British war crimes in Iraq, update


This 2912 documentary video is called WAR CRIMES – US soldiers speak – I killed innocent civilians.

From daily News Line in Britain:

British War Crimes In Iraq Will Just Not Go Away – Even The UK Police Found The Evidence

18th November 2019

AS IS WELL KNOWN the moment that US President Bush heard about the criminal terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in New York on Tuesday September 11, 2001 he decided that it provided the perfect opportunity for a massive attack on Iraq to overthrow the Saddam Hussein regime.

Even Bush was surprised that when he spoke to the Labour PM of the day, Blair, who outdid Bush’s enthusiasm for war with Iraq, and insisted that he did not want the UK to be left out of the projected onslaught.

In fact, Blair was so enthusiastic that he convinced the House of Commons to support the war with a pack of lies that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction that could be mobilised for use against the British base in Cyprus in 20 minutes.

In fact, Iraq was not a danger to any other state. It had been subjected to the most severe and vicious sanctions for over a decade that had weakened and starved Iraq to such an extent that hundreds of thousands, particularly very young children, had died from lack of medicines.

Iraq was already on its knees thanks to the sanctions war crime, so it qualified as an easy target, and an opportunity to forge a new imperialist-dominated world of the type that Blair was working for – no matter what the cost.

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were killed by the murderous sanctions and many more were slaughtered in the invasion and its aftermath, when cities like FalLuja and entire areas like southern Iraq rose up.

The end product of the Iraqi intervention, and Bush and Blair’s transformation, was Isis which erupted to occupy northern Iraq and then Syria. The war to destroy Iraq, and then to proceed to do the same in Libya and Syria was and remains a gigantic war crime.

No wonder the British capitalist state does not want to open up Pandora’s Box and investigate the war crimes that were carried out in the course of the action by British soldiers who had the authority of Bush and Blair behind them.

In fact, an investigation by BBC Panorama and the Sunday Times has spoken to 11 British detectives who said they found credible evidence of war crimes in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Soldiers should have been prosecuted for the killings, say the detectives, while the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said it rejected the ‘unsubstantiated allegation’ of a pattern of cover-ups.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told the BBC ‘all of the allegations, that had evidence, have been looked at’. He said ‘the right balance’ had been struck over decisions whether or not to investigate alleged war crimes.

The new evidence has come from inside the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT), which investigated alleged war crimes committed by British troops during the occupation of Iraq, and Operation Northmoor, which investigated alleged war crimes in Afghanistan.

The government decided to close IHAT and Operation Northmoor, after Phil Shiner, a lawyer who had taken more than 1,000 cases to IHAT, was struck off as a solicitor following allegations he had paid fixers in Iraq to find clients.

Now, former detectives from IHAT and Operation Northmoor said Phil Shiner’s actions were used as an excuse to close down criminal investigations. None of the cases investigated by IHAT or Operation Northmoor resulted in a prosecution.

One IHAT detective told Panorama: ‘The Ministry of Defence had no intention of prosecuting any soldier of whatever rank he was unless it was absolutely necessary, and they couldn’t wriggle their way out of it.’

Another former detective said the victims of war crimes had been badly let down: ‘I use the word disgusting. And I feel for the families because . . . they’re not getting justice. How can you hold your head up as a British person?’

Detectives concluded the soldier who shot Raid al-Mosawi should be prosecuted for killing the Iraqi police officer and commanding officer Major Suss-Francksen should be charged with covering up what happened. But military prosecutors have not taken anyone to court. Operation Northmoor was set up by the government in 2014 and looked into 52 alleged illegal killings.

Its closure was announced by the government before Royal Military Police detectives even had a chance to interview the key Afghan witnesses. It is obvious that justice will only be done when the working class in the UK takes the power and establishes socialism.

Then Blair and his military and political supporters will be packed off to the War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague to pay for their crimes.

Iraqi regime kills pro-democracy, anti-corruption demonstrators


Iraqi young people aboard a captured military vehicle in Baghdad

From daily News Line in Britain:

12th November 2019

At least four protesters were killed and scores injured in clashes with security forces in Baghdad on Saturday as demonstrations seriously escalated.

Three of the dead were shot, and the fourth died after being struck on the head with a tear gas canister.

Earlier on Saturday, security forces using live ammunition cleared demonstrators from three of the main bridges over the Tigris, pushing them further back from the Green Zone which has been a focal point of the unrest since it kicked off a month ago.

Security forces have fired teargas cartridges directly at protesters in Baghdad, Iraq on numerous occasions since protests resumed on October 25, 2019, killing at least 16, Human Rights Watch said on Sunday.

The dead are among the large number of protesters Iraqi forces have killed since daily protests began.

According to a November 5th United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) report, the nationwide death toll from October 25 through to November 4th has reached at least 97.

The Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR) tallied at least 105 dead and 5,655 injured during that same period.

‘The high death toll includes people who took direct hits to the head from teargas cartridges, in numbers that suggest a gruesome pattern rather than isolated accidents,’ said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

‘With the death toll now at over 100, all of Iraq’s global partners should be unequivocal in their condemnation.’

From October 25 to November 2nd, security forces’ use of force in Baghdad alone led to the deaths of at least 64 people.

Human Rights Watch interviewed 24 people who have participated in protests in Baghdad, Karbala, Maysan, Nasriya and Basra.

The UNAMI report puts the death toll from teargas cartridges penetrating upper bodies at at least 16.

Human Rights Watch analysed Reuters footage taken on October 27 and 29, which it corroborated with witness interviews.

The footage shows security forces on Jumhuriya Bridge firing into the crowds at the foot of the bridge, which opens onto Tahrir Square.

This 31 October 2019 video says about itself:

Iraqi protesters pack Baghdad’s Tahrir square

It happened shortly after another incident at the nearby Sinak Bridge. Witnesses say security forces shot at least one protester dead and injured dozens more.

Thousands of demonstrators are defying a curfew to continue anti-government protests. …

Al Jazeera’s Laura Burdon-Manley has more.

The News Line article continues:

The October 27 clip shows one officer to the right firing teargas cartridges in an upward trajectory while on the left another officer is firing in a flat trajectory at crowds of protesters less than 100 metres away.

An analyst at the Omega Research Foundation, an independent research group focusing on the manufacture, trade, and use of military, security, and police equipment, reviewed this clip for Human Rights Watch and said that the man on the left is likely to be aiming directly at the people he is targeting and this carries a high risk of causing serious injury or death if teargas cartridges are being fired.

In the second clip, both people who are using launchers are firing on a flat trajectory. Again, this is an inappropriate and highly dangerous use of teargas cartridges.

The contrast in firing techniques raises the question of whether some forces are operating side-by-side under different orders, whether they all have orders to disperse the crowds in any way they see fit, or whether forces are disregarding their orders, Human Rights Watch said.

While relying increasingly on teargas in Baghdad, security forces are continuing to use live ammunition.

Between November 4th and 6th, live ammunition killed at least 14 more protesters in Baghdad.

Human Rights Watch reviewed three videos identifiably shot at Jumhuriya Bridge, and shared via social media between October 25 and November 5th, showing dead protesters with wounds to the head that do not appear to have been caused by teargas cartridges.

Allegations of excessive force outside of Baghdad also continue, particularly in Karbala, with witnesses, UNAMI, and media reports all saying that security forces killed at least 17 protesters between October 28 and November 3rd.

Since the protests began, senior government officials have forbidden medical staff from sharing information on the dead and injured with any sources outside the Health Ministry, and the ministry has been releasing minimal and incomplete information.

The IHCHR stopped updating its national tally as of October 31.

A doctor in a facility receiving the dead and wounded from the protests said he thought the actual death toll since October 25 was much higher than the one being reported by the IHCHR. A person with links to Iraq’s morgues told Human Rights Watch she agreed with this assessment.

UNAMI recorded six abductions of protesters or volunteers providing assistance in the Baghdad demonstrations during the current wave of protests.

In one case, the sister of Saba Farhan Hameed, 36, who had been providing food, water, and first aid kits to protesters in Tahrir Square, said Hameed vanished around 11.15pm on November 2nd while en route home.

A colleague who had been on the phone with Hameed heard her scream and her phone went off. Her sister has since gone to several police stations to search for Hameed but has not been able to locate her.

The November 5th UNAMI report put the death toll from teargas cartridges to the head and chest at 16 at least.

The IHCHR reported that on October 25 alone, eight people were killed in this way.

Amnesty International reported that it had spoken to two protesters who had witnessed deaths on October 26 and 28 from teargas cartridges hitting people in the head.

Human Rights Watch interviewed a protester who said she saw another protester get hit in the head and killed by a teargas cartridge on October 29.

She said the victim was not trying to approach security forces at the time, but was just in the square, dancing and talking.

Another protester said he saw a man killed by a teargas cartridge that hit him in the head on October 28 on Jumhuriya Bridge.

Both witnesses said that they did not hear the security forces giving any oral warning before opening fire.

An activist shared a video clip that apparently showed officers opening fire with teargas cartridges on November 1st on protesters along the river, hitting a man in the head and killing him.

On November 1st, the IHCHR reported, security forces killed a woman with a teargas cartridge to her head on Jumhuriya Bridge.

Human Rights Watch has been unable to ascertain the rank and affiliation of the officers stationed on Jumhuriya Bridge since October 25 who were firing teargas.

An international military expert in Baghdad said that in his view, when the Iraqi security forces fired teargas cartridges directly at a crowd, it was ‘not an issue of training, but a level of intention, showing that security forces are absolutely using these projectiles as a weapon as opposed to a dispersal mechanism.’

The standard practices and procedures used by security forces for riot control, as well as the instructions provided by manufacturers, dictate that tear gas cartridges should not be fired directly at people.

An international observer with crowd control experience in Baghdad also said that in her view the security forces were sometimes using teargas cartridges for the same purpose as they used live bullets.

On November 1st, two doctors separately told Human Rights Watch that on the evening of October 31, they received at least 10 protesters in their tent who showed a set of symptoms different from those experienced by earlier victims of teargas exposure.

They said the more recent victims went into spasms, shock, breathing difficulty, and paralysis for about 10 minutes before the symptoms started to pass.

They showed Human Rights Watch a video capturing the symptoms.

The IHCHR expressed concern about the apparent change in symptoms, though it remains unclear what may be causing them.

Reports emerged that on the night of October 28, armed forces opened fire on protesters in Karbala, killing between 14 and 18, according to several international media outlets that said they were able to verify the casualties with unnamed security sources, even though public officials denied the incident.

A local journalist there told Human Rights Watch that he saw security forces open fire on crowds of protesters that night and saw one protester he recognised dead from a gunshot wound in the morgue the next morning.

Human Rights Watch interviewed a doctor who was on his shift that night at the morgue and who said that he saw the bodies of seven protesters who had been shot and killed.

Another medical worker shared videos she said she filmed that night, showing four bodies.

UNAMI received what it viewed as credible allegations that security forces killed 18 protesters.

The Karbala doctor said he personally knows the family of one of the victims.

He said the family tried to retrieve their son’s body, ‘But the hospital refused to give it to them unless they signed a document that they would not bring a legal suit against the government or a tribal claim. The family refused to sign and so they still don’t have the body back.’

This 9 November 2019 video is called Iraqi security forces use live gunfire to disperse protesters in Baghdad.

Lebanon’s political and economic crisis has intensified as protests and strikes continue into their fifth week, encompassing wide layers of workers and poor farmers throughout the country, across the sectarian and national divide: here.

The death toll in the mass protests that have shaken Iraq for the last seven weeks has risen to over 330, with an estimated 15,000 wounded. Young Iraqis have continued to pour into the streets in defiance of fierce repression to press their demands for jobs, social equality and an end to the unspeakably corrupt political regime created by the US occupation that followed the criminal American invasion of 2003: here.

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi declared on Friday that he will resign in the wake of the bloodiest day yet in two months of mass protests against social inequality, mass unemployment, the failure of basic public services and rampant corruption: here.

Dutch government admits killing Iraqi civilians


This 7 April 2010 video says about itself:

WikiLeaks video: ‘Collateral murder’ in Iraq

WikiLeaks, a website that publishes anonymously sourced documents, has released a video showing what apparently is a US military helicopter firing at unarmed civilians in Iraq. WikiLeaks said the footage, filmed from a helicopter cockpit, shows a missile strike and shooting on a square in a Baghdad neighbourhood in July 2007. The website said 12 civilians were killed in the attack, including two journalists, Namir Nour El Deen and Saeed Chmagh, who worked for the Reuters news agency. This is the full, unedited version of the footage.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Government admits civilian deaths in Iraq air raid, House of Representatives misinformed

By Ben Meindertsma

The Dutch government admits that the Netherlands is responsible for the airstrike in 2015 … in Iraq, and that seventy people died in the process. The Ministry of Defense was aware of civilian casualties, but initially concealed this from Parliament, according to a letter by Minister Bijleveld to the House of Representatives.

The Netherlands was also involved in an attack on a home in the Iraqi city of Mosul, in which four people died, the minister writes. It is the first time that the Netherlands has opened a case concerning air attacks carried out by the Netherlands …

Research by the NOS and NRC daily showed two weeks ago that in 2015 a neighbourhood was completely destroyed in a Dutch attack … in Hawija. … At least seventy people were killed, including children according to eyewitnesses.

The US Americans also investigated the case and informed the Dutch Ministry of Defense on 15 June that seventy people were killed in the bombing. … the United States Pentagon told NOS and NRC that it concerns 70 citizens. …

The House of Representatives was told on 22 June, a week after the Americans had informed The Hague, something else. In response to written MPs’ questions, then Minister Hennis wrote that no civilians supposedly had died as a result of Dutch actions. “That was wrong in itself, that was not true”, Bijleveld says in an explanation. At that time, it was already known at the ministry that the Americans did, in fact, assume civilian deaths. …

Surviving relatives cannot claim compensation from the Netherlands, says the minister.

Governmental bloodbath, Iraqi people don’t give up


This 2008 video says about itself:

University students demonstration in Iraq

Hundreds of university students demonstrated against the proposed US-Iraq security pact.

By Jean Shaoul:

Iraqi regime responds to mass protests with brutal crackdown

30 October 2019

The Iraqi police and security services have killed at least 250 people and injured thousands more in a brutal crackdown against the mass protests that first erupted earlier this month. In Karbala, 18 people were killed and 122 injured on Monday night. Three people died in Nasiriya as a result of injuries sustained earlier in the month.

The strikes and protests against Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s government, which are uniting workers across religious affiliation despite the confusion deliberately stoked by Iraq’s divisive political system, are the largest in decades. Centered in the country’s majority Shia population, the ostensible base of the ruling parties that make up his fragile coalition, the protests have shaken the regime to its core.

They reflect the enormous anger over endemic poverty, rampant unemployment, the lack of the most basic services and the systemic corruption that has pervaded Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion and occupation and the bitter sectarian conflicts instigated by Washington as part of its divide-and-rule strategy that has devastated the country.

The demonstrations in Iraq are part of a global upsurge of social struggles that have seen mass demonstrations in Chile, Ecuador, Bolivia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Lebanon, and other countries.

Abdul Mahdi made no attempt to meet their demand for jobs, better living conditions and an end to corruption. He dismissed their grievances with contempt, saying there was no “magic solution”.

Yet Iraq is OPEC’s second-biggest oil producer. It has the fifth-largest crude oil reserves in the world and, as everyone knows, last year took in more than $100 billion in oil revenues. But far from benefiting the Iraqi people, the cash went straight into the hands of international oil companies and their bought-and-paid-for hirelings in Iraq’s political and business circles. According to Transparency International, Iraq is the world’s 12th most corrupt state.

Instead, Abdul Mahdi imposed a dusk to dawn curfew and closed down the internet and social media in a bid to stop the protests from spreading. In addition, he ordered the deployment of heavily armed soldiers, members of Iraq’s elite counterterrorism squads and riot police to stop demonstrators from marching on Tahrir Square in downtown Baghdad and on the Green Zone, the heavily fortified center of the Iraqi government, the US and other Western embassies and the numerous military contractors that prop up the regime.

Snipers were positioned on rooftops to pick off protesters and masked death squads were deployed to go to the homes of known activists and assassinate them. Thousands are believed to have been injured as a result of the security forces’ use of live ammunition, rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannon.

Indeed, according to an Iraqi government committee that investigated the crackdown that took place during the first week of October, 149 civilians were killed as a result of the security forces’ use of excessive force and live fire, with more than 100 deaths caused by shots to the head or chest. While it held senior commanders responsible, it stopped short of blaming the prime minister and other top officials, claiming there had been no order to shoot.

But the government’s brutality only served to fuel the popular anger against the government. In the impoverished Shia neighborhoods of Sadr City, part of the Baghdad conurbation where more than a decade ago militias confronted American troops, crowds set fire to both government buildings and the offices of the Shia-based parties that support the government.

The initial wave of protests stopped for two weeks for the Shia religious festival of Arbaeen before resuming last Friday, when demonstrators in various parts of the country demanded the government’s resignation. “We’re here to bring down the whole government, to weed them all out,” and “We don’t want a single one of them. Not [parliamentary speaker Mohammed] Halbousi, not [Prime Minister Adel] Abdul Mahdi. We want to bring down the regime.”

The protests spread to the southern, Shia-populated southern provinces, with some of the young people voicing their opposition to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq’s leading Shia cleric, who urged protesters and security forces to show “restraint” and warned that there would be “chaos” if violence resumed.

As well as marching on Baghdad’s Green Zone, demonstrators targeted the headquarters of various militias across southern Iraq, including those of the Badr in ‘Amarra and Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq in Diwaniyah and the Sayyidd al-Shuhada’ in Nasiriya was also set on fire—a significant development given how strong the group is in that area. They also attacked the political parties and the government buildings they control, burning the Dawa Party headquarters in Diwaniya and the al-Hikma Party headquarters in Samawa, and provincial governorate buildings in the southern provinces of Dhi Qar, Qadisiya, and Wasit.

Once again, the government imposed a curfew, closed the internet, turned off the electricity in Tahrir Square, warned school and university students not to join the protests and gave the green light to the security forces to attack the demonstrators. According to Iraq’s High Commission for Human Rights, 63 demonstrators were killed on Friday and Saturday, and more than 2,500 demonstrators and security forces injured, largely by parastatal forces. The photos and videos of some of those killed and injured are absolutely horrific.

But the protests have continued this week. Students—some 40 percent of Iraqis were born after the 2003 US-led invasion of the country—defied the government and joined the thousands demonstrating against the government and calling for its resignation, despite the security forces’ use of tear gas against them. Elsewhere in Baghdad, soldiers were seen beating up high school students.

Activists in Baghdad occupied Tahrir Square throughout Monday night in defiance of the curfew. Reuters news agency reported one protester as saying, “No, we will stay. They have now declared a curfew and severe punishments for anyone not going to work, this is how they fight us. We will stay here until the last day, even if there are a thousand martyrs.”

On Monday, the first cracks in Mahdi’s fragile coalition appeared with Muqtada al-Sadr, the cleric who backs parliament’s largest bloc and was instrumental in bringing Mahdi’s coalition to power, called for early elections.

These protests reflect Iraqis’ anger over the truly terrible conditions they have been forced to endure. Despite the $1 trillion in oil revenue generated since 2005, the level of poverty is appalling. According to World Bank figures, around seven million of Iraq’s 38 million people live below the poverty line, and youth unemployment is 25 percent, undoubtedly a huge underestimate.

According to the World Food Program, 53 percent of Iraqis are vulnerable to food insecurity, while a massive 66 percent of the two million internally displaced as a result of the civil war against ISIS are susceptible to food insecurity. Malnutrition is rife.

Life expectancy has fallen to 58.7 years for men and 62.9 years for women as a result of the destruction of Iraq’s healthcare system following years of economic sanctions in the 1990s and the occupation and civil war that followed the US-led invasion.

Most households no longer have access to a regular water supply but face constant interruptions and have to resort to tanker trucks or open wells.

Housing conditions are truly shocking. The US war and its aftermath destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes and displaced millions of people. Many are living in breeze block shacks with corrugated iron rooves. Fifty one percent of Iraqi households are crowded, some with as many as 10 people living in one home.

The protests are part of a broader upsurge in the class struggle that is taking place all over the world and testifies to the primacy of class over ethnicity, nationality and religion. The Middle East and North Africa have witnessed strikes and demonstrations in Algeria, Sudan, Jordan and Egypt and most recently, Lebanon.

Thirteen days of mass protests against the government’s corruption and economic measures that have impoverished the working class have brought Lebanon to a standstill. Many roads are blocked, and businesses, schools and universities are closed. The banks have remained shut throughout, fearing a currency devaluation and mass withdrawals. Riad Salameh, the Director of the Central Bank of Lebanon, speaking on CNN television, said that without a political solution, the Lebanese economy was just days away from collapsing. Hours later, Prime Minister Saad Hariri handed in his resignation to President Michel Aoun.

These struggles expose once again the political bankruptcy of the national bourgeoisie, not only in Iraq, but throughout the Arab world, that have proved organically incapable of resolving any of the democratic and social demands of the Arab masses or establishing any genuine independence from imperialism.

These demands can only be won by unleashing the enormous power of the independent international working class. It can be developed through the establishment of popular assemblies and workers’ committees in all the oil installations and workplaces throughout the country, aimed at mobilizing the independent strength of the working class in a struggle against the world capitalist system and for socialism.