George W Bush’s lies on the Iraq war

This video from the USA says about itself:

Finally – PROOF The Bush Administration LIED About Iraq’s WMDs

9 March 2016

Unfortunately Donald Trump isn’t wrong about everything. He has been very vocal about the Iraq War. In 2003 the United States invaded Iraq, which led to a near decade long war. Even though US troops left, the chaos from that decision still rages on, with no solution or end in sight. Did the United States have to invade? Why did they invade? Jonny 5, of the Flobots, tells you about the lies that the Bush Administration gave the American people so that they could start a war.

Remembering British anti-Iraq war politician Robin Cook

This video from the British Parliment in London says about itself:

The late Robin Cook MP’s resignation speech to Parliament (in full), on 17 March 2003.

By Nick Matthews in Britain:

What might have been: Robin Cook at 70

Wednesday 24th February 2016

More than a decade after the principled Labour MP died, NICK MATTHEWS looks back at his bravura stand against the government’s Iraq arms deception

ON FEBRUARY 28 Robert “Robin” Finlayson Cook would have been 70. As I have just reached the age at which he died in 2005 I realise how much life he had in front of him. His death was a great loss to our politics. I worked with him when he was shadow trade and industry secretary and I felt he would make a very good chancellor.

Sadly there were Blairites and Brownites but few Cookites. Unfortunately he was poor at cultivating his supporters in the party.

I suspect that today he is best remembered for departure from high office. Immortalised on YouTube, his 2003 resignation speech contains the most incisive demolition of the case against the war in Iraq that you will find, from a man who had been foreign secretary from 1997 until 2001 and therefore knew what he was talking about. This was the very first speech ever to receive a standing ovation from members.

The loss of Cook to the government was indeed a great tragedy but the much greater tragedy was the fact that he was right. For those who heard that speech, who can forget his words?

“Iraq probably has no weapons of mass destruction in the commonly understood sense of the term,” he said.

“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?”

That speech and the comment about British-approved munitions factories took me back to February 15 1993 and Cook’s parliamentary demolition of Ian Lang, then the trade and industry secretary, over the Scott Report into Britain’s sale of arms to Iraq.

The report was written by Sir Richard Scott, Lord Justice of Appeal. The Establishment must have thought he was a safe pair of hands, but the report was critical of the government’s actions and evasions.

I played a very small part in Cook’s preparation for that debate. While ministers had eight days to read the report — all 2,386 pages of it — it was only released to the opposition three hours before the debate. About eight of us who had been following the twists and turns of the inquiry took chunks of it and read them, drawing anything we thought relevant to Cook’s attention.

I remember at one point with a colleague just checking in the dictionary to see if “dissembling” meant what we thought it meant. It did: it is to conceal or disguise, to assume a false appearance of something in everyday language. It is lying.

The way the report was presented by the press, you would think it was ambiguous — but in fact clear and easy to read.

When we think what has happened since, the whole affair now seems amazing. In the late 1980s Coventry-based machine tool firm Matrix Churchill had been bought by the Iraqi government and was exporting machines used in arms manufacture to Iraq.

Such exports are subject to government approval, and Matrix Churchill had all the necessary paperwork as export controls had been relaxed in 1988. This relaxation, however, had never been announced — indeed, even when asked in Parliament whether controls had been relaxed, ministers said they had not.

HM Customs and Excise, unaware of the change in policy, was suspicious that Matrix Churchill were exporting arms components illegally. In 1991 the directors were prosecuted for breach of export controls. The trial was a fiasco.

The government sought public interest immunity but this was overturned by the trial judge, forcing key documents to be handed over to the defence.

The trial collapsed when former minister Alan Clark admitted with typical sangfroid that he had been “economical with the actualité” in answer to parliamentary questions about what he knew about export licenses to Iraq.

Cook’s demolition of the government almost bought them down as they only won the vote 320 to 319. It turned out that one of the directors of Matrix Churchill was working for the security services all along.

Cook did the nation a great service on that day, as he did again in 2003 over the Iraq war. If only he had remained foreign secretary and there had been a prime minister who shared his ambition for an ethical foreign policy today, the world would now be a better place.

The conspicuous absence at Cook’s funeral of Tony Blair perhaps shows us that despite appearances, Blair does have some shame.

Bernie Sanders and United States voters in Britain

This video from the USA says about itself:

Hillary Clinton vs. Bernie Sanders on Whether to Invade Iraq – 2002

In October of 2002, the United States Senate and House of Represenatives were debating whether to give the President of the United States
(George W. Bush) the authority to invade Iraq.

Hillary Clinton voted for the war in Iraq.

Bernie Sanders voted against the war in Iraq.

By Eric Lee from the USA, living in Britain:

Are Britain’s US voters feeling the Bern?

Tuesday 23rd February 2016

As Super Tuesday nears, ERIC LEE examines Sanders’ prospects with expat Democrats

TUESDAY March 1 is known as “Super Tuesday” in the US Presidential election, because it’s the first day in the long season of primaries and caucuses on which more than one state gets to vote.

Until now, each individual state had its moment in the sun. Hundreds of reporters from all over the world filled every hotel and guest house in Iowa and New Hampshire.

But on Super Tuesday voters in a dozen states get to choose between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. And Republican voters get to choose between Donald Trump and several other contenders, most of them equally odious.

Some of those states could be easy wins for Sanders, including his home state of Vermont. But others are seen as fairly solid for Clinton, especially some of the Southern states.

What the mainstream media has largely ignored is the 13th state holding a primary that day.

I’m referring to Democrats Abroad, the official Democratic Party group that represents some six million US voters who live overseas. Those voters get to choose 13 delegates who will go to the Democratic National Convention in July in Philadelphia. Any US citizen can show up at voting centres around the world, produce their passport and vote. In Britain there will be such centres in London, Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh and St Andrews. Voting takes place over the course of a week, and there are also options for absentee ballots, including post and email.

The last time there was a contested election inside the Democratic Party, the upstart candidacy of Barack Obama did exceptionally well, beating Clinton two-to-one in the Democrats Abroad global primary.

This year, Clinton stands to lose as well. Sanders is the most likely winner of the global primary. Let me explain why.

Hillary Clinton has a formidable political machine behind her. She’s been able to raise tens of millions of dollars from wealthy backers, including from US citizens living abroad. Her campaign held fundraising events in places like Singapore and Shanghai. In London the Clinton campaign has largely consisted of just such fundraising events. At an upcoming event in London, one can meet Chelsea Clinton — Hillary and Bill’s daughter — for just $500. For another $500, one can be photographed with her.

But there is no evidence of a Clinton campaign on the ground — for example, among the thousands of US students studying in Britain.

The Sanders campaign in London and elsewhere is entirely different. The closest thing to a fundraising event has been the production and sale of some “London for Bernie” T-shirts. There have been several well-attended public meetings, including a launch event in the House of Commons, hosted by a Labour MP, in November, and a more recent event held in union Unite’s headquarters. Both of those events were addressed by Bernie Sanders’s older brother, Larry, who has lived in Britain since the 1960s. The Sanders campaign team, including a very enthusiastic group of students, meets weekly, and has conducted extensive canvassing in the streets of London. It also has a strong online presence on Facebook and the web.

So we can expect the Sanders campaign to win simply because it is better geared up for an election, but there are other reasons as well.

US citizens living abroad are far more likely to be Democrats than Republicans (the Republicans don’t bother to hold a global primary). And among the Democrats, they tend to be on the left wing of the party.

US voters living in Britain, for example, are likely to understand the advantages of single-payer health care based on their experiences with the NHS. In Europe and elsewhere, where public universities are tuition-free, Bernie Sanders’s advocacy of such policies doesn’t come across as particularly radical.

And even Sanders’s embrace of the words “democratic socialist,” which are thought to be a liability among some US voters, are far less likely to scare off US citizens who have lived in countries with large, well-organised labour and social democratic parties.

For those reasons and more, and regardless of what happens in states like Arkansas and Alabama on Super Tuesday, Sanders supporters in Britain are confident that he will win the majority of delegates — but only if people turn out to vote. In conversations with US citizens, including students, it turns out that the vast majority are unaware of the global primary. For that reason, the entire effort of the campaign in the next week or two is devoted to raising awareness and boosting voter turnout.

For more information, check out

Cornel West Says Hillary Clinton is the Milli Vanilli of US Politics. Giving only lip-service to social justice policies: here.

Amidst the endless media commentary, debates and stump speeches by the major candidates for US president, there is virtually no discussion of the active preparations of the ruling class for an immense escalation of war following the elections in November: here.

George W Bush torture still covered up

This video from the USA says about itself:

What Is the Government Still Hiding? ACLU Continues Fight to Obtain Photos of Bush-Era Torture

18 February 2016

Earlier this month, the Pentagon released nearly 200 photographs relating to the abuse of prisoners by U.S. military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan but refused to release a larger batch of 1,800 images. The American Civil Liberties Union has been fighting for nearly 12 years to win release of photos related to the Bush administration’s torture program. The released images include close-ups of bruised and lacerated body parts and bound, blindfolded prisoners. The withheld photos are believed to be far worse. We speak to ACLU attorney Alex Abdo.