Posts Tagged ‘Iraq war’

http://www.counterfire.org/index.php/articles/205-wikileaks/16189-bradley-manning-the-small-man-who-wrote-big Bradley Manning’s crime is of revealing the truth about how the US carries on its business around the world, committing crimes against humanity on a gross scale. For a crime such as his there must be no mercy. He is charged by the US military with sending hundreds of thousands of classified Iraq and Afghanistan war logs and videos and more than 250,000 diplomatic cables to the whistleblower website Wikileaks, while working as an intelligence analyst in the US army in Baghdad in 2008 and 2009. If he is found guilty, he is likely to spend the rest of his life in prison. He was arrested in Iraq in May 2010 and then, in July that year, he was transferred to the US Marine Brig in Quantico, Virginia, where he was put in maximum security, designated a suicide risk, and kept in solitary confinement whilst forced to sleep naked, without covers. A military court was told about the harsh conditions in which Private Manning was held after his arrest at pre-trial hearings in Ft. Meade, Maryland. He had been tortured and held incommunicado illegally and in terrible conditions by the US government, for more than 900 days. Such was the international concern that 295 academics, including prominent American legal scholars, signed a letter arguing that the detention conditions violated the US Constitution; as a result, later that month the Pentagon transferred him to Fort Leavenworth, where he was allowed to interact with other detainees. He is still waiting for his court-martial, which is due to take place in March 2013. Collateral Murder It isn’t just embarrassment that has led to the determination of the US government to punish and destroy Manning (and Julian Assange and the whole Wikileaks machine). After the video Collateral Murder was made public – documented in the Iraq War Logs, which exposes the sheer brutality and hypocrisy of the US government in its so-called ‘War on Terror’ – the Iraqis refused to exempt US forces from prosecution for future crimes. Writing on the Foreign Policy Journal website in March this year, William Blum asserted that: “The insistence of the Iraqi government on legal jurisdiction over American soldiers for violations of Iraqi law — something the United States rarely, if ever, accepts in any of the many countries where its military is stationed — forced the Obama administration to pull the remaining American troops from the country… Besides playing a role in writing finis to the awful Iraq war, the Wikileaks disclosures helped to spark the Arab Spring, beginning in Tunisia.” Whatever the actual relationship between the leaks and the Arab Spring, it’s no wonder the US government is annoyed, having the truth revealed has given them lots of extra problems. For former establishment economist and critic of the ‘War on Terror’, Paul Craig Roberts, Bradley Manning is a problem, because he “complied with his oath of office, with the US Military Code, with the Nuremberg standards set by the US government, with the strictures expressed by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the George W. Bush administration, and with his own conscience.” But messing up plans for an imperialist nation to achieve world domination is a really big no-no. On Nov 9 Manning testified in federal court about his treatment, which was not covered by the US media (although it has been extensively covered elsewhere). It is apparent that the American public must be shielded from the truth, that a soldier’s oath of office, that the US Military Code, that the Nuremberg standards set by the US government – in fact the Constitution of the United States – have now become meaningless verbiage. William Blum sums up the lesson and message for American soldiers: “If Manning had committed war crimes in Iraq instead of exposing them, he would be a free man today, as are the many hundreds/thousands of American soldiers guilty of truly loathsome crimes in cities like Haditha, Fallujah, and other places whose names will live in infamy in the land of ancient Mesopotamia.” “I want people to see the truth” Ironically, the US military unwittingly allowed the situation to develop in which the obscene practices it was using in the ‘War on Terror’ could be disclosed to the whole world. Early in his basic training in the US army Manning was sent to the discharge unit because of the opinion of another soldier that he, Manning, was having a breakdown – he was being badly bullied, and was fighting back by screaming back at the drill sergeants when they screamed at him (he became known as ‘General Manning’). The army was aware from the start that he had emotional problems (he was an openly gay man and had been bullied throughout his life, at school, at work as well as in the army, for being effeminate and very small – only 5′ 2″ tall – and suffered from what is called gender identity disorder). The decision to discharge him was revoked because there was a shortage of intelligence analysts in the army. He was subsequently promoted to a high level status in the military intelligence sector, which gave him access to extremely sensitive data. According to Associated Press: “Defense lawyers say Manning was clearly a troubled young soldier whom the Army should never have deployed to Iraq or given access to classified material while he was stationed there … They say he was in emotional turmoil, partly because he was a gay soldier at a time when homosexuals were barred from serving openly in the U.S. armed forces,” But from Manning’s own words from an on-line chat: “If you had free reign over classified networks … and you saw incredible things, awful things … things that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC … what would you do? … God knows what happens now. Hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms. … I want people to see the truth … because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.” Read the full report here

 THE IRAQ WAR READER

 A History of War Crimes and Genocide

The Unleashing of America’s New Global Militarism

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GR I-BOOK No.  5
 

 THE IRAQ WAR READER

 A History of War Crimes and Genocide

The Unleashing of America’s New Global Militarism


Michel Chossudovsky and Finian Cunningham (Editors)

May 2012

INTRODUCTION

The adage that “it is the victors who write history” in matters relating particularly to war and conflict is something of a euphemism when applied to recent military campaigns conducted by America and its NATO allies. For what is disputable – no, let us say repugnant – about the official accounts of these events is not merely a difference in emphasis or nuance on the matter, which the adage may infer. It is rather that the victors’ version of history is a wholesale fabrication, an obscene travesty of actual events. It is not a case of victors writing history, more one of victors “violating history”.

Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and what is unfolding covertly in Syria and Iran stand out as egregious examples of how the dominant Western powers are not just writing history with a certain self-reflecting vainglorious bias. They are instead concocting events in such a way as to completely distort the facts of history. It is fair to say that in many ways what is taking place is an inversion of realities and language. 

“Peace-keeping” really means “war-making”; “protecting human rights” really means “bombing civilian centers”; “upholding international law” really means “committing crimes against humanity”.  Accusations of “tyrants”, “miscreants”, “rogues” and “renegades” are hurled likes bricks in a glasshouse by perpetrators who arrogate the privilege to call themselves “civilized, democratic, law-abiding governments”. What needs to be contested, therefore, is not some kind of half-baked history, pitted here and there with flaws and hubris, but rather what needs to be challenged is out-and-out willful propaganda purporting as history.

In this new Interactive Book No 5, Iraq: A History of War Crimes and Genocide, we show how the policy of successive US governments and their Western allies towards Iraq illustrates this grand criminal deception; we also show how such unaccounted-for gargantuan crimes against humanity have not just decimated the social conditions for millions of Iraqis, but have also poisoned international law and are having far-reaching impacts on the democratic rights of citizens globally.  We contend that it is not just imperative to bring Western political and military leaders to account through legal prosecutions for the purpose of restitution for the people of Iraq; it is imperative that we do so for the sake of ending an ongoing global war agenda conducted by these same Western powers, and for the restitution of democratic rights for all citizens in all countries. 

The devastation of Iraq and the unfettered aggression by Western capitalist powers towards other countries is very much an integral part of the unfolding devastation of social conditions in North America and Europe under the diktat of a class war by a global elite. Understanding what really happened in Iraq, and why, is a vital part of understanding how and why the mass of people need to fight for democracy in the US, Europe and elsewhere. These far-reaching issues including an examination of the evolving Orwellian Police State apparatus in Western countries will be the object of a separate forthcoming I-Book.

Concealing Genocide As War

Take the most basic of words used in common parlance with reference to modern Iraq – the “Iraq War”. The word “war” normally refers to combat between two comparable adversaries contesting over competing claims. But in the case of Iraq that country was invaded without provocation on the basis of knowingly falsified allegations by an overwhelmingly superior military machine  – a multiple war crime. The “shock and awe” aerial bombardment that proceeded against a civilian population is another multiple war crime. The US-led NATO military campaign from 2003 until 2012 in which at least 1,000,000 Iraqi civilians, men, women and children, were killed compared with 4,500 US troops cannot be referred to in any meaningful way as a “war”. To do so is to employ an obscene Orwellian euphemism to describe what really happened – that is, genocide.

However, search the annals of Western mainstream media and no such simple truths can be found. Reams of newspaper copy and video footage refer endlessly to the Iraq War and they reiterate, with gullible respect, the disingenuous premises pronounced by Western governments and military, thus giving the whole nefarious enterprise a veneer of legitimacy and credibility. At the furthest range of criticism in such media, we might read about how the “Iraq War” was “misplaced”, a “waste” or a “tragedy”. But we will not read that it was genocide perpetrated by war criminals in Washington, London or other Western capitals based on conscious lies and willful fabrications. Truth is censored.

In this new Interactive Book we draw on Global Research’s extensive archive to give an accurate account of the origins of the invasion and genocidal occupation. The US-led criminal aggression towards Iraq involves four US presidents: George Herbert Walker Bush Senior, William Jefferson Clinton, George W Bush Junior and Barack Hussein Obama over more than two decades. We examine how a once-staunch Western client state became an object for obliteration.

The latter phase of American aggression conducted during more than nine years of US-led NATO occupation involved the most heinous crimes against humanity in a no-holds-barred effort to crush an ancient civilization. This Interactive Book looks at the aftermath of such barbarity and lawlessness, not just for Iraqis and ordinary Americans, but for the Middle East region and beyond.

Our bias is to expose official Western claims and accounts of what happened in Iraq, how and why, with uncompromising criticism. Our bias is to record the experiences and suffering of people in the real world, not what governments and military officials purport to have taken place. We are confident that our analysis presents the real story of Iraq, not only what happened and why, but its far-reaching wider significance for international relations. Today’s increasingly militarist foreign policy of the US, its NATO allies and proxy states across the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa can be traced to the awful precedent that is Iraq.

Australian author and media commentator John Pilger once noted that journalists could be thought of as being tasked with writing the “first draft of history”. Their reports and analyses of events will one day provide research material for historians. This has rather disturbing implications for future retrospective historical accounts of Iraq. That is because the prominent newspapers of North America and Europe and other mainstream media have, by and large, amply recorded verbatim the official narratives on Iraq that emanate from their governments. In other words, when future historians of modern Iraq draw on the archives in the likes of The New York Times, The Financial Times and Le Monde, they will be drawing on a first draft of history that is falsified, propagandized, and indeed calumnious.

Fortunately, the burgeoning of independent media over the past decade has afforded an alternative account of history on Iraq, versions that arguably accord more accurately with actual events. We at Global Research proudly present this volume of wide-ranging articles on Iraq as an antidote of truth to the “victors’ history”.

Read the full report and Ibook HERE – via Global Research