12 thoughts on “British soldiers’ killing of Iraqi Baha Mousa

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  12. Monday 6th February 2017

    posted by Morning Star in Editorial

    DEMOCRATIC and human rights have never played a part in British foreign policy in the Middle East.

    For the past 90 years, when not bombing the natives with mustard gas or high explosives, British governments of every stripe have backed military dictatorships from the Shah of Iran and Saddam Hussein in Iraq to the clerical dictatorships of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.

    When any of the West’s puppets have dared to cut their strings, the response from Britain and its imperialist allies has been subversion, coups or invasions, usually with disastrous consequences for the peoples of the region.

    Mineral rights, oil supplies, shipping routes and arms sales have come first and last as far as British ruling class policies are concerned.

    When the late foreign secretary Robin Cook tried to insist that the Labour government pursue an “ethical foreign policy” in the Middle East and elsewhere, he was met with scorn and sabotage.

    “Our foreign policy must have an ethical dimension and must support the demands of other peoples for the democratic rights on which we insist for ourselves,” he declared as Labour took office in 1997.

    We now know that such sentiments prompted bewilderment and even some amusement in Civil Service, diplomatic and military circles at the time.

    They ensured that his promised annual reports on the implementation of an ethical foreign policy became a dead letter.

    Successive British governments have continued to bomb, invade and back repression in the Middle East, much as before.

    This vile record includes the murder by British troops of people in their custody in Iraq, and state collusion in the kidnapping and torture of Middle East insurgents and suspected terrorists on an international scale.

    So it should come as no great surprise that British police and intellgence services train their counterparts in Bahrain, where the repulsive regime of King al-Khalifa executes, tortures and exiles opposition activists.

    Nor should we be shocked that a sub-committee of MPs wants to scrap the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT) that is investigating about 1,000 outstanding complaints of abuse against British service personnel during the illegal occupation of Iraq.

    That many of the past and present cases were brought by struck-off solicitor Phil Shiner is not sufficient reason to apply a large bucket of whitewash to the exercise. Some 300 of them have already resulted in payments of compensation to Iraqi civilians.

    In the case of murdered hotel worker Baha Mousa, an inquiry chaired by Sir William Gage uncovered a litany of torture and sadistic abuse inflicted by a large number of soldiers upon 10 innocent detainees, to which officers and a chaplain all turned a blind eye.

    Even so, only one of the murderous thugs faced trial for war crimes, was found guilty — and sentenced to just one year in prison.

    That seems to be the British way when it comes to foreign policy and human rights. Indeed, IHAT itself has been accused by one of its former investigators of being no more than a “face-saving cover-up.”

    It could be disbanded — but only if replaced by a public inquiry into the hundreds of outstanding allegations made by Iraqi civilians and handled by a number of reputable solicitors.

    Attorney General Jeremy Wright has decided that almost all of these claims are “baseless,” but given the long history of ruling class lying in such matters, the rest of us would prefer to see the evidence presented and tested out in the open.

    http://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-fc3c-No-time-for-a-whitewash#.WJkGbPKbIdU

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