Archive for November 20, 2013

Source: GRTV

The West is the Architect of Terrorism in Syria
by grtv

Press TV has conducted an interview with Michel Chossudovsky of the Centre for Research on Globalization in Montreal about the issue of the Western proxy war in Syria and the fresh advances being made by the army of the Syrian government in its fight against insurgents backed by the West, Israel and some Persian Gulf states.

The following is an approximate transcript of the interview, which appears on video after a short Press TV interview with retired Lebanese army general, Hisham Jaber.

Press TV: How do you see the situation in Syria? Which side has the upper hand?

Chossudovsky: It appears from the reports that the insurgency has been defeated. This is something we’ve known for quite some time. It’s been a progressive and continuous process.

And we should emphasize that this insurgency is a US-NATO-Israeli-sponsored terrorist operation, which is being defeated. And we should understand that this is a proxy entity of the Western military alliance recruited by NATO and its allies including of course Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey.

We have a severe opposition and an insurgency, which is largely a Western construct – it’s a fake opposition and the military arm of this entity are the terrorists, which are supported covertly by Western intelligence, supplied and so on.

So the question we have to ask ourselves now, which is of course very crucial: Do we need a peace plan or do we need peace?

Because in essence Syria has achieved the goal of laying the grounds for peace through the defeat of these terrorists.

Press TV: With regards to the plan to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons… Belgium, France and Albania were chosen as host countries.

Firstly, is there any significance as to why these countries; and secondly, what are the side effects of chemical weapons destruction for these host countries?

Chossudovsky: With regards to the chemical weapons issue pertaining to Syria, this has been, on the part of the United States and its allies, it has been a mechanism in a sense to divert attention from the real conflict.

It has been used as a mechanism also to divert attention from the fact that the weapons of mass destruction are held essentially by the Western military alliance and its…ally, Israel, which threatens the entire region.

At the same time, putting aside the chemical weapons issue, we must establish the record of what has happened.

This has been a criminal undertaking of unleashing terrorists against a sovereign State.

We must declare an unconditional moratorium on support to these mercenary forces, [though] the Western military alliance will attempt to rebuild them.

We have to raise the issue of war reparations because essentially this is a criminal war and those responsible for that war must pay reparations. Incidentally the United States has in fact destroyed several countries in the post-World War Two period, starting with Korea, Vietnam, of course Afghanistan and Iraq; they‘ve never paid war reparations.

But here we have a situation where the war criminals should be exposed and indicted under international humanitarian law.

The actors of this undertaking are not the al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists; these are the foot soldiers of the Western military alliance. The architects are in Brussels, Washington, London, Ankara, Tel Aviv, Doha and Riyadh.

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Global Research, November 19, 2013

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PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 
TRIBUNAL HEARING AGAINST ISRAEL AND YARON TO COMMENCE


KUALA LUMPUR, 19 November 2013
– The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal (KLWCT) will be hearing genocide and war crimes charges against the State of Israel and Amos Yaron, a retired Israeli army general from November 20 to 25, 2013 in Kuala Lumpur.

This is the first time that genocide charges will be heard against the State of Israel and theretired Israeli army general in compliance with due legal process. The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission (KLWCC), having received complaints from victims from Palestine (Gaza and West Bank) and the Sabra – Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon, in 2012, investigated these complaints resulting in the institution of formal charges against the accused.

The suffering of the Palestinian people have been well documented over the decades without any legal recourse being open to these people. Legal obstacles are placed in their path denying them the right to be heard. The international community too has failed to recognise their fundamental human right to be heard. The KLWCC founded in 2008 was established to fill this void and act as a peoples’ initiative to provide an avenue for such victims to file their complaints and let them have their day in a court of law.

Witnesses are scheduled to testify against the accused during the course of the tribunal hearing. Eyewitnesses of the Sabra – Shatila massacre will be testifying at the hearing and one of them include prominent surgeon and author Dr Ang Swee Chai. Other witnesses at the hearing will also include those from Gaza during the Operation Cast Lead 1 that resulted in the loss of numerous civilian lives and destruction of property where even children were victims. Expert witness Paola Manduca, a retired Professor at University of Genoa, Italy who is an expert Geneticist will testify on the impact of weapons on reproductive health arising from the attacks in Gaza, especially to children. There will also be witnesses from the West Bank to testify on alleged Israeli state violence and atrocities against the Palestinian people.

The charge against the State of Israel for the Crime of Genocide and War Crimes, is as follows:

From 1948 and continuing to date, the State of Israel (hereafter ‘the Defendant’) carried out against the Palestinian people a series of acts namely killing, causing serious bodily harm and deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about physical destruction.

The conduct of the Defendant was carried out with the intention of destroying in whole or in part the Palestinian people. These acts were carried out as part of a manifest pattern of similar conduct against the Palestinian people. These acts were carried out by the Defendant through the instrumentality of its representatives and agents.

Such conduct constitutes the Crime of Genocide under international law including the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide 1948 (‘the Genocide Convention’) in particular Article II and punishable under Article III of the said Convention. It also constitutes the crime of genocide as stipulated in Article 10 of the Charter of the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission.

Such conduct by the Defendant as an occupying power also violates customary international law as embodied in the Hague Convention of 1907 Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949.
Such conduct also constitutes War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity under international law.

The charge against Amos Yaron for War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity, and Genocide is as follows:

The defendant Amos Yaron perpetrated War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity, and Genocide in his capacity as the Commanding Israeli General in military control of the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Israeli occupied Lebanon in September of 1982 when he knowingly facilitated and permitted the large-scale Massacre of the Residents of those two camps in violation of the Hague Regulations on Land Warfare of 1907; the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949; the 1948 Genocide Convention; the Nuremberg Charter (1945), the Nuremberg Judgment (1946), and the Nuremberg Principles (1950); customary international law, ‘jus cogens’, the Laws of War, and International Humanitarian Law.

The judges of the Tribunal will be headed by retired Malaysian Federal Court judge Tan Sri Dato Lamin bin Haji Mohd Yunus Lamin, who also served as an ad litem judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Republic of Yugoslavia. The other judges in the Tribunal include notable names such as Tunku Sofiah Jewa, practising lawyer and author of numerous publications on International Law, Prof Salleh Buang, former Federal Counsel in the Attorney-General Chambers and prominent author, and Prof Emeritus Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi, prominent academic and professor of law, Dato’ Shaari Yusof, former Appeal Court judge, Mr John Philpot, a senior litigation lawyer from Canada and Tunku Intan Mainura from the Faculty of Law, UiTM and a specialist in international law.

The Tribunal will adjudicate and evaluate the evidence presented as in any court of law. The judges of the Tribunal must be satisfied that the charges are proven beyond reasonable doubt and deliver a reasoned judgement.

In the event the tribunal convicts any of the accused, the only sanction is that the name of the guilty will be entered in the Commission’s Register of War Criminals and publicised worldwide. The tribunal is a tribunal of conscience and a peoples’ initiative.

The prosecution for the trial will be lead by Prof Gurdial S Nijar, prominent law professor and author of several law publications and Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Abdul Aziz Bin Abdul Rahman, senior barrister, and assisted by a team of lawyers.

The trial is open to the public and will be held on November 20-25, 2013 at the premises of the Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalise War (KLFCW) at 88, Jalan Perdana, Kuala Lumpur.

For further information, please contact

Dato’ Dr Yaacob Merican
Secretary General of the KLWCC Secretariat
Tel: +6012-227 8680

About Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission (KLWCC)

The KLFCW established the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission (The Commission), to investigate cases of war crimes that have been neglected by established institutions such as the International Criminal Court. The Commission seeks to influence world opinion on the illegality of wars and occupation undertaken by major Western powers.

The aim of The Commission is thereby to hold perpetrators of war crimes accountable for their actions especially when relevant international judicial organs fail to do so.

The Commission
The commission’s function is to:
i) receive complaints from any victim(s) of any conflict on:

(a) Crimes against peace
(b) Crimes against humanity
(c) Crimes of genocide
(d) War crimes

ii) investigate the same and prepare a report of its findings. To further call for more evidence or where The Commission is satisfied to recommend prosecution

The Legal Team
The legal team’s aim is to present the complaints of victim(s) of any conflict and to act on the recommendation of The Commission’s report and to frame charges and prosecute accused person(s).

The Tribunal
The Tribunal shall adjudicate on the charges filed against the accused person(s) The applicable standard of proof shall be beyond reasonable doubt.


About the Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalise War (KLFCW)
Malaysia’s fourth Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad founded the Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalise War (KLFCW), a non-governmental organisation established under the laws of Malaysia on 12 March 2007.

The main objectives of the Foundation, as stated in its Statutes are, inter alia:

1.    To undertake all necessary measures and initiatives to criminalise war and energise peace;

2.    To provide relief, assistance and support to individuals and communities who are    suffering from the effects of war and armed conflict wherever occurring and without discrimination on the grounds of nationality, racial origin, religion, belief, age, gender or other forms of impermissible differentiations;

3.    To promote the education of individuals and communities suffering from the effects of war or armed conflict;

4.    To foster schemes for the relief of human suffering occasioned by war or armed conflict;

5.    To provide for mechanisms or procedures in attainment of the above purposes.


WHY is it that the murder of one man is considered a criminal act whereas the killing of hundreds of thousands of innocent people committed in wars, is not considered so?
-Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad

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Region: ,
In-depth Report:
David-Cameron-2791753

Hypocrisy, the most protected of vices.”  Moliere (Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, 1622-1673.)

Last week a little more was learned as to the circumventions in Whitehall and Washington delaying the publication of the findings of Sir John Chilcot’s marathon Inquiry in to the background of the Iraq invasion.

The UK’s Chilcot Inquiry, was convened under then Prime Minister Gordon Brown, to establish the decisions taken by the UK government and military, pre and post invasion. It ran from 24th November 2009 until 2nd February 2011 and cost an estimated £7.5 million. The as yet unpublished Report is believed to run to 1000,000 words.

The stumbling block – more of an Israeli-style “separation barrier” in reality – has been the correspondence between Tony Blair and George W. Bush, prior to an invasion and occupation, which former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan finally told the BBC was: “illegal” and that: “painful lessons” had been learned. (BBC 16th September 2004.) “Lessons” clearly not learned by the current British government.

The communications, in Sir John Chilcot’s words to former Cabinet Secretary Lord O’Donnell related to: “The question when and how the Prime Minister (Tony Blair) made commitments to the US about the UK’s involvement in military action in Iraq, and subsequent decisions on the UK’s continuing involvement, is central to its considerations.”(Guardian 17th July 2013.)

Further: “Chilcot said the release of notes of the conversations between Blair and Bush would serve to ‘illuminate Mr Blair’s position at critical points’ in the run up to war.”

The Inquiry had also been seeking clarification from O’Donnell’s successor Sir Jeremy Heywood regarding inclusion of references to: “the content of Mr Blair’s notes to President Bush, and to the records of discussions between Mr Blair and Presidents Bush and Obama.” The wall remains in place.

Sir Jeremy Heywood, now the country’s most senior civil servant, was Tony Blair’s Private Secretary during the period of the trans-Atlantic lies that led to the Iraq war and during the creation of the Blair regime’s “dodgy dossiers.”

Interestingly too: “O’Donnell had consulted Blair before saying the notes must remain secret.” Effectively, one of the accused, in an action which has destroyed a country, lynched the President, murdered his sons and teenage nephew and caused the deaths of perhaps one and a half million people, decides what evidence can be presented before the Court. Chilcot, has seen the documents but seemingly needs the accused permission to publish them.

A stitch-up of which any “rogue” or “totalitarian” regime, would surely be proud.

Center to the dispute between the Inquiry, Cameron and his ennobled  gate keepers is material requested for inclusion in the final Report: “to reflect its analysis of discussions in Cabinet and Cabinet Committees and their significance.”

The documents being denied to the Inquiry include twenty five pieces of correspondence sent by Tony Blair to George W. Bush and one hundred and thirty documents relating to conversations between these lead plotters of Iraq’s destruction. Additionally: “dozens of records of Cabinet meetings.”(i)

Ironically on 31st October 2006, David Cameron voted in favour of a motion brought by the Scottish National Party and Wales’ Plaid Cymru (“The Party of Wales”) calling for an Inquiry into the Blair government’s conduct of the Gulf war.

On 15th June 2009, in a parliamentary debate, the terms of the Chilcot Inquiry were presented in detail, duly recorded in Hansard, the parliamentary records.(ii.)

Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Blair’s successor stated: “In order that the committee is as objective and non-partisan as possible, the membership of the committee will consist entirely of non-partisan public figures acknowledged to be experts and leaders in their fields. There will be no representatives of political parties from either side of this House.”

David Cameron, then Leader of Opposition stated piously:

“The whole point of having an Inquiry is that it has to be able to make clear recommendations, to go wherever the evidence leads, to establish the full truth and to ensure that the right lessons are learned … in a way that builds public confidence.”

Cameron was particularly concerned about: “openness.” How times change.

Further, said Cameron:

“The inquiry needs to be, and needs to be seen to be, truly independent and not an establishment stitch-up … The Prime Minister was very clear that the inquiry would have access to all British documents and all British witnesses. Does that mean that the inquiry may not have access to documents from the USA … On the scope of the inquiry, will the Prime Minister confirm that it will cover relations with the United States …”

Cameron concluded with again a demand for “openness and transparency.”

In response, Gordon Brown stated:

“ … I cannot think of an Inquiry with a more comprehensive, wider or broader remit than the one that I have just announced. Far from being restricted, it will cover eight years, from 2001 to 2009. Far from being restricted, it will have access to any documents that are available, and that will include foreign documents that are available in British archives. (Emphasis mine.)

However, four years is a long time in politics and last week, as David Cameron traveled to Sri Lanka for the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, it transpired that the documents Sir John Chilcot had been pursuing and been denied for six months have been also blocked by: “officials in the White House and the US Department of State who have refused to sanction any declassification of critical pre-and post-war communications between George W. Bush and Tony Blair.”

David Cameron is apparently also blocking evidence: “ … on Washington’s orders, from being included in the report of an expensive and lengthy British Inquiry.”(iii) Confirmation, were it ever needed, that Britain is the US 51st State, whose puppet Prime Ministers simply obey their Master’s voice.

However, “shame” clearly not being a word in Cameron’s lexicon, he landed in Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon, a British Colony 1815-1948) as the above shoddy details broke, in full colonial mode.

Spectacular welcoming ceremonies barely over, he launched in to an entirely undiplomatic, public tirade, at this gathering of the  “Commonwealth family of nations” alleging that his host, President Mahinda Rajapaksa was guilty of war crimes during the civil war with the Tamil Tigers. Not disputed is, as any conflict, that terrible crimes were committed on both sides. But these are accusations from the man both covering up the genesis of massacres of genocidal magnitude – and who enjoined in the near destruction of Libya, the resultant lynching of the country’s leader, the murder of his sons and small grand children and uncounted others in another decimation of a country who had threatened no other.

Cameron’s Libya, is Blair’s Iraq. As Iraq, the dying continues daily.

The pontification also from a Prime Minister backing funding for the cannibalistic orientated insurgents in Syria, the beheading, dismembering, looting, displacing, kidnapping, chemical weapons lobbying, child killing, infanticide-bent crazies, including those from his own country.

In Sri Lanka he demanded the country ensure: “credible, transparent and independent investigations into alleged war crimes” and said if this did not happen by the March deadline he arbitrarily imposed, he would press the UN Human Rights Council to hold an international inquiry. Further: “truth telling”, he said, was essential. To cite hypocrisy of breathtaking proportions has become a redundant accusation, but words are failing.

In the event Cameron: “ … left Colombo having failed to secure any concessions from President Rajapaksa or persuade fellow leaders to criticise Sri Lanka’s record in a communique”, reported the Guardian (16th November.)

As the Prime Minster slunk out, President Mahinda Rajapaksa delivered an apt, withering reaction: “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”, he responded.

Ironically, in spite a tragic recent past, Sri Lanka is the only country in South Asia rated high on the Human Development Index. The UK and “allies” recent victims, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan barely make it to the bottom.

David Cameron returned to Britain still having to grapple with how to evade delivering truth to the Chilcot Inquiry.

Hopefully he will read a letter from writer Lesley Docksey (Independent, 18th November 2013.)

“It was British taxpayers’ money that funded the Chilcot Inquiry, and this taxpayer wants her money’s worth.  All the British government papers concerning the sorry affair of an invasion of another country belong to this nation, not to the United States, not to Tony Blair, not to the current government.  Taxpayers aren’t here to save the faces of politicians.

“Nor is it, in the words of the Cabinet Office, ‘in the public’s interest’ that exchanges between the UK Prime Minister and the US President are kept secret’ – sorry, ‘privileged’ – from those who are paying their wages.  The phrase ‘in the public interest’ only ever means the interests of the government of the day.

“Unless Sir John Chilcot and his team can publish a full and honest report, no lessons will be learnt by future governments.  But then, if those lessons were learnt, and we the public knew (as in fact we do) what they were, this country would find it difficult to ever invade anywhere ever again.

“So, Sir John, in the words of a former PM, the Duke of Wellington, ‘Publish and be damned!’

Oh, and as David Cameron was lecturing Sri Lanka on “transparency”, the Conservatives were removing: ‘ a decade of speeches from their website and from the main internet library – including one in which David Cameron claimed that being able to search the web would democratise politics by making “more information available to more people.” ’.

“The party removed records of speeches and press releases from 2000 until May 2010. The effect will be to remove any speeches and articles during the Tories’ modernisation period …” (iv.)

Comment again redundant.

Notes

i. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article36879.htm

ii. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmhansrd/cm090615/debtext/90615-0004.htm

iii. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/exclusive-us-blocks-publication-of-chilcots-report-on-how-britain-went-to-war-with-iraq-8937772.html

iv. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/nov/13/conservative-party-archive-speeches-internet

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Source: GRTV

Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds.com joins us to discuss the fallout from Fukushima in the global nuclear industry.

Arnie brings his 39 years of experience in the nuclear industry to bear to give his assessment of what the nuclear crisis means for an industry that has long controlled the “regulators” who are supposedly watching over it.

What is the future of nuclear power, and have the nuclear priesthood been defrocked? Find out in this important GRTV Feature Interview, which was originally aired in October 2011.

 

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http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

 

SOURCE: Global Research, November 19, 2013
In-depth Report:
The Assassination of Yasser Arafat had been Ordered by the Israeli Cabinet

The forensic tests on samples taken from Yasser Arafat’s corpse by a team of Swiss scientists exhibit high levels of radioactive polonium-210.  The exhumation of his body was implemented in November 2012. The samples revealed “levels of polonium at least 18 times higher than usual in Arafat’s ribs, pelvis and in soil that absorbed his bodily fluids.”

These developments raise the broader issue which the media has failed to address: Who was behind the assassination of Yasser Arafat?

The assassination of Yasser Arafat had been on the drawing board since 1996 under “Operation Fields of Thorns”.

According to an October 2000 document “prepared by the [Israeli] security services, at the request of then Prime Minister Ehud Barak, stated that ‘Arafat, the person, is a severe threat to the security of the state [of Israel] and the damage which will result from his disappearance is less than the damage caused by his existence’”. (quoted in Tanya Reinhart, Evil Unleashed, Israel’s move to destroy the Palestinian Authority is a calculated plan, long in the making, Global Research, December 2001. Details of the document were published in Ma’ariv, July 6, 2001.).

In August 2003, Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz declared “all out war” on the militants whom he vowed “marked for death.”

“In mid September, Israel’s government passed a law to get rid of Arafat. Israel’s cabinet for political security affairs declared it “a decision to remove Arafat as an obstacle to peace.” Mofaz threatened; “we will choose the right way and the right time to kill Arafat.” Palestinian Minister Saeb Erekat told CNN he thought Arafat was the next target. CNN asked Sharon spokesman Ra’anan Gissan if the vote meant expulsion of Arafat. Gissan clarified; “It doesn’t mean that. The Cabinet has today resolved to remove this obstacle. The time, the method, the ways by which this will take place will be decided separately, and the security services will monitor the situation and make the recommendation about proper action.” (See Trish Shuh, Road Map for a Decease Plan,  www.mehrnews.com November 9 2005)

The assassination of Arafat was part of the 2001 Dagan Plan.

In all likelihood, it was carried out by Israeli Intelligence.

It was intended to destroy the Palestinian Authority, foment divisions within Fatah as well as between Fatah and Hamas. Mahmoud Abbas is a Palestinian quisling. He was installed as leader of Fatah, with the approval of Israel and the US, which finance the Palestinian Authority’s paramilitary and security forces.

The above text was written in January 2009 as part of the following article:

The Invasion of Gaza: “Operation Cast Lead”, Part of a Broader Israeli Military-Intelligence Agenda
– by Michel Chossudovsky – 2009-01-04

 

About the author:

Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal and Editor of the globalresearch.ca website. He is the author of The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003) and America’s “War on Terrorism”(2005). His most recent book is entitled Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War (2011). He is also a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. His writings have been published in more than twenty languages. He can be reached at crgeditor@yahoo.com

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, economic, scientific, and educational issues. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.

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Rebels Endanger, Kill Civilians; Damage Churches
November 19, 2013
  • Destroyed church pews were found at Mar Mikhael Church in Sadad, Syria, after opposition fighters occupied the church in October 2013.

    © 2013 Human Rights Watch
  • The interior of a bloodstained well in Sadad, Syria, where village residents discovered the bodies of six of their neighbors after opposition fighters retreated on October 28. The victims’ hands were tied, they wore blindfolds, and their bodies bore gunshot wounds, a witness said.

    © 2013 Human Rights Watch
  • Graffiti mars the renowned frescoes of Mar Sarkis Church in Sadad, Syria, after opposition fighters occupied the church in October 2013. The graffiti reads, “No banner but the banner of Islam. Down with Bashar. Jabhat al-Nusra, Liwa al-Tawhid. “

    © 2013 Human Rights Watch
Opposition fighters came into Sadad claiming they would not harm civilians, but they did just that.There is no excuse for indiscriminate or targeted attacks against civilians or civilian sites.
Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director

(New York) – Opposition fighters in Syria apparently executed civilians and others in their custody during an offensive in the Christian village of Sadad from October 21 to 28, 2013. Other civilians were also killed unlawfully by opposition sniper fire. Civilians killed by opposition shelling, as fighting between government and opposition forces in the village continued, may have been killed unlawfully.

During the offensive against government forces in Sadad, 100 kilometers northeast of Damascus, rebel fighters refused to allow residents of the village to leave their homes in areas with active fighting, residents told Human Rights Watch. In at least one case, fighters allegedly used a resident as a human shield. Residents also said that opposition fighters also stole personal items, and vandalized, stole, and damaged property in at least three churches of local and historical significance.

“Opposition fighters came into Sadad claiming they would not harm civilians, but they did just that,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “There is no excuse for indiscriminate or targeted attacks against civilians or civilian sites.”

Opposition fighters should never execute or directly target civilians or anyone in their custody or target civilian sites, including religious sites, Human Rights Watch said. They should take precautions to protect civilians from harm during operations in residential areas including by easing the way for residents to leave the area if they wish to. They should not subject civilians to additional risk by using them as human shields.

Opposition groups referred to the Sadad operation as part of the “Battle of God’s Doors Do Not Shut” on social media sites, where several groups also announced their participation in the operation and released footage apparently showing their members fighting in Sadad. The groups involved in the operation include al-Maghaweer of the Dera’ al-Islam battalion of the Free Syrian Army (FSA),Ahel al-Athar battalion of the FSA, Liwa al-Huq, Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Khadra’ battalion, and the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS). According to a post by al-Khadra’ battalion on Twitter, al-Khadra’’s leader commanded al-Khadra’, ISIS, and Jabhat al-Nusra forces during the operation. Abu Ayham is the field commander of Dera’ al-Islam.

In most cases, Human Rights Watch has not been able to establish which of the participating opposition groups were responsible for the abuses that Human Rights Watch documented. One resident told Human Rights Watch that fighters who identified themselves as Jabhat al-Nusra used him as a human shield, and Human Rights Watch observed graffiti damaging a church in Sadad apparently left by Liwa al-Huq, Jabhat al-Nusra, and Liwa al-Tawhid.

Human Rights Watch visited Sadad during an investigative mission to Syria with permission from the Syrian government and interviewed 10 residents and the mayor, Sleiman Khalil. Human Rights Watch also later spoke to three residents by phone. Human Rights Watch interviewed each resident separately in various locations in the village. The mayor was interviewed in the municipal offices. Except for the mayor himself during his own interview, no Syrian government officials were present during the interviews. The names of those interviewed have been changed for their safety.

Residents of Sadad said that armed opposition fighters entered their ancient village of 12,000 people on the morning of October 21, and battled government forces, who sent reinforcements to the village over the course of the next week. The village, which borders Qalamoon to the south, Mheen to the east, Hissya to the west, and an-Na`amiyah to the north, is one of the many residential areas affected by the ongoing fighting between government and opposition forces in the “Battle of God’s Doors Do Not Shut.”

Residents of Sadad said that over the week that opposition fighters were in the village, fighters mostly did not target or abuse residents, but that in some instances, they endangered and killed civilians and people in their custody and intentionally damaged and looted civilian sites, including churches. Rebel fighters forced residents to stay in areas with active fighting, allegedly used at least one resident as a human shield, and apparently executed residents and killed others with sniper fire. As opposition forces battled government forces in the village some residents were also killed by opposition shelling which may have been indiscriminate.

Human Rights Watch identified the names of 46 people from Sadad killed in the village during the weeklong operation. Forty-one of the dead were civilians, residents told Human Rights Watch, including 14 women and two children. Three of the dead were police officers, one a soldier in the reserves who was not currently serving, and another an off-duty soldier on home leave from his service, residents said. If correct, only the soldier on home leave and police – if participating in counterinsurgency operations- would have been combatants. In 22 of the 46 cases, Human Rights Watch spoke to residents who described how the other residents were killed. In the remaining cases, Human Rights Watch received the names of the dead from local church officials who coordinated the burials. Human Rights Watch received reports that Syrian government and opposition fighters also died in the course of fighting, but has not confirmed the number of those killed.

Human Rights Watch urges the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC). An ICC referral would be a crucial first step toward achieving justice for victims of atrocities by all sides in Syria’s armed conflict and would send a strong message that serious crimes will not be tolerated. Over the last two and a half years Human Rights Watch has extensively documented abuses by government and pro-government forces during ground operations including executions, indiscriminate shelling and sniper attacks, and the use of human shields. Human Rights Watch has also documented indiscriminate shelling, and executions and kidnapping by opposition forces during ground operations.

Currently, 64 countries, including six Security Council members, have expressed support for an ICC referral. Russia has described the effort to seek a referral as “ill-timed and counterproductive.” Security Council members such as the United States that have not yet supported an ICC referral should publicly do so, and should take all available steps to encourage Russia to drop its opposition, Human Rights Watch said.

“An ICC referral would strip all sides of their sense of impunity and make clear that abuses could land them behind bars in The Hague,” Whitson said. “It’s long past time for the Security Council to overcome the current stalemate on justice for the serious ongoing crimes in Syria.”

For detailed accounts of the killings and other abuses, please see below.

The Villagers’ Accounts

In interviews in Sadad on November 11, five residents and the mayor told Human Rights Watch that opposition fighters entered the village on October 21 at approximately 6:15 a.m. The mayor said that the fighters approached from the south, north, and east, and gained access after they set off two nearly simultaneous explosions at army checkpoints to the east and west, killing a number of government soldiers. In announcements on social media sites, some opposition groups said that the twin bomb attacks were suicide operations.

The mayor said that approximately 2,000 armed fighters, predominately Syrians, but also some foreigners from Libya, Chechnya, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, entered the village on its three main roads in about 50 pickup trucks. They took control of the local police station and a political security facility, two government security buildings in the area.

Rebel fighters fanned out throughout the village, and, the mayor said, announced over a bullhorn that they meant the residents no harm. Soon Syrian army soldiers came from neighboring areas and entered Sadad to fight them. Throughout the following week, the rebels engaged government forces in battles from their positions in the village. On October 28, the rebels retreated from the village.

Apparent Executions

The mayor told Human Rights Watch that in the initial assault on the village, opposition fighters executed three police officers and one resident who was a reserve soldier, all of them unarmed and in the custody of opposition fighters. The mayor told Human Rights Watch that they were seized at approximately 6:30 a.m. on October 21 on their way from the municipal building, where they had met the mayor, to the police station. He said that he saw the officers get into the clearly marked municipal vehicle unarmed on their way to the police station.

A video Dera’ al-Islam published on October 25 on its YouTube channel shows opposition fighters in Sadad with five dead bodies in civilian clothes bearing bullet wounds – people the videographer calls “the dogs of Bashar.” The mayor identified four of them as the officers who were killed. The four bodies appear in the video lying in a row.

The position of their bodies appears to indicate that they were lined up and shot in the chest from approximately the same distance, and that the velocity of the shots had spun some of them around. The absence of blood splattered on the ground, except for immediately around the bodies, or any marks in the dirt, also suggests that the bodies had not been dragged or moved, but rather that the men were placed in a line and then shot. Further investigation is required to establish the exact circumstances of their deaths. Parties to a conflict who execute anyone, combatants or civilians, in their formal or effective custody, are guilty of war crimes, Human Rights Watch said.

The mayor and several residents also told Human Rights Watch that days after government forces pushed opposition fighters out of the village, residents followed a putrid odor to locate – and, with the help of the civil defense forces, retrieve – six corpses that someone had apparently thrown into a well. They identified the bodies as civilian residents from one family: Najla Mtanes al-Sheikh, 45; Fadi Sarkis Drouj, 16, and Ranim Sarkis Drouj, 18, Najla’s sons; Mtanes Sleiman al-Sheikh, Najla’s elderly father; Habbsa Nassif al-Sheikh, 75; and Maryam Nassif al-Sheikh, 90. The age of the three elderly residents and the presence of one child killed with his brother and mother, support the residents’ claim that these family members were civilians. A neighbor who was present when the bodies were retrieved said the victims were blindfolded with their hands tied and had been shot in the head.

The neighbor told Human Rights Watch that before the rebels withdrew, he had been helping people leave the village. On October 24, he had called Najla, whose family was among the last to remain in a neighborhood under opposition control, to try to arrange her escape. He said she told him it would be impossible for her to leave because she had three elderly relatives with her. The next morning, when the neighbor called her again, there was no answer.

Later that day, Syrian government soldiers regained control of the central part of the village, where Najla and her family lived. The neighbor said he asked soldiers to check on Najla and her family, but the soldiers told him they saw no sign of them. The neighbor told Human Rights Watch that the well where the bodies were later found was four houses and about 25 meters away from where Najla and her family had lived.

Human Rights Watch visited the well and observed bloodstains on its inner and outer walls and what appeared to be two bullet markings on the interior wall of the well but did not locate any witnesses to the killings. Further investigation is required to establish who killed the family.

Endangering Civilians: Restrictions on Movement

The mayor of Sadad told Human Rights Watch that as soon as opposition fighters entered the village, he recognized that some of them were from neighboring villages. He said he began reaching out to local and international humanitarian agencies and community leaders, including Christian and Sunni Muslim religious leaders from neighboring areas, to try to negotiate a ceasefire to enable civilians to flee. A local Christian religious leader who participated in the negotiations also told Human Rights Watch attempts were made to negotiate a ceasefire.

But residents told Human Rights Watch that opposition fighters in some instances had stopped them from leaving their homes, with devastating consequences.

Antonious, who lives on the main road on the western side of Sadad, told Human Rights Watch that on the first day of the opposition offensive, he and his family stayed inside their home, listening to calls of “Allah Akbar” outside. The next day, he tried to convince the rebel fighters to allow him and his relatives to move to a safer area, but they refused, he said. Antonious said that on the third day, out of the sight of opposition fighters, he and his relatives used a ladder to climb over a small wall behind the house to go to his uncle’s house, which seemed safer because it was off the main road. But around 3 or 3:30 p.m., he said, an enormous explosion sounded and the uncle’s entire house collapsed. Human Rights Watch was unable to determine the cause of the explosion or whether it was due to an attack by opposition or government forces.

I was in the garden, so I was okay, but my mom, brother, dad, and my uncle’s wife were all killed. My uncle was also in the garden … Both the houses, ours and theirs, were gone … After that, they let us go to a house [in a safer area] with other neighbors and there we stayed in the basement.

Jamil, who also lives with his family on the western side of Sadad, told Human Rights Watch that on October 21, opposition fighters surrounded and entered his neighborhood, positioned their rocket launcher 2 to 3 meters in front of his home, and told him that he and his family could not go anywhere because of ongoing fighting. On October 25, he said, his house caught fire after government forces shelled the opposition military position in front of his house. He and his relatives managed to escape, but the house was destroyed. After the attack, he said, opposition fighters transported his family and several of their neighbors to a safer area.

‘Ala, who lives on the eastern side of Sadad, told Human Rights Watch that opposition fighters evicted his family from their home to occupy it. He said that enabled 16 family members to escape fighting, while the fighters forced their neighbors to stay put.

Under the laws of war, parties to a conflict must take all feasible precautions during military operations to minimize loss of civilian life and must, to the extent feasible, remove civilians under their control from areas where they are deploying their military forces.

Endangering Civilians: Alleged Use of a Human Shield

In at least one instance, opposition fighters allegedly seized a man from his house, apparently to use him as a human shield as they passed within range of a government sniper. The man, Fouad, lives with his wife and three young children near Mar Elias Church on Sadad’s main road. He said that on October 26, three fighters who identified themselves as members of Jabhat al-Nusra came into his house and demanded his money, cell phone, and ID card.

His children were terrified, Fouad said. The fighters told everyone else to be quiet, and interrogated Fouad about his phone calls, apparently trying to assess whether he was contacting people to help the government. Fouad said one fighter redialed the last phone number Fouad had called – his sister – and told him not to say a word while the fighter determined who she was. Fouad said that as his mother, niece, wife, and three children looked on, the men told him to lie down and then hit him with their rifle butts. One of them said, “We kill Nasara [Christians],” Fouad said.

Later, Fouad said: “Two of them took me with them to walk down the street, walking on either side of me until we passed the [government] sniper, so he wouldn’t shoot. And then they left me. When we were walking, the sniper didn’t shoot at us.”

Opposition fighters should not endanger civilians by restricting the ability to flee or by using them as human shields, Human Rights Watch said.

The use of human shields – using the presence of civilians to prevent the targeting of military objectives – is prohibited under international humanitarian law. Combatants who deliberately use civilians as human shields to deter attacks on their forces are responsible for war crimes.

Civilian Deaths from Sniper Shots, Shelling

Residents told Human Rights Watch that rebel sniper fire and indiscriminate shelling killed their family members and neighbors.

‘Ala told Human Rights Watch that on October 25 or 26, a sniper in the opposition-controlled eastern section of Sadad killed his cousin, Jamil Asfour, 35, his uncle’s wife, Shamsa al-Boufi, 65, and her mother, Fouda al-Boufi, in her 80s, as they tried to flee to a safer part of the village. He said that after Syrian government soldiers pushed the rebel fighters back, soldiers found the bodies with gunshot wounds in the eastern section of the village. A second relative who lives in the eastern section also told Human Rights Watch that these three family members had been killed by a sniper positioned there.

Another resident, Sarah, told Human Rights Watch that five people, including her son, were delivering food, unarmed, to besieged neighbors in the northern part of Sadad on October 25 when shelling killed three of the five, including her son. One of the survivors, who was injured, told her that the mortar shell that killed her son came from an opposition position, from which fighters were striking toward a government-controlled area in the north of the village. There were no government positions in their neighborhood, however.

Human Rights Watch spoke to one of the men injured in the strike, whose father had died in the attack. He said that on October 25, government soldiers passed through his neighborhood to search for fighters and reassure residents. After government forces were no longer in the area, at around 2:15 p.m., three shells landed in his neighborhood, one right after the other. He said that the third strike killed the three people delivering food, and injured him and a fifth person, and that after the attack, government soldiers came to the neighborhood and transported the dead and wounded to nearby hospitals. He gave Human Rights Watch the names of the dead and injured.

The absence of military targets in the area hit by shells fired by opposition forces reflects that their method of attack or the attacks themselves may have been indiscriminate, Human Rights Watch said. Combatants should only target military objects and should take precautions to not harm civilians.

Theft and Destruction of Property, Including at Religious Sites
Four Sadad residents told Human Rights Watch that fighters broke into their homes or cars and stole their property. Residents also described damage to several of the churches in Sadad. Human Rights Watch visited three churches that residents said were among the worst damaged.

Two residents said they saw opposition fighters enter Mar Theodore Church on October 25. When government forces retook the village, the residents said, items were missing from the church and it had damage that appeared intentional.

When Human Rights Watch visited the church on November 11, residents had already cleaned up much of the damage they described. Human Rights Watch observed a broken candelabra, and a broken door on a locked cabinet behind the church altar, where residents said a sound system had been stolen, leaving wires dangling. Human Rights Watch also saw two crowns intended to be worn by priests of the church that appeared to be intentionally flattened and bent in half. The residents also said that opposition fighters had stolen copper candlesticks and chalices, along with religious relics. Shelling – whose origin was unclear – also damaged the church roof, leaving the wooden ceiling visibly damaged.

In Mar Sarkis Church, which residents said is hundreds of years old, Human Rights Watch observed graffiti tags on the interior walls, some on the edges of the church’s rare and renowned frescos. One tag read, “Saqar the Libyan passed through here freedom for Mheen [a nearby village],” a town where rebels were fighting the government. Others said, “Liwa al-Huq,” “Jabhat al-Nusra,” and “Liwa al-Tawhid,” names of opposition groups, some of which announced their participation in the battle in Sadad. The glass on the doors to the church was shattered near the knobs, suggesting a forced entry.

In Mar Mikhael Church, Human Rights Watch observed bullet holes in the ceiling and walls, and in several religious paintings, in patterns suggesting vandalism rather than firefights. A resident told Human Rights Watch that he saw rebel fighters occupy the church, and showed Human Rights Watch some food and personal items he said they left behind. Human Rights Watch observed destroyed religious icons, pews with smashed wooden legs, seats, and backs, and the church’s broken and empty collection box. A resident told Human Rights Watch that religious relics were also missing.

Under international humanitarian law, parties in an armed conflict have a responsibility not to intentionally attack religious buildings that are not being used for military purposes. They are prohibited from seizing, destroying, or willfully damaging religious buildings or institutions, and from theft, pillage, or vandalism directed against important cultural property. Pillaging and deliberate attacks on religious sites that are not military objectives are war crimes.

pentagon (2)

“The individual is handicapped by coming face to face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists.” (J.Edgar Hoover,1895-1972.)

Since the fairy tale about weapons of mass destruction that can be launched against Western targets “within forty five minutes” is well past it’s sell by date, the trans-Atlantic hasbara industry has dreamed up a new Grim Reaper for Syria, their latest quarry: chemical weapons.

Stephen Zunes succinct quote that: “ U.S. policy regarding chemical weapons has been so inconsistent and politicized that the United States is in no position to take leadership in response to any use of such weaponry by Syria”(i) hits the chemical warhead on the nose cone.

Never mind Israel’s lethal stockpiles, for ever, seemingly, blind eye territory, as apparently is the United States 5,449 metric tons chemical weapons arsenal, which cannot be disposed of until at least 2021 due to the hazards involved (Japan Times, 12th September 2013.).

However the storm troopers of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) joined the other insurgents in Syria and in under a month: “ … completed the functional destruction of critical equipment for all of its declared chemical weapons production facilities and mixing/filling plants, rendering them inoperable.”(ii)

President Assad, his country, this year alone, being five times an illegal target of Israel’s fearsome destructive power from just across the Golan Heights (iii) stated that his weapons were purely defensive – to use the cold war adage, a balance of terror. All nations have the legal right to self-defence – unless they are majority Muslim, it would seem.

Compared to the might of the countries threatening its destruction, Syria is now, if not quite a sitting duck, certainly a lamer one and must be mindful of the fate of Libya, when pressured and Iraq when forced to disarm.

Coincidentally, President Assad’s assertions are almost exactly those used by the United States regarding chemical weapons – at a time when the U.S.  was certainly at no threat from external forces.

On 28th March 1990, the Los Angeles Times reported that: “The U.S. government is considering forcing two defiant chemical companies to sell the Pentagon a key ingredient for producing nerve gas, Pentagon officials said …”

Further: “The United States has said that it would need chemical weapons to deter the Soviets’ use of chemical weapons during a non-nuclear conflict in Central Europe – a prospect even (the then) Defense Secretary Dick Cheney (termed) ‘extremely remote.’ “

This was five months after the fall of the Berlin Wall (9th November 1989) and fifteen months after then President Gorbachev had committed, at the UN, to cutting Soviet troops by a massive 500,000, including withdrawing significant military presence in eastern Europe.(iv) A hand of reconciliation to the U.S., by any standards, after approaching fifty years of hostilities.

Given the circumstances, was the US really concerned about the “Soviet threat” or was an un-noticed elephant lurking round the corner? The LA Times article was headed: “Firms Balk at Selling Nerve Gas Element to U.S.: Two chemical companies cite corporate policy and ethics. But the Pentagon may invoke an old law and force them to deliver the compound.”

“The Occidental Chemical Corp., and the Mobay Corp., said company policies forbid sales that would contribute to the proliferation of chemical weapons. Both refused to fill Defense Department orders for thionyl chloride, a widely used industrial and agricultural chemical that is needed to make a lethal nerve agent.

Thus:

“The U.S. government is considering forcing two defiant chemical companies to sell the Pentagon a key ingredient for producing nerve gas …

“Defense officials said the two firms are the only ones in the United States that now commercially produce the chemical agent. The firms’ unwillingness to sell has brought the production of a new generation of U.S. chemical weapons, which began in 1987, to a halt.

“The Army needs 160,000 pounds of the ingredient by June to proceed on schedule, the Pentagon said. Government officials said they can compel the companies to sell the chemical under the Defense Production Act, a 1950 law designed to give the Pentagon first priority on war materiel.”(My emphasis.)

What war did the Pentagon have in mind, since the Administration of the President George H.W. Bush was working: “to negotiate a worldwide ban” on chemical arms production and just four months earlier Bush had also: “proposed to Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev that the superpowers sign an accord at their summit this June that would call for the destruction of 80% of their chemical weapons …”

Yet regarding the purchase of the potentially lethal chemicals: “If the United States invokes the Defense Production Act, the companies will get the message that this is important and that they should reconsider their policies”, said one official.

Occidental Petroleum Corp’s: “Chairman and chief executive officer Armand Hammer (was) a longtime champion of improved U.S. relations with the Soviet Union and has been critical of the pace of U.S. arms control efforts.”

A spokesman for Mobay, subsidiary of  German giant, Bayer: “said the Pentagon approached Mobay with an order for 160,000 pounds of thionyl chloride …” It was needed by June (1990) for use in the production of the nerve agent Sarin, noted the New Scientist (7th April 1990.)

Mobay’s man was robust: “We have told the government . . . that we have no intentions of selling thionyl chloride for these purposes.”

So, to the lurking elephant. It seems it was less about deterring “the Soviets’ …” and more about an Iraq, financially on its knees and fiscally relentlessly undermined and targeted by the U.S. since the end of the Iran-Iraq war (September1980-August1988) in which the U.S. had backed Iraq (and armed both sides.)

During and after a U.S., driven war, devastating both countries, Kuwait, Iraq accused, had been slant drilling in to Iraq’s Rumaila oil fields. In addition, since the end of the war, Kuwait had hugely exceeded OPEC production quotas, costing, Iraq claimed, $14 billion a year, in addition to the $2.4 billion estimated loss from the war period extractions of “some millions of barrels” – additionally “capturing some of Iraq’s customers.”(v)

Saddam Hussein had told a session of the Arab League: “We cannot tolerate this kind of economic warfare. We have reached a state of affairs where we cannot take the pressure.” Whatever else, he was the proudest of men, the admission must have cost him dearly.

That America did not know something was about to give in the near future is unthinkable. The U.S. had flagged Kuwait’s oil tankers with U.S., flags in 1987, to protect the statelet with the world’s fifth largest oil reserves, from Iran – and they remained U.S. flagged. An attack on Kuwait would be an attack on a U.S., protectorate.

Interestingly, some in Washington were sympathetic to Saddam Hussein’s view: “Henry M. Schuler, director of the energy security program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said that from the Iraqi viewpoint, the Kuwait Government was ‘acting aggressively – it was economic warfare.’ “

”Whether he’s Hitler or not, he has some reason on his side”, Mr. Schuler said, adding that: “American officials needed to appreciate the economic and psychological significance the Rumaila field holds for the Iraqis and why Kuwait’s exploitation of Rumaila, in addition to its high oil output in the 1980′s, was an affront to the Iraqis.

”It’s not just the emotional man in the street in the Arab world who finds the Iraq case appealing,” he said: ”So do many of those who are thinking, intelligent people. If the Iraqi people feel they are the victims of aggression, and that their legitimate claims are being stifled now by American intervention, they will hang in there a lot longer than if that were not the case.”

As recently as 2011, veteran, ten term Congressman Ron Paul talked in Congress on the slant drilling claims pointing out that: “Historian Mark Zepezauer notes that the equipment to slant drill Iraq’s oil illegally was bought from (US National Security Advisor to President George H.W. Bush) Brent Scowcroft’s old company. Kuwait was pumping out around $14-billion worth of oil from beneath Iraqi territory … Slant-drilling is enough to get you shot in Texas, and it’s certainly enough to start a war in the Mideast.”(vi) (Emphasis mine.)

However, it was not just Kuwait targeting Iraq’s frail finances, as Brian Becker wrote in a detailed account (vii.) The U.S., betrayal of their ally in the regional ravages of the Iran-Iraq war, was total:

“Having weakened Iran, the goal was then to weaken Iraq and make sure that it could not develop as a regional power capable of challenging U.S. domination. After the war ended, U.S. policy toward Iraq shifted, becoming increasingly hostile. The way it shifted is quite revealing; bearing all the signs of a well-planned conspiracy.

“The cease-fire between Iran and Iraq began on August 20, 1988. On September 8, 1988, Iraqi Foreign Minister Sa’dun Hammadi was to meet with U.S. Secretary of State George Schulz. The Iraqis had every reason to expect a warm welcome in Washington and to begin an era of closer co-operation on trade and industrial development.”

In the event, two hours before the meeting, without warning to Hammadi,  State Department spokesman Charles Redman called a press conference charging that: “The U.S. Government is convinced that Iraq has used chemical weapons … against Kurdish guerillas. We don’t know the extent to which chemical weapons have been used but any use in this context is abhorrent and unjustifiable.We expressed our strong concern to the Iraqi Government which is well aware of our position that the use of chemical weapons is totally unjustifiable and unacceptable.”

“Redman did not allude to any evidence at all” and further mislead, since seemingly the Iraqi government was not informed of the charges.

When Hammadi arrived at the State Department for his meeting with Schulz, he was besieged by the media asking about the massacre and unable to give coherent answers. Bewildered, he repeatedly asked the journalists the basis for their questions.

The meeting with Schulz was a dismal: “with Iraq’s expectations of U.S. assistance in rebuilding after the Iran-Iraq war dashed.”

“Within twenty-four hours of Redman’s press release, the Senate voted unanimously to impose economic sanctions on Iraq which would cancel sales of food and technology.

Whilst the genocidal and ecocidal U.N. blockade on Iraq from August 1990 is remembered, this previous U.S. stab in the back to a former ally on its financial knees is forgotten.

Thus, in addition to Kuwait’s alleged fiscal sabotage was, from September 9th, 1988: “… a two year record that amounts to economic harassment of Iraq by the American State Department, media, and Congress.”

However, after the chemical weapons announcement, the near daily rhetoric regarding Saddam from Washington and Whitehall was that: “he gasses his own people”, “uses chemical weapons against his own people.” And the drums of war beat ever louder.

In fact: “US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld helped Saddam Hussein build up his arsenal of deadly chemical and biological weapons … As an envoy from President Reagan … he had a secret meeting with (Saddam) and arranged enormous military assistance for his war with Iran … a Senate committee investigating the relationship between the U.S. and Iraq discovered that in the mid-1980s – following the Rumsfeld visit – dozens of biological agents were shipped to Iraq under licence from the Commerce Department. (Emphasis mine.)

“They included anthrax, subsequently identified by the Pentagon as a key component of the Iraqi biological warfare programme … ‘ The Commerce Department also approved the export of insecticides to Iraq, despite widespread suspicions that they were being used for chemical warfare.’ “ (viii)

Pressure on Iraq accelerating, the U.S.-U.K., and “coalition” was handed another propaganda coup, when, on 15th March 1990, Iraq executed Farzad Bazoft, an Iranian born freelance journalist with a desk at London’s Observer newspaper.

After a massive explosion as al-Iskaderia military complex, south of Baghdad, Bazoft had persuaded Daphne Parrish, a British nurse, working in Baghdad, to take him to the perimeter of the site of the explosion. There he took photographs and two containers of soil samples. He attempted to leave Baghdad the following day, but was arrested, with the samples and photographs at Baghdad airport.

Iraq was again the Western media and governments’ mega demon. But an Iranian acting as he did, after the appalling eight year war would surely have led any country, in such circumstances to act similarly. Witness U.S. paranoia after the tragedy of losing three buildings. Daphne Parrish’s book: “Prisoner in Baghdad” gives the lie to any claims of Bazoft’s innocence.

Just two weeks later America was demanding the chemicals for weapons “by June.” On 25th July 1990, at the Presidential Palace in Baghdad, America’s Ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie assured Saddam Hussein: “We have no opinion on your Arab – Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait. Secretary (of State James) Baker has directed me to emphasize the instruction, first given to Iraq in the 1960′s, that the Kuwait issue is not associated with America.(ix) “ On 2nd August 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait.

The response was the reduction of Iraq to a “pre-industrial age”, as threatened by James Baker, in the forty two day blitz from January 17th 1991. On February 15, in the preamble to cease-fire proposal, Saddam Hussein said “The years 1988 and 1989 saw sustained campaigns in the press and other media and by other officials in the United States and other nations to pave the way for the fulfillment of vicious aims (i.e., war.)

Had there been one more “vicious aim” though? Was the urging, indeed the threatening demands for chemical weapons ingredients been because the plan had been to use them and blame Iraq? Is it possible there was a plan to even sacrifice their own troops in a ploy that would have likely had U.N., backing invasion and overthrow Saddam Hussein’s government had it been thought to have used such appalling weapons?

In the event, the chemical companies stood firm and: “left without the supply of thionyl chloride necessary to meet the production deadline, five weeks later the Bush administration ‘offered’ to halt binary production during chemical disarmament negotiations with the Soviet Union.”(x)

The: “conclusion is that the US chemical industry’s refusal to produce necessary precursor chemicals, left the Bush administration with no other option than to fully commit to chemical disarmament.”

In the event, the chemical – and radiological – weapons the U.S., used were in up to 750 tons of depleted uranium weaponry.

We will have to wait for another trove of documents to be “liberated” from the U.S., Administration to affirm whether the theory regarding the pressure for the chemical weapons is correct. However, given the propaganda parallels in media, from governments with the current situation with Syria and the near certainty that chemical horrors are being used by the Western backed insurgents and blamed on President Assad’s policies, the all is well worth bearing in mind.

As Brian Becker concluded regarding Saddam’s accusations:

“The Washington Post’s story on the cease-fire proposal of February 15, 1991 was titled simply: ‘Baghdad’s Conspiracy Theory of Recent History.’ Some conspiracies theories just happen to be true.”

Notes

i. http://fpif.org/the_us_and_chemical_weapons_no_leg_to_stand_on/

ii.http://www.opcw.org/news/article/syria-completes-destruction-activities-to-render-inoperable-chemical-weapons-production-facilities-a/

iii. http://www.infowars.com/israel-attacks-syria-again/

iv. http://articles.latimes.com/1988-12-07/news/mn-1054_1_world-leaders

v.http://www.nytimes.com/1990/09/03/world/confrontation-in-the-gulf-the-oilfield-lying-below-the-iraq-kuwait-dispute.html?src=pm

vi. http://www.infowars.com/ron-paul-enters-evidence-of-bush-war-crimes-in-congressional-record/

vii. http://deoxy.org/wc/wc-consp.htm

viii.http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-153210/Rumsfeld-helped-Iraq-chemical-weapons.html#ixzz2kRCo4p5S

 ix  http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/ARTICLE5/april.html

 x. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/dr-raj-persaud/chemical-weapons-us_b_3945933.html

 

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