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From Iraq to UK Referendum: Tony Blair’s Toxic Legacy

By Felicity Arbuthnot | Dissident Voice | June 24, 2016

Anthony Charles Lynton Blair, currently back in Britain, cast a dark shadow over those campaigning to stay in the European Union in the June 23rd referendum. Inflicting himself on the Britain Stronger in Europe group, he spoke at every opportunity – reminding even the most passionate Europhile of the last time he assured “I know I’m right” – Iraq.

If the “Remainers” had an ounce of sense, Blair should have been ditched in a nano-second. He is not “Toxic Tony” for nothing.

However, since the long awaited Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq invasion is to be published just thirteen days after the referendum (July 6th) it is worth revisiting more of the mistruths of which he is capable.

On March 18th, 2003, Blair stood in Parliament and listed the times Saddam Hussein’s government had said they had no weapons of mass destruction dismissing them all, including the 11,800 pages or 12,200 pages of accounting of that which they did not possess and delivered by the Iraqi delegation at the UN to the UN UNSCOM offices on December 8th, 2002.

Lest it be forgotten, the reason for the uncertainty of the length of the volume is that the US delegation simply appropriated it and returned less than 4,000 pages so heavily redacted as to be indecipherable – and without the hefty index at the back listing the Western arms companies who had, prior to the first Gulf war, sold them weapons.

Blair told Parliament loftily:

… the 8th December declaration is false. That in itself is a material breach. Iraq has made some concessions to co-operation but no-one disputes it is not fully cooperating. Iraq continues to deny it has any WMD, though no serious intelligence service anywhere in the world believes them … We … will back it with action if Saddam fails to disarm voluntarily.

Iraq, of course, was telling the truth. Blair had appointed himself Judge, jury and executioner.

And here is a real whopper:

I have never put our justification for action as regime change.

And another:

Iraq is a wealthy country that in 1978, the year before Saddam seized power, was richer than Portugal or Malaysia.

Today it is impoverished, 60% of its population dependent on food aid.

Thousands of children die needlessly every year from lack of food and medicine.

What he omitted was stated in a piece I wrote back in 1998 addressing the ever repeated propaganda. The conditions were caused directly by the US-UK driven embargo, overseen by Blair’s envoy to the UN, Carne Ross, who headed the Sanctions Committee after the August 1991 imposed embargo:

In 1989 the World Health Organization recorded Iraq as having 92-per-cent access to clean water, 93-per-cent access to high quality health care and with high educational and nutritional standards.

By 1995 the World Food Program noted that: ‘time is running out for the children of Iraq’. Figures – verified by UNICEF – record that 1,211,285 children died of embargo-related causes between August 1990 and August 1997. A silent holocaust in the name of the UN. These numbers are similar to those lost in Pol Pot’s genocide in Cambodia. It is three times the population of Kuwait in small lives.  ‘After 24 years in the field, starting with Biafra, I didn’t think anything could shock me,’ wrote Dieter Hannusch of the World Food Program in l995. ‘But this was comparable to the worst scenarios I had ever seen.’

The day after Blair’s address to Parliament, Operation Iraqi Liberation began, to which he had committed the country in his visit to George W. Bush’s Texas ranch in April 2002, without telling Parliament.

Moreover, in 2009 The Mail on Sunday disclosed:

Attorney General Lord Goldsmith wrote (a) letter to Mr. Blair in July 2002 – a full eight months before the war – telling him that deposing Saddam Hussein was a blatant breach of international law.

It was intended to make Mr. Blair call off the invasion, but he ignored it. Instead, a panicking Mr. Blair issued instructions to gag Lord Goldsmith, banned him from attending Cabinet meetings and ordered a cover-up to stop the public finding out.

He even concealed the bombshell information from his own Cabinet, fearing it would spark an anti-war revolt. The only people he told were a handful of cronies who were sworn to secrecy.

Lord Goldsmith was so furious at his treatment he threatened to resign – and lost three stone as Mr Blair and his cronies bullied him into backing down.

The then Prime Minister did not alone ignore the Attorney General’s legal advice. In November 2002 “six wise men” gave Blair “bloody warnings” as to the outcome of an attack on Iraq. They were:

… all academics, expert on Iraq, the Middle East and international affairs. They had been called to the Cabinet Room to outline the worst that could happen if Britain and the United States launched an invasion.

This was a meeting that could have changed the course of history and, with better planning for the aftermath, saved countless lives – if only the Prime Minister and his advisers had listened and acted on the bloody warnings on that day in November 2002.

Dr. Toby Dodge, then of London’s Queen Mary University, foresaw with extraordinary clarity the near certain outcome, warning:

… that Iraqis would fight for their country against the invaders rather than just celebrate the fall of their leader. A long and nasty civil war could follow. “My aim that day was to tell them as much as I could, so that there would be no excuses and nobody saying, ‘I didn’t know.’

Others who shared their extensive expertise were Professor George Joffe of Cambridge University, Sir Lawrence Freedman, Professor of War Studies at King’s College, London and a Blair adviser, Professor Charles Tripp of the School of Oriental and Asian Studies, Steven Simon, Director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and Professor Michael Clarke, then of King’s College, London. Before the gathering they were warned: “Don’t tell him not to do it. He has already made up his mind”, Dr. Dodge told The Independent.

Blair and his Cabinet had: “… no plan for what would happen after the invasion. The approach was, ‘The Americans are heading this up. They will have a detailed plan. We need to follow them’ ”, said Professor Joffe. However in reality, a year’s planning by the State Department for the invasion’s aftermath: “was junked. They were making up policy on the hoof.”

Professor Joffe also explained the complexities of Iraq’s power structures with Tony Blair seemingly disinterested in the potential cultural, societal and political minefields, responding with kindergarten simplicity (re Saddam Hussein) “ But the man is evil, isn’t he?”

A chameleon-like absorption of George W. Bush, his political circle and his Generals’ simplistic “good guys”, “bad guys” rhetoric.

Steven Simon had little faith in bringing democracy to Iraq at the barrels of guns and deliveries of 30,000-pound bunker busters:

If everything had been done differently, there might have been some small shot at avoiding disaster. But only a small shot.

Incredibly, according to Professor Joffe: “The people who were put in charge in Iraq had very little knowledge or experience of the Middle East.”

Professor Clarke commented that Blair’s attempt to justify the invasion was mistaken: “We knew there was no nuclear stuff in Iraq.” Moreover, he believed: ‘Blair did not actually decide to go to war on the basis of intelligence, but made it look as if he had with his two “dodgy” dossiers. “He presented the case to the public as if they had incontrovertible evidence that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. That was rubbish. They were ridiculous documents, both those documents.” ‘ (Emphasis added.)

Late last year, Blair made what was described as a “qualified apology” for “mistakes” made in Iraq – among them: “our mistake in our understanding of what would happen once you removed the regime”. In the light of the above, blatantly untrue.

Blair’s dodging and weaving over the years since 2003 – in spite of his millions, numerous properties, jet (seemingly leased) and a yacht, accrued from advising some of the world’s most despotic leaders – seems to have worn him down a bit, though.

In an extraordinary television outburst attacking Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who said of Blair on BBC’s Newsnight last August: “If he has committed a war crime, yes (he should stand trial.)  Everybody who has committed a war crime should.” Blair responded: “I’m accused of being a war criminal for removing Saddam Hussein … and yet Jeremy is seen as a progressive icon as we stand by and watch the people of Syria barrel-bombed, beaten and starved into submission and do nothing.”

No mention of the US’ illegal “coalition”, including the UK, which has made 4,024 strikes to 1st June this year, according to the US Department of Defence. Strikes remarkably inept at affecting the countless foreign terrorist groups, but which have caused devastation to the Syrian people whose plight was caused by US plotting.

46,615 bombs and missiles have been dropped Syria and Iraq in the seeming non-fight against ISIS and other criminal groups. (airwars.org)

Apart from his ongoing economy with the truth, Tony Blair also seems to be well past his sell by date. In Northern Ireland, probably the only place on earth which has a tenuous reason to give him some credit for the “peace process”, where he went to speak on the referendum at Ulster University, he was less than welcome.

Derry anti-war campaigner Frankie McMenamin said the former Labour leader was “not welcome” in Derry, telling the Derry Journal:

I was involved in protests about the Iraqi War which Tony Blair was responsible for, Tony Blair is hated throughout the world and he has blood on his hands over Iraq.

I will be voting for the U.K. to remain on June 23rd but I think someone like Mr. Blair (urging the stay in vote) will put a lot of other people off.

Tony Blair is not welcome in our city and the people who organized this visit obviously knew this.

The meeting had not been publicly advertised and the address was to a specially selected audience. The co-speaker was Blair’s former Chancellor, Gordon Brown, near equally unpopular, who wrote the cheques for years of UK bombings before the invasion and then for the invasion’s destruction. Had the meeting been publicly advertised, assured Mr McMenamin, protesters would have been out in force.

On 17th June, Blair was a signatory to an open letter, signed by two former deputy Prime Ministers and a number of MPs and public figures urging voters to stay in the European Union. It included the words:

… public life, whether in politics or elsewhere, should be about something else – something better.

It should be driven by a desire to bring people together when it would be easier to tear them apart. A wish to build bridges rather than erect walls”, to promote that which is “peaceful, tolerant, compassionate”.

As he added his signature, did he reflect on Iraq’s destroyed bridges – literally and metaphorically, on a nation of walls erected by US and UK troops over one of the most open landscapes anywhere to be found and on the accompanying destruction of peace, tolerance and compassion at the hands of US and UK policies aided by his ignorant determination and “ridiculous documents.”

Philippe Sands QC, Professor of international law and Director of the Centre on International Courts and Tribunals at University College London, has said he believes, unequivocally, that the 2003 invasion was illegal under international law.

In the UK, beyond those associated with the government’s effort, I cannot think of a single international lawyer who thinks the war was lawful. Not a single name comes to mind. That’s got to be telling.

It can only be hoped the Chilcot Inquiry’s findings deliver Charles Anthony Lynton Blair and his cohorts a sharp, chilly return to reality for their part in a tragedy which will be his and George W. Bush’s place of infamy in history.

As this is finished, against the odds, the referendum is announced lost, the UK is out of the EU, the financial markets and the pound have plummeted and Prime Minister Cameron has announced his resignation. It will probably never be known to what – if any – extent Blair’s reviled presence changed “stay” voters to “leave.”


Felicity Arbuthnot is a journalist with special knowledge of Iraq. Author, with Nikki van der Gaag, of Baghdad in the Great City series for World Almanac books, she has also been Senior Researcher for two Award winning documentaries on Iraq, John Pilger’s Paying the Price: Killing the Children of Iraq and Denis Halliday Returns for RTE (Ireland.)

June 24, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Trump Will Not Recognize Palestinian Statehood if elected President

Sputnik – 25.06.2016

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has backtracked from his neutral position on the Israel-Palestine conflict, and is now “committed” to supporting Israeli settlement expansion on territories it has seized illegally, according to an advisor.

David M. Friedman, a real-estate attorney serving as Trump’s main advisor on Israel, said the Republican presidential candidate and reality television star would not support the recognition of the Palestinian state without “the approval of the Israelis.” Friedman also remarked that Trump was unconcerned with the inhabitants of the West Bank, because “nobody really knows how many Palestinians live there.”

Trump made Friedman a part of his campaign staff in April, at a meeting with Orthodox Jews, naming him and Jason Greenblatt, another real-estate lawyer and Trump’s chief attorney, as his advisors on Israel. Friedman said at the time, “Mr. Trump’s confidence is very flattering. My views on Israel are well known, and I would advise him in a manner consistent with those views. America’s geopolitical interests are best served by a strong and secure Israel, with Jerusalem as its undivided capital.” Friedman has made no secret of his feelings about a two-state solution with Palestine, writing that, “It was never a solution, just an illusion that served both the US and the Arabs.”

Trump has earned a reputation for taking contradictory stances on issues, and when asked in May if he thought Israel should cease construction in the West Bank, the candidate said, “No, I don’t think there should be a pause… because I think Israel should have – they really have to keep going. They have to keep moving forward.” Later in the same interview he remarked, “I’d love to negotiate peace. I think that, to me, is the all-time negotiation… I would love to see if peace could be negotiated. A lot of people say that’s not a deal that’s possible. But I mean lasting peace, not a peace that lasts for two weeks and they start launching missiles again. So we’ll see what happens.”

Friedman says Trump’s attitude toward Israel is positive, and his view on the Palestinian state springs, in part, to a lack of power on the part of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. “His [Trump’s] feeling about Israel,” Freidman said, “is that it is a robust democracy. He does not think it is an American imperative for [Gaza Strip and other territories seized by Israel] to be an independent Palestinian state.”

When asked directly about his own feelings on recognizing the State of Palestine, Friedman was open, if tentative.

“If the Israelis conclude that they need to do this [recognize the Palestinian state] in order to enhance their long-term security – which I think we are very skeptical about – but if this is what they conclude they want to do, we will respect this decision…. If the circumstances change… and there is a reason to be optimistic, then great, but the current facts don’t make that [recognizing the Palestinian state] an American imperative at all.” he said.

June 24, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Israel moves to keep interrogations from being filmed

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Ma’an – June 24, 2016

BETHLEHEM – Israel’s Public Security Ministry proposed its latest bill to prevent “security” interrogations from being videotaped, for “fear the footage could reach terror groups that would learn Israeli interrogation techniques,” Israeli media said Friday.

According to the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, there is a “fear” that those being interrogated would refuse to reveal information in the event the video could possibly reach the groups they had informed against, said Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

In 2003 a law came into effect that required Israeli police to document almost all its interrogations, both visually and aurally.

Since then, the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee has consistently approved an “exemption” for security interrogations, which Israeli Deputy Attorney General Raz Nazri reiterated “stems from security considerations.”

In 2015, the committee agreed to extend the exemption for a year and a half, but rejected a proposed exemption of five years.

Israel has consistently been criticized by international rights groups for its interrogation practices, specifically towards Palestinian children.

Some 700 Palestinian children per year are arrested and face “ill-treatment” by Israeli forces, according to a 2015 report by Child Rights International Network (CRIN).

“Arrested children are commonly taken into custody by heavily armed soldiers, blindfolded with their wrists tied behind their backs before being transported to an interrogation centre,” the CRIN report said.

“Children questioned about their experience frequently report verbal and physical abuse during the arrest.”

According to research conducted by Defense for Children International – Palestine cited by the report, some 56 percent of children report having experienced “coercive” interrogation techniques during their time in Israeli custody.

Some 42 percent say they signed documents in Hebrew, despite the fact that most Palestinian children do not speak or understand the language.

Additionally, 22 percent of detained children say they underwent up to 24 hours of solitary confinement, in violation of international standards.

Some Palestinian teens reported that they were beaten to the point of their bones being fractured while being held in Israeli detention centers.

In a report released in February 2013, the UN children’s agency UNICEF criticized Israel for its treatment of arrested Palestinian children, saying their interrogation mixes “intimidation, threats and physical violence, with the clear purpose of forcing the child to confess.”

According to the latest numbers from prisoner rights group Addameer, there were a total of 414 child prisoners in Israeli prisons in May 2016, 104 of whom were under the age of 16.

June 24, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 1 Comment

Israel orders closure of PA-funded television channel in Israel

Ma’an – June 24, 2016

BETHLEHEM – Israel’s Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan issued an order Friday banning the Palestinian Authority (PA)-funded television channel Musawa for six months, claiming the channel represents an affront to Israel’s sovereignty.

The channel was previously named Palestine 48 and was shut down by the Israeli government last year, before changing their name to Musawa and resuming activities, according to Israeli media.

Although the show is edited in the occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, it is recorded in Nazareth, leading Israeli authorities to crackdown on the channel for purportedly lacking proper permission for foreign entities to operate in Israel.

Erdan was reported as saying “I will not allow any harm to come to Israel’s sovereignty or give a foothold to the PA within the country,” according to the Times of Israel.

Last year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu initiated an investigation into the legality of the channel’s operations, as the Israeli government accused the channel of disseminating propaganda to enhance “Palestinian identity.”

The title of the channel, 1948, referred to the year that Israel was established in the midst of 750,000 Palestinians being violently displaced from their villages in an event that Palestinians refer to as the “Nakba,” or “catastrophe.”

In response to the Israeli government shutting down Palestine 48, Riad Hassan, the PA’s communications minister, said at the time that the PA would not cease their operations “even if it does not please the government of settlers that Netanyahu leads. We want to present a platform for Israeli Arabs to introduce themselves to the Arab world, to show them their culture and the difficulties they face.”

June 24, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 1 Comment

Sanders in New York

By Stephen Lendman | June 24, 2016

His so-called “where we go from here speech” fell short, repeating warmed-over themes highlighted throughout his campaign – ones he largely failed to support during 30 years in public office.

His record shows a deplorable habit of saying one thing, then doing another, destroying his credibility. His populist rhetoric rings hollow.

Days earlier, he acknowledged Clinton becoming Democrat party presumptive standard bearer, saying “(i)t doesn’t appear that I’m going to be the nominee, so I’m not going to be determining the scope of the convention.”

Endorsing her is virtually certain. He’ll choose the time and place to announce it – betraying his loyal supporters, backing an unindicted war criminal/racketeer, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt his so-called crusade for change is phony.

“We have got to work tirelessly to make sure Donald Trump is not president,” he ranted – code language for supporting Clinton, the most recklessly dangerous presidential aspirant in US history, WW III a coin flip if she’s elected, Sanders ignoring the major threat of our time. World peace hangs in the balance.

Throughout Obama’s tenure, Sanders supported his deplorable agenda, including endless wars of aggression, corporate favoritism and police state harshness – a Clinton administration likely to exceed the worst of his policies.

His issue isn’t stopping Trump. It’s loyalty to Democrat party bosses, supporting its presumptive presidential nominee, opposing any GOP one.

He sounded buffoon-like, saying “I’ll run around the entire country if I have to. It is hard to imagine a man who has such limited capabilities becoming president.”

He’s a billionaire businessman. His disturbing rhetoric aside, no public record exists to judge him. Clinton’s agenda as me-first lady, US senator and secretary of state is too deplorably lawless to tolerate – a rage for power and super-wealth, representing what Sanders claims to oppose.

Ignore Sanders’ rhetoric. Examine his House and Senate voting record – on the wrong side of major issues time and again, notably supporting imperial lawlessness.

Maintaining the myth of his so-called “political revolution” persists, smoke and mirrors without substance, rhetoric without follow-through.

America needs real anti-war, populist champions. Duopoly power governance excludes them, Sanders a loyal soldier, supporting what demands committed resistance.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book as editor and contributor is titled Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.

June 24, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Non-military federal agencies have more firearm authority than entire US Marine Corps ‒ report

RT | June 24, 2016

The militarization of local law enforcement in America has long been documented, but a new report found 67 federal agencies such as the IRS and Health and Human Services have spent $1.48 billion purchasing guns, ammunition and military-style equipment.

Among the startling findings in the 50-page report is that the 67 non-military agencies and 15 Cabinet-level departments have more than 200,000 federal officers with arrest and firearm authority, which exceeds the size of the entire United State Marine Corps, with its 182,000 personnel.

The documented purchases were made over an eight-year period from fiscal years 2006 to 2014. The report found traditional law enforcement agencies spent just 77 percent of that amount to make purchases totaling $1.14 billion during the same time period.

Other findings were that the Internal Revenue Service shelled out nearly $11 million on guns and ammunition for 2,316 “special agents.”

“The IRS stockpile includes pump-action and semi-automatic shotguns with buckshot and slugs; and semi-automatic AR-15rifles (S&W M&P 15) and military-style H&K 416 rifles,” the report said.

The details come from the Militarization of America: non-military federal agencies purchases of guns, ammo, and military-style equipment, published by the non-profit good government group OpentheBooks.com. The data comes from analyzing publicly available information from US government agency spending, outside the Department of Defense. The report cover carries an endorsement by former Senator Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma).

OpentheBooks.com was founded by Illinois businessman Adam Andrzejewsk, who ran in the Illinois gubernatorial race in 2010 with Tea Party support, but was beaten by a wide margin.

Other accounts included in the report are that the Food and Drug Administration has 183 armed “special agents,” representing a 50-percent increase over the 10 years from 1998-2008.

At the Department of Health and Human Services, “Special Office of Inspector General Agents” are now trained with sophisticated weaponry by the same contractors who train US military special force troops, Andrzejewski maintained.

The report showed that in 1996, the Bureau of Justice Statistics had 74,500 law enforcement officers with arrest and firearm authority employed by federal agencies, and that number had increased by nearly 50 percent in 2008 to 120,000 officers.

Other findings include that the Department of Homeland Security has purchased 1.7 billion bullets, including 453 million hollow-points, since 2004, and the DHS estimated its bullet inventory reserve at 160 million rounds.

The report also found that federal agencies had spent $313,958 on paintball equipment, along with $14.7 million on Tasers, $1.6 million on unmanned aircraft, $8.2 million on buckshot, $7.44 million on projectiles and $4 million on grenade/launchers.

The report comes following the recent attacks on a gay nightclub in Orlando that left 49 people dead and 53 others injured, when a gunman fired on them with an assault weapon.

“As the Obama administration and its allies are pushing hard for an assault weapons ban on private citizens, taxpayers are asking why IRS agents need AR-15s,” Andrzejewski wrote in an opinion column in Forbes magazine. “After grabbing legal power, federal bureaucrats are amassing firepower. It’s time to scale back the federal arsenal.”

June 24, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Militarism | , | 1 Comment

Ten Worst Acts of the Nuclear Age

By David Krieger | Waging Peace | June 22, 2016

The ten worst acts of the Nuclear Age described below have set the tone for our time. They have caused immense death and suffering; been tremendously expensive; have encouraged nuclear proliferation; have opened the door to nuclear terrorism, nuclear accidents and nuclear war; and are leading the world back into a second Cold War. These “ten worst acts” are important information for anyone attempting to understand the time in which we live, and how the nuclear dangers that confront us have been intensified by the leadership and policy choices made by the United States and the other eight nuclear-armed countries.

1. Bombing Hiroshima (August 6, 1945). The first atomic bomb was dropped by the United States on the largely civilian population of Hiroshima, killing some 70,000 people instantly and 140,000 people by the end of 1945.  The bombing demonstrated the willingness of the US to use its new weapon of mass destruction on cities.

2. Bombing Nagasaki (August 9, 1945). The second atomic bomb was dropped on the largely civilian population of Nagasaki before Japanese leaders had time to assess the death and injury caused by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima three days earlier.  The atomic bombing of Nagasaki took another 70,000 lives by the end of 1945.

3. Pursuing a unilateral nuclear arms race (1945 – 1949). The first nuclear weapon test was conducted by the US on July 16, 1945, just three weeks before the first use of an atomic weapon on Hiroshima. As the only nuclear-armed country in the world in the immediate aftermath of World War II, the US continued to expand its nuclear arsenal and began testing nuclear weapons in 1946 in the Marshall Islands, a trust territory the US was asked to administer on behalf of the United Nations. Altogether the US tested 67 nuclear weapons in the Marshall Islands between 1946 and 1958, with the equivalent explosive power of 1.6 Hiroshima bombs daily for that 12 year period.

4. Initiating Atoms for Peace (1953). President Dwight Eisenhower put forward an Atoms for Peace proposal in a speech delivered on December 8, 1953. This proposal opened the door to the spread of nuclear reactors and nuclear materials for purposes of research and power generation. This resulted in the later proliferation of nuclear weapons to additional countries, including Israel, South Africa, India, Pakistan and North Korea.

5. Engaging in a Cold War bilateral nuclear arms race (1949 – 1991). The nuclear arms race became bilateral when the Soviet Union tested its first atomic weapon on August 29, 1949.  This bilateral nuclear arms race between the US and USSR reached its apogee in 1986 with some 70,000 nuclear weapons in the world, enough to destroy civilization many times over and possibly result in the extinction of the human species.

6. Atmospheric Nuclear Testing (1945 – 1980). Altogether there have been 528 atmospheric nuclear tests. The US, UK and USSR ceased atmospheric nuclear testing in 1963, when they signed the Partial Test Ban Treaty.  France continued atmospheric nuclear testing until 1974 and China continued until 1980.  Atmospheric nuclear testing has placed large amounts of radioactive material into the atmosphere, causing cancers and leukemia in human populations.

7. Breaching the disarmament provisions of the NPT (1968 – present). Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) states, “Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament….” The five nuclear weapons-states parties to the NPT (US, Russia, UK, France and China) remain in breach of these obligations. The other four nuclear-armed states (Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea) are in breach of these same obligations under customary international law.

8. Treating nuclear power as an “inalienable right” in the NPT (1968 – present). This language of “inalienable right” contained in Article IV of the NPT encourages the development and spread of nuclear power plants and thereby makes the proliferation of nuclear weapons more likely. Nuclear power plants are also attractive targets for terrorists. As yet, there are no good plans for long-term storage of radioactive wastes created by these plants. Government subsidies for nuclear power plants also take needed funding away from the development of renewable energy sources.

9. Failing to cut a deal with North Korea (1992 to present). During the Clinton administration, the US was close to a deal with North Korea to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons.  This deal was never fully implemented and negotiations for it were abandoned under the George W. Bush administration. Consequently, North Korea withdrew from the NPT in 2003 and conducted its first nuclear weapon test in 2006.

10. Abrogating the ABM Treaty (2002).  Under the George W. Bush administration, the US unilaterally abrogated the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty. This allowed the US, in combination with expanding NATO to the east, to place missile defense installations near the Russian border. It has also led to emplacement of US missile defenses in East Asia. Missile defenses in Europe and East Asia have spurred new nuclear arms races in these regions.


David Krieger is a founder and president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.

June 24, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

United States bombings of other countries

By William Blum | American Herald Tribune | June 23, 2016

It is a scandal in contemporary international law, don’t forget, that while “wanton destruction of towns, cities and villages” is a war crime of long standing, the bombing of cities from airplanes goes not only unpunished but virtually unaccused. Air bombardment is state terrorism, the terrorism of the rich. It has burned up and blasted apart more innocents in the past six decades than have all the antistate terrorists who ever lived. Something has benumbed our consciousness against this reality. In the United States we would not consider for the presidency a man who had once thrown a bomb into a crowded restaurant, but we are happy to elect a man who once dropped bombs from airplanes that destroyed not only restaurants but the buildings that contained them and the neighborhoods that surrounded them. I went to Iraq after the Gulf war and saw for myself what the bombs did; “wanton destruction” is just the term for it. – C. Douglas Lummis, political scientist

The above was written in 1994, before the wanton destruction generated by the bombing of Yugoslavia, another in a long list of countries the United States has bombarded since the end of World War II, which is presented below.

There appears to be something about launching bombs or missiles from afar onto cities and people that appeals to American military and political leaders. In part it has to do with a conscious desire to not risk American lives in ground combat. And in part, perhaps not entirely conscious, it has to do with not wishing to look upon the gory remains of the victims, allowing American GIs and TV viewers at home to cling to their warm fuzzy feelings about themselves, their government, and their marvelous “family values”. Washington officials are careful to distinguish between the explosives the US drops from the sky and “weapons of mass destruction” (WMD), which only the officially-designated enemies (ODE) are depraved enough to use. The US government speaks sternly of WMD, defining them as nuclear, chemical and biological in nature, and “indiscriminate” (meaning their use can’t be limited to military objectives), as opposed to the likes of American “precision” cruise missiles. This is indeed a shaky semantic leg to stand on, given the well-known extremely extensive damage to non-military targets, including numerous residences, schools and hospitals, even from American “smart” bombs, in almost all of the bombings listed below.

Moreover, Washington does not apply the term “weapons of mass destruction” to other weapons the US has regularly used, such as depleted uranium and cluster bombs, which can be, and often are, highly indiscriminate.

WMD are sometimes further defined as those whose effects linger in the environment, causing subsequent harm to people. This would certainly apply to cluster bombs, and depleted uranium weapons, the latter remaining dangerously radioactive after exploding. It would apply less to “conventional” bombs, but even with those there are unexploded bombs lying around, and the danger of damaged buildings later collapsing. But more importantly, it seems highly self-serving and specious, not to mention exceptionally difficult, to try to paint a human face on a Tomahawk Cruise missile whose payload of a thousand pounds of TNT crashes into the center of a densely-populated city, often with depleted uranium in its warhead.

A terrorist is someone who has a bomb but doesn’t have an air force.

The bombing list

  • Korea and China 1950-53 (Korean War)
  • Guatemala 1954
  • Indonesia 1958
  • Cuba 1959-1961
  • Guatemala 1960
  • Congo 1964
  • Laos 1964-73
  • Vietnam 1961-73
  • Cambodia 1969-70
  • Guatemala 1967-69
  • Grenada 1983
  • Lebanon 1983, 1984 (both Lebanese and Syrian targets)
  • Libya 1986
  • El Salvador 1980s
  • Nicaragua 1980s
  • Iran 1987
  • Panama 1989
  • Iraq 1991 (Persian Gulf War)
  • Kuwait 1991
  • Somalia 1993
  • Bosnia 1994, 1995
  • Sudan 1998
  • Afghanistan 1998
  • Yugoslavia 1999
  • Yemen 2002
  • Iraq 1991-2003 (US/UK on regular basis)
  • Iraq 2003-2015
  • Afghanistan 2001-2015
  • Pakistan 2007-2015
  • Somalia 2007-8, 2011
  • Yemen 2009, 2011
  • Libya 2011, 2015
  • Syria 2014-2015

Plus

Iran, April 2003 – hit by US missiles during bombing of Iraq, killing at least one person

Pakistan, 2002-03 – bombed by US planes several times as part of combat against the Taliban and other opponents of the US occupation of Afghanistan

China, 1999 – its heavily bombed embassy in Belgrade is legally Chinese territory, and it appears rather certain that the bombing was no accident (see chapter 25 of Rogue State)

France, 1986 – After the French government refused the use of its air space to US warplanes headed for a bombing raid on Libya, the planes were forced to take another, longer route; when they reached Libya they bombed so close to the French embassy that the building was damaged and all communication links knocked out.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, May 13, 1985 – A bomb dropped by a police helicopter burned down an entire block, some 60 homes destroyed, 11 dead, including several small children. The police, the mayor’s office, and the FBI were all involved in this effort to evict a black organization called MOVE from the house they lived in.

Them other guys are really shocking

“We should expect conflicts in which adversaries, because of cultural affinities different from our own, will resort to forms and levels of violence shocking to our sensibilities.” – Department of Defense, 1999

The Targets

It’s become a commonplace to accuse the United States of choosing as its bombing targets only people of color, those of the Third World, or Muslims. But it must be remembered that one of the most sustained and ferocious American bombing campaigns was carried out against the people of the former Yugoslavia – white, European, Christians. The United States is an equal-opportunity bomber. The only qualifications for a country to become a target are:

  1. It poses a sufficient obstacle to the desires of the American Empire;
  2. It is virtually defenseless against aerial attack.

The survivors

A study by the American Medical Association: “Psychiatric disorders among survivors of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing”:

Nearly half the bombing survivors studied had an active postdisaster psychiatric disorder, and full criteria for PTSD [posttraumatic stress disorder] were met by one third of the survivors. PTSD symptoms were nearly universal, especially symptoms of intrusive reexperience and hyperarousal.

Martin Kelly, publisher of a nonviolence website:

We never see the smoke and the fire, we never smell the blood, we never see the terror in the eyes of the children, whose nightmares will now feature screaming missiles from unseen terrorists, known only as Americans.

June 24, 2016 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | | 1 Comment

Killing Taxi Drivers for Freedom

Brian CLOUGHLEY | Strategic Culture Foundation | 19.06.2016

The prospect of Hillary Clinton being President of the United States of America is one to fill our minds with dread concerning the likely posture of Washington in foreign affairs should she ever attain the Oval Office. There is no doubt she would continue or even increase the intensity of Washington’s military confrontations with China and Russia — and enjoy smacking the wrists of smaller countries whose actions might displease her. Indeed her castigation might go further, even to the extent of rejoicing in the murder of national leaders such as President Gaddafi of Libya, about whom she laughed “We came. We saw. He died.”

Who might be next, with Hillary at the helm?

Under her reign the US military presence around the world would be maintained or expanded — but no matter who is in the White House, the hundreds of military bases surrounding China and Russia will continue operations and the US nuclear-armed fleets that roam the seas and oceans will maintain their aggressive posture.

Drone assassinations will also continue and more innocent people like that poor taxi driver in Pakistan will be killed by US Hellfire missiles guided by gleeful techno-cretins who move control sticks and prod buttons while playing barbaric video games from their comfortable killing couches in drone-control bases.

That taxi driver?

To remind you: on May 21 a taxi driver called Mohammad Azam was earning his tiny daily wage by picking up passengers who crossed the Iranian border into Pakistan. Sometimes he would take them only to nearby villages, but that day he picked up a client who wanted to go to the city of Quetta, eight hours drive away. He drove off in his Toyota Corolla, and a few hours later, when he stopped for a rest, Obama’s Hellfires struck and blasted the car to twisted shards of metal — and reduced Azam and his customer to smoking corpses.

Another case of “We came. We saw. He died.”

Azam’s passenger was the evil Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, travelling under a false name. His sought-for anonymity didn’t do him much good, because he had been traced and tracked, and while he was in Iran or when he was going through border crossing examination on the Pakistan side it’s likely that a US-paid agent planted a chip on him or in his baggage that signaled his whereabouts to the drone-controlling video-gamers.

Azam the taxi-driver didn’t know Mullah Mansour and was not associated with the Taliban or any such organization. He was an entirely innocent man trying to earn enough money to feed his family — his wife, four small children and a crippled brother who stayed with them.

But Azam was killed by the same US Hellfire missiles that killed Mullah Mansoor.

The Pentagon stated that “Mansur has been an obstacle to peace and reconciliation between the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban, prohibiting Taliban leaders from participating in peace talks with the Afghan government that could lead to an end to the conflict.” So they killed him. And without the slightest hesitation they also killed the taxi driver Mohammad Azam.

If a person in a foreign country that can’t retaliate to drone strikes is considered an enemy of the United States there is no question of arrest, charge and trial. When it can be done they are killed by drone missile strikes, personally authorized by President Obama who stressed that there must be “near certainty that non-combatants will not be injured or killed,” and that “the United States respects national sovereignty and international law.”

But the US president ordered the assassination of two people in a country whose prime minister said that the US drone attack was a gross violation of national sovereignty.  And although the White House and the Pentagon might — just might — be able to convince a War Crimes Tribunal that their killing of Mullah Mansur was in some fashion reasonable, how could they possibly claim that their murder of the taxi driver Azam was justified?  When did it become “respectful of international law” to deliberately slaughter a taxi driver?

The US Secretary of State, John Kerry, declared that Mansoor’s obliteration “sends a clear message to the world that we will continue to stand with our Afghan partners as they work to build a more stable, united, secure and prosperous Afghanistan.” Which was no doubt solace to Azam’s widow and her two little boys and two little girls when his hideously charred fragmented corpse arrived next day.

People like Obama and Kerry and Clinton and countless millions of others simply don’t care about the smashing, flashing, hideously agonizing death of the innocent taxi driver Azam.

The US President’s professional video-gamers had killed yet another totally innocent non-combatant, but no doubt they all slept soundly on the night that Azam’s children began to realize their terrible loss.

Three weeks after the drone murder of taxi driver Azam there was a massacre of 49 people in the US city of Orlando. It was horrible. Much of the world was aghast, and there was emotion displayed in Europe and North America, with candle-lit vigils, solemn silences of respect in parliaments and other demonstrations of sympathy and solidarity. And when a British female Member of Parliament was killed by a lunatic on June 16 there was an amazing outpouring of grief in the country. Her husband said after her murder that “the two things that I’ve been very focused on is how do we support and protect the children.”

Quite right. And understandable and most admirable.

But who is going to support and protect the children of the US drone-killed taxi driver Azam?

The slaughter of innocent human beings is an everyday occurrence in Iraq and Libya and Afghanistan, where countless thousands have died — without a single western candle being lit in sorrowful commemoration of any Iraqis, Libyans or Afghans who have died in the savage chaos caused by the catastrophic military fandangos in their countries by US-led western powers.

Western countries are highly selective in displaying disapproval and grief following killings, be they mass or individual, and it could hardly be expected that the US assassination of a Pakistani taxi driver would attract the slightest sympathy or censure.

The murder-by drone of taxi driver Azam by the Pentagon’s video-gamers could be summed up by Hillary Clinton’s happy rejoicing about the murder of President Gaddafi during the US-NATO blitz on Libya, when she laughingly declared that “We came. We saw. He died.”

And thinking about the future . . .  Would you be surprised if in twenty years or so one of the children of taxi driver Azam were to take up a gun and kill Americans?

June 24, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brexit Raises Necessity for France’s EU Membership Referendum – EU Lawmaker

Sputnik — 24.06.2016

The decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union raises the necessity to hold a referendum on EU membership in France, Jean-Luc Schaffhauser, a French member of the European Parliament from the Europe of Nations and Freedom group, told Sputnik on Friday.

“It raises the necessity to make also a referendum in France,” Schaffhauser said in the wake of the Brexit vote.

On Thursday, the United Kingdom held a referendum on its EU membership, with Prime Minister David Cameron calling on the UK nationals to vote to remain. Earlier on Friday, it was announced that 51.9 percent of voters supported Brexit.

“It is a big opportunity to rebuild Europe on new basis and this basis would be Europe of nations, Europe of freedom and Europe of cooperation. For me it is not the end of Europe, it is an end of institutions [that] always want to have more power on top,” the lawmaker added.

Earlier, Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s National Front party, known for its eurosceptic rhetoric, reiterated her demands to hold a referendum on the country’s EU membership after UK nationals voted to leave the bloc.

The British decision came at a time when anti-EU sentiment is on the rise. According to a survey issued by the Pew Research Center earlier in June, 47 percent of respondents in 10 European states have an “unfavorable view” of the European Union.

June 24, 2016 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment