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Weapons of Mass Deception

A war concocted on a false premise.

More than 100,000 lives lost.

More than 35,000 Allied troops injured.

A cost of $800 billion.

Nine years of conflict.

Ongoing insurgent threat.

“To be sure the cost was high — in blood and treasure of the United States and also the Iraqi people,” US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta told the roughly 200 troops and others in attendance at a ceremony to mark US withdrawal. “Those lives have not been lost in vain — they gave birth to an independent, free and sovereign Iraq.”

The ceremony itself was tucked into fortified corner of Baghdad airport, ringed with concrete blast walls. And on the chairs — nearly empty of Iraqis — were tags that listed not only the name of the VIP assigned to the seat, but the bunker they should move to in case of an attack.

Independent, free and sovereign?

Foreign Fields

Picture: The Sun

This is Lance Corporal Liam Tasker with sniffer dog Theo. During the last year Theo found fourteen IEDs (improvised explosive devices) or land mines to you and me, in Afghanistan.

As well as patrolling the roads of Helmand, L/Cpl Tasker advised local Afghans on care for their animals.

Just weeks ago, L/Cpl Tasker of Kirkcaldy, Fife, said: “I love my job and working with Theo. He has a great character and never tires. He can’t wait to get out and do his job and will stop at nothing.”

Yesterday Liam Tasker was shot and killed by the Taliban.

He was 26.

Theo died shortly afterwards, traumatised by gunfire and suffering a seizure.

It’s believed the dog was deliberately targeted because of his success in locating bombs.

My feelings on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will be well known to regular readers. However I know many families with relatives involved in these missions and all I want is for them to return safe and well and for all the troops to be home as soon as possible.

That and for their efforts to at least contribute to a good outcome for these countries.

As I have mentioned before a cousin of mine is a reporter for CBS in Afghanistan and she says the many Afghan people she has encountered are the most hospitable and friendly hosts. They live under constant threat from Taliban insurgents who cut  throats in the same way that troopers swear. And yet she has been to families’ homes for meals and has made many friends.

Those of us who express opinions on such conflicts can have no real comprehension of what is involved on the ground.

And we can only imagine the anguish and worry of the relatives of all those involved in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

On all sides.

War.

What is it good for?

The Arrogance of Power

I’ve written before about the Free Information Society which has lots of old historic video and sound clips in its archives.

One clip which caught my ear was a speech by American elder statesman Robert Byrd who died earlier this year. The speech was made on the eve of the Iraq war in 2003. You can hear it by clicking here.

Byrd in his long career made what many would consider wrong calls. For example he opposed 60′s civil rights legislation and supported the Viet Nam war. However, the prescience of his words in this speech are undeniable.

Where Did the Money to Rebuild Iraq Go?

I see that the USA government is to withdraw front line troops from Iraq.

In a speech to disabled American veterans yesterday he said “Make no mistake, our commitment in Iraq is changing from a military effort led by our troops to a civilian effort led by our diplomats.” But Mr Obama also warned: “The hard truth is we have not seen the end of American sacrifice in Iraq.”

There will be 90,000 fewer troops in Iraq than when Obama took office.

I think there is little doubt that an Obama led administration would never have embarked on this folly but they are left with the legacy.

Talking of legacies……

This is truly astonishing if correct.

Saddam Disgrace

“Arguably we gave Osama bin Laden his Iraqi jihad,” Eliza Manningham-Buller, former director-general of MI5, the British domestic security service, told the Chilcott Iraq war inquiry this week.

As the Financial Times said yesterday:
“So now we know. Iraq posed no real threat prior to the Anglo-American invasion of March 2003. There was no credible intelligence to suggest any link between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. But what the assault on Iraq did do was proliferate jihadism across the Middle East and incubate Islamist extremism in the UK, leading to the London Tube and bus bombings five years ago and 15 other “substantial plots”.

“As documents released by the inquiry make clear, the government was warned the invasion would increase the threat of terrorism to the UK. All this was disregarded, as Mr Blair embarked determinedly on his great adventure with George W. Bush into the mire of Mesopotamia, creating laboratory conditions for the urban warfare urged on jihadis by Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda’s strategist”

Perhaps one of the most extraordinary developments of the past few days was when Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in an answer to a question referred to the “illegal invasion of Iraq” from the despatch box. He later said he was speaking in a personal capacity but coming as it did in the same week as the damming evidence from Ms Mannigham Buller, is there anyone who can now defend the decision to invade Iraq?

The President of the USA and the Prime Minister of the UK met for the first time this week. I wonder if they discussed the emerging evidence that two of their predecessors look increasingly like war criminals?

Maybe the decision by Kenny McAskill to free Lockerbie bomber Al Megrahi on compassionate grounds does require further explanation and scrutiny.

However in the grand scheme of things isn’t the fact that the leaders of the USA and the UK appear to have acted in the manner of Hitler or Genghis Khan with regard to foreign affairs a wee bit more pressing?

British Intelligence Chief Says Iraq War Increased Terror Threat

Well no shit Sherlock!

On other pages:

Bears defecation habits centre on wooded areas!

Pope’s headgear found amusing!

The former head of MI5, Eliza Manningham Buller is a mistress of disguise. Here she is as a primary school teacher.

The full article is HERE

Robin Cook’s Crystal Ball

“You’d have been hard pushed to find anyone who didn’t think he (Saddam) had WMD.” – Tony Blair at the Chilcot enquiry.

The following passage is from Robin Cook’s resignation speech on the eve of the invasion of Iraq. Inexplicably the speech contains a paragraph expressing support for Blair. One can only assume that some extreme misguided personal loyalty to his colleagues on the Labour benches elicited such a eulogy. Taking the rest of the speech into consideration it is difficult to see how Cook could have had anything other than contempt for Blair.

“Ironically, it is only because Iraq’s military forces are so weak that we can even contemplate its invasion. Some advocates of conflict claim that Saddam’s forces are so weak, so demoralised and so badly equipped that the war will be over in a few days.

We cannot base our military strategy on the assumption that Saddam is weak and at the same time justify pre-emptive action on the claim that he is a threat.

Iraq probably has no weapons of mass destruction in the commonly understood sense of the term – namely a credible device capable of being delivered against a strategic city target.

It probably still has biological toxins and battlefield chemical munitions, but it has had them since the 1980s when US companies sold Saddam anthrax agents and the then British Government approved chemical and munitions factories.

Why is it now so urgent that we should take military action to disarm a military capacity that has been there for 20 years, and which we helped to create?

Why is it necessary to resort to war this week, while Saddam’s ambition to complete his weapons programme is blocked by the presence of UN inspectors?”

Another prominent person in the know also rubbished claims that Iraq had WMD. Doctor David Kelly was found dead in mysterious circumstances in a wood days after being questioned by a parliamentary committee about what he had said during an interview with the BBC’s Andrew Gilligan.

The Hutton Inquiry into the events surrounding Dr Kelly’s death, ruled that he had committed suicide and hadn’t in fact said some of the things attributed to him in the Gilligan interview. Into the bargain, Hutton ordered that the details on the post mortem of Doctor Kelly be kept secret for seventy years. This prompted the Independent newspaper to publish its famous “whitewash” front page.

Robin Cook also died suddenly in a remote location and you’ll find plenty in the rather more conspiratorial corners of the internet to say that he was murdered by MI6.

I don’t know about that.

I do know one thing, Cook was right in almost every respect in his resignation speech, except in his misguided compliments to Blair.

Blair was probably the most mendacious scheming bastard of a Prime Minister in my lifetime.

And yes, she’s included in the calculation.

War Criminals – It’s Official

During evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry into the war against Saddam, it emerged that Foreign Office lawyers were “unanimous” in their view that going to war without a United Nations mandate would be a “crime of aggression” likely to damage Britain’s standing in the world.

Sir Michael Wood, chief legal adviser at the Foreign Office, painted a vivid picture of how his team repeatedly intervened privately to correct ministers who were stating that a fresh UN resolution was not legally necessary, but their advice was ignored.

A secret letter was dramatically declassified midway through the hearings showed that Jack Straw, the then-foreign secretary, told his chief legal adviser that he was being “dogmatic” by warning that war would be illegal.

In what was described as a highly unusual move, Mr Straw wrote to Sir Michael, a renowned expert in international law, boasting that while home secretary he had ignored official legal advice “time and time again”.

The inquiry also heard that Lord Goldsmith, the then-Attorney General, changed his mind over the space of a week about the legality of the war after being ordered during a meeting chaired by Tony Blair to “reflect further”.

The process was described at the hearing by Elizabeth Wilmshurst, Sir Michael’s deputy, who resigned over the war, as “lamentable”,

It emerged that Lord Goldsmith was told to provide a “yes or no” answer on the eve of the Iraq invasion, before finally giving the view that war without a UN mandate would be legal after obtaining a written undertaking from Mr Blair that Saddam Hussein had failed to comply with weapons inspectors.

So, bearing in mind that this is official confirmation that the former Prime Minister of the UK and his cabinet at first ignored the legal advice of all its top advisers and then leant heavily on one of them to change his mind, what do you think will happen?

Whitewash?

This was the famous front page run by the Independent at the time of the Report by the  Hutton Enquiry. Allegations were made in a BBC interview by Andrew Gilligan and Dr David Kelly that the government had “sexed up” a dossier on Iraq’s capability for manufacturing and using weapons of mass destruction. Hutton cleared the government of any wrongdoing and the BBC was strongly criticised. Dr Kelly had died in an apparent suicide a few days after his interview with Gilligan. The director general and chairman of the BBC were forced to resign.

Maybe this article from today’s Guardian sheds some light on the actual truth of the matter.

Bliar?

The reason given by the British government for the invasion of  Iraq and Britain’s active part in it, was that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction which could be deployed against targets in the UK within 45 minutes.

Of course this was met by great scepticism but even amongst the sceptics there was an acknowledgement that perhaps the intelligence services had information which justified the action.

In February 2003, Tony Blair told parliament that Saddam Hussein could remain in power in Iraq if he “gave up his weapons of mass destruction”.

He had them and no mistake.

However in a BBC1 interview with Fern Britton, which is scheduled to be broadcast today, the former Prime Minister was asked if he would still have ordered  troops into Iraq if he had known Saddam Hussein had no WMDs.

Mr Blair replied: ‘I would still have thought it right to remove him.’

What other conclusion can we draw from the apparent contradiction of the two statements above than the former prime minister misled parliament with his first statement?

And what possible reason, shortly before a general election and Blair’s appearance before the Chilcot enquiry, could he have for revealing this information on television?

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