Saddam’s terrorists.

June 21, 2014

Saddam in court in 2004.

Saddam in court in 2004.

One of the more notable arguments employed against military intervention in Iraq back in 2003, was that Saddam’s regime posed no threat to the US or UK, and hadn’t attacked, threatened or killed anyone from the US or UK. Indeed, Michael Moore’s popular anti-intervention movie Fahrenheit 9/11 takes this claim and insists that Iraq was:

“A nation that had never threatened to attack the United States. A nation that had never murdered a single American citizen.”

– I find the argument to be shrouded in ambiguity and wholly misleading. Whilst it might be true that Iraqi soldiers were not waiting for the command to storm Pennsylvania Avenue, nor is there much in the way of evidence to link Saddam or Iraq’s Mukhabarat to a cooperative relationship with al-Qaeda despite George Bush’s manipulative insistence to the contrary; to say that Iraq under Saddam had not threatened the US, or been involved in the killing of a single American citizen, is entirely disingenuous, and works to play down – in an attempt to strengthen the anti-intervention position – the role Saddam’s Iraq played in harbouring, funding, and protecting those responsible for hideous acts of terrorism resulting in the deaths of US citizens.

To shoot back in time to 1993, after leaving office, President Bush Sr took a trip to Kuwait, two years after the US helped to rid Kuwait of Saddam’s forces. During the tip, Kuwaiti intelligence discovered a plot to assassinate Bush and the Kuwaiti Emir using bomb material that they believed could have caused devastation to a quarter mile radius of the bomb site. This means it would have also murdered several other key US and Kuwaiti officials in the entourage. Kuwait arrested several suspects, including Al-Ghazali and Al-Asadi, whom both explained that Iraqi intelligence had recruited them to carry out the assassination. Bomb technicians connected the bomb circuit board and detonator that was to be used to assassinate a former US President, to known Iraqi bombs from elsewhere. So did Saddam’s Iraq threaten the US? Yes. They threatened to blow up an ex-President, and were only stopped at the very last minute.

Prior to the assassination attempt on President Bush, Saddam’s regime gave refuge several times to (and then themselves assassinated) the Palestinian terrorist Sabri al-Banna – Abu Nidal – a man who ordered the deaths of 16 people at Leonardo Da Vinci Airport in Rome from gunfire and killing two more when his men threw grenades at people boarding a flight to Israel. Nidal’s terrorist organisation is believed to have been involved in the 1972 Munich attack at the Olympics as well as aborted assassination attempts on the lives of Arafat and Abbas. Nidal, speaking of himself, said:

“I am the evil spirit which moves around only at night causing nightmares.”

– In 1986, Nidal’s group hijacked Pan AM flight 73. After sitting on the tarmac for several hours with 389 hostages, Nidal’s team threw grenades into the passengers in the cabin, injuring 100, and killing 16, including 7 Americans. Saddam had publicly kicked Nidal’s group out of Iraq in 1983 – three years before the Pan AM attack – in the hope of winning the US’s support for his war on Iran. But by 1988, Nidal’s group were back in Saddam’s good books, operating out of Syria, supported by Libya and Iraq, and were based primarily in Iraq from 1998, until Saddam had Nidal assassinated (though insisted he committed suicide) in 2004. Between 1998 and 2004, Nidal lived in Iraq, away from justice for his terrorist activities. Whether or not Saddam was involved in any way with the Pan AM massacre, is nor relevant, because he absolutely did harbour and give refuge to Nidal after the attack, allowing the terrorist network to continue unhindered. This also included harbouring Khala Khadr al-Salahat; a member of Abu Nidal’s organisation, found in Iraq in April 2003. Al-Salahat was responsible for designing the bomb that destroyed Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie in Scotland in 1988.

A more direct connection between a Nidal attack and Saddam’s regime occurred earlier in their relationship. In 1982 (at the height of their courtship) Nidal was involved in an Iraqi ordered plot to murder the Israeli ambassador in London. Nidal’s group sent Hussein Ghassan Said, Marwan al-Banna (Nidal’s cousin), and Nawaf al-Rosan (a Baghdad intelligence colonel) to assassinate Shlomo Argov as he left a London hotel. Argov was shot in the head, but survived. The hit men later admitted that the guns used in the attack were handed to them by the Iraqi embassy in London, with the order coming from Baghdad. Saddam’s men were happily attempting to assassinate people on the streets of London, ordered by a man who would go on to murder 7 Americans using grenades in a hijacked plane, and later protected by Saddam.

In 1985, Muhammad Zaidan masterminded the attack on the Italian cruise ship, the MS Achille Lauro. After demanding the release of PLO prisoners held by Israel, and being denied docking rights at Tautus, the attackers murdered disabled Jewish-American passenger Leon Klinghoffer and threw his body overboard. Abbas was arrested and subsequently freed by the Italians, moved to Gaza for a while, fled to Iraq, where Saddam protected and used him as a conduit to make payments of $25,000 to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. He died in 2004 in US custody in Iraq.

It was 11:30am on April 30th, 1980, when six terrorists from the Democratic Revolutionary Movement for the Liberation of Arabistan – sponsored by Saddam’s Iraq – stormed the Iranian Embassy in London, and held 26 people hostage. During the days that followed the terrorists went on UK TV to announce that they intended to kill hostages. True to their word, they murdered Abbas Lavasani and threw his body out of the window. BBC Journalist Chris Cramer who was one of the hostages talks of the terror he felt at being held captive in Britain, by Saddam’s terrorists:

“My fear was that having killed one hostage, why shouldn’t they kill the next one? And then again, why shouldn’t it be me?”

– It took a full SAS siege to bring the crisis to an end. Saddam’s Iraq directly sponsored a terrorist attack on Iran, on UK soil.

In February 2003, the government of the Philippines expelled the Iraqi diplomat Husham Husain for using the Iraqi embassy to make connections with known Islamist group Abu Sayyaf (not affiliated with al-Qaeda). Officials in the Philippines say that Husain received a phone call from a leading Abu Sayyaf member in October 2002, a day after an Abu Sayyaf planted bomb blast in Zamboanga City that killed American serviceman SFC Mark Wayne Jackson. The bomb was deliberately set off near to Camp Enrile Malagutay – a camp playing host to American troops. The same cell phone used to call Husain was later used in an attempt to blow up a Catholic shrine in the same area. Iraq denied that Husain had taken any phone call from Abu Sayyaf members (one of Iraq’s many lies). But then in 2006, an eight-page fax recovered from Iraq and sent from the Iraqi Embassy in Manila to Baghdad in 2001, showed that Iraq had been funding Abu Sayyaf. After Abu Sayyaf kidnapped 20 holiday makers from the Dos Palmas resort, including three Americans, which gained international attention and was undertaken without Iraq’s knowledge, the Iraqi’s lost their patience. The document reads:

“The kidnappers were formerly (from the previous year) receiving money and purchasing combat weapons. From now on we (IIS) are not giving them this opportunity and are not on speaking terms with them.”

– This confirms that the Iraqi embassy in Manila was funding a terrorist organisation and ordering them to purchase weapons, but it also seems to suggest that support for Abu Sayyaf ended in 2001, and yet it is quite clear that Husham Husain – the Iraqi diplomat – had contact with a member of Abu Sayyaf a day after the bombing of Zamboanga. It seems Iraq and Abu Sayyaf rekindled their flame sometime after the bombing of Zamboanga. The Philippine’s immigration commissioner Andrea Domingo said that Husain operated an ‘established network’ of terrorists in the country, and Abu Sayyaf terrorist Hamsiraji Sali informed The Philippine Daily Inquirer that Baghdad had been funding them with up to $20,000 a year between 2000 and 2003. A direct link between the death of an American (deliberately targeted), and Saddam’s Iraq.

The 1993 attempt on President Bush’s life, and the 2000 – 2003 (at least) funding of Abu Sayyaf, along with the harbouring of Abu Nidal and Khala Khadr al-Salahat post-1990, is a clear violation of UN Security Council Resolution 687, part 32, which reads:

“Requires Iraq to inform the Security Council that it will not commit, or support any act of international terrorism or allow any organization directed towards commission of such acts to operate within its territory and to condemn unequivocally and renounce such acts, methods and practices of terrorism.”

– And so to suggest Saddam’s regime posed no threat, and played no part in the threatening or murdering of American citizens, is a gross distortion of the whole story. Saddam utilised terrorist cells when he could (often at arms length), and irritated them elsewhere (Mullah Krekar insisted that Saddam was his sworn enemy). Saddam’s regime openly funded terrorist activities that lead to the killing of Americans. His regime attempted to assassinate an ex-President. His regime conducted a terrorist attack on a foreign embassy in London. His regime protected those already responsible for countless murders and terrorist attacks. His regime was behind the attempted murder of an Israeli official on the streets of Britain. But to read or hear some anti-war commentators – just as insistent that Saddam had not threatened or attacked the US or killed or threatened any US citizen, as George Bush was insistent that Saddam and al-Qaeda were working side by side – you would walk away under the impression that Saddam’s regime was an innocent victim of Western imperialist aggression. And that is of course, the manipulative aim. I am quite sure that the anti-war movement itself is guilty of lying or manipulating to secure support for its cause. By doing so, they grossly hide from view the crimes of one of history’s most brutal regimes, in the hope of strengthening their own position. Ironically, manipulating and hiding the facts, is the very same tactic they accuse the West of committing.


Michael Moore – An insult to the Left.

September 3, 2011

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In the late 1700s the Queen of France, Marie Antionette was quite possibly the most hated woman on the Continent. Monarchical discontent had been building for quite some time, François Fénelon’s “The adventures of Telemachus” provided the lining for the future revolution in the reign of Louis XIV, but by the time Louis XVI was removed, along with his family and the Queen from Versailles, the anti-Monarch sentiment was deep and profound, but ultimately it was whipped up in the first place, by lies. Pamphlets had spread, like tabloids, printing and shaping the public mood, moulding public sentiment, guiding the people like sheep, printing lie after lie about the Queen. Eventually, her reign and her life were taken, and history began to judge her as a monster. History now, is less vicious on her. History actually quite likes her. An awful and ignorant Queen, but a harmless woman who loved her children. The power of the press was born.

Interestingly, in 2004, the press really had taken on an anti-George Bush tone. Tabloids depicted him as a monster who was only interested in oil. The people followed suit. Joke after joke was aimed at his apparent lack of intelligence. The anti-Bush tone was set firmly against a tide of anti-Iraq war sentiment. The common wisdom now, seems to be that Bush was only interested in oil. Now, having recently came out as a left wing supporter of the Iraq war, and being quite the critic of George Bush on many policies, not least his frivolous tax cuts which simply quickened the onslaught of recession; I tend to cringe endlessly when George Bush jokes are made; they seem too simple, and too ‘milked’. The lack of understanding many on the anti-war Left have, when it comes to the horrific nature of the Saddam regime, and their willingness to allow that particular regime to continue and calling it ‘peace’ simply affirms my belief that they are the real war criminals. One of the heroes of the anti-war left is horrendous documentary maker, Michael Moore. To sit and watch Fahrenheit 9/11, is to be shocked at its content when taken at face value. Though, when one sits and questions every point Moore makes, and investigates them for oneself, on even the most basic of levels, one is presented with a whole host of inaccuracies bursting out of that film. I will talk you through a couple.

One of the main claims by Moore in the film, and in fact most on the anti-war Left in the US and Britain, and a key theme of Fahrenheit 9/11 is that Iraq;

“never threatened to attack the United States. A nation that had never threatened to attack the United States. A nation that had never murdered a single American citizen.”

– Leaving aside the fact that Hitler didn’t attack the UK, nor did Milosovich attack the US, the point that Iraq had never killed American citizens or threatened to attack the US, is simply untrue. Whilst it might be true that Iraqi soldiers were not waiting for the command to storm Pennsylvania Avenue, to say that Saddam had never murdered a single American citizen is disingenuous at best and a complete manipulation of the audiences emotions, jumping on the bandwagon of anti-Iraq war sentiment at worst. It is a fact that the Saddam regime had funded suicide bombers against Israel, which killed Americans. It is a fact that the Saddam regime paid the families of Palestinian suicide bombers who targeted Americans and Israelis. It is a fact that the Saddam regime gave refuge to terrorist Abu Nidal, a man who ordered the deaths of 16 people at Leonardo Da Vinci Airport in Rome from gunfire and killing two more when his men threw grenades at people boarding a flight to Israel. A man who said of himself:

“I am the evil spirit which moves around only at night causing … nightmares.”

It is a fact that Nidal’s men hijacked Pan AM flight 73 in 1986, and killed 7 Americans on board. It is a fact that Saddam hatched a plan to assassinate George Bush Sr in 1993 during his visit to Kuwait, with a massive car bomb that would have killed many many more, had the plot not been foiled. It is a fact that the Iraqi newspaper Babel, run by Saddam’s sun Uday, printed an article in 1997 an order to:

“American and British interests, embassies, and naval ships in the Arab region should be the targets of military operations and commando attacks by Arab political forces.”

– That sounds like a threat to me.
Another publication run by Uday, called Al-Iqtisadi, said:

“…The confrontation with the aggressors should transcend the means of condemnation and rejection, particularly in the Arab and Muslim street. They should use all means-and they are numerous-against the aggressors, including boycott, closing air and sea ports to civilian ships and airplanes that belong to the U.S. and its allies, striking their economic interests and establishments, and considering everything American as a military target, including embassies, installations, and American companies, and to create suicide/martyr [fidaiyoon] squads to attack American military and naval bases inside and outside the region, and mine the waterways to prevent the movement of war ships…

– Also sounds like a threat to me. It is bizarre that Iraq would have the nerve to refer to the US as aggressors, given the history of the Saddam regime in relation to the absolute genocide of the Kurds (the only war crime we can accuse the US of, in my opinion, is leaving Saddam in power for far too long)
Michael Moore played on his quote as if Iraq were innocent victims of American Imperialist aggression. He was wrong. Moore should apologise to the families of any American killed by an Iraqi funded Palestinian suicide bomber in Israel, for his crowd pleasing bullshit.

One wonders how the anti-war brigade would have responded during World War II. There is a scene in Fahrenheit 9/11 that show Baghdad before the invasion; a thriving city filled with people sitting at cafes and laughing in a care free manner. A happy child flies a kite. Everything seems lovely and joyful. And then the bombs hit! The insinuation is that media simply ignored the fact that Saddam’s Iraq was actually full of joy and that now you, having watched Moore’s film, know better! You are of course, not invited to investigate for yourself, nor are you given a picture of life elsewhere in Iraq. You are just asked to believe subliminally, that Iraq was a place of wonderment before the evil Americans destroyed it. The problem is quite severe here. Moore is responsible on the Left, for what we on the Left deplore institutions like Fox News for; total and utter misrepresentation:
If Moore had have focused on the Marsh Arabs instead of Baghdad, we would have seen a beautiful garden of Eden in the 1980s, filled with fishing communities and the most stunning natural wonders on the face of the Earth. Tiny islands, with one or two huts on each, like the waterways of Venice, but wider and lit up with the homes of families who had inhabited the marshes for centuries, floating between neighbours on tiny little home made rafts. He could then have contrasted that view of paradise, with now. In 1991 Saddam firstly had the water supply poisoned. This resulted in hundreds of deaths. Then, drained the marsh lands, purely because the Marsh Arabs were Shi’ites. He then rounded up the majority of the inhabitants, and had many tortured and killed. Paradise had suddenly turned into hell. It is now a desert. Since the 2003 invasion, there has been an effort by the Americans to reinvent the marshlands, and it is working. The Hammar and Hawizeh Marshes especially, accoring to USAID is back to 50% of 1970s levels, which is remarkable given the absolute destruction Saddam caused. Moore chose to ignore this.
To show a film reel of people drinking coffee and flying kites in Baghdad in 2002 is irrelevant beyond comprehension. It’s imagery is simply used to convey a prevailing theme, which is misguidance on a grand scale. Similarly, we could show film of happy Germans during the Holocaust, or happy Serbians during Milošević’s reign, it would be meaningless.

One of the bigger manipulations in the film, is the part where Moore says:

“out of the 535 members of Congress, only one had an enlisted son in Iraq.”

– Technically, the statement is true. Though it is true simply because of the emotive language. It is spoken by Moore in a sombre and disappointed tone, designed to provoke outrage. He is then seen stopping members of Congress and asking them if they’d be happy to send their children to Iraq. One of those Congressmen stopped by Moore was Republican Congressman Mark Kennedy (R-MN). Kennedy responds by pointing out that his son was en route to Afghanistan and his nephews had already served in the forces. This response was cut, and instead Kennedy is shown looking bewildered. When asked about this omission, Moore said:

“He mentioned that he had a nephew that was going over to Afghanistan, So then I said ‘No, no, that’s not our job here today. We want you to send your child to Iraq. Not a nephew.’”

– This is wholly disingenuous of Moore who absolutely knew exactly how the interview would come across, and that he was presenting one side of the story; in which Congressmen are selfish and evil, whilst other people’s families die in war. He had no reason to edit out Kennedy’s response, other than to promote his frivolous and sanctimonious crap. Further, Kennedy, whilst looking bemused by Moore in the film, actually offers to help Moore in the actual, unedited version:

Moore: Congressman, I’m trying to get members of Congress to get their kids to enlist in the Army and go over to Iraq.

Moore: Is there any way you could help me with that?

Kennedy: How would I help you?

Moore: Pass it out to other members of Congress.

Kennedy: I’d be happy to — especially those who voted for the war. I have a nephew on his way to Afghanistan.

Similarly in the film, Delaware Republican Michael Castle is seen on his phone waving away Moore’s calls to send his children to Iraq. He seems ignorant and refusing to answer the point Moore is making. The thing that Moore doesn’t tell you, is that Delaware Republican Michael Castle doesn’t have any children.

101 veterans served in the US House of Reps in 2005. 101 put their lives on the line for America. They should now stand outside Moore’s house and ask if the film maker is willing to do the same.

Aside from the glaring omissions and manipulations, the premise that Iraq was no threat and pretty peaceful before the invasion is itself gravely disturbing and bordering on criminal. Iraq under the Ba’athist regime was one of the most vicious and genocidal regimes in history. Perhaps the last great dictatorship of the 20th Century. To have followed the advice of the Michael Moore’s of the World, would have been to ignore the humanitarian disaster that was Iraq, and shout ‘peace’ on the streets, turning our heads to the suffering in the process.

The anti-war stance of Fahrenheit 9/11 was slowly blurred with an anti-Bush stance, as if the two are one in the same. As if being a supporter of the war means we must also support Bush, or vice versa. For example, in yet another sombre tone, Moore, sounding close to tears, says that the Bush regime:

“supported closing veterans hospitals.”

– This is vastly manipulative on so many levels. It is used to perpetuate the nonsensical idea that the Bush regime cared little about the soldiers sent to Iraq and Afghanistan, because their minds were on other things; oil. The problem is, it isn’t true. The Administration’s Department of Veteran Affairs did indeed propose to close certain Veteran hospitals, but only in areas with rapidly declining populations and under utilised equipment, where patients could be served better in hospitals close by. Along with this, the Administration proposed building new Veterans hospitals in areas with growing demand, and building new blind rehabilitation centers and spinal cord injury centers. None of this was mentioned in Fahrenheit 9/11.

I am slowly learning that even those who you believe have the same fundamental values as myself; a sense of social justice, redistributive wealth, freedom of expression, a desire to get to the truth – are often the people one should be most weary about. The black and white premise that the Left seems to attribute to the Bush regime; one of great evil, or to the Iraq war; one based on a lie, for oil, is often so disastrously simple and despairingly unconsidered, that it must not detract you from forming your own conclusions rather than pulling you into its merky waters of over reaction and over simplification, such as those on the Left who call constantly for Blair to be tried as a war criminal. The policy of non-intervention must be followed to its natural conclusion; Hitler would now rule Europe. Milosovich would have succeeded in genocide. Saddam would rule Kuwait. The Taliban would be funding terrorism and suppressing democratic change in Afghanistan viciously. That would all be the legacy of non-interventionism. It is a war crime in itself. I am almost certain that non-interventionism in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Serbia, in Hitler’s Germany, would have led to far more cruelty than interventionism.

Those in 18th Century France who had wholly legitimate complaints about the nature of the Bourbon dynasty, were unfortunately manipulated into a heartless and uncritical acceptance of every lie published by the anti-Antionette pamphleteers. Their simplistic acquiescence of everything they were told, by those whom they believed could never possibly distort the truth, or lie to them, because they seemed to be on their ‘side’, brought upon a decade or more of anti-intellectualism and what would have seemed like the death of the intellectual superiority of the Enlightenment.

We on the Left must learn to form our own opinions as individuals, as well as collectively. We must be able to disagree profoundly on matters that have for so long seemed so central to our uncodified doctrine. That is how we progress. We must engage on issues, and not just resort to blind acceptance of the prevailing wisdom of those on the Left who are most heard. That is how we unify. And unification of the Left, in a World that seems to be ever more dominated by the Right – in the UK, in Europe, slowly advancing in Australia, the Islamofascist regimes throughout the Middle East, and the dehabilitating and vicious nature of the American Republicans – is absolutely essential. We must not cling on to what can only be described as false prophets who perpetuate simplistic, one sided explanations and post them as objective truth. We must ignore the Michael Moores of the World. They absolutely damage and insult the intelligence of the Left.


My thoughts on Iraq and the Left

August 5, 2011

The French Revolution was a noble cause. Its goal was freedom from absolute tyranny. The shackles of Monarchy were being swept away for the sake of the enlightenment ideals of political and social rights. The cause itself was right. The methods were sometimes disturbing and wrong. The means cannot be justified regardless of the ends. Yet the ends were a noble ideal, as set out in La Fayette’s declaration of rights (though largely influenced by his friendship with Jefferson). This is how I see the Iraq war. I do not oppose the war in principle. Much of the means have been wrong, and thoroughly unnecessary, but the goal remains the right one. Political and social rights for a long oppressed people.

It seems a little odd to me that a majority of my fellow Left Wingers would oppose the Iraq war whilst the Left Wing inside Iraq has been struggling for years to firstly stop being prosecuted and systematically murdered, and secondly to get heard. There was no left wing march on London to protest the wiping out of 100,000 Kurds, or the killing of 90,000 Shi’ites. Iraq under Saddam was not that different to Kosovo under Milosovich, or Rwanda under the Tutsis. Iraq was a multi ethnic society, in which the minority ethnicity held the power, violently. Genocide is a term that can be applied to Iraq. Where were the anti-war protests, the pro-humanitarian righteous calls for Saddam to be tried for war crimes? It is almost shameful to abandon the cause of the international Left – deciding they are in a different Country, so not important – for the sake of a manic anti-Americanism stance. The cause of the international Left, is the cause of all Left wingers.

Expecting a legitimate and entirely free, well run election, in a country that has no real democratic infrastructure, in its first years, is madness. But it is a small step on the right course. I characterise the 2009 Iraqi election as a symbol more than anything. I say it was a symbol, because for a country whose citizens had been oppressed from a crime family for the past thirty years, to suddenly, at the legislative level, have thousands of women contesting electable seats is a massive achievement in itself. 75% of the parties standing candidates for election, were brand new parties. Also, in 2009, the multinational force in Iraq played no part in the security of the election process, which was presided over for the first time (an achievement, surely?) by the Iraqi security service. In 2005 elections there was no public canvassing for votes. In 2009, there was. Another achievement surely? And another symbol of the way things are, and should be going. The 2009 election, whilst it included violence and corruption unquestionably, it was also an improvement on 2005. 8 candidates were killed in 2009. 200 were killed in 2005. Suddenly displaced people and prisoners were given a vote. It is a big symbol for Iraq, and in fact for that region on the whole, given its centrality. Whilst the election took place under occupation, I cannot see it as anything but a step (albeit a small step) in the right direction. People who had been excluded from the political process for decades, suddenly having a say, is not a bad thing. And if anyone (including those of us on the pro-war side) thought the people of Iraq, after 30 years of Saddam oppression and frankly, a century or more of being played with like pawns, by the West, were suddenly going to march to the polls, in the same spirit as the democratic process in the UK, and expecting no violence or attempts to sieze power during a time when the country is essentially, new, they are delusional. The necessary infrastructure was not destroyed during the invasion itself, it was absolutely dismantled under Saddam. Said Aburish’s book “The politics of revenge” speaks of this.

The problem, as I see it, with early elections in deeply unstable countries like Iraq, is whilst continued US presence is not all that helpful, it seems to be true that if there is no real strong UN/US presence, it isn’t beyond the realm of possibility that the country will fall into the hands of anti-democratic forces again. Shia and Sunni parliamentary groups are slowly figuring out how to work together, which is far more essential than a strong UN/US presence, to prevent the country sliding into civil war, but it isn’t quite there yet. On this point, I am in two minds. I do think a strong UN/US presence is necessary in the early years, to provide support for a fledgling democracy against the plethora of groups that would like to install a new anti-democratic, anti-western, violent regime, which whether we like it or not, will always result in new tensions and aggression from the West again; but at the same time, we see the result of US presence with the democratic process in Afghanistan, and that leaves a lot to be desired, even though to pull Western support entirely from Afghan, would almost certainly lead to a renewed Taliban insurgency and a take over of government again, which is not helpful at all. So I certainly don’t see this as black and white. I simply think it is far too complex a situation, which many on the anti-war left tend to forget.

To have listened to the advice of the anti-war Left for the past twenty years, we would now have had a Milosovich who succeeded in Bosnia/Serbia. Kosovo would have been ethnically cleansed. Saddam would still be in power. The Taliban would be more powerful than ever. Iraq would have been a repeat of Rwanda – a campaign that never happened, I presume to the delight of the anti-war left. The anti-war left therefore, should horribly ashamed of themselves. I would be ashamed to align myself with such thoughts. It is important to note, their objection was not in the way the war was handled, or in the doubtless in-competencies of the rebuilding effort. Their objection was the principle of going to war against a leader whose country had been described as one big concentration camp. How they justify that objection, from a left wing perspective, is beyond my comprehension i’m afraid. They hold up peace signs, whilst people are raped and tortured to death. They say “War is terrorism” whilst they fellow left wingers are brutally murdered. It is the height of ignorance and betrayal.

They tend to complain that America supports dictators around the World (which America certainly has unjustly done), but then they lose my support when they complain when America takes the opposing view and tries to rid a Nation of a dictator. I absolutely welcome the change of policy from tacit support to regime change of notoriously criminal regimes.

I am not sure where the anger lies? In the war itself; which to me seems like a military operation to rid the World of one of the last and most vicious dictators of the 20th Century, create a Federalised democratic process to try to address the many cultural differences, which surely cannot be morally unjustified, given that the old ways certainly didn’t work. Or in the way the reconstruction was handled and the failure to plan for the influx of extremists aided by Iran and dedicating their efforts to destroying any form of infrastructure. The former, as i’ve pointed out, was hardly an act of unprovoked aggression when – when you glance back over the past thirty years, you see an Iraq that had been torn apart, its people savaged, tortured, raped and murdered, and endless UN resolutions disobeyed and just plain pissed on, Saddam’s funding of Palestinian suicide bombings against Israel and the awful consequences that the Kurds had to face for wanting independence. The reconstruction, was surely execute poorly and our continued forceful and at times disturbing presence (Abu Ghraib comes to mind) simply acted to provoke sectarian violence, but if we expected a long oppressed people to suddenly become the beacon of freedom, and weak infrastructure not to be the target of those who wish to assert another dictatorship over Iraq; we are hopelessly naive. Though surely we’d agree to the following points:

  • Saddam was evil. On the level of evil as Milosovich and other 20th Century dictators.
  • Iraq is better off without Saddam.
  • Building a new Nation on the grounds of a failed State will take time, but is worth it.
  • Taking a State out of the hands of Islamic extremists is in the interests of all of us.
  • Leaving Saddam in place, would only have required intervention at some point in the future, given that he’d spent ten years disobeying all UN resolutions.

    There are also profound questions we need to ask:

  • Were we right to have left Saddam in power after he left Kuwait?
  • Were we right to put sanctions on the Country which no doubt contributed to the suffering of the people?
  • And if we were right in both of those questions, should we have left him in power in 2003 and just kept up the sanctions?
    If you answer yes to all of those, then I am afraid you and I deeply disagree.

    There is a will among anti-war Left, to make sure nothing of any positivity be mentioned in regard to the Iraq war. If there is a rational argument presented for the Iraq war, it is ignored, because it might contradict a deeply held anti-American, anti-Blair view. If any of us dare to mention that we supported the War, support the democratic aftermath, and think it a war, much like Kosovo, to be proud of, we are vilified, especially if we are on the Left. If we were on the Right, our support for the War could be attributed to a dumb, Fox News Watching populace who cannot help but see America as a great Nation dedicated to the pursuit of freedom. As it happens, I am very critical of American foreign policy. There reluctance to involve themselves in Rwanda disgusts me. Reagan’s support for Right Winged terrorists and manic dictators throughout Latin America, disgusts me. But Afghanistan and Iraq have always been issues of contention for me. I never knew where I stood. Now I do. I absolutely, unequivocally support both wars. As a left winger, I support both wars for humanitarian reasons; because Iraq is far better off without the Saddam regime, and Afghanistan is far better off without the Taliban regime. Stability and security is a matter that has been rife with incompetence from coalition, but it will take time. I am of the belief that a democratic Iraq is achievable, and far more preferable to the population (look at the last election results) than a Sunni or Shia sectarian dictatorship; a dictatorship that was absolutely Fascist in its governing, and no less evil than Milosovich’s Kosovo.

    The anti-war marches always seemed a little ignorant and Nationalist in sentiment, to me. There is a whole host of hypocrisy involved too. One wonders where those Western Muslims who insist on supporting their “brothers” and “sisters” in Iraq against “Western Imperialism” were when Saddam was allowing mass executions, genocide and rape to take place. They seem to have only discovered this sense of brotherhood, after 2003. Shameful.

    The calls for Blair to be sent to the Hague – questions arose in my mind…. why? Why should he be tried? What evidence do you have that the Prime Minister, like Milosovich, wished to wipe out Iraqi civilians, and send thousands of servicemen and women to their deaths? Oil? Really? Couldn’t we have saved the trouble and struck a deal with the Saddam regime, in return for aid or the lifting of sanctions? Because he hasn’t said sorry for dead soldiers? Neither did Churchill…. and I challenge you to tell an Iraqi who was held at a Baathist underground torture prison, as seen here, having his eyes gorged out, that Saddam wasn’t as bad as Hitler. What use is a left wing if it turns its head to social injustice on the basis of an abstraction like Nationality and distance from the injustice? It is as if the protesters were not too bothered by the horrific crimes against humanity administered by the Saddam regime. As if they were not too fussed that before Saddam, Iraq had an economy that surpassed Portugal and Malaysia, and after Saddam, it was one of the poorest nations on Earth. They didn’t seem to care much that in 2002, the UN issued a warning against Saddam, accusing the regime of:

    systematic, widespread and extremely grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.

    … it is as if the international Left would rather have stayed out of the conflict, and the obvious humanitarian crises and years of genocide, for reasons simply to do with Nationality. It wasn’t “our” problem. As if humanity is not one species. It is like saying “The red headed man is punching his red headed wife….. I wont help, because i’m not red headed, so it doesn’t concern me.” The continuation of the Baathist regime cannot be justified by those of us on the Left. It was an abomination. It represented an imperialism imposed by religious extremism, resulting in poverty, oppression, institutionalised rape and genocide. We also cannot ignore the ten years worth of warning the UN had given to Iraq.
    The UN demanded that Iraq put a complete halt on:

    summary and arbitrary executions… the use of rape as a political tool and all enforced and involuntary disappearances

    I cannot bring myself to say that a war that toppled a man who used rape as a political tool, was using widespread and “extremely grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law“, was wrong or illegal.

    Under Saddam thousands of Communist Party members were tortured and killed. Husain al-Radi, the leader of the Communist Party and exceptional painter/poet was tortured and killed after the 1963 Baathist coup.

    Under Saddam, the worst chemical attack in history took place. 1988, against the Kurds, the Halabja massacre, in which 5000 people died, 10000 more injured, and thousands more suffering birth defects every day. I implore you to imagine walking down a street in Halabja that day, and watching as thousands of people going about their every day lives choked to death; children’s skin burning and blistering, screaming in pain, before they dropped dead. One thing is for certain, most of the anti-war Left would be calling for Saddam’s head to be bought to London and stuck on a pole in the Tower of London, had he done the same thing in London. For a powerful Western Nation to sit back, and allow it to happen, is immoral. To support inaction, in my opinion, is a war crime.

    Guy Dinmore of the Financial Times was stationed 14km outside of Halabja, and recalled entering the town after the attack:

    It was life frozen. Life had stopped, like watching a film and suddenly it hangs on one frame. It was a new kind of death to me. You went into a room, a kitchen and you saw the body of a woman holding a knife where she had been cutting a carrot. (…) The aftermath was worse. Victims were still being brought in. Some villagers came to our chopper. They had 15 or 16 beautiful children, begging us to take them to hospital. So all the press sat there and we were each handed a child to carry. As we took off, fluid came out of my little girl’s mouth and she died in my arms.

    – Knowing that the President of a country is capable of such an atrocity, to demand Blair’s head on a plate simply for a “45 minute claim” that may or may not have been exaggerated, seems beyond petty.

    Under Saddam vast environmental damage was caused in Kuwait, when Iraqi forces retreated from their invasion of Kuwait, and set land minds in the oil fields after setting the oil fields on fire. The fires raged for ten months, creating an environmental disaster, deep respiratory problems for Kuwaitis ensued. The land and the wildlife of the surrounding region was destroyed. Where were the protesters in London? I guess they were at petrol stations, wondering why their petrol cost was increasing, on their way to a shopping mall, whilst 6 million barrels of oil a day were burning in Iraq and causing a humanitarian and environmental crises. The international Left should have been acting to oust Saddam then and there.

    Yanar Mohammed, the Iraqi Feminist and head of “Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq” moved back to Iraq after self imposed exile for fear of her life, after the invasion by coalition troops. Her group now fights against sexual slavery and forced prostitution. It provides safe houses for victims of domestic abuse and those threatened with honour killings. She claims to have saved 30 women from honour killings. Under Saddam, those 30 killings would have taken place, and there would be nowhere for victims of domestic abuse or sexual slavery inside Iraq to turn to. At Saddam’s trial, a woman who didn’t wish to be identified testified against the Dictator, stating:

    “I was beaten up and tortured by electrical shocks, I begged them, but they hit with their pistols. They made me put my legs up. There were five or more, and they treated me like a banquet.

    The woman was 16 at the time.
    Yanar Mohammed is pushing for the de-baathistisation of the Country’s attitudes to women. Another step in the right direction, and a signal that Iraq is far better off without Saddam or the Baath Party. The international Left should be recognising people like Yanar Mohammed and helping her cause, rather than focusing on endless criticism of America.

    Azzam Alwash is the director of “Nature Iraq“, the Country’s first and only Environmental organisation. He is working to restore the marshes of Southern Iraq. The beautiful region, full of wildlife and natural wonder, considered by some to be the “cradle of civilisation” and the Garden of Eden, was destroyed by Saddam. The Marsh Arabs had supported a Shiite uprising against Saddam in the early 1990s. The marsh Arabs had lived in floating huts on a plethora of canals that were divided between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Saddam had thousands of the marsh Arabs tortured and killed, and their livestock slaughtered. The huts were burned, and the water was poisoned. As many as 500,000 fled the attack. Land mines were placed in and around the marshes to make sure no one would go back. For centuries the marshes of Southern Iraq were teeming with wildlife and aquatic life. After 1990, it was baron, drained, poisoned, and covered in land mines. The UN in 2001 named it as one of the greatest environmental disasters of all time. Alwash intends to re-flood the marshes and restore the wildlife. This would not have been possible under Saddam. Alwash would most likely have been tortured and killed for even suggesting it. The south was one of the places that the Iraqi people were delighted to welcome coalition troops in 2003.

    America has always influenced Iraqi affairs. They helped empower Saddam. They trained and armed Iraqi soldiers against Iran during the conflict in the 1980s, by making it easier to transport weapons by arbitrarily removing Iraq from the “State Sponsors of Terrorism” list. The US miserably abandoned their Kurdish allies in 1975 leading to genocide (the abandonment of the Kurds is the moral indignation that should lead to US Officials – in particular, Kissinger – tried for war crimes, not 2003). There were, as far as I can tell, only one way the Americans could put right their continued involvement in Iraqi affairs; topple the dictator, install a democratic process, leave. And whilst the process was at times incompetent and at other times absolutely abhorrent, the goal is the right one.

    Interestingly, a poll of 2737 Iraqis interviewed by ABC News with the necessary field work conducted Oxford Research International of Oxford, found that 78 percent of Iraqis reject violence against coalition forces, although 17 percent — a sixth of the population — call such attacks “acceptable.” One percent, for comparison, call it acceptable to attack members of the new Iraqi police. This to me suggests that whilst people in Iraq may have tired of coalition forces during the war, they respected the new Iraqi police force and the rule of law set by the new Iraqi State. Also, forty percent of Arabs (who make up 79% of the population) supported the presence of coalition forces in 2005, compared with 82 percent of Kurds. Of the entire population, 48% said the invasion was right, whilst only 39% said it was wrong. And whilst the media and the anti-war Left like to imagine that life is impossible now for Iraqis, the poll found that 70% are happy with their lives now, 71% expect their lives to improve in the coming years, and only 19% say they are worse off after the war than before. Only 15% said that coalition forces should “leave now” (this was 2005). 36%, the majority, said coalition forces should leave once a stable Iraqi government is in place. Now, short of providing their own evidence to the contrary, I would expect the anti-war left to insist that the research is coalition propaganda, at that point, I cease to listen to them.

    To conclude, I tend to question popular sentiment as much as possible. Call it a need to argue. So when my own political allies on the Left come to a conclusion that seems a little drastic (Send Blair to the hague for war crimes, for example), I tend to want to look into the arguments further. On Iraq, I disagree profoundly with the vast majority of the Left. I also think they have betrayed their desire for superior investigative journalism, by attaching their reasoning to the claims of Gilligan, which I shall discuss in more depth tomorrow. The Left should have mobilised against Saddam and called for his overthrow years ago. They should have stood shoulder to shoulder with groups fighting for freedom in Iraq. This, they failed to do. They abandoned the international cause of the Left, for the sake of rabid anti-Americanism and a desire to see Blair in prison. Their objections on the whole, came down to national allegiance. And most will start their argument with “Yeah, I know Saddam was an evil dictator but…“. To me, that is where their argument has fallen. It is a hopelessly flippant statement that deserves absolutely no respect. From the comfort of a Western perspective, in which we can think what we wish without worrying our neighbours may be spying on us, and that we may be tortured or murdered at any second; to say Saddam was evil, is just words. Meaningless words. From a privileged and relatively free Western perspective, where we are not forced to demonstrate our loyalty to our leader on fear of torture, or made to watch and applaud the execution of our family members, we know nothing, we cannot imagine the horror of living day by day under such an oppressive regime, we cannot put ourselves in the shoes of the Kurds, the Shia and the Marsh Arabs. In Iraq, the biggest threat was not American imperialism, it was a regime that was absolutely beyond evil. Evil is a word that cannot be applied easily, but the Saddam regime was evil. To suggest we understand at all, and to still oppose the war, represents a deep betrayal of the principles of social justice on which the left is built. What good is a left that has resigned itself to arbitrary National borders? To speak of “we” as a collective nation, rather than “we” as a movement for social justice, represents an appalling betrayal of our principles. The anti-war Left (many of whom struggle to place Basra on a map) should be ashamed.

    It is true that Iraq now is a hotbed of sectarian violence and terrorism, but it is improving. It cannot be expected to become a peaceful democratic state so quickly, after suffering so many years of oppression. I assert that the war was the right course to take, the rebuilding effort is going to be long and dangerous but it sets the correct course for the future of Iraq, and tomorrow I will expand on this further.


  • The Afghanistan problem and the anti-war Left

    July 30, 2011

    There is an inclination on the Left (especially the Student Left) to be manically, and irrationally anti-war. There is no room for movement. They will call for Blair to be tried for War Crimes (here is a wonderfully simplistic sight, that calls Blair a monster). They will show the bodies of innocent people killed in Iraq or Afghanistan and demand Blair and Bush be hung for crimes against humanity, yet oddly they don’t wish to draw the same conclusion with Churchill, or Roosevelt; allied bombers are responsible for far more civilian deaths during World War II. Therefore, they are absolutely irrational, selective, and living in a dream World. They are patently anti-war. A man could be stabbing you, and they’d insist on “understanding” the differences, culturally, between the two of you, and then working on a diplomatic solution. Their determination to continue irrationally, and hijack the Left Wing, so that it encompasses anti-war into its way of thinking, is a veritable insult to those of us on the Left who are far more practical and logical, taking each conflict that arises as requiring different solutions, and that sometimes, war is the only way.

    If you read Tariq Ali of the Stop The War group, he seems to completely exonerate Pakistan of any wrong doing, and put all blame for any problem in Afghanistan and Pakistan, at the door of America. It thus perpetuates the myth that religious evil persisting on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the support for that evil from the Pakistan ISI is somehow a problem we should “understand” at the very best, and just ignore at the very worst.

    One must wonder if they think the lack of force used against the Interahamwe in Rwanda, was the right course of action, given that it was peaceful yet resulted in a genocide.

    I absolutely support the war in Afghanistan. I think it’s a long term war, against an enemy that is relentless, and happy to use their own bodies to kill anyone who does not follow their religious doctrine. Had I been Prime Minister in 2001 after 9/11, i’d have made the same decision as Blair. Had I been Prime Minister in 2003, when all the intelligence was pointing to Saddam having WMDs, and the fact that he’d been obstructing Weapons inspectors, and had already broken well over 10 UN Resolutions, I’d have gone into Iraq too. People who will use religion as a justification for declaring war (which they did on 9/11/2001) should be hunted down on every corner of the Globe, and eliminated. We should not be taking their cultural ideals into consideration. Believe whatever you wish, but when your belief is enshrined in violence, your belief deserves to be wiped off the face of the planet. Believe in Fascism if you wish, but the moment you try to spread your vile system using violence, then it becomes a problem.

    The attack against the World Trade Centre was not an attack against American aggression. Islamic terrorism had been growing for years. Those who support its doctrines do indeed wish their reading of Islam to become the accepted norm. This is evident with the killing of Ahmed Shah Massoud on September 9th 2001. Massoud was a great man by anyones definition. He fought the Soviets, helping to drive them out of Afghanistan, and then continued to fight the Taliban, and staunchly attacking their interpretation of the Koran. He was assassinated by radical Muslims two days before the 9/11 attacks. They didn’t kill him because he was American; he wasn’t. They killed him because he posed a threat to their perverted and dangerous doctrine.

    After taking control of much of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban installed the most vicious and violent form of Shariah law that any Islamic nation has ever had to endure. For Massoud’s part in trying to destroy the Taliban regime, he was nominated in 2002 for a Nobel Peace Prize, and has a National Day named after him, in his honour. Can you imagine living in a country that was essentially free and modernising rapidly, to a Country that suddenly banned education, sports, and leaving the house without a male chaperon for all women? Can you imagine suddenly become a Country that forced all men to have a fist sized beard on their chin on pain of public torture if disobeyed? Where suddenly you could be put to death for owning a TV or sending a Christmas Card. A Country in which a woman would be publicly executed if she had been seen by a Male doctor, no matter how sick she was? That was not Afghanistan prior to 1996. But it was Afghanistan in 1996-2001? All this whilst they funded and trained extremists carrying out bombing missions against US Embassies.

    According to a UN Report, most civilian deaths in Afghanistan since 2001, have been caused by the Taliban insurgency. They are also focussing their attacks on unarmed Aid workers. 76% of civilian deaths in 2009, according to the UN Report have been caused by the Taliban. They do not care who they kill. They want control of a country, for religious ideological reasons. Here are a group that helped carry out attacks on US embassies, harboured terrorists, helped to fund and plan 9/11, assassinated an opposition leader, refused to allow women the right to leave the house alone, carried out extreme torture and execution on a daily basis, and who would kill you and I, and I don’t think It’d be a leap to say they’d most certainly use chemical or biological weapons against the West or any anti-Islamic fundamentalist group, if they had the capability; all of this and the anti war left do not see it as sufficient to intervene? By that same reasoning, should we have left Milošević alone?

    The problem on the Western Side, was that a lot of Muslims believed that whilst Terrorism was wrong, they felt a sense of “brotherhood” with Muslims in Afghanistan, and therefore felt it was a battle between the West and Islam. Which is a ridiculous argument. The Crusades are long dead. I am an Atheist, not a Christian. I couldn’t care less what religion a man in a desert in Afghanistan chooses to adhere to. The fact that Turkey supplied troops to the war against the Taliban also suggests this wasn’t a war on Islam.

    There is another attack, that seems to have no actual end, or point to it. “Yeah, but America funded the Taliban in the 80s against the Soviets!”.
    Absolutely. It was the wrong thing to do. The US created a Monster. I absolutely do not support the Reagan administration in pretty much anything it did. It funded Right winged terrorists throughout Latin America in an attempt to spread American Capitalism. But that was the Reagan Administration. The Foreign landscape was entirely different, and just because they created the monster for short sighted reasons, doesn’t mean that they should wash their hands of that monster 20 years later.

    Afghanistan needs to be a fully functioning State. That is absolutely impossible with a Taliban presence. A Taliban presence means terrorism, which means mass instability across the region, and presents a worry for Pakistan with it’s Nuclear capability. A functioning State of Afghanistan, progression both economically and politically can only take shape without the Taliban.

    The issue Afghanistan clearly has now, is Karzai isn’t exactly Mr Clean himself. In 2009, of the 66 polling sites in Kandahar, 100% of the vote came out in favour of Karzai. In the Zherai Awal Camp, 2,100 people are eligible to cast a vote for the Afghan President. Of those 2100………… 2300 apparently voted according to the polling report, and everyone of them voted for Karzai. Karzai’s opponent, Abdullah Abdullah refused to carry on the election, citing his lack of faith in the Government’s ability to allow a fair and free election. He has since started the Campaign for Change and Hope in Afghanistan, as a new Party for Democratic reform. The fact that that Campaign from Abdullah Abdullah is allowed to exist, a party for Democratic reform, shows that Afghanistan has come far, and is much better off, and certainly now on a decent path, which it would not have been on had the Taliban still been in control. In early 2001, Abdullah Abdullah travelled to Europe to ask for financial aid, to help Afghanistani people affected by the cruelty of the Taliban regime, he said without the aid of Pakistan and Bin Laden’s group, the Taliban would be history.

    Karzai is currently offering to negotiate peace with the Taliban. The problem with that is, the Taliban do not want stability, or a functioning democratic state. They are not fighting to keep America out. That is simply a clever propaganda tactic. They are fighting to control Afghanistan and force a harsh environment where Shariah is the law of the land, and terrorism can be supported.

    I think the objective is pretty clear. Al Qaeda and the Taliban are absolutely linked. The link extends to the stability of Afghanistan. The link extends to Pakistan and its Nuclear program. To build a free and democratic Afghanistan that isn’t ruled by oppressive gangsters supporting terrorism, and to ensure that particular group do not develop Nuclear capability, we must stay the course in Afghanistan and ensure its State becomes strong and capable of self defence. To allow the Taliban the opportunity to retake Afghanistan, would only lead to another 9/11 and another failed State that requires further intervention. Do it now, or try to do it again and again and again every few years.

    We also have to win the propaganda war. There are doubtless section of Western Muslim community who actually believe that the Taliban are the defenders of Islam and the heroes fighting Western imperialism. Do they oppose Abdullah Abdullah? Do they oppose democratic change? Does the anti-war Left believe the only legitimate option for Afghanistan was an oppressive Taliban regime who would gladly light the fuse that blew up the West? To let that kind of Fascism persist, in my opinion, is a great evil. To turn a blind eye to it, as we did with Rwanda, is a great evil. It must be confronted.

    It does not help the US’s case, that individual soldiers seem to believe they are above the law, and somehow manage to get acquitted for awful crimes. In my eyes the war is justified, but it has to be fought on the standards of the outcome it wishes to achieve; the rule of law, and stability. To forgo the judicial process for individual US soldiers who have committed crimes in Afghanistan, only adds fuel to the fire of mistrust and the entire anti-war left start to suspect the entire war effort as having sinister undertones. It doesn’t take long on the Stop The War Coalition website to come across an article mentioning oil; another argument I always find horrifically simplistic.

    The biggest disadvantage the Taliban have, is the collective memory of a rather annoyed population who remember the dark days of 1996-2001. Rory Stewart, an expert on Afghanistan, write:

    The Hazara, Tajik and Uzbek populations are wealthier, more established and more powerful than they were in 1996 and would strongly resist any attempt by the Taliban to occupy their areas. The Afghan national army is reasonably effective. Pakistan is not in a position to support the Taliban as it did before. It would require far fewer international troops and planes than we have today to make it very difficult for the Taliban to gather a conventional army as they did in 1996 and drive tanks and artillery up the main road to Kabul.

    – With this in mind, there are now projects in Afghanistan that are community led rather than foreign aid led, to build a stable Country. But whilst these are small steps in the right direction, the shady Karzai regime has taken two steps back. The reason the Executive branch of the new Afghanistan Government has powers beyond that of the US President or the UK Prime Minister, is because strong leadership is needed in the first years following its foundation. In an era where the Taliban are winning the propaganda war, a weak executive and a strong Parliament could be potentially disastrous. Karzai needed to act decisively, and honestly. The quite obvious election corruption by the Karzai regime was one massive reason the executive branch of this new State could be endangered, but beyond that, he is calling for Taliban fighters to stop the violence and back to new government. For me, this simply tells the Taliban that they can’t be defeated, that the Karzai government and their allies in the UK and US are too tired to fight any longer and are willing to accept compromise. Progress in human rights, and the rebuilding of the State is under threat, with the apparent desire to appease the Taliban. As Karzai attempted to negotiate with the Taliban, they killed his brother, and other top ranking officials. The US is not helping matters, as Robert Gates, the US Defence Secretary said the US would engage in political talks with the Taliban by the end of the year. Shortly after Karzai revealed that the US and Afghanistan was in “PEACE” talks with the Taliban, announcing to the press that the talks were “going well”, four suicide bombers attacked a police station next to the Afghan Finance Ministry. The Taliban admitted they carried out the attacks. I must concur with Col Richard Kemp, a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, when he said:

    “The only possibility that (peace) could happen is if they as a movement are defeated and there’s no prospect of that happening in the near future.”

    These are not people to be appeased, they do not want to be part of a democratic process. They don’t want to give people a choice on whether they’re wanted in power or not, they want absolute power, and rule by fear, torture and murder. They are a threat to their own people, and they are a threat to the World. And until we discover the true nature of the Pakistani ISI and their links to the Taliban, we may be a long way from defeating them, though it’s a necessity. On the subject of Pakistan, they must be treated with suspicion and watched carefully. According to a report by Matt Waldman of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy Kennedy School of Government, at Harvard University;

    Directly or indirectly the ISI appears to exert significant influence on the strategic decisionmaking and field operations of the Taliban; and has even greater sway over Haqqani
    insurgents. According to both Taliban and Haqqani commanders, it controls the most violent
    insurgent units, some of which appear to be based in Pakistan

    – With this sort of accusation, it is less surprising that Osama Bin Laden was found next to a military compound in Pakistan. I would feel almost certain in saying he was being protected by the ISI, and more than that; I’d say that Mullah Omar, the Taliban Leader, is also hiding in Pakistan under the protection of the ISI. Mullah Omar is a man who has said he will hunt and kill Americans like dogs. In fact, captured Taliban insurgent Muhammad Hanif made that exact confession. Hanif admitted that Mullah Omar is in the Pakistani city of Quetta. Obviously Pakistan have denied this, yet the US (who insist their relationship with Pakistan is strong and based on mutual trust) seem to think there might be some truth in it, given that the Wikileak earlier this year showed that the US diplomatic community believe the ISI to be a terrorist organisation.

    There is no choice for the West. We either stay the course, regardless of how long it takes, and ensure this vile Fascist form of Islam is not allowed to take control of Afghanistan or any other Country, or we allow them to keep stabbing us, and just hope that one day they will suddenly understand that we have our differences, and they retract the knife despite having caused irreparable damage. I am not entirely sure what the anti-war Left propose we should do with the problem of Afghanistan.

    That is why I fully support the war, and a continued campaign in Afghanistan.


    The way of the Huckabee

    December 1, 2010

    Former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee has called for whomever leaked the cables to Wikileaks, to be executed. Interesting. When Islamic extremists issue fatwas against people like Salmond Rushdie, our politicians rush to condemn them. They are barbaric. They are left overs from the Middle Ages. But apparently, American Republicans can issue death threats against whomever they so wish; especially if it intrudes on their apparent inherent right to be the bringers of war and destruction across the World.

    Huckabee said:

    ‘Whoever in our government leaked that information is guilty of treason, and I think anything less than execution is too kind a penalty’

    A little extreme perhaps. But then i’ve always said, those who worship their abstract, fantasy World of the concept of “Nation” are just as moronic as those who worship their fantasy World of “Religion“. Huckabee wants to put someone to death for the sake of his abstract concept.

    Huckabee, ironically, is part of a political party that sent thousands of troops to their deaths in a war that won support on the basis of a lie. In 2003 a letter was conveniently found in Saddam Hussein’s house, from one of the 9/11 bombers, Mohammad Atta, and the head of Saddam’s Iraqi Intelligence, General Tahir Jalil Habbush. The letter read:

    “To the President of the Ba’ath Revolution Party and President of the Republic, may God protect you.”
    reads:
    “Mohammed Atta, an Egyptian national, came with Abu Ammer [the real name behind this Arabic alias remains a mystery] and we hosted him in Abu Nidal’s house at al-Dora under our direct supervision.
    We arranged a work program for him for three days with a team dedicated to working with him…He displayed extraordinary effort and showed a firm commitment to lead the team which will be responsible for attacking the targets that we have agreed to destroy.”

    It was convenient, because it was simply false. The man named Nidal was an enemy of Hussein. I wrote about this in a previous blog in greater detail than I will go into here. Needless to say, the document is not authentic. This comes years after Pulitzer Prize winning Journalist and Author Ron Suskind, suggested that the Bush White House along with the CIA had forged the document to suggest a pre-war link between Iraq and Al Qaeda to back up their authority for war. Given that, according to Wikileak documents leaked a few months back, this little lie, along with the tidal wave of lies the Republicans threw at the World in order to gain support for their illegal war, caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, shouldn’t Huckabee be getting his priorities straight, and quit worrying about how many rich Americans in expensive suits these leaks embarrass, and worry about his weak interpretation of the word “treason”?

    Every President for the past, at least, 100 years should be tried for treason. Reagan funded and armed right winged terrorists in Nicaragua, and so was indirectly responsible for thousands of innocent lives lost.
    General Suharto of Indonesia is estimated to have killed around 1,000,000 people in 1965, after the US gave lists of known Communist sympathisers, making it easier to round them up and execute them. Arms deals then propped up the Suharto dictatorship through the reign of President Ford right up to President Clinton.
    $112,000,000 worth of arms were passed to Suharto’s regime, from the Carter administration.
    During the invasion of East Timor, but the Suharto regime in Indonesia, supported by the Americans; the UN had a vote calling for Indonesia to stop its invasion immediately. The vote was blocked by the US who also blocked a vote to impose economic sanctions on the Country.
    Ford’s Secretary of State Henry Kissinger told Suharto, on his absolutely abhorrent invasion of East Timor:

    “It is important that whatever you do succeeds quickly; the use of US-made arms could create problems.”

    Kissinger knew that what he was supporting and helping, was nothing short of genocide. Strangely, Huckabee hasn’t called for Kissinger to be executed.

    The problem isn’t that the leaker, or Wikileaks puts anyone in danger. They don’t. What they do, is embarrass World Governments. Especially America. It is long overdue quite frankly. Politicians like Huckabee would quite like to be able to get away with murder, without being hindered by those pesky journalists.

    They set a precedent; they show that technology has reached a point where it is possible for those working within the system to say “Hang on, this is wrong, this needs to stop” and leak the relevant information and misdeeds to the press, without meeting in a car park and handing over brown envelopes. Politicians like Clinton, and Obama, and Huckabee, and Bush are not concerned with National Security, they are concerned that their quite obvious misdeeds and crimes are being made public. It is the equivalent of a murderer complaining that the press made his name public, and that it might make his neighbours dislike him now. Boo fucking hoo.

    Wikileaks is doing what journalism should have been doing for years. This is the job of journalism.
    It seems to have become the job of the press, to add fuel to the cancer of Nationalism/Patriotism. To mask all shocking details of what our Country undertakes in our name, behind a wall. On one side of the wall, the press place us…. portrayed as the great victims of the evil Arab and Socialist World. On the other side of the wall, they place everyone else. The problem is, the wall doesn’t exist. It is an illusion. To keep us supporting this shit, they wave an English or American flag every so often, and play our National Anthem. Suddenly, we don’t need to question what sort of crimes our Governments are committing, because they must be doing the right thing; they’re English after all!

    The Press tend to toe the Government line, certainly on foreign policy issues. Even the BBC, that beacon of independent broadcasting, in 2004 referred to Blair as the “great liberator”, and not in an ironic sense.
    We seem happy to read versions of stories sourced by government officials and business leaders (as if their word is truth), influenced by the needs and desires of advertisers, and playing to the political and business sympathies of editors; who all create a sort of fantasy World, but the moment any potentially embarrassing story is leaked, we bang on about National Security. As if it’s the fault of those who leaked the fact that our governments are shit and our ridiculously clouded National Pride is a little bit misplaced.

    It isn’t irresponsible. We’re fucking irresponsible for constantly electing corrupt lying money hungry bastards. Governments are irresponsible for playing such a dangerous game with diplomacy, and invoking a sense of the abstract concept of National Pride whenever we’re heading toward a conflict, whether we’re morally right or not.
    We’ve known for years anyway, that governments and big business are absolute bastards, it’s nice to have it confirmed.

    Yet some people seem to have said….. “Oh my god, the UK has been supporting torture, and bad mouthing other Nations. They also are responsible for millions of civilian deaths in the Arab World……….including children!!!……………….. who fucking leaked this, the bastards!!
    Get your priorities straight.

    There needs to be a place where the misdeeds of government and business can be aired without being twisted by vested interests in the press. There is no Andy Coulson or Alastair Campbell to spin the truth.

    Also, there exists quite a contradiction within Capitalist countries, especially from the Right, who want wikileaks closed down. The hollow cries of “keep government out of the market” are suddenly ignored, whenever they demand it. It’s almost laughable how hypocritical the bastards actually are. Jefferson said that a free press was essential to democracy. Well, this is what a free press does. Accept it.

    One of the leaks shows that whilst the US and UK have been telling us that no official log of civilian deaths in Iraq exists at all, it actually does exist. It shows that the US had continually ignored hundreds of cases of rape, child abuse, torture, beatings, and murder by the Iraqi police. It shows also that the US and UK know that at least 109,000 innocent Iraqis have died as a result of the Iraq war. A war that was sanctioned on the basis of a complete lie. The Republicans, of whom Huckabee is one, are responsible for the deaths of at least 109,000 innocent people. Huckabee should be tried for war crimes, and treason given how many Americans lost their lives as a result of it.

    Wikileaks also released a video not long ago showing soldiers in an Apache helicopter gun sight, using the helicopter like an XBox war game. They take out a small village, and then can be heard saying “Ha, ha, I hit ‘em.” Another says “Look at those dead bastards“. Who are the real fucking criminals in this?

    Another log shows that a British rifleman shot dead an young Iraqi girl who was innocently playing in the street. Our journalists would have never uncovered this. Her death, the anguish of her family would have remained a secret. The rifleman would be, and probably still is, hailed a hero. And so the game of the glory of the West no matter what, continues, unhindered; whilst the bodies of children lie shot and bloodied in the streets of Iraq. But Huckabee doesn’t have a problem with this. He has a problem with anyone who actually dares to make it public.

    For a Nation that prides itself on its democratic system, I would have thought we’d all be supporting something that absolutely helps democracy flourish. You cannot have democracy, without all the relevant information on how your representatives and government are acting, in your name. Genuinely justifiable secrets, like troop positions in Afghanistan are one thing; but leaking the amount of awful deaths and torturing your Country has been involved in, or leaking the fact that your Country is trying to spy on UN officials, is not a genuinely justifiable secret (unless you’re President Nixon).

    Without these sorts of leaks, the status quo remains, and the status quo is massively unbalanced, and quite honestly wrong. The status quo exists to keep the consumer-lead middle classes happy, half truthful news, quickly devised, by journalists who do not investigate as they should, next to stories about who Paris Hilton fucked at the weekend. A World that and is basically saying “ignore what’s happening over there…. ignore the blood……….. oooo look, a shiny thing! You want to buy the shiny thing! Go on, buy the shiny thing”. But then when someone shouts, loudly, “No, fuck the shiny thing, let’s focus on the blood, let’s focus on what’s happening over there….” politicians call out “NATIONAL SECURITY!” It has nothing to do with National Security and everything to do with National embarrassment.
    What Huckabee is generally saying is “We have worked hard to create the myth that was care about the World. That we aren’t just attempting to create an economic empire built on docile, easily manipulated and exploited peoples. Our people ACTUALLY believe this bullshit we propagate too. Please don’t ruin it. If you do ruin it, we’ll put you to death“.
    Wikileaks, and online citizen journalism, is where journalism is heading. A proper radical kind of press, that does not filter out damaging reports, is what people like Northcliff set out to do decades ago.

    This isn’t dangerous. It isn’t going to cause another World War. It is massively needed. Because the way things work at the moment, is very one sided, and is run like an American Empire. They are the new Rome and they want it all their way, without question, placing themselves above the law. The President and the Secretary of State are on damage control mode. They are part of the established order, that wishes to conduct their business, however dodgy it is, however illegal it may be, in absolute secrecy. That is the order that exists. If you don’t particularly like this fairy land of an order, then you will support Wikileaks, like I support Wikileaks.

    The only question you should ask yourself is; Should America be allowed to get away with anything it pleases?