Well the UK Iraq war inquiry is underway and resulting in fairly prominent news items almost every day. It's publcly stated goal is to reveal the truth, not to apportion blame. Will it just turn out to be a whitewash or will it actaully change anything. I am not holding my breath.
Meanwhile, I found this image on imgur. The text is:
2021: A small group of rogue Americans hijack an airplane and fly it into the Burj Al-Arab, in Dubai. The United Arab Emirates spend the next five years invading Canada and torturing its citizens, eventually leaving 80,000 dead.
Opposition parties and campaigners have condemned Gordon Brown's decision to hold an independent inquiry into the Iraq war behind closed doors.
Almost three quarters of British people believe there should be a public inquiry into the invasion of Iraq, an opinion poll suggests.
Iraq will not renew the licence of US security firm Blackwater, which was involved in an 2007 incident in which at least 14 civilians were killed.
Ministers have been ordered to release minutes of the cabinet meetings which discussed the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Legal advice given to Tony Blair by the attorney general prior to the Iraq war was fundamentally "flawed," a former law lord has claimed.
IVAW members arrested while attempting to present questions to Obama and McCain.
Oil giants to sign contracts with Iraq.
A BBC investigation estimates that around $23bn (£11.75bn) may have been lost, stolen or just not properly accounted for in Iraq.
Behind Analysts, the Pentagon's Hidden Hand.
George Bush has decided that this moment qualifies as the latest in a series of "defining moments" in Iraq. One of the great early defining moments was when he posed with his "Mission Accomplished" banner way back in 2003. The vast majority of US troops killed in Iraq have been killed since the mission was accomplished - strange that. Is anyone keeping track of how many "defining moments" and "turning points" there have been since then?
The government did not fully consider the implications of the Iraq invasion, a former senior aide to Tony Blair has admitted.
The Iraq Freedom Congress has released a statement regarding the Iranian President's visit to Iraq (he is not welcome).
The government has been told to release the minutes of two cabinet meetings in the days before the Iraq war.
The Iraqi government has denounced a Turkish incursion into northern Iraq in some of the strongest terms heard since the operation began last week.
Tony Blair's government breached its duty to service personnel by failing to ensure the invasion of Iraq was lawful and justified, Law Lords have heard.
British troops have transferred control of Basra province to the Iraqi authorities, four-and-a-half years after the invasion.
More than 85% of the residents of Basra believe British troops have had a negative effect on the Iraqi province since 2003, an opinion poll suggests.
A US TV network has revealed the name of "Curveball" - an Iraqi man whose information was central to the US government's argument to invade Iraq.
Tens of thousands of people have taken part in demonstrations against the war in Iraq in cities across the US.
The man in charge of security for US diplomats in Iraq has resigned after heavy criticism of how foreign private security firms in Iraq are supervised.
The president of the Kurdish region in northern Iraq has said his people will defend themselves if Turkey attacks Kurdish rebels based in the region.
Iraq's former anti-corruption chief has given further details of what he says is widespread abuse in his country.
A former US military chief in Iraq has condemned the current strategy in the conflict, which he warned was "a nightmare with no end in sight".
Anti-war protesters have marched down Whitehall to Parliament Square, despite being told the protest was illegal.
The STWC have been planning a march to Parliament on Monday 8th October to demand the immediate withdrawl of all UK troops from Iraq. Now the police are apparently saying that all protests within one mile of Parliament are prohibited while Parliament is in session. I will be away in Anglsey otherwise I would go (despite my strong reservations about the STWC), as many others will, ban or no ban.
The UK must do more to meet its "moral obligation" to the thousands of refugees fleeing violence in Iraq, Amnesty International says.
Iraq has cancelled the licence of the private security firm, Blackwater USA, after it was involved in a gunfight in which at least eight civilians died.
From the intoduction to Lessons on the surge from economics 101 by Oliver R. Goodenough:
Economics professors have a standard game they use to demonstrate how apparently rational decisions can create a disastrous result. They call it a "dollar auction." The rules are simple. The professor offers a dollar for sale to the highest bidder, with only one wrinkle: the second-highest bidder has to pay up on their losing bid as well. Several students almost always get sucked in.
About 70% of Iraqis believe security has deteriorated in the area covered by the US military "surge" of the past six months, an opinion poll suggests.
Most people across the world believe US-led forces should withdraw from Iraq within a year, a BBC poll suggests.
Even more people never wanted them to go in in the first place, which is why Bush was so desparate to wade in and present it as a fait accompli. He knew that once troops were there he would have the option of saying "yes well we know it was a bad idea now but we owe it to the Iraqi people to fix the mess we made". Of course he is not actually saying it was a mistake, even though they found no WMDs or link to 9/11 etc, and even though the UN secratary general subsequently said that the invasion was illegal.
Iraq faces the distinct possibility of collapse and fragmentation, British foreign policy think-tank Chatham House has warned.
The US Senate has voted to approve a bill which requires US troops to be withdrawn from Iraq within 11 months.
The International Committee of the Red Cross says the situation for ordinary Iraqis is getting steadily worse. Mean while, an Oxfam report concludes that the UK must not shy away from trying to resolve international crises despite the terrible misadventure in Iraq, and a report by the Oxford Research Group suggests tht British and US policy towards Iraq has spawned new terror in the region.
The House of Representatives has voted in favour of ordering President George W Bush to pull US troops out of Iraq.
Thousands of people have taken to the streets of US cities for a second day of protests against the war in Iraq.
Before you dismiss me for referring to something in "Rolling Stone" I would just like to point out its credentials for serious political analysis. Back in the day when Hunter S. Thompson was a political correspondent they were publishing stuff that was hitting the nail on the head when others were beating about the bush. Well they have put together a very impressive panel of experts and asked the obvious questions about the future of Iraq. Read what Zbigniew Brzezinski and others have to say in Beyond Quagmire.
A second US soldier's plea of guilty to the gang rape of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and the killing of her and her family has been accepted by a judge.
Denmark will withdraw its troops from Iraq by August, Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said.
Hopefully there will be a good turnout for the anti-war/anti-Trident demo in London on Saturday 24th of February. Rose Gentle and Sue Smith of Military Families Against the War will be camping outside Downing Street from the Friday to the Sunday and have invited people to join them. Or, you I guess could join Britain's "Most Inspiring Political Figure of 2006" in Parliament Square:-)
Tony Blair has reformed his band "Ugly Rumours" and will be putting out a cover version of the Edwin Starr classic "War (What is it good for?)" on February 25th - or so I have heard:-) You can buy/pre-order the track at the Ugly Rumours website and hopefully it will get into the charts by March 19th, the 4th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. All profits will go to the Stop the War Coalition.
A US military judge has declared a mistrial in the court martial of an officer who refused to fight in Iraq.
Former National Security Advisor and founding member of the Trilateral Commission Zbigniew Brzezinski tacitly warned a Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week that an attack on Iran could be launched following a staged provocation in Iraq or a false flag terror attack within the U.S. He also lamented that the invasion of Iraq represented "a historic, strategic and moral calamity."
Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada was called an exemplary soldier. But then he decided to face court-martial rather than join a war he says is illegal.
On January 27th people in cities across the United States marched against the occupation of Iraq. After the march on the Capitol there was an event at Busboys and Poets in Washington DC at which Kelly Dougherty and Anthony Arnove spoke. Videos of their talks can be viewed on the website of the Traprock Peace Center, along with a performance at the same event by Son of Nun.
A coroner has launched a furious attack on the MoD for refusing to release a video tape of the moment a US aircraft opened fire on British troops in Iraq.
Tens of thousands of protesters have demonstrated in Washington to demand the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.
Baghdad Burning is an interesting blog, apparently written by a girl in Iraq.
In Saturday's Guardian, Terry Jones pointed out that the $100bn that the Bush Administration will be asking for from Congress will bring the total cost to the US taxpayer of the Iraq war up to almost $500bn, or ten times the original estimates. Well for starters, $16bn of it has gone to KBR, a Halliburton subsidiary.
A national "No Trident/Troops Home Now" demonstration has been called by CND and Stop the War Coalition for 24 February 2007 at Noon in Central London.
Monday March 19th 2007, the fourth anniversary of the start of the war on Iraq, will be a Global Day of Action against the "War on Terror". Apparently there was a planning meeting at ULU today which I did not have time to attend - information will be posted on the m19wiki.
A defining characteristic of smart people is that if they are wrong they will admit it. I love being shown to be wrong because that is when I learn something. Tim Bray, a very smart guy who works for Sun Microsystems has blogged on how he was wrong about the war:
Those, like me, who thought the war wasn't insane were guilty of failing to apply Occam's razor. The simplest explanation in 2003 was that the war-starters were incompetent lying scum and that no good result could be expected from their actions. And the simplest explanation was true.
Ken Silverstein interviews Dr. Emile A. Nakhleh (former director of the CIA's Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program) about the Iraq fiasco.
The trial of Saddam Hussein was so flawed that its verdict is unsound, the advocacy group Human Rights Watch says.
A high ranking British diplomat, who quit over the war with Iraq, has called policy in the region a "rank disaster".
Washington's top foreign affairs spin doctor has described US policy in Iraq as "a failure", and accused his government of "arrogance" and "stupidity".
The US is not winning in Iraq and will not be able to stay the course in the long-term, a US state department insider has said.
It is nearly two years since the second major assault on Fallujah.
Recently retired head of key CIA unit calls for Iraq "exit strategy"; says there was "no evidence" of Saddam-bin Laden links.
The Stop the War Coalition have lots of plans for the Labour Conference in Manchester on September 23rd. They have chartered a train from London on which well known people from the anti-war movement will be speaking etc. Check out the site for details. There is also a cycle ride going up from London.
US troops have apparently raided the IFC head office in Baghdad.
The UN secretary general has said that most Middle East leaders regard the US-led invasion of Iraq and its aftermath as a disaster for the region.
As Iraq continues it's slide into what looks suspiciously like civil war, the Iraq Freedom Congress continues to work for a democratic, secular and progressive alternative to both the US occupation and political Islam in Iraq.
The torture of prisoners in US custody in Iraq was authorised and routine even after the Abu Ghraib scandal came to light, a US-based rights group says.
There has been little in the news about the current US assault on Ramadi - apparently the military have been reluctant to allow even embedded reporters to travel with them in Ramadi and there is essentially a news blackout. A June 12th article by Dahr Jamail called Ramadi: Fallujah Redux explains some of what is known.
More than 1,000 members of the British military have deserted since the start of the Iraq war, the BBC has learned.
The incoming Italian prime minister, Romano Prodi, today described the US-led invasion of Iraq as a "grave mistake" that had encouraged global terrorism.
Robert Greenwald was appealing for funds to produce a new film called Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers. I use the past tense because when I looked at the site yesterday there was quite a way to go to reach the target, but checking it again just now the site has been updated because the goal has been reached.
Athens police have fired teargas during a clash with anti-war demonstrators protesting against a visit by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
An RAF doctor who refused to serve in Iraq has been sentenced to eight months in jail and dismissed from the service.
Lt. General Gregory Newbold wrote a piece called Why Iraq Was a Mistake that was posted on the Time Magazine website yesterday.
"On Sunday, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Cheifs of Staff, said in a televised interview that things in Iraq were 'going very, very well, from everything you look at.'" (The Los Angeles Times, 3/7/06)
"Goddam! The chairman of the Joint Cheifs must have access to some cutting-edge, high-tech, turbo-charged super-soldier-ass rose-colored glassed that make my crappy rose-colored glasses look like Kmart bifocals dipped in raspberry juice." (Character in "Get Your War On")
The Mass Action Group have called for a Naming the Dead civil disobedience against the occupation of Iraq on the 2nd anniversary of the April 2004 siege of Fallujah. Noon on Sunday April 2nd at Parliament Square in London.
The New York Times says it has seen a memo which shows that the US president was firmly set on the path to war two months before the 2003 Iraq invasion. Of course this will only come as a surprise to gullible idiots. Tony was well aware of George's intentions and privately promised his support well before securing approval of the House of Commons.
"Children of Abraham: Death in the Desert" is a Flash presentation by Chris Floyd and Richard Kastelein, with music by Peter Gabriel and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. It covers the events which took place in Isahaqi on March 15th 2006 when US troops apparently raided a house, shot dead the family living there and then blew up the building. All 11 victims including women and young children had gunshot wounds to the head. The Flash can be found at Empire Burlesque but it takes a while to load, so if you want "just the facts" then here is the text.
I have only just read Harold Pinter's December 2005 Nobel Lecture Art, Truth & Politics. The lecture was shown after he won the Nobel Prize for Literature and he has a few things to say about Iraq.
Iraq is in the middle of civil war, the country's former interim prime minister Iyad Allawi has told the BBC.
The US military says a major operation targeting suspected insurgents and foreign fighters in northern Iraq could continue for several days.
Nobel peace and literature laureates, peace and human-rights activists, religious leaders of various traditions, former prisoners of conscience, and others from around the world are calling for a nonviolent civil resistance campaign to demand an end to the ongoing military occupation of Iraq. The first public release of the call was on December 17, 2005.
As the third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq approaches, Reason asked a wide range of libertarian, conservative, and freedom-minded journalists and academics to assess the war, the occupation, and how their views have or have not changed. Read their responses in the Iraq Progress Report.
I find it hard to believe that it is now almost three years since the invasion of Iraq. The anniversary will be marked by worldwide protests on Saturday March 18th, including one in London coordinated by the Stop the War Coalition. I will be there with the Peace not War crew and a mobile soundsystem.
Are you thinking "what's the point?" - well you should be. I am not going to try to explain the reason for my involvement but I will point out an excellent Flash presentation called No Bravery to the music of James Blunt's song of the same title.
Meanwhile, why not check out the Manifesto of the Iraq Freedom Congress.
Check out Iraq: The Musical at FreewayBlogger.
Lawrence B. Wilkerson was Chief of Staff at the US Department of State from August 2002 to January 2005. In this interview with David Brancaccio, on his involvement with the decision to invade Iraq he said:
I participated in a hoax on the American people, the international community and the United Nations Security Council. How do you think that makes me feel? Thirty-one years in the United States Army and I more or less end my career with that kind of a blot on my record? That's not a very comforting thing.
Tony Blair and George W Bush had already decided to invade Iraq in January 2003, a new book by a human rights lawyer has claimed.
Vigils are to be staged across the UK by anti-Iraq war groups to mark the death of the 100th British soldier since the conflict began in 2003.
Large bundles of cash meant for Iraq's reconstruction were stashed in filing cabinets, handed over without receipts and gambled away, a report has found.
Prime Minister Tony Blair should be impeached over the war in Iraq, a former top British soldier has said.
John Pilger has a longish article on ANTIWAR.COM titled Blair Criminalizes His Critics. It should be taken with a pinch of salt because there are some disingenuous statements in it. For example, he states that the Blair Government has "banned any expression of opposition within a kilometer of Parliament" - not true. What has happened is that the new legislation requires that the police be notified of any protest in advance, and they may impose conditions.
Jason Bennetto and Terry Kirby write in The Independent about how Acts of defiance against war turned ordinary people into criminals.
The news of a US military operation that pays Iraqi newspapers to run stories written by "information operations" troops about how wonderfully things are going in the war should not come as a shock. David Isenberg calls a spade a spade in It's Propaganda (Shock, Horror)!
Newly-released US documents suggest the US escalated the war in Vietnam based on skewed intelligence. Sound familiar?
Insurgents have attacked US bases and government offices in Ramadi, in central Iraq, and then dispersed throughout the city, residents say.
The Stop the War Coalition are gearing up for a big International Peace Conference on 2005-12-10 in London.
From Harpers again - Pro-War Liberals Frozen in the Headlights.
Some interesting stuff about the Hyatt Bombing in Amman.
The latest Harpers Weekly Review is a useful summary of recent news about Iraq.
Former British Ambassador to the US, Christopher Meyer is the first of the insiders involved in planning the invasion of Iraq to publish a first hand account - at least according to a recent Guardian piece called A political war that backfired.
Three days ago, Senator Reid took the US senate into closed session to discuss the body's failure to pursue 'phase two' of the senate intelligence investigation into the Iraq WMD intelligence failure. Here are his remarks, as prepared for delivery before the session.
Almost a third of people think British troops should leave Iraq immediately, suggests a poll for BBC Newsnight. But only 33% thought taking military action had been the "right thing" to do vs 57% who thought it had been the "wrong thing". And 73% thought the war had made terrorist attacks in the UK more likely with only 2% thinking it had made them less likely!
Art Contest at Abu Ghraib! The comments in this Indymedia article are perhaps of more interest than the article itself.
Voices UK are calling for events to mark the 1st anniversary of the US' devastating assault on Fallujah in November 2004.
Iraq's National Security Adviser Muwafaq al-Rubaie has admitted the country's security forces have been infiltrated by insurgents.
The Stop the War Coalition have been organising a "Peace and Liberty" march to take place this Saturday in London. They are asking people to assemble at Noon in Parliament Square and then march to a Rally in Hyde Park.
The Echo Chamber Project is an open source, investigative documentary about the how the television news media became an uncritical echo chamber to the Executive Branch leading up to the war in Iraq.
An interesting article by Luke Mitchell titled Blood for Oil and originally published in Harper's Magazine in July 2004 was posted online yesterday.
President George Bush has said he "sympathised" with the mother of a US soldier killed in Iraq but refused to heed her call to pull out the troops.
Cryptome has been Eyeballing the Bush Ranch Protest.
Daily Kos reports poll results which show that for the first time a majority of Americans (51%) say the Bush administration deliberately misled the public about whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
At the time of the recent London bombings I was in a campsite on the outskirts of Stirling together with a couple of thousand other G8 protesters. When the news eventually reached me through the campsite rumour mill we were under siege by the police who were refusing to let anyone leave (they were pissed off at the success of the previous days blockades). With the constant racket of helicopters overhead (including Chinooks) and (unfounded) rumours of an impending assault by riot cops, news of the attacks was the icing on a surreal cake. Most people in the campsite would have opposed the invasion of Iraq and put a large portion of the blame for the bombings on Tony Blair for supporting it, but we also expected to be roasted by the Murdoch press for tying up police time which could have been used to foil the bombers. So the mood in the camp was quite black for a while until, faced with no better options, we just got on with things and tried to enjoy the sunshine and each others company. After dark we held a candle lit vigil for the victims.
Seven days after the London bombings, a letter attributed to Iman al-Saadun was published on the news24.com website which, while sympathising with the London victims, powerfully portrayed the far greater suffering of Iraqi people subjected to horrific bombing campaigns both by Western military forces and by those resisting the occupation.
Cryptome has an Analysis of Leaked UK Cabinet Papers which seems to support those who claim that Tony Blair mislead parliament over Iraq.
The BBC is publishing a selection of items from Iraqi media and weblogs as part of it's One Day in Iraq coverage.
A UK Member of Parliament is preparing to appear before a US Senate committee that has accused him of receiving oil options from Saddam Hussein's regime.
Italy has published a report into the shooting of a secret agent by US troops at a roadblock in Iraq, which conflicts with the US version of events.
The attorney general cast doubt on the legality of the war against Iraq without a second UN resolution, a leaked document says.
The US chief weapons inspector, Charles Duelfer, has said enquiries into weapons of mass destruction in Iraq have "gone as far as feasible".
The top US general in Iraq authorised interrogation techniques including the use of dogs, stress positions and disorientation, a memo has shown.
I estimate that 60,000 people took part in the anti-war demo in London yesterday. People will be disappointed that there were not more, but what do you expect? Committed peace activists have been hard at work since The Big One and are now used to actions involving a dozen people or less. Most people who joined the million strong march two years ago made the effort only because an invasion was immanent and all the stops were being pulled out. I attended yesterday's demo not because I thought the Government would pay any attention (Blair has gone too far down the road to Hell for that), but as a chance to network, enjoy the company of other peace activists and get some fresh ideas. In those terms it was a great success, aided greatly by the excellent weather. I was helping with the Soapbox Trike again, and rallying punters for the G8 Bike Ride.
The Stop the War Coalition is organising a march and rally in London this Saturday 2005-03-19 to coincide with the second anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. I will be there, if you are thinking about going but have not made up your mind then you should check out these reasons to bother.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has confirmed that he intends to begin withdrawing Italian troops from Iraq as soon as possible.
If you have time to read a fairly length article about life as a western journalist in Baghdad I would recommend Out of Iraq The rise and fall of one man's occupation. It was written by Adam Davidson, who lived there from April 2003 to March 2004.
In his new book, Lawless World, QC and international law professor Phillippe Sands claims that Lord Goldsmith had warned Tony Blair on 2003-03-07 that the use of force against Iraq could be illegal.
Dennis kyne, Persian gulf war veteran, anti-du activist, musician and a hundred other titles, has made with others a very informative and revealing video on the US occupation of Iraq, and the effects upon soldiers and civilians from Depleted uranium. This film last around 12 minutes, and can be seen on-line at his site homepage.mac.com/dkyne/.
The UK government should reveal the date it first sought legal advice on the Iraq war, a watchdog body has said.
CND, MAB and the National Union of Students are supporting an anti-war day of action on 2005-02-15 (the 2nd anniversary of mass protests in the run up to the invasion). The main event will be a mass "die-in" at 16:00 in Parliament Square - see the Stop the War Coalition website.
Brian Flemming asks Is it possible to be more wrong?.
Intelligence officials have confirmed the US has stopped searching for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Fresh allegations have emerged of serious mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners by US military personnel.
Brian Haw has maintained a permanent protest in Parliament Square for 1297 days despite repeated efforts to remove him. One of the most recent such attempt involved trumped up charge of assault which was dismissed at Bow Street Magistrates Court last Tuesday. Check out Parliament Square for details.
A father teaching his son about the US foreign policy (noonedied.com).
In Analysis: Order in Iraq's chaos Claude Salhani, UPI International Editor writes that U.S. military intelligence sources are hinting that they are now "seeing signs that there is a real insurgency" developing in Iraq. This, he says, could be both a good sign and a bad one.
A Mr. Fish cartoon posted at harpers.org.
MP George Galloway has been awarded 150,000 UKP in libel damages from the Daily Telegraph over claims he received money from Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq.
US forces in Iraq are being bolstered to their highest-ever level in the run-up to next month's election.
Dahr Jamail is one of only a few independent reporters who have covered the occupation from within Iraq. Please check out his Iraq Dispatches.
Two weeks ago I mentioned the website of the Organisation of Women's Freedom in Iraq. Having also mentioned this website in response to something I saw in a mailing list, I have now been referred to Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation. IDAO have published this response by Ms. Tahris Swift to the OWFI allegations against the "resistance". Apparently the OWFI are part of the Iraqi Worker's Communist Party, and things are never as simple as they seem!
Fears grow for Fallujah civilians.
Fallujah resident tells of trauma.
US marines in Fallujah have come under sustained attack from several different directions in the headquarters they have set up in the Iraqi city.
Although this file is specifically for notes relating to the invasion of Iraq, I have recently put some relevant stuff on my peace notes page.
Now that Bush has "won" another term in office it seems like there is a real possibility that he will try to start drafting people into the army to provide the troop numbers he needs to keep building up the scale of his crusade. If I was a young male US citizen I would be making contingency plans (if I had not already fled to a less fascist state). Check out NO IRAQ DRAFT for more info.
Last week's Voices UK emergency meeting came up with some contingency plans for non-violent direct action. People are encouraged to gather at the statue of Edith Cavell (opposite the entrance to the National Portrait Gallery, north-east of Trafalgar Sq) "on the night" of any major attack on Fallujah or any other other city, and also to gather in Parliament Square on 2004-11-07 at 14:00 hours.
Please check out the website of The Organisation of Women's Freedom in Iraq. The site highlights the rapidly deteriorating situation in Iraq from a women's perspective. It is highly critical of Islamic Fundamentalist terrorism and violence against women, but clearly puts a large part of the blame on the American invasion.
A study published by the Lancet (a distinguished medical journal) says the risk of death by violence for civilians in Iraq is now 58 times higher than before the US-led invasion.
An intelligence expert who lost his job with a Parliamentary committee after appearing on a BBC programme says he has no regrets about speaking out.
Voices UK had organised an emergency meeting for tonight to discuss contingency plans for action against the impending U.S. military assault on Fallujah and other Iraqi cities. It seems highly likely that large scale military action is being kept on hold by the Bush Administration until after the Presidential Election.
It seems like the Americans failed to prevent 350 tons of high explosives vanishing from al-Qaqaa during post invasion looting, despite repeated warnings from the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Former deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine, ex-chancellor Kenneth Clarke and former foreign secretary Lord Hurd (all of whom opposed the UK taking part in the U.S. invasion of Iraq) have all recently criticised Tony Blair's handling of the crisis.
Tony Blair must resign or be impeached for taking the UK to war in Iraq on the basis of a "lie", Green Party principle speaker Caroline Lucas has said.
About 850 UK troops and support staff are to be redeployed to a US-controlled sector south of Baghdad. This is to free up US troops for another assault on Fallujah. Jo Wilding has written an open letter to British troops asking them to refuse orders to redeploy. She did this because she was in Fallujah during a previous US assault and witnessed the horrific consequences for the civilian population.
UK "Defence" Secretary Geoff Hoon is expected to confirm today in his address to the Commons that a formal request for help has been received from the Americans. This has already created a huge stink, as it looks like some UK troops may be put under US control. Mr Hoon will explain how any such decision would of course be entirely operational, and not part of a deal to help George Bush ahead of the Presidential Election.
Last month Foreign Policy in Focus published a policy study called A Failed "Transition": The Mounting Costs of the Iraq War.
The Birmingham University Stop the War Group website was originally hosted on Sue Blackwell's home page at the University of Birmingham, until they decided to kick up a stink. There is a lot of good stuff on the site.
Former Cabinet minister Clare Short has likened insurgents in Iraq to the French resistance who battled the German occupation.
I don't know why the NY Times has gone for making people sign in to view stuff on their site, but in the case of their editorial about the bogus aluminium tube/nuclear program story, Brian Flemming has quoted it in this weblog entry.
Now that Iraq is FUBAR thanks to Bush and co, I have no idea how the Iraqi people are going to be able to restore any semblance of normality. Any claim that foreign troops are there at the request of the people is obvious nonsense, since they have never been asked. On the other hand, I have no illusions that life would suddenly be a bed of roses if the occupying forces left. Still, given Blair's inability to come to terms with reality, I support the present call for British troops to be withdrawn immediately. I will therefore be participating in the STWC national demo on 2004-10-17 in London.
Could we be in for a repeat of the Anzar effect in Australia? The opposition Labour Party has promised to withdraw Australian troops from Iraq if they win next Saturday's election. Anti-war rallies have taken place across the country.
Italian ex-spy discusses own role in Iraq-Niger uranium traffic hoax.
Leaked documents have revealed that Tony Blair privately promised George Bush he would not budge in his support for "regime change" in Iraq more than a year before the invasion.
I recommend reading Baghdad Year Zero by Naomi Klein, published in this month's Harper's Magazine.
Thomas Powers discusses the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report in an article for the New York Review of books called How Bush Got it Wrong.
Leaked documents have revealed that Tony Blair was warned by Jack Straw more than a year before the invasion of Iraq that it could lead to chaos.
The U.S. and it's accomplices in the invasion of Iraq have rebuffed Kofi Annan's statement about the legality of their adventure (well they would, wouldn't they). Meanwhile, Kofi has urged the Security Council to adopt the U.S. draft resolution on Dafur, which goes some way toward taking the wind out of his critics' sails.
Meanwhile, Colin Brown and Patrick Cockburn had an article published in The Independent which considers the repercussions of the UN Secretary General's opinion on the legality of the invasion (the war was "not in conformity" with the UN Security Council or with the UN Charter).
The United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has told the BBC that the US-led invasion of Iraq was an illegal act that contravened the UN charter. Nice one Kofi!
Australia's main party leaders have clashed over Iraq ahead of next month's general election.
A group of MPs declared their intention to bring a motion of impeachment against Tony Blair for High Crimes and Misdemeanours in relation to the invasion of Iraq. For details check out ImpeachBlair.org.
Colin Powell cancelled plans to attend the closing ceremony of the Olympics only hours after clashes erupted in Athens as protesters rallied to condemn the visit.
The BBC's former director general Greg Dyke has made a scathing attack on Downing Street over the Iraq war and its treatment of the BBC.
The Voices in the Wilderness UK website has got a lot of good current information about the situation in Iraq, and about how ordinary people in the UK are demonstrating solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Iraq.
In a serious blow to press freedom, Journalists have been ordered out of the holy city of Najaf.
The mother of a Scottish soldier killed in Iraq has urged Tony Blair to order the withdrawal of British troops.
A couple of days ago, Douglas Aitken posted something to the Direct Action Against War Yahoo! group, suggesting that people should give money to something called the "iraqi resistance council". I did a bit of research and posted this response.
Saddam Hussein has made a defiant first appearance before an Iraqi judge, branding George W Bush as the "real criminal".
The US has formally handed over power in Iraq, two days ahead of schedule. For the time being though, I will continue to add to these notes.
A group of retired US diplomats and generals has condemned the foreign policy of the Bush administration as ideological and callously indifferent.
The US commander at the centre of the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal, Brig Gen Janis Karpinski, has blamed the abuse on the introduction of Guantanamo-style interrogation methods.
Last week I read about John Titor who claimed to be a soldier on a mission from 2036. If you accept the premise, then the stuff he posted on the web around 2000 had some testable "predictions", including the rather dramatic one that "America will soon be engaged in civil war with itself; a civil war that we'll see the beginnings of during 2004 and 2005, escalating until it is indisputable by 2008" (according to the story, John has already gone back to 2036 so we can't ask for clarification.)
Don't worry, I believe that such time travel is impossible, and that what we are dealing with is an interesting hoax. However, I was slightly taken aback today when I read A Temporary Coup by Mark Follman, in which he quotes "intelligence expert" Thomas Powers as saying that "the White House's corruption of intelligence has caused the greatest foreign policy catastrophe in modern US history - and sparked a civil war with the nation's intel agencies." Spooky!
In the 2004-06-02 edition of The Guardian, George Galloway reminds us that "not one [UK] politician has lost their job over Iraq", and suggests that it is time they did - see Mea culpa, that's what we want.
Another milestone in the Iraq debacle has occurred. Resolution 1546/2004 was unanimously approved by the UN security council yesterday. This clears the way for "restoration of sovereignty" by the end of the month. Cause for celebration? What if someone stole your car, took it for a joy-ride, trashed the paint, removed the stereo etc and then brought it back? Would you be happy and thank them for returning what was rightfully yours? I think not. What if they also said they had given it a tune-up? You might be a bit less upset - except that this is the same criminal who sneaked into your garage last year and deliberately de-tuned it! (It was the US who supported Saddam in the first place). Bush and his cronies will milk the UN resolution for all it is worth but like the famous statue toppling it seems largely symbolic.
For me, the "handover of power" will be a time for solemn reflection (a silent vigil might be appropriate) rather than either celebration or protest. If after a month or so the Iraqi people seem to be generally happy with the way things are going I will be pleasantly surprised. On the other hand, if there is continuing widespread resistance to the US military presence then I would obviously tend to side with the Iraqi people rather than the US puppet government.
Tomorrow I will be voting in the Euro 2004 Elections in which Labour were expected to get a thrashing. The timing of the UN resolution seems suspiciously fortuitous for Mr Blair:-)
These 2004-05-26 Remarks by Al Gore are worth a read.
The recent death of Ronald Reagan has stirred things up a bit. I don't wish to be disrespectful to the dead, but at the same time it is annoying to keep hearing about what a wonderful President he was. Planet Reagan by William Rivers Pitt seems to strike the right balance:-)
Joe has created a mosaic called War President, composed of the photos of American service men and women who have died in Iraq.
Like Spain, Italy is a country whose government stupidly decided to support the US Invasion of Iraq against the wishes of the majority of the population. The authorities are now braced for unrest over the impending Bush visit.
The New York Times has come in for some very heavy criticism recently because of the widespread view that it allowed itself to become an un-critical mouthpiece for government propaganda which consisted mainly of blatant lies. In Sunday's edition a piece called Weapons of Mass Destruction? Or Mass Distraction? by the public editor, Daniel Okrent, tackled the issue.
During the 1980s many countries gave Saddam huge loans which financed his wars, palaces and oppression of his people. The US backed war against Iran led to Iranian demands for billions of dollars in reparations. Iraqi citizens around the world have founded Jubilee Iraq to call for (amongst other things) a cancellation of these odious debts.
Australia's Prime Minister John Howard is feeling the heat from Iraq. An election is expected later this year and opinion polls suggest that the opposition Labour Party is well ahead and that 63% of Australians believe that the war in Iraq was not justified.
In an interview with Democracy Now!, Ex-Marine Staff Sergeant Jimmy Massey said "I felt like we were committing genocide in Iraq."
Yesterday I was down in London, demonstrating against the occupation of Iraq yet again. The event had been called by STWC at short notice so it was not big by previous standards but we still managed to make our presence felt thanks partly to Theatre of War.
The last Spanish troops are leaving, fulfilling the election pledge made by the new Spanish government to withdraw its troops from the country.
There are some wild theories circulating about the video depicting the beheading of Nick Berg. Brian Flemming takes a shot at debunking them.
There has been some good stuff posted at BAGnewsNotes.
The Stop the War Coalition in the UK has responded to calls from groups and individuals for an emergency demonstration to respond to the atrocities being committed in Iraq. Assemble 11:00 at Embankment on Saturday May 22nd. See STWC website for details and flyers.
Thanks to Cryptome, here is the detailed US Army report which includes the following finding:
That between October and December 2003, at the Abu Ghraib Confinement Facility, numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant and wanton criminal abuses were inflicted on several detainees.
The Guardian recently published this article by George Galloway.
The US/UK invaded Iraq on a false pretext and when the charade was exposed they retrospectively justified their actions by saying that it was a humanitarian intervention. Now the Americans are torturing Iraqis in the very same prison where they suffered under Saddam. George Bush certainly knows how to make enemies! Here is an article from the New Yorker.
Yesterday was the last day of a 3 day business conference entitled "Iraq Procurement 2004:Meet the Buyers" - sponsored by Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron Texaco, Raytheon and others. A website called Their Payday had been set up to coordinate protests, based on the premise that it is part of the illegal privatisation of Iraq (see this article by Aaron Mate which explains why it is illegal).
Jo Wilding has been in Fallujah. She managed to get some supplies into a hospital despite being shot at by US troops, and then later, in the midst of a skirmish found herself taken hostage by anti-coalition fighters. Of course she was scared, but everything turned out OK. Her captors realised that she was cool, and delivered her safely back to Baghdad. US soldiers are running amok and killing many civilians - read her report.
Check out the latest Get Your War On.
The situation in Iraq seems to be spiralling out of control (as if it was ever in control) and the only positive thing about it is that there can hardly be any doubt remaining that Bush and Blair are off their respective rockers. STWC have organised an emergency lobby of 10 Downing Street for this Saturday at noon.
Jo Wilding is still posting regular reports about her experiences in Iraq. She is there as a clown bringing laughter to thousands of kids in schools and orphanages and thinking about twining projects between schools in Iraq and the UK. Check out her reports for inspiring positive stories and an antidote to the feeling of impending doom portrayed by the mainstream media ("US struggles to quell Iraq revolt" for example).
There was a good turnout for Saturday's demo in London, estimates of the number of people varied wildly as usual but 100,000 would not be a huge exaggeration. In the morning a couple of daring protesters had evaded security and scaled Big Ben to display a "Time for Change" banner. I was with Tony's soapbox trike for most of the route from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square.
Only three days now until Saturday's anti-war demonstrations marking the first anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. If you are in London on Friday you might like to check out a theatrical protest and tour of Whitehall by Theatre of War.
As expected, the case against Katherine Gun was dropped, not because there was insufficient evidence of what she did, but because the prosecution thought they would not be able to refute her justification.
Apparently the prosecution is preparing to abandon the case against Katherine Gun, the former GCHQ employee credited with lifting the lid on US "dirty tricks" spying operation against UN delegates.
Last week on "Good Morning America" Bill O'Reilly apologised to the nation for having uncritically supporting the Bush Administration's dodgy WMD claims, stopping the Apology Countdown Clock and earning a place in the Democratic Underground Top 10 Conservative Idiots list.
British spy op wrecked peace move.
Up to 50 men raid security compound in Fallujah, at least 20 killed, prisoners released.
Former US Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill is the only member of Bush's innermost circle to leave and then agree to speak frankly about what has been really happening inside the Whitehouse. Ron Suskind has written a book based on these revelations called The Price of Loyalty.
John Pilger comments on Hutton and asks whether Blair's new WMD enquiry will turn out to be another whitewash.
I am loath to get bogged down in the sordid BBC/Kelly/Blair/Hutton affair but if you want to do some research I would suggest Googling for "Operation Rockingham"+UNSCOM+Hutton.
Professor Lawrence Lessig has a blog entry about the effect on the BBC of the Hutton Report.
Take a look at EDM 300 "Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and Iraq" and encourage your MP to sign.
David Kay, head of the team searching for those elusive WMD's in Iraq has had enough of wild geese and jacked in his job. This had been widely anticipated - see 2003-12-19 New Scientist report.
For news about real life in Iraq electroniciraq.net seems like an excellent resource.
The Institute for Public Accuracy has a page about the case of Katherine Gun, who is facing charges under the Official Secrets act for leaking information about NSA surveillance of UN delegates prior to the Invasion of Iraq.
Although I am sceptical of on-line petitions due to the ease of faking results, I figured there was no harm in signing the Our World Our Say petition calling for a full judicial enquiry into whether Parliament and the British people were mislead by the Government about Iraq.
Today in Washington, U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy gave a speech in which he said that the decision to invade Iraq was grounded in the "gross abuse of intelligence" an "arrogant disrespect for the United Nations" and the GOP's desire to seize control of both houses of congress in 2002. Read more in this CNN report. Meanwhile, the winners of the Bush in 30 Seconds contest have been announced.
If you don't mind strong language or have an irony impediment I would seriously recommend taking a look at Get Your War On.
Last February five activists cut their way into Fairford Air force Base and disabled trucks and tankers used for loading B-52 bombers stationed there. All five have been charged with conspiracy and/or criminal damage and have offered a "lawful excuse" defence - trying to prevent a criminal attack on Iraq. This means that the question of whether the war was in fact illegal has to be considered by the High Court before the trial can proceed. For all the latest news on the case see Iraq War on Trial.
It has been claimed that Home Secretary David Blunkett is the only obstacle preventing the return of nine British Guantanamo detainees.
I was away over New Year and started back at work on Monday, which I had forgotten was Guantanamo Bay Lock-up Day. Unfortunately the protest was none too successful but well done to anyone who took part. While on the subject of protests, Reclaim the Bases have called for people to organise events at local military bases on the weekend of 2004-01-17 but there only seems to be one confirmed event at present - I guess January is not a good month for this sort of thing.
Political Amazon have a good article on the influence of the Politico-Christian Right in the United States, and Paul Graham has just put up an excellent essay on heresy entitled What You Can't Say. In other news, apparently the US army is having to introduce special measures to retain troops serving in Iraq - see this BBC report. And finally for today, I was looking at some of the excellent finalists in the Bush in 30 Seconds contest for anti-Bush commercials.
Should anyone dare to question Michael Moore's patriotism he appears to have a load of trumps in the form of positive letters from US troops. Of course we don't have much proof of authenticity since some of them did not want to reveal their identities for obvious reasons, and Michael might have failed to mention negative letters. I dare say there are huge flame wars going about this in numerous forums but personally I believe that the letters probably do reflect views which are fairly widespread amongst serving US troops.
The BBC reported today on international criticism of the way in which Iraqi "reconstruction contracts" are being handed out by the United States. Canada for instance has donated more than $190m but it seems that Canadian companies are barred from the action.
I don't know how I managed to miss this excellent interview with Kurt Vonnegut Jr. published shortly before the invasion of Iraq. Or for something a bit more frivolous have a look at these questions for President Bush's next press conference.
On the Fairford Peace Watch website there is a copy of an email from Scottish CND, clarifying reports of recent military aircraft movements over Scotland. I seems probable that they are related to routine exercises. Thanks to my new US informant for pointing this out!
I was looking at the Common Courage Press website and noticed an interesting book called Weapons of Mass Deception by Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber which deconstructs the PR campaign known as "Operation: Iraqi Freedom".
There have been worrying reports of unusual US military aircraft movements over Scotland.
Saturday's March went pretty well. I don't know how many people were there but Trafalgar Square was more or less full if not actually packed. I was with the mobile soapbox for the whole route from Hyde Park, being treated to live music from The Rub and helping to sell copies of the PEACENOTWAR CD.
Apparently there is growing dissent among US troops serving in Iraq - see for example this Guardian report by Tim Predemore who says "We are facing death in Iraq for no reason".
Yesterday I was at the Disarm DSEi conference in Kingsley Hall and amongst other things I took part in a discussion lead by a woman from the Stop the War Coalition. There is still plenty of activity going on in local groups and the next national demonstration will be 2003-09-27 in London, assembling Hyde Park at Noon.
www.zenatode.org.uk Ian Gregory 2010