bury with love and respect – or in the case of medical staff, carefully photograph, and note time, location of finding, then number, wrap and retain for a period, before burial, hoping a relative will claim the charred, mutilated, or worse, remains. It is a duty for those with any “voice”, from countries responsible for this first documentable U.S., U.K., genocide of the 21st century, to draw attention to it, in the memory of and in tribute to, the voiceless, nameless, uncounted victims, in the hope that eventually, legal recourse might result.

In fact it was compassion which over came all – bodies and faces burned near beyond recognition, or the eviscerated, the all with the eyes, often, still staring out in a desperate silent plea for help, combined with utter bewilderment. “We have the scumbags on the run”, wrote a marine on his website. “We lit them up”, wrote another, as many took photographs of these lost souls – and sent them to porn sites in exchange for free viewing. And between the U.S., occupiers (now, surreally, re-branded “advisors” – same car, new paint) and what Hussein al-Alak of the Iraq Solidarity Campaign has called: ” the U.S., imposed Vichy government, with their foreign passports ..”, who will fight for justice for the Iraqis?

And, as since 1991, this is also a war against the unborn, new born and under fives. After the bodies and the rubble, the gore, blood and limbs, there are the deformities. The fledgling life, born without eyes, brain, with one cyclops eye,  with no head, with two heads, with no limbs, or fingers – or too many. A biblical land turned to genetic and ecological Armageddon, for current and future generations, till the end of time. “Mission accomplished”, said George W. Bush, in his ridiculous little flying suit, on the USS Abraham Lincoln on 1st May 2003. “Let freedom reign”, he scribbled, after the first, corrupt, murderous, corpse-littered “elections”. Result: “Let genocide commence.”

The U.S., appointed “Viceroy” in Iraq, J. Paul Bremer, dressed for the part, Hollywood style, in ridiculous desert, or army boots, depending on your perception, arrived shortly after the invasion, seemingly believing in population reduction. Reportedly asking what the population of Iraq was, he was told, about twenty five million. His response was allegedly : “Too many, try five.” But then, he had been Kissinger Associates’ man.

As I read, I listened to the great and the good in various world legal bodies discuss whether the Congo and Rwanda should be “classed” as genocide. In July 2004, as U.S., troops were training for the Fallujah massacre, the coming November, the U.S., House of Representatives passed a unanimous resolution calling the tragedy of Darfur: “Genocide.” They asked the administration to consider “Multilateral or even Unilateral” action, to end this genocide. Reluctance to take proactive steps to prevent further loss of human life was “criminal”, they opined.

Seemingly genocides these days are only committed by Africans or Eastern Europeans, not those great bastions of democracy, U.S., U.K., and the “only democracy in the Middle East”, ally Israel. The Israeli Defence Force, trained U.S., troops for the two week November 2004, Fallujah pogrom. (2) “If it moves, shoot it”, was the order of the day. As two world wars, as Korea, Vietnam, the face of liberation never changes.

“Their tactics basically involve massive fire power … bringing in tanks and helicopters to fire on targets … demolishing buildings, establishing snipers on roofs, smashing holes in walls (and) shooting anything that moved.” This in addition to:  ” … aerial bombardment and shell fire from large field guns.” The plight of Fallujah: “Was not fully understood in the West, save by some of the survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto … they were trapped (like) rabbits in a cornfield”, being circled to be mown down and dismembered by combine harvesters.(3)The photographs are testimony to the chilling description. The unsung heroes are those who determined to record them, so some time, some where, the crimes would be known and legal retribution sought. These terrible, pathetic images, are the silent testimony to the first known Western genocide of the 21st century. Sadly, it is a near certainty that Iraq and Afghanistan will, in time, produce proof of more.

On visits to Iraq during the embargo years, when there was the silent genocide over nearly thirteen years of the U.S.-U.K.,- driven U.N., embargo’s prohibition of all necessary to sustain the basics of life, with children dying of “embargo-related causes”, at an average of six thousand a month, witnessing the heartbreak, the bafflement at their plight, the terrible guilt was always leaving. One saw and shared to some extent, the unimaginable, being perpetrated in one’s name, then one left. Across the border, in Jordan, the lights were on, the towns bustled, clean water came out of the taps, and the illegal American and British bombs were not dropping. Yet so near, the children were dying, the people were dying, in the name of “We the people …”

Looking through the photographs, reading of the near incomprehensible depths of sadistic destruction of their fellow human beings, men and women in uniform can uniformly sink to, I could also escape at the end of the day. I could make a meal, go and listen to live jazz at a favorite jazz pub, or simply pour a glass of wine and listen to music, surrounded by numerous books, collected pictures and loved items, in a home I enjoy, before seeking the warmth of the duvet and a comfortable bed.

But if the conscious mind can switch off, clearly the sub-conscious does not. One night the nightmare, one was sure was not a nightmare, but reality, struck. In the surreal world of nightmares, I “woke”, to find myself saturated, blood pouring from under my arms. Wondering what was happening and what to do about it, I did, in nightmare-land, what I often do when working something out (though not usually at 3 a.m.,) and got the tools together and went out in to my garden. As ever, to trim and nurture plants, and bushes, mostly grown from tiny, often quarter inch cuttings, cosseted indoors, until clement weather, then planted outside, in sheltered warmth, and further fed and tended until suddenly seemingly overnight, a vibrant, colored addition, standing on its own roots, is ready to face all seasons. But my garden, with its protective hedges, (white flowers in summer, orange berries in winter and thorns to deter the trespasser …) had gone. There were just bulldozer tracks, deep, ruining, not a leaf, stem or bloom left – just a wasteland.

Then, in nightmare-world, in my nightclothes, blood covered, I realised I had no keys to get back in. What if anyone found me in this state? I turned to the front door to try and figure a plan – but the building had gone. I was alone, bloody, near undressed and all had vanished, turning back to other familiar buildings, suddenly there was nothing. Just ruin, rubble and wasteland, as far as the eye could see. My life, my books, my comfort zone, were no more. Just the bloodied clothes I stood in remained.

Like walking away, I, of course, woke up – soaked and shivering. To a hot bath, a washing machine and a warm airing cupboard full of clean bed linen – my garden still intact. The people of Iraq, with their destroyed homes and gardens, fruit groves, date palm groves, or their vibrant plantings on balconies or flat roofs; the Palestinians, suffering the same plight for sixty two interminable years, and the people of Afghanistan in their flattened compounds, destroyed with their scented groves and gardens of blossoms and apricots, live a nightmare from which they never awake.

I thought again of the Iraqi child, whose parents had a beautiful garden, who showed a friend and I her drawing book, before the invasion. One picture had an abundance of flowers, carefully colored, in numerous hues,  on the side were American soldiers – shooting at the flowers. “Why are the soldiers shooting the flowers?” We asked. “Because Americans hate flowers”, she replied solemnly. It was a deeply saddening moment, that she represented so many children, who saw American as representing only wrath, fear and deprivation. She knew nothing of those Americans who had worked tirelessly to reverse the situation. If she has survived, she will be a young adult. She is unlikely to have changed her views.

In the U.K., Scottish parliamentarian, Dr Bill Wilson (4) is ploughing a determined path to bring Tony Blair to justice. In furtherance of this, he has now written to Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond and Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Kenny MacAskill, calling for Scotland to adopt the recently agreed international definition of the crime of aggression into its legislature. His letter reads:

“The International Criminal Court’s Review Conference of the Rome Statute in Kampala (5) earlier this year adopted a resolution by which it amended the Statute so as to include a definition of the crime of aggression and the conditions under which the Court could exercise jurisdiction with respect to the crime.  The actual exercise of jurisdiction is subject to a decision to be taken after 1 January 2017 by the same majority of States Parties as is required for the adoption of an amendment to the Statute.  However, I believe that there is now no legal obstacle to individual countries adopting the new definition of the crime of aggression into their own legislatures.  I hope you will agree with me that it would be to Scotland’s credit if we could be one of the first countries to do this, and it would be a fine legacy for the present Scottish Government to leave as it nears the end of its term.”

He commented that, further, since the The International Criminal Court has now  agreed on a definition of the crime of aggression: “I believe that although the ICC itself cannot prosecute on the basis of this for the time being, there is no impediment to individual countries adopting the definition into their own legislatures immediately.  If Scotland did so, it would be an excellent example to the rest of the world and would send the clear message that we respect international law here.  It would also create a powerful incentive for present and future UK Governments to think carefully before embarking on warfare.

“I think most Scots would not wish to see a repeat of the tragedy we have seen unfold in Iraq. This might be a way of preventing such misguided ventures in the future.” Dr Wilson, is adamant: Scotland is in a position to: “… lead ethically in adopting the crime of aggression definition”, and has legal advise which concurs. Dr Wilson plans to use Fallujah as an example of this aggression, but also points out there there are surely numerous others, undocumented, as yet.

As John Pilger reminds, Blair promised that the (illegal) invasion of Baghdad would be ” … without a bloodbath and that Iraqis in the end would be celebrating … In fact, the criminal conquest of Iraq smashed a society, killing up to a million people, driving four million from their homes, contaminating cities such as Fallujah with cancer-causing poisons and leaving a majority of young children malnourished in a country once described by Unicef as a ‘model.’ ” (New Statesman, 30th September, 2010.)

As Pakistan, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, now seem to be in would be imperial sights, a precedent which will flag a up a warning sign to leaders of ill intent, is surely needed. Dr Gideon Polya, who’s work on excess deaths from invasions since 1950, states, in Afghanistan: “The annual death rate is 7% for under-5 year old Occupied Afghan infants, as compared to 4% for Poles in Nazi-occupied Poland, and 5% for French Jews in Nazi-occupied France.”

The U.S., and U.K., whose leaders have trumpeted the dangers of the latest “new Hitler” in the countries they planned to decimate, have outdone the Nazis. Enough.

Notes

1. http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=212121

See also : http://www.billwilsonmsp.org

2. “War Crime or Just War”, Nicholas Wood, South Hill Press, 2005.

3. See 2.

4. See 1.

5.http://www2.icc-cpi.int/menus/icc/press%20and%20media/press%20releases/review%20conference%20of%20the%20rome%20statute%20concludes%20in%20kampala

Costa Ricans Massively against U.S. Military Invasion

By Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
August 16, 2010

In the latest survey released by a Costa Rican polling firm, it is confirmed that most of Costa Rica does not welcome on arrival and permanence of U.S. troops in their country. In recent weeks, the Congress of Costa Rica agreed to allow the arrival of military ships, planes and thousands of American marines to ‘aid’ in the war against narcotics trafficking in the Americas, which is largely driven by the U.S. and Colombia.

In the survey, whose partial results were published in a local newspaper, Costa Ricans expressed unfavorable views of the U.S. occupation. Of all respondents, 32 percent believe that the occupation is detrimental. The newspaper did not explain why, or if polled respondents were questioned as to why their opinion was such. Meanwhile, another 38 percent of respondents expressed concern that the arrival and permanence of Americans violates Costa Rican sovereignty.

Overall, 70 percent of ‘Ticos’ demonstrated their dissatisfaction with the arrival and permanence of foreign troops until December 2010. But it is the 38 percent number that sounds the bell, more than any other number. The reason is that more than one third of Costa Ricans are aware that the U.S. invasion is a violation of their sovereignty, a position that until a few weeks ago was unknown. Thus, the 57 per cent who welcomes the country’s militarization pales in comparison to the 70 percent who disapproves -32 percent who see as harmful the arrival of the Americans and the 38 percent who disapprove due to the violation of sovereignty.

Although the majority of Costa Ricans disapprove the arrival of the Americans, for the reasons mentioned above, 57 percent approval makes it clear that there is considerable support. The reason for the support, although not explained in the publication, can be easily be connected to the insecurity that the ‘Ticos’ experience daily in their neighborhoods and cities. The insecurity has been allowed to grow freely for several decades by many governments that believed the fallacy that Costa Rica was the Switzerland of Central America and that nothing would change that. Years later, the underworld, the drug lords, both locals and from abroad, gained control of the streets in the country. Drug cartels now control large areas in southern, northern and the Caribbean regions. The failure of a bureaucracy that purposely let crime grow out of control, now presents the militarization as a solution with the arrival of 7,000 troops, warships and military aircraft and helicopters, which is seen as an exageration and a threat to the sovereignty of Costa Rica. But this is not new. It is the well known modus operandi and Hegelian practice of problem, reaction, solution.

In fact, the cooperation agreement between Costa Rica and the United States did not improve at all the drug trafficking situation in the country. During the execution of this agreement, more and more drugs continue moving through Costa Rican land and waters to their northern destinations of Mexico and the United States. In South America, the treaty known as Plan Colombia did not resul in anything positive, either. Millions of dollars of U.S. taxpayers are ‘invested’ in a war regarded as a failure because it has failed to accomplish its only goal: ending the drug trade in South, Central and North America, where the largest consumer market of cocaine, crack, heroin and other drugs -made in clandestine laboratories with mixtures of pharmaceutical ingredients- is located.

In response to growing drug trafficking, the U.S. pursued a policy of ‘cooperation’ that includes the invasion of sovereign territories to supposedly stop the flow of drugs across the continent, but neither the navy nor the army, -under the guidance of the Southern Command (SOUTHCOM )- scattered across the continent have achieved that goal. People have to wonder why.

The results so far provided by the pollster UNIMER, not only reveal the overwhelming opposition of the people in Costa Rica to the occupation, but also the fatigue of the ‘Ticos’ to the ‘business as usual’ policy of their government. Although the new president arrived with great fanfare, as they all arrive, she was not able to recognize the lack of leadership from the previous governments and project a clear plan on what to do about insecurity in the country. Mrs. Chinchilla preferred to extend the policy of accepting gifts and even sacrifice the sovereignty of Costa Rica to participate in a drug war that has proved a complete failure due to the fact it is driven by corruption and not by a desire to end the drug trafficking scheme.

Another conclusion that emerges from the survey is that 57 percent of ‘Ticos’ who support military intervention ignore the failure of the current war on drugs, which is largely responsible for the bankruptcy of the United States. The policy of occupation emptied the coffers of the government, which in itself did not even have any money. Similarly, history shows that countries who sacrifice freedom and sovereignty in exchange for ‘security’, end up losing both. What this 57 percent should demand is a clear policy against crime, not the acceptance of royalties. Although the democratic system is a hedious one, as it subjects large amounts of citizens to the wishes of others, hopefully in the case of Costa Rica the voice of the majority, -which this time seems to be wiser than before- will be heard louder than ever, to wake up the minority from their sleep in the arms of ignorance.

Related Articles:

Costa Rica Occupied by U.S. Military *UPDATE*

Costa Rica Occupied: Congress Surrenders Sovereignty to U.S. Army

HSBC, Wachovia, Bank of America Launder Mexican Drug Money

Mossad in South America

Costa Rica Occupied by U.S. Military -Update-

By Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
July 7, 2010

In an interview to a local newspaper, the Vice Minister of Security of Costa Rica, JORGE CHAVARRÍA said the alternative solution to letting the American occupiers move around the country is “too expensive”.  ”It would require the whole national budget to fully equip the Coast Guard so they can do the work the U.S. military will do.”  But if Costa Rica is not capable of securing its own coasts and land, it means the U.S. Army will have to stay in Costa Rican territory forever, and not only for six months as the permit says, doesn’t it?  One point the Vice Minister got right is that drug smuggling is a regional or even continental problem, therefore, Costa Rica cannot solve it by itself.  However, Mr. CHAVARRÍA also believes it is kosher to violate the Constitution and allow foreign forces to occupy the country.  But isn’t this very same action an example of trying to solve the problem by itself?

In the meantime, legislator Luis Fishman has decided to take the approval of Congress to Costa Rican courts as he believes it is unconstitutional.  ”The agreement signed between Costa Rica and the United States in 1998 was to allow Coast Guard ships only and not military,” insists Fishman.  While some legislators complain about the arrival of the Americans, it seems some people in Costa Rica do not understand what this issue is all about.  It is common to read comments in the local media which favor the arrival of the U.S. Army.  Jesus Cespedes Calderon says in a comment that Fishman’s actions only reflect an interest for self promotion and not an authentic concern for the country’s sovereignty.  Luis Adrian Gonzalez Rozmenoski, another Costa Rican writes that people like Fishman and the others opposing the move are a bunch of drama queens that shield themselves with the issue of sovereignty to become popular figures.

Other comments express a belief that the precarious security condition the country is experiencing demands and justifies the type of actions the Costa Rican Congress has taken.  They ignore or do not recognize that the dire situation they so precisely point out exists due to the corruption that exists at all levels in the Costa Rican society.  They surely ignore the Hegelian dialect and way of operating in which the conquerors create a problem to cause a reaction and provide a “solution”.

A local newspaper called La Nacion, points out that the current security problem is a result of the government neglect, who is used to receiving donations from foreign governments instead of setting funds aside for combating crime and drug trafficking. The Director of the Coast Guard, Martín Arias, said in an interview that: “We don’t have the capacity to safeguard all our marine territory”.  Who has?  The United States, with all its might cannot take care of its own borders, which makes it even more ironic that they go to Costa Rican land and oceans to help them safeguard the territory.

Arias added that the government of Costa Rica has indeed neglected the security of the country, by many seen as a small piece of paradise in the middle of a revolted region.  ”The country is happy with accepting royalties from friendly governments,” he said.  The local Coast Guard obtains its budget from the Public Security Department.  The total annual budget for combating crime in Costa Rican waters is of about $145,000 of which only 15 percent is spent on security operations.  Did anybody say corruption?

Although Mr. Arias did not detail how the U.S. Army would help in the fight against drug trafficking, he insisted that if the Coast Guard had the ability to fully patrol the oceans they could limit the extent to which Costa Rican oceans are used to transport and deal illegal drugs.  One thing is sure: Costa Rica does not need 46 War Ships, or 7,000 Marines or War Helicopters to end with drug trafficking in its oceans.

Costa Rica Occupied: Congress Surrenders Sovereignty to U.S. Army

By Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
July 6, 2010

For the first time since it abolished its Army in 1948, Costa Rica decided to allow the invasion of United States ships into its harbor

"Cuando alguno pretenda tu gloria manchar, verás a tu pueblo valiente y viril."

and effectively renounced to its sovereignty.  In an illegal move, the Costa Rican Congress approved the arrival of the American troops which include 46 US warships and 7,000 Marines.  All troops will have freedom to move about the country in their full gear, and will be allowed to police the Central American land.  The Congress’ illegal approval is in direct violation of the Costa Rican Constitution, as it was established after 1948 that the country would would not create or maintain an official army and that all the monies would instead be invested in social reform programs such as education and housing.

Although the US army is supposed to only stay in the country until December 2010, many citizens and political parties declared their opposition to the move, due to the fact the U.S. has never actually left a country it has taken possession of.  The newspaper Prensa Latina reported that the leaders of three parties in Costa Rica called the decision a “violation of sovereignty”.  The move, according to those who support it, is justified in order to empower the effort to eradicate drug trafficking in the region.  According to PressTV, the Costa Rican government argues that the approval is disproportionate to the threat caused by drug smuggling in the country and the Central American area.  Besides the 7,000 troops and the ships, the U.S. also added helicopters to the massive contingent.

Luis Fishman, the leader of the Social Unity Party (PUSC) said that the permission is a blank check to the U.S. to station its forces on the coast line of the country.  Others have warned that this position will allow the American forces to launch attacks against  targets like Venezuela, whose government opposes the American Imperialistic policies.  Before the arrival of the 7,000 troops, ships and Helicopters, the U.S. already counted with two bases in Costa Rica, which were directed by SOUTHCOM, or Southern Command, a paramilitary American group -disguised as a drug trafficking combating force- which maintains a Naval Base in the port of Caldera in the Caribbean and another one in the northern province of Guanacaste.  “We cannot support an illegal act, we won’t allow the Constitution to be broken,” Fishman added.

More complaints were heard from other political leaders.  Legislator Jose Maria Villalta said the permission will allow U.S. troops to “enjoy freedom of movement and the right to carry out the activities needed to fulfill their mission.”  Villalta added that the Washington government sees Central America as being within an area of influence  which it intends to use to force its dominance.  Previous to letting the American military forces in, Costa Rica already had agreements with the United States to allow the presence of Coast Guard vessels to remain in its waters, but never before did it permit the arrival or permanence of a military ships, helicopters or any other major war contingent.

Even if these military forces leave Costa Rican soil, as they are supposed to on December 31, 2010, the country will remain occupied by the flotilla of military soldiers who operate out of Caldera and Guanacaste under SOUTHCOM.  However, many believe that the U.S. Army is there to stay.  Let’s see if the Costa Rican people honor what their National Anthem says: “Whenever someone tries to stain your glory, you’ll see your people strong and virile.”

US lawmakers call for end to Afghan war

PressTV

The Democratic and Republican lawmakers have called on President Barack Obama to provide Congress with a clear plan to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan.

The lawmakers from both sides of the political spectrum called Thursday for an end to the Afghan war.

A group of US lawmakers said the war was a drain on US “blood and treasure”.

“Every dollar spent and every life wasted in Vietnam was just that: A waste,” said Democratic Representative Jerrold Nadler.

The revolt against Obama comes as Washington is expected to pump another 37 billion dollars into the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) chief, Leon Panetta, recently admitted that the Afghan war has proven to be much harder and longer than anticipated. He also alluded to serious problems in the US-led war, acknowledging that the Taliban are gaining an upper hand in the battle.

This is while Obama has promised to start withdrawing US forces from Afghanistan in July 2011.

The rising foreign casualties have sparked anger among the public in the countries allied with the US in Afghanistan.

In addition to the foreign troops’ casualties, thousands of civilians have also lost their lives either in US-led raids or in the Taliban-led militancy across the violence-wracked country. Rising number of civilian causalities is undermining support for the presence of US-led forces in the country.

The US-led invasion of Afghanistan was launched with the official objective of curbing militancy and bringing peace and stability to the country. Nine years on, however, US and Afghan officials admit the country remains unstable as civilians continue to pay the heaviest price.