President Obama departed Wednesday night for this Scandinavian city, where he will accept the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize just over a week after announcing plans to deploy 30,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan. Obama is to receive the award Thursday during a solemn ceremony at Oslo City Hall. Afterward, aides said, the president will deliver a speech that confronts the seeming paradox of receiving the prestigious peace prize while serving as a war president.
Tony Blair was aware of last-minute intelligence revealing that Saddam Hussein had probably dismantled his chemical and biological weaponry, a key adviser has said. Sir John Scarlett, who was the head of the Joint Intelligence Committee in the run-up to the war, said that two reports received in March 2003, which suggested that Iraq's weaponry had been taken to pieces, were sent directly to the former prime minister. He also said that Mr Blair was made aware of doubts over Saddam's access to the warheads needed to deliver them. Al Jazeera Blog / John Terrett: The meter's running for Tony Blair: In London on Tuesday the British public inquiry into the Iraq war heard a staggering revelation. A taxi driver, peddling fares along Iraq's border with Jordan, was the one who told British intelligence that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction capable of hitting Britain in less than an hour's flying time from Baghdad. And they believed him!
Tory MP and defence specialist Adam Holloway says MI6 got information from a taxi driver who had heard Iraqi military commanders talking about weapons.
FAIR’s study looked at all opinion columns in the New York Times and the Washington Post during the first 10 months of 2009 that addressed what the U.S. should do in the Afghanistan War. Columns were counted as antiwar if they called for withdrawal or clearly called into question the need or rationale for the war. Columns that supported continuing the war were counted as pro-war; these were divided into those that endorsed the idea of escalating the war and those that advocated some sort of alternative strategy, including reducing the number of troops. Both newspapers marginalized antiwar opinion to different degrees. Of the New York Times’ 43 columns on the Afghanistan War, 36 supported the war and only seven opposed it—five times as many columns to war supporters as to opponents. Of the paper’s pro-war columns, 14 favored some form of escalation, while 22 argued for pursuing the war differently.
In public he was the lean and ruthless face of American military outsourcing in Iraq. Erik Prince, as founder of the Blackwater security company, packed a mobile phone on one hip and a handgun on the other as he flew in and out of the world’s troublespots co-ordinating protection teams for American VIPs — and handling the backlash when his employees were accused of shooting dead 17 Iraqi civilians at a Baghdad crossroads in 2007. In private, he was a CIA operative, with his own file as a “vetted asset” at the agency’s headquarters, and a mission to build “a unilateral, unattributable capability” to hunt down and kill al-Qaeda militants for the US Government wherever they could be found.
Evidence which has come out over the last couple of years makes it clear that top Bush administration officials knew that Saddam didn't have weapons of mass destruction and knew that Saddam had no connection with 9/11. It is now reasonably obvious that the Bush administration was looking for an excuse to oust Saddam, and - in the words of the Downing Street Memo - “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy”. History Commons: CIA’s Bin Laden Unit Asks NSA for Full Transcripts of Al-Qaeda Communications, NSA Refuses.
George Bush considered provoking a war with Saddam Hussein's regime by flying a United States spyplane over Iraq bearing UN colours, enticing the Iraqis to take a shot at it, according to a leaked memo of a meeting between the US President and Tony Blair. The two leaders were worried by the lack of hard evidence that Saddam Hussein had broken UN resolutions, though privately they were convinced that he had. According to the memorandum, Mr Bush said: "The US was thinking of flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in UN colours. If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach."
"Erik Prince, recently outed as a participant in a C.I.A. assassination program, has gained notoriety as head of the military-contracting juggernaut Blackwater, a company dogged by a grand-jury investigation, bribery accusations, and the voluntary-manslaughter trial of five ex-employees, set for next month. Lashing back at his critics, the wealthy former navy seal takes the author inside his operation in the U.S. and Afghanistan, revealing the role he’s been playing in America’s war on terror." Several killed in Pakistan blast (BBC)
In the last 30 years, U.S. foreign policy has directly killed at least 288,000 Muslims. And that figure is calculated if one deems the number of Iraqis killed by the U.S. war and occupation to be no more than 100,000. The figure is probably higher than that as calculated by many reputable sources. So the 288,000 figure is probably an underestimate as reported by Harvard professor Stephen Walt: I have deliberately selected "low-end" estimates for Muslim fatalities, so these figures present the "best case" for the United States. Even so, the United States has killed nearly 30 Muslims for every American lost. The real ratio is probably much higher, and a reasonable upper bound for Muslim fatalities (based mostly on higher estimates of "excess deaths" in Iraq due to the sanctions regime and the post-2003 occupation) is well over one million, equivalent to over 100 Muslim fatalities for every American lost.
In The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, Bugliosi presents a tight, meticulously researched legal case that puts George W. Bush on trial in an American courtroom for the murder of nearly 4,000 American soldiers fighting the war in Iraq. Bugliosi sets forth the legal architecture and incontrovertible evidence that President Bush took this nation to war in Iraq under false pretenses—a war that has not only caused the deaths of American soldiers but also over 100,000 innocent Iraqi men, women, and children; cost the United States over one trillion dollars thus far with no end in sight; and alienated many American allies in the Western world.
Incidences of cancer, deformed babies and other health problems have risen sharply, Iraqi officials say, and many suspect contamination from weapons used in years of war and accompanying unchecked pollution as a cause.
Britain's third inquiry into the 2003 invasion of Iraq is underway. The previous Hutton and Butler reports were written off as establishment whitewashes with main government players emerging as pristine as snow. However, the current review chaired by John Chilcot — a Privy Counsellor who has been described as "a Mandarin with a safe pair of hands" — is empowered to lay blame at the feet of government bodies and individuals. But that's as far as it goes. The published outcome could embarrass the potentially culpable but they certainly won't have to peer out of their living room windows waiting for the police to come a-knocking.
With its troops no longer engaged in military operations inside Iraq, Great Britain has been liberated politically to conduct a postmortem of that conflict, including the sensitive issue of the primary justification used by then Prime Minister Tony Blair for going to war, namely Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, or WMD. As of December 1998, both the US and Britain knew there was no "smoking gun" in Iraq that could prove that Saddam's government was retaining or reconstituting a WMD capability. Nothing transpired between that time and when the decision was made in 2002 to invade Iraq that fundamentally altered that basic picture.
Mr. Manning's predecessor as ambassador to the U.S., Christopher Meyer, also testified that the U.S. was looking for connections between Iraq and Sept. 11 within hours of the attacks. Mr. Manning echoed Mr. Meyer's claim, saying that then-President George W. Bush talked about possible links between Saddam Hussein and "al Qaeda" right after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, but that Mr. Blair had counseled caution. Yahoo: Blair adviser: US did not expect to stabilize Iraq. The Guardian: Chilcot inquiry hears Bush began Iraq war drumbeat three days after 9/11.
“The attraction of these fields to oil companies is not the per-barrel profit, which is very low, but their value as an entrance ticket to the oil sector of southern Iraq,” said Reidar Visser, a research fellow at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs who operates an Iraq Web site, Historiae. “In terms of size and potential, the Basra region remains one of the most attractive areas of future growth for the international oil industry.”
Then Attorney General Goldsmith was 'pinned to the wall and bullied into keeping quiet' while the Prime Minister kept the Cabinet in the dark. The former PM is said to be furious that his reputation could be 'shredded' during the inquiry. Devestating official memo from top law officer warned Blair that the war *IS* illegal. Officer was bullied and ostracized.
Squeezed between a rubbish dump and a dry riverbed, Al-Zuhoor has no clean water or electricity and the gypsies who live here are at the margins of the new, ultra-conservative Iraq. In smelly alleys bordered by brick hovels, without glass windows or doors, men wander without work, a young girl plays on a squeaky swing and women return from a day’s begging in Diwaniyah, 180 kilometres south of Baghdad.
Saddam Hussein's fate as Iraqi leader was sealed at a secret meeting between Tony Blair and George Bush in 2002, it was claimed yesterday. The former Prime Minister allegedly "signed in blood" Britain's support for an attack on Baghdad when he got together with the US president [sic] at his Texas ranch. And Mr Blair deliberately linked Saddam to al-Qaeda in a bid to strengthen the case to topple Saddam, despite there being no evidence, the Iraq War inquiry heard. Former British Ambassador to the US Sir Christopher Meyer told the hearing the PM suddenly appeared to agree to the case for a regime change in Iraq after his Bush meeting. Talking about the meeting with Mr Bush, Sir Christopher said: "To this day I am not entirely clear what degree of convergence was, if you like, signed in blood at the Crawford ranch." The Guardian: Poodle Blair "decided" on Iraq war a year before invasion. Information Clearing House: Blair and Bush 'Agreed' on Iraq Regime Change in Private 2002 Crawford Ranch Meeting. Washington's Blog: Everyone Knew that Iraq Didn't Have WMDs. William Bowles: THE IRAQ WAR ‘INQUIRY’: ‘REVELATIONS’? WHAT REVELATIONS? I read with amazement the ‘revelations’ concerning war criminal Tony Blair’s visit to Camp Crawford in March 2002 where Bush/Blair decided that ‘regime change’ was the order of the day. But there’s nothing new about these ‘revelations’, indeed I and many others reported this meeting literally years ago.
[Blackwater] assailants broke into a house and killed six family members before dawn Wednesday in an area north of Baghdad that was 'once a stronghold of al-Qaida in Iraq,' Iraqi officials said. The dead included a couple and two daughters, and two brothers of the husband, according to a police officer in Tarmiyah, 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of the capital. The throats of two women were slit, while the other four people were shot execution-style; two of the couple's other children were not harmed.
The Foreign Office did not believe Iraq had nuclear missiles, but Mr Blair told parliament that Saddam was a threat to security in the Middle East because he still had chemical and biological weapons which could be launched at 45 minutes’ notice. BBC: Iraq inquiry to focus on Bush-Blair relationship. Raw Story: Secret report: Blair misled public throughout 2002. WSWS: British documents detail US and UK plans for Iraq war. The Independent: The inquiry cover-up that will keep us in the dark. Gilad Atzmon: Get Ready for Another Whitewash.
A British diplomat has criticized the appointment of two leading Jewish academics to the UK's Iraq Inquiry panel, stating it may upset the balance of the inquiry. Sir Oliver Miles, a former British ambassador to Libya, told The Independent newspaper this week that the appointment of Sir Martin Gilbert, the renowned Holocaust historian and Winston Churchill biographer, and Sir Lawrence Freedman, professor of war studies and vice-principal of King's College London, would be seen as "ammunition" that could be used to call the inquiry a "whitewash."
9/11 = inside job! Wake up and get informed! Do not blindly follow what the media tells you, like little robots who cannot critically think for yourself! The mass media is controlled and bought and paid for by the global elite and banksters who own the media and tell them exactly what to say and what they want you to know, not what the truth is but what they want you to believe is true. Start doing your own research and realize the truth for yourself!
British officials privately discussed the prospect of "regime change" in Iraq in late 2001 - more than a year before the invasion - the Iraq War inquiry was told today. Giving evidence on the first day of public hearings, Sir William Patey, a senior Foreign and Commonwealth Office official, said the idea of ousting Saddam Hussein had been discussed in an internal FCO paper. Britain had favoured a strengthened "smart sanctions regime" - a position initially backed by senior figures in the Bush administration like Secretary of State Colin Powell. However he said they were aware there were other influential figures in Washington who were taking a harder line. "We were conscious that there were other voices in Washington, some of whom were talking about regime change," he said.
After an investigation spanning more than a year, Human Rights Watch (HRW) today condemned Britain's role in the torture of terror suspects detained in Pakistan as cruel, counter-productive and in clear breach of international law. LAT: Britain's war inquiry panel opens hearings on Iraq.
The deep hostility of Britain’s senior military commanders in Iraq towards their American allies has been revealed in classified Government documents leaked to the Daily Telegraph. 22 Nov 2009 In the papers, the British chief of staff in Iraq, Colonel J.K.Tanner, described his US military counterparts as "a group of Martians" for whom "dialogue is alien," saying:
"Despite our so-called 'special relationship,' I reckon we were treated no differently to the Portuguese." Col Tanner’s boss, the top British commander in the country, Major General Andrew Stewart, told how he spent "a significant amount of my time" "evading" and "refusing" orders from his US superiors.
When British troops swept into Iraq, they carried with them leaflets bearing an “open letter” in Arabic from Tony Blair. “As soon as Saddam Hussein’s regime falls,” promised the Prime Minister, “the work to build a new, free and united Iraq will begin. A peaceful, prosperous Iraq which will be run by and for the Iraqi people.” BBC: Secret reports published ahead of Iraq inquiry.
An Arab Woman’s Blues: This is an urgent appeal regarding a piece of very serious information I have just received.
A decision has been taken to execute on the Eid Al Kabeer (in 2 weeks time) -- the Muslim feast marking the end of the Hajj pilgrimage the same time that President Saddam Hussein was murdered -- 126 Iraqi women on charges of "terrorism." These Iraqi women all hold higher University degrees and have worked as high cadres in the previous regime. That is their only crime.
Among the 126 women to be executed are: are the ex Head of Nuclear Energy Center (who was detained by the US occupying forces) and the ex minister of Work and Social Affairs.
This information was published on an Iraqi website called Iraqihurr in Arabic and that same piece of information was published in English by Women Solidarity for an Independent and Unified Iraq.
Please circulate this as widely as possible and check the addresses on the Women Solidarity website above -- to send your appeals to.
Blackwater Killer Walks After Obama Justice Dept. Drops Charges - The Justice Dept intends to drop manslaughter and weapons charges against one of the Blackwater Worldwide security guards involved in a deadly 2007 Baghdad shooting, prosecutors said in court documents Friday.
Claims that British soldiers tortured and murdered up to 20 prisoners after a battle with Iraqi insurgents are to be scrutinised at a public inquiry. Concern that the Army covered up the most serious accusation of war crimes that it has faced has prompted Bob Ainsworth, the Defence Secretary, to order the independent inquiry. Evidence indicating torture and mutilation allegedly includes close-range bullet wounds, the removal of eyes and stab wounds, human rights lawyers have claimed.
U.S. defense spending in coming years must rise roughly 6 percent on average from the record sum sought by President Barack Obama this year just to meet current plans, Congress's budget office said Wednesday. An average of $567 billion would be needed annually, in constant 2010 dollars, from 2011 to 2028, not including any war funding, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated.
security company terrorist group formerly called Blackwater Worldwide is facing large government fines for unlicensed arms shipments to Iraq, as a key Congressional committee is asking for a separate investigation into whether the company bribed Iraqi officials. In talks likely to result in millions of dollars in penalties, executives from the company, now known as Xe Services, are negotiating with government regulators over years of violations of export laws.
According to a soldiers' advocacy group at Fort Hood, the U.S. base where an army psychiatrist has been charged with killing 13 people and wounding 30 in a Nov. 5 rampage, the official suicide figures provided by the Army are "definitely" too low. Chuck Luther served 12 years in the military and is a veteran of two deployments to Iraq, where he was a reconnaissance scout in the 1st Cavalry Division. The former sergeant was based at Fort Hood, where he lives today. "I see the ugly," Luther told IPS. "I see soldiers beating their wives and trying to kill themselves all the time, and most folks don't want to look at this, including the military."
Doctors in Iraq's war-ravaged enclave of Falluja are dealing with up to 15 times as many chronic deformities in infants and a spike in early life cancers that may be linked to toxic materials left over from the fighting.
The extraordinary rise in birth defects has crystallised over recent months as specialists working in Falluja's over-stretched health system have started compiling detailed clinical records of all babies born. Neurologists and obstetricians in the city interviewed by the Guardian say the rise in birth defects - which include a baby born with two heads, babies with multiple tumours, and others with nervous system problems - are unprecedented and at present unexplainable. "We are seeing a very significant increase in central nervous system anomalies," said Falluja general hospital's director and senior specialist, Dr Ayman Qais. "Before 2003 [the start of the war] I was seeing sporadic numbers of deformities in babies. Now the frequency of deformities has increased dramatically." Eldib: The Truth Of Iraq’s City Of Deformed Babies. Uruknet: Uranium in Iraq: the Poisonous Legacy of the Iraq Wars Review of Abdul-Haq Al-Ani and Joanne Baker's book.
Britain's Ministry of Defense has launched an investigation into new claims that soldiers sexually abused Iraqi detainees and subjected them to mock executions, hooding, and used dogs to incite fear--interrogation methods that were also used by US soldiers and personally approved by former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The charges come on the heels of Britian's complete withdrawal from Iraq last summer.
Doctors in Iraq's war-ravaged enclave of Falluja are dealing with up to 15 times as many chronic deformities in infants and a spike in early life cancers that may be linked to toxic materials left over from the fighting. The extraordinary rise in birth defects has crystallised over recent months as specialists working in Falluja's over-stretched health system have started compiling detailed clinical records of all babies born.
Peter W. Galbraith, an influential former American ambassador, is a powerful voice on Iraq who helped shape the views of policy makers like Joseph R. Biden Jr. and John Kerry. In the summer of 2005, he was also an adviser to the Kurdish regional government as Iraq wrote its Constitution — tough and sensitive talks not least because of issues like how Iraq would divide its vast oil wealth. Now Mr. Galbraith, 58, son of the renowned economist John Kenneth Galbraith, stands to earn perhaps a hundred million or more dollars as a result of his closeness to the Kurds, his relations with a Norwegian oil company and constitutional provisions he helped the Kurds extract.
This video is mandatory viewing to all supporters of the war(s). Narration used in the video is DAHLIA WASFI. Her website is http://www.liberatethis.com/
Where our top opinion-makers stand on the Afghanistan question.
Top executives at Blackwater Worldwide authorized secret payments of about $1 million to Iraqi officials that were intended to silence their criticism and buy their support after a September 2007 episode in which Blackwater security guards fatally shot 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad, according to former company officials. The Guardian: The Blackwater plot deepens: For all the scandal, the mercenary firm has escaped any severe legal sanction. That could now change.
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