Iraq, 'Farewell' Says Obama. Not The Oil Companies

Juhasz, author of the books The Tyranny of Oil and The Bush Agenda, said that while US and other western oil companies have not yet received all they had hoped the US-led invasion of Iraq would bring them, "They've certainly done quite well for themselves, landing production contracts for some of the world's largest remaining oil fields under some of the world's most lucrative terms."
Dr Abdulhay Yahya Zalloum, an international oil consultant and economist who has spent nearly 50 years in the oil business in the US, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, agrees that western oil companies have "obtained concessions in Iraq's major [oil] fields", despite "there being a lack of transparency and clarity of vision regarding the legal issues". More.

Iraq Now And In The Future - France 24 Clip

Les Milices Font La Loi En Libye

Dans la capitale, Tripoli, quadrillée par ses «libérateurs», qui multiplient barrages, contrôles et vexations, un nouvel affrontement a causé la mort d'au moins quatre rebelles en ce début de semaine. Une brigade de la ville Misrata était partie prenante de ces combats déclenchés, semble-t-il, par une arrestation. À la mi-décembre, plusieurs hommes en armes avaient été tués lors d'un accrochage entre rebelles de Zenten et combattants de Tripoli qui cherchaient à reprendre le contrôle de l'aéroport de la capitale. Quelques jours plus tôt, des hommes de la ville de Chgueigua avaient trouvé la mort dans des échanges de tirs avec une unité de Zenten. Mais c'est à Tripoli que la situation est la plus explosive, puisque s'y côtoient thuwars de Zenten, du Djebel Nefousa, de Misrata ou de Benghazi, et combattants originaires de la capitale. Plus ici.


Friedman Summarises Iraq Disaster

US Must Realise Chinese Rise Can't Be Stopped

Would a clown like presidential hopeful (cough) Rick Santorum be able to deal with the situation? Can Obama deal with it? Recent experience of US decision making in foreign affairs does not lead to optimism. More here.

Spray And Pray French-Style

US-Operated 'Precision Weapons' In Afghanistan
'When integrated into the VAB, this assembly allows very fast response times against sniper type of attack. As soon as a gunshot is detected, the VAB’s crew can decide to cue the turret automatically in the direction of the danger. The target can be identified and fire returned immediately.' This is coded arms industry-speak for spray and pray. The suggestion that this new method of killing innocent bystanders can identify precisely who has fired a shot, if it is a shot, and where they are, is of course ludicrous. From here. As is often the case with the stuff we highlight (or lowlight), it is advisable to have a paper bag handy.

'The Operators' By Michael Hastings

A recent photo of Stanley McChrystal
On the eve of the book’s publication, Hastings talked with Danger Room about The Operators, McChrystal’s command and Afghanistan. An edited transcript follows. For the record, McChrystal declined to comment for this story. Full story link.

Children Of Fallujah

In July 2010, Busby released a study that showed a 12-fold increase in childhood cancer in Fallujah since the 2004 attacks. The report also showed the sex ratio had declined from normal to 86 boys to 100 girls, together with a spread of diseases indicative of genetic damage similar to but of far greater incidence than Hiroshima.
Dr Alani visited Japan recently, where she met with Japanese doctors who study birth defect rates they believe related to radiation from the US nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
She was told birth defect incidence rates there are between 1-2 per cent. Alani's log of cases of birth defects amounts to a rate of 14.7 per cent of all babies born in Fallujah, more than 14 times the rate in the affected areas of Japan. Full details HERE.


More Bombing Victims In Iraq Today

Iraq Body Count And The Real Death Toll

Iraq Body Count has been one of the few organisations who have tried to quantify the carnage which occurred when the US Invasion opened the Pandora's Box of mayhem and sectarianism. Not to mention the US shock and awe killings by bomb and subsequent, undocumented, air raids with precision guided weapons (bah!), night raids, house raids and countless spray and pray shooting galleries. The US and their lackeys famously 'didn't do body counts.' The IBC methodology involves counting only those incidents where a death has been 'documented' more than once. They have never answered the criticism that this is going to be rare in a situation of such anarchy and chaos, particularly when the sectarian killings grew. Robert Fisk described in 2006 how the morgue at Baghdad took in 300 bodies of victims of violence on one day when only 20 killings were being reported. This was common at that time according to the morgue attendants. 
Some key considerations:
  • The Lancet and others have trashed the IBC methodology
  • George Bush, Tony Blair and their ever-shrinking cohort of apologists have always been quick to latch onto IBC figures in the full knowledge that they are grossly underestimated and portray the Iraq debacle in a less unfavourable light. 
Beware of IBC's recent 'updated' figures in the light of the US 'withdrawal'. They are fatally tainted. Tainted with blood many would say.

Obama At The Pentagon

''The world must know the United States is going to maintain our military superiority with armed forces that are agile, flexible and ready for the full range of contingencies and threats." Killing people in wider range of localities in other words. Oh, by the way, Barack, 72 people died today in the 'new, democratic and stable' Iraq.

Gould, Werritty and Gus O'Donnell's Pathetic Report

I am posting this Craig Murray article in full because I think it is very important. O'Donnell is and has always been an establishment stooge.

David Miliband and William Hague are implicated in three entirely new Adam Werritty/Matthew Gould meetings admitted by the FCO in response to one of my FOI requests. Gould’s meetings with Werritty, in his capacity as Prinical Private Secretary to first Miliband and then Hague, were entirely left out of Gus O’Donnell’s “investigation” into Werritty’s activities.

I have now received the following FCO response to my Freedom of Information request on Gould/Werritty:
Thank you for your email of 24 November 2011 asking for “all communications in either direction ever made between Matthew Gould and Adam Werritty, specifically including communications made outside government systems”. I am writing to confirm that we have now completed the search for the information which you requested.
I can confirm that the FCO does hold some information relevant to your request.

There are entries in diaries indicating that there were two meetings at which Mathew Gould and Mr Werritty were both present while he was serving as Principal Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary on 8 September 2009 and 16 June 2010.
Since Mr Gould was appointed as HM Ambassador to Israel on 11 September 2010 there were three further instances on 1 and 27 September 2010 in London and a dinner on 6 February 2011 in Tel Aviv. The meeting on 1 September and the dinner on 6 September are already matters of public record as they are included in the report by the Cabinet Secretary “Allegations against Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP” published on 18 October 2011. Mr Gould attended the Herzliya Conference in his official capacity. Mr Werritty was also a participant. This is already a matter of public record.
The FCO holds no information relating to written communication (either electronic or mail) between Matthew Gould and Adam Werritty at any point.
So Gould attended one meeting with Werritty as David Miliband’s Principal Private Secretary, and one as William Hague’s Principal Private Secretary. Private Secretaries in the civil service do not hold meetings on their own account. It would be very peculiar indeed for a Private Secretary to meet an outside lobbyist on his own, or to formally meet on business anyone outside the civil service without his minister’s permission. Even then, I cannot stress too much how rare this would be; the FCO has batteries of civil servants covering all subjects and geographical areas; private secretaries do not normally meet outsiders except when accompanying their minister.
What was Miliband’s business with Werritty? Does it relate to the later meeting between Werritty, Gould, Fox and Mossad at the Tel Aviv meeting? Does David Miliband’s involvement with Werritty explain the ludicrous charges of anti-semitism levelled at Paul Flynn from within his own party when he tried to dig deeper into what Gould and Werritty were up to?
Those who can count will realise that the FCO letter refers to two instances where Gould met Werritty before he became Ambassador to Israel, and three after being appointed Ambassador, but actually lists four not three – 1 and 27 September 2010 and 6 February 2011, plus the Herzilya Conference from 4-6 February 2011 (this is not the same event as the Tel Aviv dinner as it took place in a quite different town).
Either the meeting on 1 September or 27 September is a new admission. The O’Donnell report refers to only one September meeting, the infamous “briefing meeting” for Gould in the MOD between Gould, Fox and Werritty. Just before Christmas, Caroline Lucas obtained a parliamentary answer that stated there was no MOD official present at that meeting and no record was taken. The FCO letter above is the first admission of a second September meeting.
The FCO list omits the “social occasion” in summer 2010 to which Fox invited both Gould and Werritty, despite the fact that this had already been revealed in a parliamentary answer to Jeremy Corbyn. Presumably it is omitted from this Freedom of Information request because there is no written record of it within the Foreign Office. That might also explain the extraordinary omission of the “We Believe in Israel” conference in London which Fox, Gould and Werritty all attended shortly after the Herzilya Conference in Israel. In this context, am I the only one to find the formula: “The FCO holds no information relating to written communication (either electronic or mail) between Matthew Gould and Adam Werritty at any point” somewhat unconvincing. Have they even asked Gould about communications outside the FCO system?
We now have these Gould/Werritty meetings:
1) 8 September 2009 as Miliband’s Principal Private Secretary (omitted from O’Donnell report)

2) 16 June 2010 as Hague’s Principal Private Secretary (omitted from O’Donnell report)
3) A “social occasion” in summer 2010 with Gould, Fox and Werritty (omitted from above and omitted from O’Donnell report)
4) 1 September 2010 in London (only one September meeting in O’Donnell report)
5) 27 September 2010 in London (only one September meeting in O’Donnell report)
6) 4-6 February 2011 Herzilya Conference Israel (omitted from O’Donnell report)
7) 6 February 2011 Tel Aviv dinner with Mossad and Israeli military
8 15 May 2011 “We believe in Israel” conference London (omitted from above and omitted from O’Donnell report)

Only two of these eight were recorded by Gus O’Donnell in his pathetic “investigation” into the Fox Werritty affair.
It is simply impossible that Matthew Gould, a senior British diplomat, attended all of these meetings and events, yet no formal minute or note of any of them exists. Yet that is what the FCO appears to be claiming. In particular the meetings as Principal Private Secretary on 8 September 2009 and 16 June 2010 simply must have been minuted. The FCO admit they hold diary entries detailing participation, but so far have not responded to my request to release them.
I have no doubt that the near total blackout on serious media investigation into what Werritty was really up to, relates directly to the fact that he was meeting with Gould as Private Secretary to both Miliband and Hague in this sense. There is a silent cross-party agreement among the political establishment to ally the UK strongly with the interests of Israel (and thus against the interests of the Palestinians). Werritty’s activities were therefore countenanced by both New Labour and Conservative leaderships, and the nebulous “Establishment”, including the mainstream media, have closed ranks around this.
My sources within the civil service remain adamant that the purpose of all this activity was diplomatic preparation for an attack on Iran. When those sources first contacted me, and told me to look at Gould Werritty, I genuinely had no idea that Gould and Werritty had any connection. Getting the information has been extremely difficult, but I have proven that the Gould/Werritty connection was indeed far more extensive than the Establishment were prepared to admit, and directly implicated Miliband and Hague with Werritty. It was deliberately underplayed by Gus O’Donnell’s report, in a blatant act of political lying by the then Cabinet Secretary.
I still do not have positive evidence that the purpose of this activity is an attack on Iran, but I trust my source and his or her tip-off that the place to dig was the Gould-Werritty relationship has proven to be entirely accurate. It ties in with information I have received from another source, this time a senior journalist whom again I trust, that Werritty met with Robert Gates on two occasions. I would be grateful if any of my US-based readers could try to track that down using FOI.


Flawed 'Exit' Strategy Pt. 394

Obama will campaign on how he ended the war—which began not in 2003 but in 1991; the U.S. government tormented the Iraqi people for 20 years!—and conservatives will attack him for it. Both sides will conveniently forget that (1) the U.S. government was obligated to leave on Dec. 31, 2011, under an agreement signed by Bush, and (2) Obama tried his damnedest to get the Iraqi leaders to ask the U.S. military to stay. (Contrary to claims, not all troops have left.)
And let’s be clear: An exit from Iraq hardly constitutes an exit from the Middle East. The troops moved down the road to Kuwait, “repostured” for future use. More here.

The End of Who's War In Iraq

Even though Obama ran on the anti-war ticket, he ended up declaring the war a success. All day, I turned over in my head the President’s speech from that morning: “We knew this day would come. We’ve known it for some time. But still there is something profound about the end of a war that has lasted so long. It’s harder to end a war than begin one. Everything that American troops have done in Iraq—all the fighting, all the dying, the bleeding and the building and the training and the partnering, all of it has landed to this moment of success.”
I wondered what it would have sounded like for Obama to speak those words at the Danville VA. Would “the end” sound as profound to “the dying and the bleeding” within these walls? Link


More Victims Of Iraq War In America

UK, NATO Gearing Up To Turn Syria Into Libya

The Ministry of Defence is drawing up secret plans for a NATO-sponsored no-fly zone but first it needs backing from the United Nations Security Council.
As the unrest and killings escalate in the troubled Arab state, agents from MI6 and the CIA are already in Syria assessing the situation, a security official has revealed.
Special forces are also talking to Syrian dissident soldiers.
They want to know about weapons and communications kit rebel forces will need if the Government decides to help. “MI6 and the CIA are in Syria to infiltrate and get at the truth,” said a MOD source.
“We have SAS and SBS not far away who want to know what is happening and are finding out what kit dissident soldiers need.

Al-Sweady Inquiry To Begin Into 'Battle Of Danny Boy'

The Al-Sweady Inquiry will examine claims that UK soldiers murdered 20 or more Iraqis and tortured others after the "Battle of Danny Boy" in Maysan Province, southern Iraq, in May 2004. 

What is the background?

On 14 May 2004, soldiers of the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment were ambushed by Mahdi army fighters. The gunfight, during which the soldiers fought with everything from bayonets to tank shells, became known as the battle for Danny Boy, the name British troops gave to a junction on route 6, just south of Amara on the road to Basra. According to some British estimates at the time, up to 50 Iraqis were killed. A number of local residents claimed relatives tending nearby fields were caught up in the fighting. British forces also detained a number of men, and were seen transporting them from the battlefield. The next day, it appears that 22 bodies were handed over by British forces at Camp Abu Naji. The battle took place near Majar al-Kabir, where militants murdered six British military police officers, known as redcaps, six months earlier.
What are the allegations?

The father of an Iraqi killed by British forces during the battle, together with five other Iraqis who were detained on the same date, allege they were beaten and abused, during and after their original detention. They, and other witnesses, also allege that a far larger number of men were detained and transported from the battlefield and that, while their vision was obscured by blacked-out goggles, they overheard the unmistakable sounds of torture at the base. Public Interest Lawyers, a group representing the Iraqis, says this is corroborated by the death certificates to dead Iraqis who were handed over from the Abu Naji base. Evidence of torture included close-range bullet wounds, the removal of eyes, and stab wounds. The Iraqis have been asking the high court in London to order an independent public inquiry into claims they were mistreated and that British soldiers may have killed up to 20 captives.
What have the witnesses said?

In statements last year, five of the Iraqis tell of hearing other men screaming, moaning in pain and choking, and the sound of gunfire. One man, Atiyah Sayid Abdelreza said: "I believed people were being killed. I have never heard anything like that sound ever before in my life. It shocked me and filled me with such terror." The five detainees include two farmers, a student, a taxi driver and a baker, according to the statements. Their lawyers said they had "absolutely nothing" to do with the insurgent Mahdi army. Death certificates of Iraqis, disclosed at the time of the witness statements, described how they died. "Several gunshot wounds to body – severance of sexual organs," one states. "Gunshot to head," another reads. One notes: "Gunshot in face, pulling out of the eye, breaking the jaw, gunshot to the chest." The witness statements implied that Iraqi men were executed by being shot at close range, strangled or having their throats cut, the lawyers said. British soldiers have said they were told to take some bodies of dead Iraqis back to their camp, though it is unclear why.
What do the Iraqis want?

They want compensation for their alleged ordeal and a judicial review of the Ministry of Defence's failure to conduct a proper inquiry into the allegations. The Human Rights Act demands an independent public inquiry when there is prima facie evidence of serious wrongdoing by the state, lawyers have told the high court.
What was the government's reaction?

Allegations of mistreatment of Iraqi civilians at Abu Naji were first reported in the Guardian a month after the battle. Military police were asked to investigate and cleared the soldiers of wrongdoing. The MoD had until now opposed the application for a judicial review into the way it and military police responded to the allegations. Lawyers for the ministry argued the 20 who died were killed during fighting.
Have there been other allegations?

There is the well-documented killing of hotel worker Baha Mousa, 26, who was beaten to death in September 2003. Six soldiers were acquitted and one was jailed for a year. The MoD paid nearly £2.8m to Mousa's family and nine other victims of abuse detained at the same time.

Iraqi Civilian Deaths Up In 2011

"The number of civilian deaths in Iraq in 2011 was almost at the same level as in 2010 - there has now been no noticeable downward trend since mid-2009," IBC said in a statement. 


An Indian Spring? By Jon Pilger

In Kashmir, a forgotten India barely reported abroad, a peaceful resistance as in­spiring as Tahrir Square has arisen in the most militarised region on earth. As the victims of Partition, Muslim Kashmiris have known none of Nehru's noble legacies. Thousands of dissidents have "disappeared" and torture is not uncommon. "The voice that the government of India has tried so hard to silence," wrote Arundhati Roy in 2008, "has massed into a deafening roar. Hundreds of thousands of unarmed people have come out to reclaim their cities, their streets and mohallas. They have simply overwhelmed the heavily armed security forces by their sheer numbers, and with a remarkable display of raw courage." An Indian spring may be next. Full article by Jon Pilger here.

Uprising In Yemen - Recent Clip

Remember The Perpetrators Of The Iraq Bloodbath

The Iraqi government, a bastion of secularism prior to the US invasion, is dominated by sectarian Shiite parties which have shown little regard for human rights, particularly evident in their brutal suppression of an incipient pro-democracy struggle last March. Offices of pro-democracy groups have been raided and shut down, intellectuals and journalists - along with other supporters of the nonviolent anti-government protests - have been rounded up; torture of suspects continues on an administrative basis; government-backed death squads have murdered suspected regime opponents and the current Iraqi government is categorized by Transparency International as one of the most corrupt regimes on Earth. To claim that invading Iraq was to support democracy, then, was as big a lie as the claim that Iraq still had "weapons of mass destruction."  And, though Saddam Hussein was a brutal tyrant, events in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen over the past year have demonstrated there are better ways to oust Arab dictators than for foreign troops to invade a country and occupy it. More here.