Saturday, February 06, 2010

The inquiry into the illegal war

One such case concerns the breaches of the Geneva Conventions which were reported by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on the 26th February 2004. The ICRC representatives presented a twenty-four page dossier on serial breaches of the Conventions by coalition forces in Iraq, to Ambassador Paul Bremer, and the UK representative in Iraq, Sir Jeremy Greenstock. Widespread abuse of prisoners held by the US and UK over the preceding year involved the breach of a number of the articles of the Geneva Conventions which were itemised in the dossier, which also spelt out the actions that coalition governments would need to take in order to come back into compliance.
It seems clear that the British government took no notice of this report. Sir Jeremy Greenstock told the BBC that his legal adviser made sure that the pages about British actions were sent straight back to the Ministry of Defence, although he claimed to be unaware of the allegations concerning the Americans. But wherever the allegations were sent, they did not penetrate to members of the Government.
Armed forces minister Adam Ingram told the House of Commons on the 4th May 2004:
"To date I have received no such reports, but some may be in the process of being compiled".

The above is from Ken Coates' "Ignoring the Red Cross" (Iraq Inquiry Digest) and those paying attention to the Iraq Inquiry in London realize there's a need for a push back with the truth after
Tony Blair's ridiculous testimony two Fridays ago. Clare Short's Tuesday testimony went a long way towards correcting the multitude of lies Blair told but more is needed. Ayo Obe's "SECTION 39: An act of aggression" (Next) tackles realities:

One of the problems for the British establishment with regard to the war in Iraq is its insistence that everybody honestly believed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (WMD), even if this was not in itself sufficient to make the invasion of Iraq legal.
But the truth is that everybody did not believe that Saddam had such weapons at all, let alone then United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair’s preposterous claim that these could be launched within forty-five minutes.
However many charts and maps the then United States Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Colin Powell, displayed to the United Nations in support of claims that Iraq had WMD, outside the charmed circles in Western countries, only those who really wanted to believe could have been truly convinced.
Before the invasion, years of sanctions and UN weapons inspection had not unearthed any WMD, while the failure of Saddam to use such weapons during the invasion was as eloquent as the failure of today’s puppet-masters in Abuja to produce a single photograph of our allegedly recovering President Umaru Yar’Adua. Saddam couldn’t use WMD because he didn’t have any, and our rulers can’t produce such pictures because they don’t have any either. QED! The governments of the invading forces and a few other countries might have deceived themselves into believing that there were WMD in Iraq, but most of the rest of the world entertained no such conviction, and watched the search for the elusive WMD after the invasion was completed, with derision. Declarations in Britain and the US that the fabled WMD would soon be discovered were received in much the same way as we in today’s Nigeria receive repeated assurances that President Umaru Yar’Adua “will soon return” after two and a half months’ absence: with an extremely large grain of salt.

Monday the Inquiry resumes public hearings with two witnesses -- one of which is Jack Straw who is being called to testify for the second time. Brian Brady and Jane Merrick (Independent of London) report:

A furious Jack Straw will attempt to "set the record straight" when he returns to the Chilcot inquiry tomorrow, days after his former legal advisers claimed the Justice Secretary had ignored warnings that the invasion of Iraq would be illegal.
Mr Straw has been recalled to the inquiry to further explain his actions, amid criticism of his conduct in the run-up to the war.
Mr Straw, who was foreign secretary in 2003, is believed to have been particularly upset by the evidence of his former chief legal adviser, Sir Michael Wood. The former civil servant told the Chilcot panel that Mr Straw had rejected his advice that invading Iraq without UN backing would break international law.

In other Iraq War crime news, AP reports that the US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces has found the lower courts were correct in convicting Sabrina Harman and Michael Smith in the Abu Ghraib torture scandal.

The following community sites updated since yesterday evening:

Lastly, Iraq Veterans Against the War notes:

FT. STEWART, GA - February 5 - The US military plans to extradite a stop-lossed Iraq war veteran to Iraq "within a few days" to face a court martial for allegedly threatening military officers in a protest rap song he made.
Spc. Marc Hall has been jailed in the Liberty County Jail near Fort Stewart, Ga., since Dec. 11 because he wrote a song called "Stop Loss" about the practice of involuntarily extending military members’ contracts.
"It is our belief that the Army would violate its own regulations by deploying Marc and it would certainly violate his right to due process by making it far more difficult to get witnesses. It appears the Army doesn't believe it can get a conviction in a fair and public trial. We will do whatever we can to insure he remain in the United States," said Hall’s civilian attorney, David Gespass.
Gespass claims the Army's attempts to deploy Hall violate Army Regulations 600-8-105 and the Army's conscientious objector regulations. Hall applied for a conscientious objector discharge Monday. The military’s move would also separate Hall from both his civilian legal team and military defender.
"The Army seeks to disappear Marc and the politically charged issues involved here, including: the unfair stop-loss policy, the boundary of free speech and art by soldiers, and the continuing Iraq occupation. The actual charges are overblown if not frivolous, so I'm not surprised the Army wants to avoid having a public trial," explained Jeff Paterson, executive director of Courage to Resist.
An Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) member, Hall served 14 months in Iraq. He was scheduled to end his military contract on Feb. 27 but received a stop loss order that he would have to stay on active-duty to re-deploy to Iraq with his unit.
"Marc served his tour of duty to Iraq honorably," said Brenda McElveen, Hall's mother. "To his dismay, he was told that he would be deployed again. When Marc voiced his concerns over this matter, his concerns fell on deaf ears. To let his frustration be known, Marc wrote and released the song. Marc is not now nor has he ever been violent."
Using stop loss orders, the US military has stopped about 185,000 soldiers from leaving the military since 2001. An additional 13,000 troops are now serving under stop-loss orders. President Obama said he thinks the practice should be stopped.
Hall, 34, was charged Dec. 17 with five specifications in violation of Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Conduct, including “wrongfully threatening acts of violence against members of his unit." His arrest came about a month after 13 people were killed in a shooting incident at Fort Hood, Texas. Hall, whose hiphop name is Marc Watercus, mailed a copy of his "Stop Loss" song to the Pentagon.
Based at Fort Stewart, Hall said the song was a "free expression of how people feel about the Army and its stop-loss policy" not a threat. "My first sergeant said he actually liked the song and that he did not take it as a threat," Hall added.
A South Carolina native, Hall wanted to leave the military to spend more time with his wife and child.
Hall's song:
A copy of the US Army’s press release about transferring Hall to Iraq is available on request.

And Veterans Today adds:

The Obama administration should be more ashamed of itself than the Bush administration. Don’t care if you are Green Party, Constitutional Party, Tea Bag Party, Independent Party, Libertarian Party, what was once the Democratic party or Republican party, heck even Communist and Socialist parties – this is not about political ideology it is about JUSTICE.

Here is what YOU can do to stop this madness, and seriously support and protect our troops. JUST SAY NO to the Army. Follow the link below and JUST SAY BULLSHIT. Well not quite in those words, it is the Pentagon we are talking about here, we need to be polite or might end up in Gitmo.

Robert L. Hanafin, Major, U.S. Air Force-Retired, Veterans Today News

Stop the Extradition of Marc Hall!This is time sensitive meaning YOU need to do this yesterday, PLEASE go to this link at Veterans for Peace (VFP) of course that is unless you are a hardcore warmonger, and just fill out the form letter to Army Public Affairs, expressing how outraged you are as an American citizen that any of our troops is being treated this way regardless what they’ve done.

The e-mail address for this site is

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends