Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Censorship of Iraq Inquiry, Christians attacked in Iraq

Donald Rumsfeld, the former US secretary of defence, dismissed the Iraq insurgency as "a bunch of no-hopers carrying out some terrorist acts", the Chilcot inquiry was told.
Lieutenant General John Kiszely, who was senior British military representative in Iraq from October 2004 to April 2005, told the inquiry forces faced a "security situation with a growing insurgency" but there was a "reluctance for people to call it an insurgency".

The above is from the Telegraph of London's "Donald Rumsfeld dismissed Iraq insurgents as 'bunch of no-hopers'" -- reporting on yesterday's round of public testimony before the Iraq Inquiry. The Inquiry is chaired by John Chilcot and continues with public testimony today. They are again hearing from Jeremy Greenstock. Greenstock previously testified November 27th and Gordon Rayner (Telegraph of London) emphasized from that testimony Greenstock's statement of, "I regard our invasion of Iraq as legal but of questionably legitimacy, in that it didn't have the democratically observable backing of the great majority of members states or even, perhaps, of a majority of people inside the UK." BBC News reports of today's testimony, "Sir Jeremy Greenstock told the Chilcot inquiry the UK wanted post-war Iraq to have a 'clear UN label' to ensure it was not regarded as an occupying power. The ex-UN ambassador said the US wanted a 'definite limit' on the UN's role." But it's Channel 4 News that's running the big development:

For the first time since it began sitting, the Chilcot inquiry blacked out televised coverage of evidence being given for intelligence security reasons. The dramatic intervention to protect confidentiality came as Sir Jeremy Greenstock, the former British Ambassador to Washington, was speaking.

Andrew Sparrow (Guardian) is live blogging currently. One excerpt:

12.04pm: Prashar asks about Bremer's policy of de-Baathification.

Greenstock says this decree was issued before he arrived. It was an "understandable decision". The Shias were strongly opposed to bringing Baath party members into the government. But the decree was issued before Bremer had identified alternative people to run the government of Iraq.

Bremer put Ahmed Chalabi, who was "deeply anti-Baathist", in charge of implementing the decree. Greenstock says he thought it was taken too far. He wanted more Baathists to be allowed to keep their jobs.

Paul Bromley (Sky News) is also covering Greenstock's testimony and he observes:

I think we've just witnessed another moment which will go down in history.
Sir Jeremy Greenstock, the British ambassador to the United Nations at the time of the Iraq war, has just come up with a phrase which will become part of the language.He's told the Iraq war inquiry that the invasion was a "catastrophic success".

Channel 4 News looks through England
attempting to find pro-war voices who are still pro-war:

As Sir John Chilcot continues his inquiry into the Iraq conflict, Channel 4 News online discovers pro-war voices are now a rare breed.
Apart from Tony Blair himself, it is increasingly difficult to find people who were pro-Iraq war in 2003 and remain so today. MPs who voted for the war declined to comment to Channel 4 News online and figures in the arts world, previously outspoken in favour of removing Saddam, were conspicuously quiet.

Why should England be any different than the US? Here you can find little Spency Ackerman and Andrew Sullivan engaged in a hot twosome as they both try to pass off as smarter-than-anyone when, point of fact, the whores cheered on the illegal war.

Alex Plough (In The News) offers this take on yesterday's hearing:

A British general knocks on the door of an Iraqi civil servant, smiling with all the sincerity he can muster, he sits down to introduce himself and reassure the man that Britain is here to help.
But as the sweat gathers on his sun-burnt brow, he knows that in six months time he will be back in the cool, Portland stone grandeur of Whitehall and the chaos of this country will just be a memory. So to does the man sitting opposite him.
Lieutenant General Sir John Kiszely, the UK's top military representative in Baghdad in 2004, described to the Iraq inquiry how an archaic career structure, perhaps a residue of our imperial bureaucracy, determined that six months was long enough for someone to rebuild a country from scratch.
Giving evidence at the inquiry, he said: "All the Iraqi people we dealt with knew that the next time you came through their door, you would be saying goodbye... I don't think it reflected all that well on us."
Once again, yesterday's hearing called into question the competence of those planning the war and revealed the dysfunctions of the coalition's military and civil leadership.

Turning to Iraq. Saturday an Iraqi correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers reported at Inside Iraq:

Iraqi secular parliament member Mithal Al Alusi said that the Iraqi prime minister told the Iraqi parliament on Thursday, in a secret parliament session after Tuesday’s deadly bombings, that the Americans tipped-off the Iraqi government about the looming threat of car bombs attacks around 6 a.m. on Tuesday.
On Tuesday Dec 8, five car bombs killed 127 Iraqis and injured more than 450 others in Baghdad as it targeted government offices around 10 a.m.
On Saturday, Iraqi ministry of interior said it informed Baghdad military operations, the Iraqi special command formed by the prime minister to lead security operations within Baghdad, of the imminent attack, yet the attacks succeeded in reaching its target.

Meanwhile bombings sweep through Iraq with the instruments of government or 'government' targeted in Baghdad and churches targeted in Mosul. Al Jazeera notes one bombing was at the Syrian Catholic Church of the Annunciation and another exploded at "the Syrian Orthodox Church of Purity and a nearby Christian school". Iran's Press TV counts four dead in one of the church bombings and forty injured (they identify the church as Virign Mary Church which would by the Syrian Catholic Chucrh of the Annunciation and there are not currently any reports of dead or wounded at the other church). Han Jingjing (Xinhua) reports a grenade attack on a police patrol also took place in Mosul today "damaging a police vehicle and killing three policemen aboard". Reuters notes 3 Baghdad car bombings claimed 4 lives and left fifteen injured, a Baghdad roadside bombing injured four people, and a Baghdad shooting injured 2 men (brothers, one is "a member of the local government").

We'll close with this sent to the public account, from Oilwatch Southeast Asia:

Southeast Asian Leaders - Go for Solution Not Delusion!

A Joint Statement, Copenhagen, Denmark, December 14, 2009

Copenhagen - 14 December 2009: We, members of Oilwatch Southeast Asia[i] and Indonesian Civil Society Forum for Climate Justice (CSF) declare our common position and demands on the current climate negotiation in COP 15 UNFCCC Copenhagen. We have witnessed the lack of leadership among industrial countries to significantly cut carbon emission let alone show their responsibility to support developing countries to tackle the impacts of climate change.

Southeast Asia is considered as one of the most vulnerable regions in the world to impacts of climate crisis. Most of the Southeast Asian countries are poor and majority of the population in the region live in deep poverty resulting to a very low capacity to adapt to climate change impacts. The location of the region poses high risk for disasters such as typhoons, droughts, earthquakes, and flooding.

We are disappointed that the negotiations in COP15 UNFCCC do not take into account the reality in the ground that fossil fuel exploitation by industrial countries have been going from strength to strength. Oil and gas projects of transnational corporations are mushrooming and demand for coal is increasing[ii]..

Big foreign and private corporations such as Royal Dutch Shell, BHP Biliton, CNUOC, Chevron Texaco, Amarada Hess, Conoco Phillips and Bumi Resources, are the same actors who plunder natural resources and pollute the environment[iii]. These big corporations control and exploit the rich natural resources of the region particularly fossil resources like oil, gas and coal. Also these entities with the support of international financial institutions like International Monetary Fund, World Bank and Asian Development Bank, are the owners and suppliers of fossil-based technologies and products that the people of Southeast Asian are forced to be dependent with.

Given the fact that burning and consumption of fossil fuels especially oil and coal is the leading cause of global carbon emission, we demand the national governments in Southeast Asia

•· To agree on a common position to push for more than 40% carbon reduction from ANNEX I countries by 2020 from the level of 1990.
•To demand from ANNEX I countries to compensate Third World countries from ecological debt and fund their mitigation and adaptation initiatives
•To declare an immediate moratorium on new exploration and commercial operation of oil, gas and coal by big transnational companies in the region.
•To define a concrete timeline and comprehensive plan on eventual phase out of fossil fuel extraction and usage in the region.

In this regard there should be a significant investment on research and fast development of technologies that harness alternative and renewable resources of energy that are cheap, safe and clean. This is needed to make the economy and energy needs of Southeast Asia to veer away from relying on the production and consumption of fossil fuels. Majority of the income and revenues from the existing extraction of fossil fuel in the regions should be automatically appropriated for funding public services

We oppose the false solutions being implemented and pushed for by ANNEX I countries and their transnational corporations such as carbon trading, clean development mechanism, the proposed REDD and ‘clean’ coal technologies. These market-based and profit-oriented solutions put the interest of private corporations and ruling elite above anything else.

We push for the leaders of Southeast Asia countries to unite for truly address the issue of climate change and curb global warming. There should be a reversal of the orientation and framework of economic development and production in the region. In this regard, climate solutions should be based on human security, rectification of ecological debt, land rights, the change of production and consumption pattern, to realize social justice and people’s sovereignty.

These principles ensure in the heart of climate solutions are the welfare and interest of the people and the environment.

The Oilwatch Southeast Asia, CSF, PACC, La’o Hamutuk and TCJ remain committed not only in pushing for genuine climate solutions but also in steadfastly fight along with grassroots communities against agreement, policies, program and projects that will further aggravate climate change and endanger our communities.

Media contacts:
Clemente Bautista, People's Action on Climate Change (PACC), email: entengi2@yahoo.com.ph;

cell phone: +45.2639.2749
•Ines Martius, Timor-Leste Institute for Development Monitoring and Analysis, email: ines@laohamutuk.org; cell phone: +45 5274 8769
· Siti Maemunah, CSF Indonesia, email: mai@jatam.org; cell phone +45 5049 9567

· Penchom Saetang, Thai Working Group for Climate Justice (TCJ), email: toxiccampaign.earth@gmail.com; cell phone: +45 2862 7267

[i] Oilwatch SEA is a regional alliance of fossil fuels-affected communities and support organizations from Arakan Oil Watch from Burma; Indonesian Civil Society Forum on Climate Justice (CSF) and JATAM from Indonesia; Friends of the Earth from Malaysia; People’s Action on Climate Change (PACC), Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment (Kalikasan-PNE) and Central Visayas Fisherfolk Development Center Inc. from Philippines, Timor-Leste Institute for Development Monitoring and Analysis (La’o hamutuk) from Timor Leste; and Thai Working for Climate Justice (TCJ) and Ecological Alert and Recovery – Thailand from Thailand.

[ii] Almost half of Indonesia coal production, - around 100 million tons - , was extracted by Bumi Resources mostly for export. The company Climate Justice (TCJ) and Ecological Alert and Recovery – Thailand from Thailand.

[iii] Today 80% of 216 million tons total coal product from Indonesia is aimed for export and the demand has been increasing over the year.

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.