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The Invasion Of Iraq - A Forgotten Humanitarian Disaster
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The Invasion Of Iraq - A Forgotten Humanitarian Disaster prije 10 godine, 4 mjeseci #1674

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If governments everywhere are in debt, who are they in debt to? The answer is that they are in debt to private banks. The "cruel hoax" is that governments are in debt for money created on a computer screen, money they could have created themselves.

Soon, lots of people will ask: If we bail out the banks then why shouldn’t we control them, or even own them? The bankers screwed up. Why should they get any of our money? Maybe they’ll even question why Congress should continue funding a massive military institution that hasn’t won a real war since 1945 to the tune of some three quarters of a trillion dollars a year?

The Invasion Of Iraq - A Forgotten Humanitarian Disaster

March 20, 2009, Information Clearing House

The sixth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq is a sad occasion for the balance sheet: during six years of occupation 1.2 million citizens were killed, 2,000 doctors killed, and 5,500 academics and intellectuals assassinated or imprisoned. There are 4.7 million refugees: 2.7 million inside the country and two million have fled to neighbouring countries, among which are 20,000 medical doctors. According to the Red Cross, Iraq is now a country of widows and orphans: two million widows as a consequence of war, embargo, war again and occupation, and five million orphans, many of whom are homeless (estimated at 500,000). Almost a third of Iraq’s children suffer from malnutrition. Some 70 per cent of Iraqi girls no longer go to school. Medical services, not so long ago the best in the region, have totally collapsed: 75 per cent of medical staff have left their jobs, half of them have fled the country, and after six years of “reconstruction” health services in Iraq still do not meet minimum standards.

Because of the use of depleted uranium in ammunition by the occupation, the number of cancer cases and miscarriages has drastically increased. According to a recent Oxfam report, the situation of women is most worrisome. The study states that in spite of optimistic bulletins in the press, the situation of women keeps deteriorating. The most elementary supplies are still not available. Access to drinkable water is for large parts of the population a problem and electricity is functioning only three to six hours a day, and this in a state that was once a nation of engineers. More than four in 10 Iraqis live under the poverty threshold and unemployment is immense (28.1 per cent of the active population). Besides 26 official prisons, there a some 600 secret prisons. According to the Iraqi Union of Political Prisoners, over 400,000 Iraqis have suffered detention since 2003, among which 6,500 minors and 10,000 women. Torture is practiced on a large scale, and some 87 per cent of detainees remain uncharged. Corruption is immense: according to Transparency International, Iraq, after Somalia and Myanmar, is the most corrupt country in the world. The American Foreign Affairs journal calls Iraq “a failed state”. This is symbolised by the fact that Iraq, a state that has the third largest oil reserves in the world, must import refined oil on a massive scale. Authorities are on the verge of giving oil concessions for 25 years to international (also European) oil companies, though they have no mandate or legal authority to do so. Instead of being paid reparations for the enormous destruction wrought on the infrastructure of the country, entailing billions in oil revenues lost, Iraq is again in line to be robbed. There is large scale ethnic cleansing going on against the Turkmen, the Christians, the Assyrians and the Shebak. Kirkuk is being “Kurdicised” by massive immigration and illegal settlements (of Israeli inspiration) and its history falsified.

This data, referenced in numerous reports, was presented during an information session in the European Parliament organised by the BRussells Tribunal on 18 March by a panel of Iraqi specialists. On 19 March, there was a session in the Belgian Parliament where a national representative after the statement of Dr Omar Al-Kubaissi, a renowned Iraqi cardiologist and expert on health, frankly admitted that he had no idea of the scale of the humanitarian disaster. Who can blame him? In the European press we hear little or nothing concerning this humanitarian disaster. In the newspapers there is talk of elections, of an occasional bomb attack, of the political process, of the positive results of the “surge”, etc, but concerning the suffering the Iraqi people … next to nothing. We have fallen asleep and we console ourselves: Obama plans the retreat American troops; therefore the issue of Iraq is off the agenda. The truth is that we want to forget this humanitarian disaster, because the West is responsible. Of course, in the first and last instance the administrations of Bush and Blair, but also the Netherlands, Denmark, Hungary, Poland and Italy were part of the coalition and hence accessory while Antwerp was a vital transit port for the invasion. Therefore also Europe bears a heavy responsibility. How is it possible that we can dissimulate the impact of the war, which initially stirred world public opinion, in spite of the flow of shocking reports? “Darfur” sounds a bell meanwhile (and correctly so) as a sort of African holocaust, but the crimes against the humanity of a near “genocidal” scale in Iraq are swept under the carpet. If the press does not do its job, how can public opinion be touched? Even activists and well meaning politicians are not on the level. This type of disinformation, and the indifference that comes with it, one could call a form of negationism, or at least a type of immoral ignorance. Wir haben es nicht gewusst, we will say. But the people of the Arab region will not forgive us. Let this be clear.

Re:The Invasion Of Iraq - A Forgotten Humanitarian Disaster prije 10 godine, 4 mjeseci #1675

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'Torture' Could Haunt Bush Officials

March 29, 2009, Information Clearing House

In what may turn out to be a landmark case, a Spanish court has started a criminal investigation into allegations that six former officials in the Bush administration violated international law by creating the legal justification for torture in Guantanamo Bay.

The officials named in the 98-page complaint include former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who once famously described the Geneva Conventions as "quaint" and "obsolete."

Others include John Yoo, a former Justice Department lawyer who wrote the so-called "torture memo" that justified waterboarding and other extreme interrogation methods for terror suspects.

Also named are: former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith; former General Counsel for the Department of Defense William Haynes II; Jay S. Bybee, formerly of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel; and David S. Addington, former chief of staff and legal advisor to former Vice President Dick Cheney.

At the time of writing, ABC was unable to reach any of the officials for comment. Feith was reported to have said he was "baffled by the allegations."

In an opinion column in the Wall Street Journal on March 7, Yoo said the Obama administration risked harming national security if it punished lawyers like himself. Why a Spanish court? Because the famous Spanish judge in the case, Balthazar Garzon, says four Spanish citizens formerly held in Guantanamo claim they were tortured there, and that Spain therefore has jurisdiction in the case.

The complaint says that the American officials violated international law, specifically the 1984 Geneva Convention Against Torture, signed by 145 countries including the United States and Spain.

It says the officials created the legal justification for torture. Not that they were in the torture room, but that they twisted the law , to justify the unjustifiable.

Garzon has an international reputation as a crusader against human rights violations, and has been outspoken about the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

One of the Spanish lawyers who drew up the complaint, Gonzalo Boye-Tucet, told ABC News that arrest warrants could be issued "within weeks, maybe even days."

"The judge will first issue subpoenas, to give the American officials time to show up in court here in Spain. If I were in their position, that is what I would do," he said, speaking from his office in Madrid.

"But if they don't appear, arrest warrants would be issued, maybe even the next day," he said. "The process could move very quickly."

The question then would be whether the United States would allow their extradition.

Kenneth Roth, the director of Human Rights Watch, said he doesn't think that will happen.

"I think it's unlikely that the Obama administration will extradite anyone who is indicted in Spain for torture," Roth told ABC News. "But clearly if these people travel (outside the United States) they risk arrest."

Even if the United States won't extradite the officials, the case could end up putting pressure on the current administration to investigate them itself, Roth said.

"If the Obama administration follows the letter of the law, it will be under an obligation either to extradite these officials, which is unlikely, or to prosecute them, and hopefully this will be a spur to do the right thing, to prosecute, to investigate ... people who have been responsible for creating the legal justification for torture," he said.

Prosecutions under the Torture Convention are rare. But in October 2008 a court in Miami convicted Chuckie Taylor, son of the former Liberian President Charles Taylor, and sentenced him to 97 years in prison for torture committed in Liberia.

The Bush administration praised the verdict as a great day for justice. Charles Taylor is currently in the Hague on trial for war crimes.

Judge Garzon's most famous target was Gen. Augusto Pinochet, the former dictator of Chile who was detained in 1998 under the judge's warrant while he was visiting London for medical treatment.

British authorities kept him under house arrest for two years before he was allowed to return home to Chile, because his lawyers said he was too ill and infirm to stand trial. He lived on for eight more years and died peacefully, without ever facing trial.

The case of the six Bush-era officials will almost certainly come up when President Obama meets Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero for a bilateral meeting during the Summit of G-20 leaders in London next week.
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