torsdag, september 29, 2005

A Monumental Act Of Terrorism by John Pilger

'It´s like watching a satire'

John Pilger questions the British version of sinister events in Basra, Iraq, on 19 September, and fills in the gaps in news that has become of the war - more evidence, he suggests, of 'a monumental act of terrorism'.


Here are questions that are not being asked about the latest twist of a cynical war. Were explosives and a remote-control detonator found in the car of the two SAS special forces men "rescued" from prison in Basra on 19 September?


If true, what were they planning to do with them? Why did the British military authorities in Iraq put out an unbelievable version of the circumstances that led up to armoured vehicles smashing down the wall of a prison?


According to the head of Basra's Governing Council, which has co-operated with the British, five civilians were killed by British soldiers. A judge says nine. How much is an Iraqi life worth? Is there to be no honest accounting in Britain for this sinister event, or do we simply accept Defence Secretary John Reid's customary arrogance? "Iraqi law is very clear", he said. British personnel are immune from Iraqi legal process." He omitted to say that this fake immunity was invented by Iraqs occupiers.


Watching "embedded" journalists in Iraq and London, attempting to protect the British line was like watching a satire of the whole atrocity in Iraq. First, there was feigned shock that the Iraqi regime's "writ" did not run outside its American fortifications in Baghdad and the "British trained" police in Basra might be "infiltrated".


An outraged Jeremy Paxman wanted to know how two of our boys - in fact, highly suspicious foreigners dressed as Arabs and carrying a small armoury - could possibly be arrested by police in a "democratic" society. "Aren't they supposed to be on our side?" he demanded.


Although reported initially by the Times and the Mail, all mention of the explosives allegedly found in the SAS men's unmarked Cressida vanished from the news. Instead, the story was the danger the men faced if they were handed over to the militia run by the "radical" cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.


"Radical" is a gratuitous embedded term; al-Sadr has actually co-operated with the British. What did he have to say about the "rescue"? Quite a lot, none of which was reported in this country.


His spokesman, Sheikh Hassan al-Zarqani, said the SAS men, disguised as al-Sadr's followers, were planning an attack on Basra ahead of an important religious festival. "When the police tried to stop them," he said, "[they] opened fire on the police and passers-by.


After a car chase, they were arrested. What our police found in the car was very disturbing - weapons, explosives and a remote control detonator. These are the weapons of terrorists."


The episode illuminates the most enduring lie of the Anglo-American adventure. This says the "coalition" is not to blame for the bloodbath in Iraq - which it is, overwhelmingly - and that foreign terrorists orchestrated by al-Qaeda are the real culprits. The conductor of the orchestra, goes this line, is Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian. The demonry of Al-Zarqawi is central to the Pentagon's "Strategic Information Program" set up to shape news coverage of the occupation.


It has been the Americans' single unqualified success. Turn on any news in the US and Britain, and the embedded reporter standing inside an American (or British) fortress will repeat unsubstantiated claims about al-Zarqawi.


Two impressions are the result: that Iraqis' right to resist an illegal invasion - a right enshrined in international law - has been usurped and de-legitimised by callous foreign terrorists, and that a civil war is under way between the Shi'ites and the Sunni.


A member of the Iraqi National Assembly, Fatah al-Sheikh said this week, "There is a huge campaign for the agents of the foreign occupiers to enter and plant hatred between the sons of the Iraqi people and spread rumours in order to scare the one from the other... The occupiers are trying to start religious incitement and if it does not happen, then they will start an internal Shi'ite incitement."


The Anglo-American goal of "federalism" for Iraq is part of an imperial strategy of provoking divisions in a country where traditionally the communities have overlapped, even inter-married. The Osama-like promotion of al-Zarqawi is integral to this.


Like the Scarlet Pimpernel, he is everywhere but nowhere. When the Americans crushed the city of Fallujah last year, the justification for their atrocious behaviour was "getting those guys loyal to al-Zarqawi". But the city's civil and religious authorities denied he was ever there or had anything to do with the resistance.


"He is simply an invention." said the Imam of Baghdad's al-Kazimeya mosque. "Al-Zarqawi was killed in the beginning of the war in the Kurdish north. His family even held a ceremony after his death." Whether or not this is true, al-Zaqawi's "foreign invasion" serves as Bush's and Blair's last veil for their "war on terror" and botched attempt to control the world's second biggest source of oil.


On 23 September, the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, an establishment body, published a report that accused the US of "feeding the myth" of foreign fighters in Iraqi who account for less than 10 per cent of a resistance estimated at 30,000.


Of the eight comprehensive studies into the number of Iraqi civilians killed by the "coalition", four put the figure at more than 100,000. Until the British army is withdrawn from where it has no right to be, and those responsible for this monumental act of terrorism are indicted by the International Criminal Court, Britain is shamed.

www.johnpilger.com

måndag, september 26, 2005

Blame the ockupiers or blame Iran?

When "they" die, it is "collateral damage"
When "we" die, it is "barbaric terrorism" (Fisk)


Juan Cole,
har hunnit ändra sig sen sist och stöder nu kravet på att ockupationsmakterna omedelbart skall dra sig ur Irak.


"Things in the Sunni Arab areas are getting worse, not better"


Let's get them out, now, before they destroy any more cities, create any more hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons, provoke any more ethnic hatreds by installing Shiite police in Fallujah or Kurdish troops in Turkmen Tal Afar. They are sowing a vast whirlwind, a desert sandstorm of Martian proportions, which future generations of Americans and Iraqis will reap.


The ground troops must come out. Now. For the good of Iraq. For the good of America.


Men när det gäller den brittiska Basraincidenten ser Juan Cole och Robert Fisk det på helt olika sätt.


Cole har fått "information" att ett stort iranskt vapenföretag bedriver smuggling över gränsen till Irak och det var sådana vapen de tillfångatagna brittiska SASagenterna hade i sin bil.


Fisk säger att detta är det gamla vanliga, att alltid skylla på andra krafter, ett mönster han känner igen sedan kriget på Nordirland där IRA beskylldes för det mesta av våldsdåden , alltmedan brittiska specialagenter även där hade ett fingrar med i byken



"BLAME IRAN"
Robert Fisk
sept 24 the Independant

.............
But the photographs of British soldiers, cowled in fire, hurling themselves from the top of their Warrior fighting vehicle in Basra this week, were the final iconic images of our uniquely British folly in Iraq. Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara’s henchmen have concocted another monstrous lie about all this, of course.


The Iraqi policemen who protested at Britain’s destruction of their prison - and the crowds who set fire to the Warrior (and its crew) — were only a few hundred people. Who were we to suggest they represented the millions of Shia Muslim voters who solemnly went to the polls last January?


Ho, ho, ho. Yes, and who were we to suggest that the "few hundred" Saddam "remnants" identified as troublemakers in mid-2003 represented a Sunni insurgency? And who were we, back in 1971, to suggest that a few hundred stone-throwers in the Falls Road and Short Strand in Belfast represented "the vast majority of ordinary peace-loving Catholics" in Northern Ireland?


I speculated some weeks ago as to when the bubble will burst. With the insurgent capture (and massacre) of a US base in Iraq? With the overrunning of the Green Zone in Baghdad? Every day now brings Vietnam-style evidence of our collapse. The Americans batter their way into Tal Afar and kill, so they say, "142 insurgents". Get that? US forces manage to kill 142 of their enemies, not a single innocent man, woman or child among them!


But let’s go back to the Brits. Remember how we were told that our immense experience of "peace-keeping" in Northern Ireland ........Indeed, much of the war in Northern Ireland appeared to revolve around the use of covert killings and SAS undercover operatives who blew away IRA men in ambushes.


Which does raise the question, doesn’t it, as to just what our two SAS lads were doing cruising around Basra in Arab dress with itsy-bitsy moustaches and guns? Why did no one ask? How many SAS men are in southern Iraq? Why are they there? What are their duties? What weapons do they carry? Whoops! No one asked.


What we were actually doing to "keep the peace" in Basra was to turn a Nelsonian "blind eye" on the abuse, murder and anarchy of Basra since 2003 (including, it turns out, quite a bit of abuse by our very own squaddies). When Christian alcohol sellers were murdered, we remained silent. When ex-Baathists were slaughtered in the streets - including women and their children, a civil war if ever there was one - our British officers somehow forgot to tell the press. Anything to keep our boys out of harm’s way.


But this is what has been happening in Basra. As the locally recruited police force (paid by the occupation authorities) sucked into its ranks the riff-raff of every local militia - as it did in Sunni areas to the north - we ignored this. Even when an American reporter investigating this extraordinary phenomenon was murdered - almost certainly by these same policemen - the British remained silent.

.........
"Outside powers" are interfering in southern Iraq. Thirty-five years ago, it was the Irish Republic that was assisting Britain’s IRA enemies. Now it is Iran that is supposedly urging the Shia of Basra to revolt. In other words, it’s not our fault - yet again, it’s the bloody foreigners what’s to blame.


Alas, it is not. Iraqis do not need Iranian weapons or military expertise. Their country is afloat with weapons and they learned how to make bombs - in their millions - during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. Half the Iraqi cabinet are linked to Iran - have the British forgotten that their honourable Dawa party government officials in Baghdad worked for the very same Dawa party that blew up the US and French embassies in Kuwait, and tried to kill the emir in the late 1980s? That these same gentlemen belong to a party which was effectively controlling the western hostages in Beirut during this same period?


No. All this is forgotten. Blame Iran. Later, no doubt, we’ll blame those ungrateful Iraqis and then we’ll declare victory and do what Defence Secretary John Reid claims we won’t do: cut and run. And there again, we’re in danger of forgetting the origin of such things. Faced with the imminent destruction of his vessel, a sailing ship captain would cut his anchor or sail ropes to allow his ship to move away from rocks or from being overwhelmed by the waves.


Cutting and running was often an eminently sensible thing to do. But not for John Reid. We’re not going to cut and run. We’re going to be blown on to the rocks.



ONE BILLION DOLLARS PLUNDERED from Iraq's Defence Ministry
By Patrick Cockburn in Baghdad


09/19/05 "The Independent" -- -- One billion dollars has been plundered from Iraq's defence ministry in one of the largest thefts in history, The Independent can reveal, leaving the country's army to fight a savage insurgency with museum-piece weapons.


The money, intended to train and equip an Iraqi army capable of bringing security to a country shattered by the US-led invasion and prolonged rebellion, was instead siphoned abroad in cash and has disappeared.


"It is possibly one of the largest thefts in history," Ali Allawi, Iraq's Finance Minister, told The Independent.


"Huge amounts of money have disappeared. In return we got nothing but scraps of metal."


The carefully planned theft has so weakened the army that it cannot hold Baghdad against insurgent attack without American military support, Iraqi officials say, making it difficult for the US to withdraw its 135,000- strong army from Iraq, as Washington says it wishes to do.


Most of the money was supposedly spent buying arms from Poland and Pakistan. The contracts were peculiar in four ways. According to Mr Allawi, they were awarded without bidding, and were signed with a Baghdad-based company, and not directly with the foreign supplier. The money was paid up front, and, surprisingly for Iraq, it was paid at great speed out of the ministry's account with the Central Bank.


Military equipment purchased in Poland included 28-year-old Soviet-made helicopters. The manufacturers said they should have been scrapped after 25 years of service. Armoured cars purchased by Iraq turned out to be so poorly made that even a bullet from an elderly AK-47 machine-gun could penetrate their armour.


A shipment of the latest MP5 American machine-guns, at a cost of $3,500 (£1,900) each, consisted in reality of Egyptian copies worth only $200 a gun. Other armoured cars leaked so much oil that they had to be abandoned. A deal was struck to buy 7.62mm machine-gun bullets for 16 cents each, although they should have cost between 4 and 6 cents.


Many Iraqi soldiers and police have died because they were not properly equipped. In Baghdad they often ride in civilian pick-up trucks vulnerable to gunfire, rocket- propelled grenades or roadside bombs. For months even men defusing bombs had no protection against blast because they worked without bullet-proof vests. These were often promised but never turned up.


The Iraqi Board of Supreme Audit says in a report to the Iraqi government that US-appointed Iraqi officials in the defence ministry allegedly presided over these dubious transactions.


Senior Iraqi officials now say they cannot understand how, if this is so, the disappearance of almost all the military procurement budget could have passed unnoticed by the US military in Baghdad and civilian advisers working in the defence ministry.


Government officials in Baghdad even suggest that the skill with which the robbery was organised suggests that the Iraqis involved were only front men, and "rogue elements" within the US military or intelligence services may have played a decisive role behind the scenes.


Given that building up an Iraqi army to replace American and British troops is a priority for Washington and London, the failure to notice that so much money was being siphoned off at the very least argues a high degree of negligence on the part of US officials and officers in Baghdad.The report of the Board of Supreme Audit on the defence ministry contracts was presented to the office of Ibrahim al-Jaafari, the Prime Minister, in May. But the extent of the losses has become apparent only gradually.


The sum missing was first reported as $300m and then $500m, but in fact it is at least twice as large. "If you compare the amount that was allegedly stolen of about $1bn compared with the budget of the ministry of defence, it is nearly 100 per cent of the ministry's [procurement] budget that has gone Awol," said Mr Allawi.


The money missing from all ministries under the interim Iraqi government appointed by the US in June 2004 may turn out to be close to $2bn. Of a military procurement budget of $1.3bn, some $200m may have been spent on usable equipment, though this is a charitable view, say officials. As a result the Iraqi army has had to rely on cast-offs from the US military, and even these have been slow in coming.


Mr Allawi says a further $500m to $600m has allegedly disappeared from the electricity, transport, interior and other ministries. This helps to explain why the supply of electricity in Baghdad has been so poor since the fall of Saddam Hussein 29 months ago despite claims by the US and subsequent Iraqi governments that they are doing everything to improve power generation.


The sum missing over an eight-month period in 2004 and 2005 is the equivalent of the $1.8bn that Saddam allegedly received in kick- backs under the UN's oil-for-food programme between 1997 and 2003. The UN was pilloried for not stopping this corruption. The US military is likely to be criticised over the latest scandal because it was far better placed than the UN to monitor corruption.


The fraud took place between 28 June 2004 and 28 February this year under the government of Iyad Allawi, who was interim prime minister. His ministers were appointed by the US envoy Robert Blackwell and his UN counterpart, Lakhdar Brahimi.


Among those whom the US promoted was a man who was previously a small businessman in London before the war, called Hazem Shaalan, who became Defence Minister.


Mr Shalaan says that Paul Bremer, then US viceroy in Iraq, signed off the appointment of Ziyad Cattan as the defence ministry's procurement chief. Mr Cattan, of joint Polish-Iraqi nationality, spent 27 years in Europe, returning to Iraq two days before the war in 2003. He was hired by the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority and became a district councillor before moving to the defence ministry.


For eight months the ministry spent money without restraint. Contracts worth more than $5m should have been reviewed by a cabinet committee, but Mr Shalaan asked for and received from the cabinet an exemption for the defence ministry. Missions abroad to acquire arms were generally led by Mr Cattan. Contracts for large sums were short scribbles on a single piece of paper. Auditors have had difficulty working out with whom Iraq has a contract in Pakistan.


Authorities in Baghdad have issued an arrest warrant for Mr Cattan. Neither he nor Mr Shalaan, both believed to be in Jordan, could be reached for further comment. Mr Bremer says he has never heard of Mr Cattan.

söndag, september 25, 2005

KOALITIONEN FÖR FRED I MELLANÖSTERN plattform

Koalitionen för fred i Mellanöstern - nätverket för fredaktiva människor i Gbg bildat före Irakkriget med plattformen



USA ut ur Irak - Inget svenskt stöd till USAs krig

Erkänn irakiernas rätt till självbestämmande

Erkänn irakiernas rätt till motstånd



Vi organiserar apellmöten lördagar kl 13 -14 vid Kopparmärra i Göteborg, där vi också delar flygblad och har annat material.


Vi ordnar seminarier, utställningar, filmvisningar, demonstrationer etc i samarbete med andra individer i nätverk eller föreningar som t.ex Studenter mot krig, FREDSAM, ISM, Kulturarbetare mot krig etc


"Irak olja och klimat - Om vägar till en hållbar framtid"

Seminarium den 10 nov kl 18.30 i Hörsal "Dragonen", Sprängkullsg. 19

med Per Gahrton- ordförande dels i den gröna ideverkstaden Cogito och dels i Palestinagrupperna, Eva Selin- professor i fysik, freds-och miljövän och numera verksam vid Borås Högskola samt Thomas Sterner- professor i Miljöekonomi vid Handelshögskolan i Göteborg

arr FREDSAM och Utrikespolitiska Föreningen vid Göteborgs Universitet


kontakt via
fredskoalitionen@gmail.com
http://fredskoalitionen.blogspot.com


Vi har regelbundna medlemsmöten var tredje vecka med början den 20 oktober kl 18.00 i Palestinalokalen 1:a våningen Viktoriahuset, Linnégatan 21 vid Hagabion, Portkod C0004.


Chefen för Bagdads museum, Donny George, kommer till Göteborg i början av nästa år

--------------------------------------------------------------
Fallujaintervjuer från 6 maj - Samlade intervjuer med människor i den terrorbombade staden Falluja finner ni på http://ingrid-ternert.blogspot.com
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Nya terrorbombningar i Irak! An urgent humanitarian crisis is unfolding in occupied Iraq. The Doctors for Iraq Society is calling on you to act NOW.

For more information contact contact dr Salam Obaidi Doctors for Iraq Society at info@doctorsforiraq.org

For media enquiries contact
salam.obaidi@doctorsforiraq.org

UK Phone : 0044 (0) 2085209489
UK Mobile : 0044 (0) 7891022381
Baghdad phone No. : 00964 1 4437512
Baghdad Mobile : 00964 7901 963 257
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IrakSolidaritets i Stockholm Fallujainsamling går oavkortad till Studiecentret för mänskliga rättigheter och demokrati i Falluja.

Studiecentret företräder många fackliga, religiösa och andra organisationer inför FN:s Kommission för mänskliga rättigheter och kanaliserar hjälp till den hårt drabbade Fallujabefolkningen bl.a till sjukvården.

Säd bidrag till pg: 11673-1 www.iraksolidaritet.se info@iraksolidaritet.se
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För er som vill se andra webbsidor mot krig
http://www.studentermotkrig.org (Studenter mot krigs hemsida)
http://www.motkrig.org/ (en mer allmän hemsida mot krig)
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Vi inom Fredskoalitionen ser Irakkriget som en helt olaglig ockupation med dess brutala mord på långt över 100 000 civila och i övrigt ett oerhört lidande för en sedan decennier hårt prövad irakisk befolkning.


Kriget är ett steg på vägen för vissa neokonservativa individer att med president Bush i spetsen genomföra PNAC, Project for a New American Century, som presenterades redan år 2000 från den tankesmedja där han då ingick.


Efter det att Bush blivit president finns numera medlemmar därifrån i hans närhet, som t.ex Rumsfield, Cheney, Rice, Perle, Wolfowitz vilka idag håller på att genomföra detta för människans framtid livsfarliga projekt.


För Iraks del har det gällt för ockupationsmakten USA att härska genom att söndra, dvs genom att via egna "puppets" få till stånd en delning av landet. För att därefter ostört kunna bevaka området genom att sätta sig fast i sina fjorton militärbaser och fyra stora flygbaser.


Detta är tydligt i det från början amerikanska underlaget till den irakiska konstitutionen som nu diskuteras inför det irakiska valet till konstitutionen den 15 okt. Ett förslag som fullständigt bildar underlag för en delning av Irak och en ojämn fördelning av dess naturresurser (läs oljan). Och därmed också underlag för inbördeskrig och inblandning från USAs och Irans sida i Iraks inre angelägenheter.



P N A C
Carterdoktrinen jan 1980


Defence Planning Guidance 1992 (hemlig version läckt till bl a NYT mars-maj 1992)

Mål 1: "hindra uppkomsten av…varje fientlig makt från att dominera en region vars resurser, sammantagna och under enhetlig kontroll, skulle vara tillräckliga för att skapa världsherravälde." Tänkbara konkurrenter skall "avskräckas … från att utmana vårt ledarskap eller från att försöka ändra den etablerade politiska och ekonomiska ordningen". "Känslan av att världsordningen garanteras av USA" snarare än av FN kommer att vara avgörande.


Thomas Friedman, NYT, mars 1999

"Marknadens osynliga hand, kommer aldrig att fungera utan en dold knytnäve -McDonald´s kan inte blomstra utan en McDonnell Douglas, tillverkaren av F-15. Och den dolda knytnäven som gör världen trygg för Silicon Valleys teknologiföretag heter USA:s arme, flygvapen, flotta och marinkår."


Rebuilding America´s Defences (PNAC september 2000)

A. Pax Americana
Fyra avgörande uppdrag:
Homeland Defence
Kunna föra stora krig
Internationell polis
Förnya USA:s krigsmakt
Ställa FN åt sidan
Bevara USA:s dominans

B. Säkra den globala hegemonin
Viktiga områden:
Irak och Persiska viken
Ondskans axelmakter
Hålla tillbaka Kina - allianserna Sydkorea/Japan
Europa - hindra eget försvar, Nato
Störta fientliga regimer

C. Rekonstruera den amerikanska militären
Bevara kärnvapenöverlägsenhet
Behålla personalstyrkan
Omgruppera baserna
Tekniskt modernisera delar av krigsmakten
Slopa onödiga och dyra projekt
Öka försvarsbudgeten

D. Framtida krig och Pax Americana
Ett globalt missilförsvarssystem
Utveckla en ny sorts kärnvapen
Flygvapnet - "global förstaslagsstyrka"
Kontrollera de nya internationella "allmänningarna",
rymden och cyberrymden


The National Security Strategy of the United States (2002)

1 Sammanfattning av Amerikas internationella strategi

2 Strävan efter att bli en förkämpe för mänsklig värdighet

3 Stärka allianser för att besegra global terrorism och förebygga attacker mot oss och våra vänner

4 Samarbete med andra för att förhindra regionala konflikter

5 Hindra våra fiender från att hota oss, våra allierade och våra vänner med massförstörelsevapen

6 Inleda en nya era av global ekonomisk tillväxt genom fria marknader och fri handel

7 Utvidga tillväxtkretsen genom att öppna samhällen och bygga en demokratisk infrastruktur

8 Utveckla handlingsplaner för gemensam handling med andra större centra för global makt

9 Förändra Amerikas nationella säkerhetsorgan så att de kan möta det tjugoförsta århundradets utmaningar och möjligheter.




The Project for the New American Century PNAC
By William Rivers Pitt: 02/25/03


..........
When Bush assumed the Presidency, the men who created and nurtured the imperial dreams of PNAC became the men who run the Pentagon, the Defense Department and the White House. When the Towers came down, these men saw, at long last, their chance to turn their White Papers into substantive policy.


Vice President Dick Cheney is a founding member of PNAC, along with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Defense Policy Board chairman Richard Perle.Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz is the ideological father of thegroup. Bruce Jackson, a PNAC director, served as a Pentagon official forRonald Reagan before leaving government service to take a leading position with the weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin.


PNAC is staffed by men who previously served with groups like Friends of the Democratic Center in Central America, which supported America's bloody gamesmanship in Nicaragua and El Salvador, and with groups like The Committee for the Present Danger, which spent years advocating that a nuclear war with the Soviet Union was "winnable."



PNAC has recently given birth to a new group, The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, which met with National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice in order to formulate a plan to "educate" the American populace about the need for war in Iraq. CLI has funneled millions of taxpayer dollars to support the Iraqi National Congress and the Iraqi heir presumptive, Ahmed Chlabi.


Chalabi was sentenced in absentia by a Jordanian court in 1992 to22 years in prison for bank fraud after the collapse of Petra Bank, which he founded in 1977. Chalabi has not set foot in Iraq since 1956, but his Enron-like business credentials apparently make him a good match for the Bush administration's plans.


PNAC's "Rebuilding America's Defenses" report is the institutionalization of plans and ideologies that have been formulated for decades by the men currently running American government. The PNAC Statement of Principles issigned by Cheney, Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld, as well as by Eliot Abrams, Jeb Bush, Bush's special envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad, and many others.


William Kristol, famed conservative writer for the Weekly Standard, is also a co-founder of the group. The Weekly Standard is owned by Ruppert Murdoch, who also owns international media giant Fox News.


The desire for these freshly empowered PNAC men to extend American hegemony by force of arms across the globe has been there since day one of the Bush administration, and is in no small part a central reason for the Florida electoral battle in 2000. Note that while many have said that Gore and Bush are ideologically identical,


Mr. Gore had no ties whatsoever to the fellows at PNAC. George W. Bush had to win that election by any means necessary, and PNAC signatory Jeb Bush was in the perfect position to ensure the rise to prominence of his fellow imperialists. Desire for such action, however, is by no means translatable into workable policy. Americans enjoy their comforts, but don't cotton to the idea of being some sort of Neo-Rome.


On September 11th, the fellows from PNAC saw a door of opportunity open wide before them, and stormed right through it.


Bush released on September 20th 2001 the "National Security Strategy of the United States of America." It is an ideological match to PNAC's "Rebuilding America's Defenses" report issued a year earlier. In many places, it uses exactly the same language to describe America's new place in the world.


Recall that PNAC demanded an increase in defense spending to at least 3.8% of GDP. Bush's proposed budget for next year asks for $379 billion in defense spending, almost exactly 3.8% of GDP.


In August of 2002, Defense Policy Board chairman and PNAC member Richard Perle heard a policy briefing from a think tank associated with the Rand Corporation. According to the Washington Post and The Nation, the final slide of this presentation described "Iraq as the tactical pivot, Saudi Arabia as the strategic pivot, and Egypt as the prize" in a war that would purportedly be about ridding the world of Saddam Hussein's weapons.


Bush has deployed massive forces into the Mideast region, while simultaneously engaging American forces in the Philippines and playing nuclear chicken with North Korea. Somewhere in all this lurks at least one of the "major theater wars" desired by the September 2000 PNAC report.


Iraq is but the beginning, a pretense for a wider conflict. Donald Kagan, a central member of PNAC, sees America establishing permanent military bases in Iraq after the war. This is purportedly a measure to defend the peace in the Middle East, and to make sure the oil flows.


The nations in that region, however, will see this for what it is: a jump-off point for American forces to invade any nation in that region they choose to. The American people, anxiously awaiting some sort of exit plan after America defeats Iraq, will see too late that no exit is planned.


All of the horses are traveling together at speed here. The defense contractors who sup on American tax revenue will be handsomely paid for arming this new American empire. The corporations that own the news media will sell this eternal war at a profit, as viewership goes through the stratosphere when there is combat to be shown.


Those within the administration who believe that the defense of Israel is contingent upon laying waste to every possible aggressor in the region will have their dreams fulfilled. The PNAC men who wish for a global Pax Americana at gunpoint will see their plans unfold.


Through it all, the bankrollers from the WTO and the IMF will be able to dictate financial terms to the entire planet. This last aspect of the plan is pivotal, and is best described in the newly revised version of Greg Palast's masterpiece,
"The Best Democracy Money Can Buy."


There will be adverse side effects. The siege mentality average Americans are suffering as they smother behind yards of plastic sheeting and duct tape will increase by orders of magnitude as our aggressions bring forth new terrorist attacks against the homeland.


These attacks will require the implementation of the newly drafted Patriot Act II, an augmentation of the previous Act that has profoundly sharper teeth. The sun will set on the Constitution and Bill of Rights.


The American economy will be ravaged by the need for increased defense spending, and by the aforementioned "constabulary" duties in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.Former allies will turn on us. Germany, France and the other nations resisting this Iraq war are fully aware of this gameplan


They are not acting out of cowardice or because they love Saddam Hussein, but because they mean to resist this rising American empire, lest they face economic and military serfdom at the hands of George W. Bush. Richard Perle has already stated that France is no longer an American ally.


As the eagle spreads its wings, our rhetoric and their resistance will become more agitated and dangerous.


Many people, of course, will die. They will die from war and from want, from famine and disease. At home, the social fabric will be torn in ways that make the Reagan nightmares of crack addiction, homelessness and AIDS seem tame by comparison.


This is the price to be paid for empire, and the men of PNAC who now control the fate and future of America are more than willing to pay it. For them, the benefits far outweigh the liabilities.


The plan was running smoothly until those two icebergs collided. Millions and millions of ordinary people are making it very difficult for Bush's international allies to keep to the script. PNAC may have designs for the control of the "International Commons" of the Internet, but for now it is the staging ground for a movement that would see empire take a back seat


to a wise peace, human rights, equal protection under the law, and the preponderance of a justice that will, if properly applied, do away forever with the anger and hatred that gives birth to terrorism in the first place. Tommaso Palladini of Milan perhaps said it best as he marched with his countrymen in Rome. "You fight terrorism, he said, by creating more justice in the world."


The People versus the Powerful is the oldest story in human history. At no point in history have the Powerful wielded so much control. At no point in history has the active and informed involvement of the People, all of them, been more absolutely required.


The tide can be stopped, and the men who desire empire by the sword can be thwarted. It has already begun, but it must not cease. These are men of will, and they do not intend to fail.



Learning from History


Over the past 80 plus years, the U.S. and Britain have repeatedly intervened in Iraq and the Middle East. The record shows that their actions have never been motivated by concerns for the masses and for self-determination and liberation; they have been driven by the ruthless calculations of global imperialism and ensuring U.S domination of the region and its vast energy resources.


In this quest, the U.S. has launched covert and overt wars, backed regional tyrannies and supported Israel’s forcible dispossession of the Palestinians and aggression against neighboring states—inflicting enormous suffering and perpetuating brutal oppression in the process.



The Creation of Iraq


Britain created Iraq after World War 1, chose its government and shaped its future, not in accord with its promises of self-determination or Iraqi wishes, but to help insure British control of the Middle East for its strategic location and its vast oil reserves.


The British realized petroleum was becoming the lifeblood of modern empire—a key economic input impacting production costs, profits, and competitive advantage; an instrument of rivalry whose control ensured leverage over other powers and the world economy; and a resource essential for projecting military power globally.


Britain combined three demographically distinct administrative units of the Ottoman Empire to form the new Iraqi state: Basra in the Shia south, Baghdad in the Sunni center, and Mosul in the Kurdish and Turkomen north.


Iraq’s Kurds had been promised independence after World War 1. Instead, the British brutally suppressed the Kurds and incorporated them into Iraq because without the oilfields of Mosul and Kirkuk, the new state would not be economically viable.


A pro-British monarch was installed and a comprador-feudal elite cultivated from among the Sunni elites, exacerbating ethnic and religious tensions. One percent of the landowners owned 55% of the land, and the country’s petroleum wealth was signed away to British and American corporations for a song.


Iraq’s borders were drawn to prevent it from becoming a Gulf power—the small state of Kuwait was given 310 miles of Gulf coastline while the larger state of Iraq was given 36 miles—sowing the seeds of conflict and war for decades to come.


The Iraqi people, however, never welcomed foreign conquerors—with flowers or sweets! In June 1920, over 100,000 Shi’as, Arab nationalists and tribal leaders rose up against the British. The so-called standard bearers of the West retaliated with a rampage—destroying, sometimes burning, whole villages and executing suspected rebels on the spot.


British forces bombarded Shi’a rebels with poison-gas-filled artillery shells, and over the years Britain developed a number of anti-personnel weapons for use in Iraq, including phosphorus bombs, war rockets, metal crowsfeet (to maim livestock), man-killing shrapnel, liquid fire, and delay-action bombs.



1958 to 1979: CIA Intrigues and Betrayal of Kurds


In 1958 the Iraqis finally overthrew the hated monarchy. The self-proclaimed champions of freedom in Washington and London responded with military deployments— including nuclear weapons—threats of war, and covert operations which would ultimately bring Saddam Hussein to power.


In 1963, the CIA provided the Ba’ath Party with lists of suspected communists, left-leaning intellectuals, progressives, and radical nationalists—thousands of whom were promptly massacred in a Ba’ath-led military coup.


On Ba’ath cadre later admitted, “We came to power on an American train.”


In 1972 Iraq signed a 15-year friendship treaty with the Soviet Union and completed the nationalization of its oil industry. Did Washington accept Iraq’s right to exert control of its resources and future?


No. The U.S and its regional henchman, the Shah of Iran, immediately turned to Iraq’s Kurds and encouraged them to rise against Baghdad, providing millions of dollars in weapons, logistical support, and funds.


The CIA saw the Kurds not as friends but as “a card to play” against Iraq and “a uniquely useful tool for weakening [Iraq’s] potential for international adventurism.”


In 1975, when U.S. and Iranian goals were met and Iraq was forced to sign the Treaty of Algiers, the Kurds were promptly abandoned, and then quickly decimated by Iraq’s military which had been forewarned of the betrayal.


Between 150,000 and 300,000 Kurds were forced to flee into Iran. “Covert action,” Henry Kissinger infamously remarked, “should not be confused with missionary work.”



The 1980s: Fueling the Iran-Iraq War


During the buildup to the 2003 invasion, George W. Bush condemned Saddam Hussein for his actions in the 1980s—invading Iran, accumulating weapons of mass destruction, and using them against Iranian troops and Iraqi Kurds.


What Bush did not say, however, was that these crimes took place when Hussein’s government was closer to Washington than ever before—and that the U.S. directly facilitated every one of these crimes.


In effort to counter the 1979 Iranian revolution that overthrew the Shah and head off Soviet geopolitical moves (including Soviet efforts to turn Iraq into a regional ally), Washington fueled the Iran-Iraq War—by first supporting Iraq, then Iran, and then Iraq again, all the while making sure neither side won decisive victory.


The U.S. moves turned the war into one of the longest and bloodiest conventional wars of the 20th century. “Doling out tactical data to both sides put the agency [CIA] in the position of engineering a stalemate,” Bob Woodward wrote. “This was no mere abstraction.


The war was a bloody one...almost a million had been killed, wounded or captured on both sides. This was not a game in an operations center. It was slaughter.”


After the Iraqi military’s 1987-1988 Anfal offensive against the Kurds, including the use of chemical weapons, the U.S. didn’t punish the Hussein regime. On the contrary, Washington rewarded Hussein with increases in aid and trade in hopes Iraq could become a loyal ally in the region.



The 1990s: A Decade of War Crimes


After the end of the war with Iran, Saddam Hussein demanded that the other U.S-backed regimes in the region, in particular Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, help with the huge debt that Iraq had incurred and raise oil prices to increase Iraq’s oil revenues.


When the demands were met with hostile refusal, Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. (Just before the invasion, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq had signalled to Hussein that such a move would be acceptable.)


The invasion abruptly turned Baghdad from a U.S. ally to an enemy. However, U.S. aims in the 1991 Gulf War were never limited to expelling Iraq from Kuwait, much less preventing aggression; instead, coming at a time when the Soviet Union was spiraling into collapse, the war was an effort to radically deepen U.S. regional hegemony and usher in a “new world order” of unfettered U.S. dominance.


These objectives demanded crushing Iraq as a regional power and forcefully demonstrating U.S. military might to the world. George H.W. Bush publicly talked about going the last mile for peace while secretly telling his war cabinet, “We have to have a war.”


The U.S. rejected at least 11 different peace proposals. Bush I was literally “jubilant” when negotiations collapsed and enraged when it seemed they might succeed. He and his advisors viewed the UN as providing “a cloak of acceptability” to their war aims, as National Security Adviser Scowcroft put it.


These objectives dictated an extremely brutal military strategy—against both Iraq’s military and its civilian infrastructure. The Defense Department estimated the dead at 100,000 Iraqi soldiers killed and 300,000 wounded.


Many more Iraqis would eventually die as a result of the deliberate destruction of Iraq’s power grid and water systems.


Article 54 of the Geneva Convention prohibits attacks on essential civilian facilities, including “drinking water supplies and irrigation works.” In other words, the U.S. bombing campaign was a war crime.


U.S. aims also dictated that the war continue after Iraq withdrew from Kuwait and combat formally ended. The main weapon was sanctions, which was justified in the name of disarming Iraq, but whose aims actually went far beyond disarmament.


Sanctions were designed to cripple Iraq by preventing it from rebuilding its industry, economy and military; block rival powers from making inroads in Iraq; and make life so miserable that rising mass discontent would compel elements in the Iraqi military to overthrow Hussein.


This is why sanctions were never lifted even after Iraq had in fact disarmed ñ which is the simple reason why no weapons of mass destruction were found following the 2003 U.S. invasion.


As Iraqi doctors pointed out to me, destroying water and sanitation systems and then preventing them from being rebuilt—thus subjecting a country to water-borne disease —is a form of biological warfare.


No one knows exactly how many Iraqis were murdered by U.S. sanctions. Estimates range from 500,000 to 1.7 million between 1990 and 2003. In 1998 UNICEF estimated that some 5,000 Iraqi children under five were dying each month thanks to U.S. actions. That the equivalent of a World Trade Center catastrophe—and more—every 30 days.



The New Millennium: Invasion, Conquest, Occupation


As brutal as this history has been, the 2003 war represents a quantum leap in U.S. aggression. Today’s war is being fought in the context of a new overarching global strategy: to secure U.S.’s position as the world’s only superpower for decades to come.


By forcefully suppressing any possible rivals; by crushing masses who resist, by restructuring global political, economic and military relations; and by imposing capitalist globalization.


This unbounded campaign for greater empire is being carried out under the rubric of the “war on terror.” Iraq was not a “diversion” from this “war”. The invasion of Iraq shows what the U.S “war on terror” is really all about. U.S strategists saw conquering Iraq as a key step in unfolding their broader global agenda:


“shocking and awing” the world, strengthening the U.S grip on the Middle East, turning Iraqi into a military and political platform for further aggression, and gaining tighter control of international energy supplies.


What the Bush regime calls “liberation” in Iraq is nothing but 21st-century neo-colonialism, with the U.S. trying to cobble together a new, reactionary pro-U.S ruling class— at the moment comprised of Shi’ite theocrats and Kurdish warlords.