Wednesday, August 05, 2009

11 kidnapped, 9 dead and twelves injured in Iraq

Having to peddle "government lies" about the safety of soldiers in Iraq led to a Ministry of Defence press officer suffering post-traumatic stress disorder, an employment tribunal will hear.
John Salisbury-Baker will claim that he suffered "intolerable stress" through having to "defend the morally indefensible" when responding to media inquiries about the ability of army vehicles such as the "Snatch" Land Rover to protect soldiers.
Mr Salisbury-Baker, 62, says he found it impossible to support the official line on deaths and injuries after seeing the suffering of soldiers' families. After 11 years of service at Imphal Barracks near York, he could no longer keep working and is taking legal action against the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The above is from Kim Sengupta's "Lying about Iraq made me quit, press officer claims" (Independent of London) and the comments are in te news cycle with most outlets covering them. Mark Branagan (Yorkshire Post) notes:

His partner, Christine Brooke, said: "John is an honest, sensitive and moral person and having to peddle Government lies that soldiers in vehicles such as the Snatch Land Rovers were safe from roadside bombs has made him stressed.
"He was particularly plagued by the thought some of the bereaved families he was visiting might have previously believed their loved ones were safe because of what he himself had said to the media.
"He felt responsible. He felt he was having to defendthe morally indefensible. The vehicles clearly did not give adequate protection from bombs."

And Russell Jenkins (Times of London) adds, "In addition, he will claim that his condition was made more acute by having to visit a number of bereaved families of young soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan." Esther Addley (Guardian), Paul Sims and Tim Shipman (Daily Mail), and Tom Newton Dunn (Sun) are among the others covering the story.

Great Britain's Socialist Worker has nothing it but they do offer Stop the War Coalition's Jim Brann's "Iraq inquiry aims to let warmongers off the hook:"

In mid-June Gordon Brown announced that there would be a “non-judgmental”, behind-closed-doors inquiry into the Iraq war, conducted by hand-picked insiders.

On Thursday 30 July, responding to widespread criticism, the latest version of the inquiry was announced.

The chairman, Sir John Chilcot, a former top civil servant and staff counsellor for the security and intelligence agencies, said that “as much as poss­ible” of the evidence would now be heard in pub­lic.

He implied that would include Tony Blair’s evid­ence.

Chilcot said the inquiry will begin taking evidence this autumn. Its final report may not come out until 2011.

Chilcot said, “The independence of the members of this inquiry, I think, can’t reasonably be challeng­ed”.

But its members are the same insiders announced by Brown in June. Chilcot said that it would not be “helpful” to discuss questions like whether any of them had opposed the Iraq war.

Chilcot himself was a member of the Butler inquiry, which cleared Blair of dishonestly using intellig­ence in the run-up to the Iraq war.

Other members of the inquiry include historian Sir Law­rence Freedman, who helped Blair develop the doctrine of “liberal interventionism” that he used to justify the war.

Historian Sir Martin Gilbert, who wrote an article in 2004 saying Blair and George Bush could one day be compared to Churchill and Roosevelt, is also a member of the inquiry.

The events covered by the inquiry will go back only to the summer of 2001.

Yet US governments have aimed to overthrow the Iraqi government since 1998.

Chilcot has limited the scope of the inquiry to dealing with “mistakes” and “shortcomings” on the road to war and its aftermath.

The inquiry will have no legal powers. No evid­ence will be taken on oath and no perjury charges can be brought.

The inquiry will not even employ its own barrister to cross-examine witnesses.

But there will still be some private hearings, “to ensure candour and openness from witnesses”.

The cards are stacked in favour of an in­quiry that concludes that “mistakes were made” and they should be “learned from” next time.

It is unlikely that the over one million dead and four and a half million refugees will get much of a look in either.

But there is scope for the anti-war movement to intervene in this cosy process.

The Stop the War Coalition plans to give evidence—and groups and individuals should submit theirs too.

© Socialist Worker (unless otherwise stated). You may republish if you include an active link to the original.

Share this story on:

Delicious | Digg | reddit | Facebook | StumbleUpon

If you found this article useful please help us maintain SW by » making a donation.

» comment on article | » email article | » printable version

The two actually spill over into one another because the charges being made will have to be explored (in some manner -- even just for-show) by the Iraq inquiry.

Turning to Iraq. Last Tuesday, Nouri ordered the assault on Camp Ashraf, home to the MEK. The MEK has been in Iraq for decades. They are Iranian exiles. They are currently considered "terrorists" by the US. They were formerly considered such by the European Union and England; however, both re-evaluated and took them off the terrorist watch list. A lie running through some press is that the administration of Bully Boy Bush was attempting to have the MEK reconsidered. Wrong. Some Republicans in Congress were working on that (and at least two Democrats in Congress); however, the White House didn't do a damn thing. That was one of the problems for the incoming administration of Barack Obama. Tensions were already flaring between Nouri and the MEK and festering. And the agreements (especially verbal understandings) between the then-White House and Nouri after the 2008 election only increased the tensions. Barack's incoming administration could not do anything at that point. And they were hopeful that Bush would do something, anything, to assist them. He did nothing. His administration did nothing. They were interested in passing off a hot potato.

They stuck it with the Obama administration. That's not to excuse the current inaction but that is the background. Tim Cocks, Muhaned Mohammed and Sophie Hares (Reuters) report the latest involving the MEK at Camp Ashraf, Shirwan al-Waeli (Minister of State for National Security) declares that Iraq will evict them and, if it means sending them back to Iran, they'll do so. Mark Knoller (CBS News) reports a domestic protest in support of Camp Ashraf residents, "Iranian-American protestors have set up camp directly in front of the White House. They're urging President Obama to intervene on behalf of an Iranian enclave inside Iraq." On the topic, Iran's Press TV adds:

The Iraqi government has rejected a request by the heads of the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO), for negotiations, an Iraqi official says.
The official was quoted by IRNA as saying that MKO heads Maryam and Masoud Rajavi have made a request, through the intelligence organization of an Arab country, to meet with Iraqi executives.
"The Iraqi government rejects any contact and dialogue with the MKO heads, considering the terrorist nature of the organization," the Iraqi official said on condition of anonymity.

In the United States, Iraq War veteran Josh Stieber is in the news. Cindy Leise (Ohio's Chronicle-Telegram) reports on his cross country walk "from Maryland to San Francisco," the Contagious Love Experiment:

Everywhere he goes, people -- and the media -- want to know what made him so adamant in opposition to the war.
He is repeatedly asked whether he killed anyone, and he said he generally declines to answer directly.
"It doesn’t matter whether or not I killed somebody -- I had vengeance and hate in my heart and wanted war on people who didn’t see things the same way I did," he said. "Jesus said if you look at your brother with hate, you might as well have murdered him."
Life involved a 12-day rotation from a factory the troops had appropriated for use as a base for troops in a poor area of Baghdad. The troops were not greeted as liberators, he said. Instead, some 100 people protested their arrival, he said.
The 12-day rotation went like this: After six days inside the factory, the U.S. troops spent three days assisting Iraqi police or manning gas stations to ensure Iraqis did not purchase any more gas other than that to which they were entitled. The last three days of the 12 were spent at the main base before the soldiers started the rotation again.
While working at the gas stations, Stieber said he saw daily frustration about rationing in one of the world’s biggest oil-producing nations.

AP reports that, last month, Iraq hit a post-invasion record for exports with approximately "2.037 million barrels per day".

Remember the pathologizing of gender that took place over the issue of female bombers? They were raped. They were this, they were that. There was nothing factual about any of their crap but some MPs in Parliament used that pathology to advocate 'centers' (prisons) for women whose husbands or fathers or brothers died. Because that is the only way any woman would bomb. Because bombing, they insisted, was just not a thing a woman would do. Of course a woman would do it. Their little sexist minds can't handle reality.

So they must be spinning as details in a new case emerge. A would-be female bomber has been convicted. Natalia Antelava (BBC News) reports that 16-year-old Rania Ibrahim states "a relative of her husband had told her to wear the vest" and that, by the way, "she was sold into marriage" approximately five months before she was caught in a bombing attempt on August 23, 2008. Jamal Hashim and Ali I-Khaiyam (Xinhua) quote Rania Ibrahim stating, "I haven't committed any crime or any sin. I was the victim. They forced me to wear the explosive-belt. I didn't want to kill any human being." Forced into marriage. Not raped. No relatives died. Another slap in the face to the stereotyping.

Reality also slaps the happy talkers in the face this morning. Among the violence going on today, Reuters notes an armed clash in Mosul which claimed the life of 1 police officer and 2 unknowns with four other people injured, a Ramadi car bombing which claimed the life of 1 woman and left three people (including two police officers) injured and, dropping back to last night, a Baghdad roadside bombing which claimed the lives of 5 police officers and left five more wounded. AFP adds that 11 pilgrims have been kidnapped from a minibus enroute to Karbala.

The e-mail address for this site is