From the Stop the War Coalition in Britain:
Wednesday, 08 July 2009
Will Jack Straw prosecute himself under war criminals law?
With thanks to Make Wars History … Cartoon by Leon Kuhn…
New powers to prosecute war criminals living in Britain have been unveiled by the justice secretary, Jack Straw. He proposes prosecutions against British nationals and residents accused of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Straw says the law will send a clear signal that Britain will no longer be a safe haven for those who commit such crimes. Will he begin by considering the case against himself?
As the Minister in charge of foreign affairs the war with Iraq was Jack Straw’s responsibility. Jack Straw supported the Prime Minister and urged members of Parliament to vote in favour of war when he used the following words in closing the debate in Parliament on March 18th 2003.
“But as elected Members of Parliament, we all know that we will be judged not only on our intentions, but on the results, the consequences of our decisions… Yes of course there will be consequences if the House approves the Government’s motion. Our forces will almost certainly be involved in military action. Some may be killed; so too, will innocent Iraqi civilians… I urge the House to vote with the Government tonight.”
This statement provides clear evidence that Jack Straw knew perfectly well that Britain’s armed forces were about to kill innocent Iraqi civilians. It shows beyond doubt that he knew what he was doing and that he intended to destroy part of the Iraqi national group thereby proving that he was setting out to commit the crime of genocide of the Iraqi people.
It also provides clear evidence of conspiracy to murder. By urging members of Parliament to vote in favour of an armed attack on Iraq, Jack Straw was instrumental in persuading enough members of Parliament to vote in favour of war to obtain a government majority.
If Parliament had upheld international law and voted against the war Britain would not have joined the Coalition and the killings would not have taken place.
As the crimes did take place and the evidence for all the elements of the crime of genocide are present, Jack Straw should be arrested and charged with genocide and a crime against humanity. He should also face charges of incitement to murder and conspiracy to murder.
He would be joined in the dock by arch war criminal Tony Blair, who took Britain into five wars; Lord Goldsmith, the country’s senior law officer in 2003, who doctored his legal advice to justify a war he knew full well violated international law; Gordon Brown, who unreservedly supported Blair‘s warmongering; Alistair Campbell, the author of the “dodgy” dossier which stated that Iraq could deploy weapons of mass destruction “within 45 minutes“; and many more listed by the Make Wars History website.
If the inquiry into the Iraq war, which is about to begin, had any teeth and was a genuine attempt to establish the truth of why Britain joined George Bush’s war, which has slaughtered over one million Iraqi civilians, the first war criminal to be indicted under Jack Straw’s new law would be himself.
Senior judges have further condemned the Ministry of Defence for “misleading” the High Court over a request to keep information secret over the torture of Iraqi civilians.
MoD may face hundreds of new torture claims: here.
- Jack Straw decries ‘unlimited’ Jewish funds as destroying Mideast peace (jta.org)
- Jack Straw to quit at next election (bbc.co.uk)
- Ex-UK FM Jack Straw – ‘Unlimited’ Jewish funds control US policy, block Mideast peace (theuglytruth.wordpress.com)
- Jack Straw to stand down as MP at next election (itv.com)
WEDNESDAY JULY, 8 2009.
Oil and Islam: Will America shift away ? (I)
By Prof. Peter Dale Scott
In his remarkable speech at Cairo University on June 4, President Obama promised “a new beginning.” In the words of the Israeli commentator Uri Avnery, the speech offered “the map of a new world, a different world, whose values and laws he spelled out in simple and clear language — a mixture of idealism and practical politics, vision and pragmatism.”1
Much of what Obama had to say was new, and warmed the hearts of observers like myself, who had become increasingly concerned about the new president’s fidelity to the financial and military policies of the previous Bush-Cheney administration. But while Obama broke new ground on Israel-Palestine issues, he glossed over troubling issues pertaining to the US presence in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also glossed over one of the fundamental issues alienating the Muslim world: America’s relentless efforts to preserve its threatened financial status by moves to dominate the region’s oil resources. Here his careful ambiguity was ominously reminiscent of the Bush era.
The speech reaffirmed a complete withdrawal of US forces from Iraq by 2012, as the U.S. committed itself to do in a signed agreement last December. In addition Obama asserted that “we do?not want to keep our troops in Afghanistan… We would gladly bring every single one of our troops home if we could be confident that there were not violent extremists in Afghanistan and now Pakistan.”
But Obama’s remarks did not address the statement on May 26, 2009, by Gen. George Casey, Army chief of staff, that, despite the agreement with Iraq, the United States would continue to have fighting forces in Iraq and Afghanistan beyond 2012. The reality, Casey said, is that ““we’re going to have 10 Army and Marine units deployed for a decade in Iraq and Afghanistan.”2
Nor is it clear that Obama’s promise to withdraw “troops” from Iraq would also cover private military contractors (PMCs) . Jeremy Scahill, author of a book on the notorious firm Blackwater, said on the Bill Moyers show that what we’re seeing in the Cairo speech “is sort of old wine in a new bottle. Obama is sending one message to the world,” he told Moyers, “but the reality on the ground, particularly when it comes to private military contractors, is that the status quo remains from the Bush era.
Even more ominous is the president’s oblique reference to America’s controversial oil policies. It was significant that he apologized for the CIA’s ouster in 1953 of Iran’s democratically elected government – the first of America’s many operations against Islam on behalf of the oil companies. With respect to Iraq, he said he had made it clear to the Iraqi people that America pursues “no claim on their territory or resources.” His solitary reference to America’s hated oil policies was oblique and evasive: “While America in the past has focused on oil and gas when it comes to this part of the world, we now seek a broader engagement.”
In stating that the American presence in Iraq has nothing to do with oil, Obama is following in the footsteps of the Republicans before him, such as Donald Rumsfeld, who on November 14, 2002 told CBS News that the U.S. plans for Iraq had “nothing to do with oil, literally nothing to do with oil.” As it became increasingly clear in 2003 that America would invade Iraq, neither Bush’s State of the Union Message nor Colin Powell’s address to the United Nations Security Council mentioned, even once, the word “oil.”
But we now know that in March 2001 Cheney’s Energy Task Force developed a map of Iraq’s oil fields, with the southwest divided into nine “Exploration Blocks.” One month earlier a Bush National Security Council document had noted that Cheney’s Task force would consider “actions regarding the capture of new and existing oil and gas fields.”4
What Obama means by “no claim” on Iraq’s resources is ambiguous. For eight years the Bush-Cheney administration, in a number of ways, pushed for the Iraq Ministry of Oil to eliminate state control of oil and negotiate contracts giving Chevron and other multinationals access to Iraqi oilfields.5 These negotiations have continued under Obama, and Bloomberg reported in April that the Iraqi government might give foreign companies 75 percent stakes in new oil developments.6 Observers are concerned that oil companies, when their contracts are secured, may continue to employ PMCs like Erinys, which has employed 14,000 guards in the Iraqi oil fields.7 Jeremy Scahill talked on Bill Moyers’ Journal of “a scenario where you have corporations with their own private armies….a devastating development.”8
“No claim on resources” is ambiguous in another respect. At no point has America been an important market for Iraqi oil. But since World War Two Washington has fought, in two cases literally, to main U.S control over the disposition of Middle Eastern oil. A little background is necessary to explain the importance of this distinction.
For over three decades, as I have argued elsewhere, America has propped up the dollar by ensuring that all OPEC oil payments would be dollar-denominated, thus creating an artificial need for dollars in oil-deprived nations around the world.9 But this system may become less relevant, as more and more oil deals, such as China’s $10 billion oil deal with Brazil, are made outside of the American and OPEC orbits.10
Iran has been selling its oil for euros for quite some time. A lot of its international deals are denominated in euros. As are Russia’s, China’s and Brazil’s. Adding Brazil to the mix strengthens the movement away from the dollar in our own hemisphere. Brazil has been moving in this direction since 2005, Venezuela has been pushing this since 2007.
Most Americans are unaware that in 2003 Saddam Hussein had begun to sell Iraqi oil for euros as well as dollars, and that Bush, two months after invading Iraq, enacted an emergency order which, with the misleading title of “ Protecting the Development Fund for Iraq,” secretly ended Iraq’s euro sales of oil. The U.S. press, unlike the Irish Times and the UK Financial Times, took no notice of this.
The United States acted swiftly to ensure that oil would remain dominantly a dollar commodity, by an executive order empowering Iraqi oil sales to be returned from euros to dollars. Bush’s order of May 22, 2003, declaring a “national emergency,” did not directly mention the dollar as such; but it directed all oil earnings into a central fund, controlled by the United States, for reconstruction projects in Iraq. The Financial Times, on June 6, 2003, confirmed that Iraqi oil sales were now switched back from euros to dollars.13
Most Americans are also unaware that on May 20, 2009 Obama explicitly renewed, rather than canceled, Bush’s emergency order 13303 for the use of the dollar in Iraq’s oil dealings. Once again, the language of Obama’s emergency order concealed its implications.14
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