“Progressives in Congress and their partners in the media, think tank world, and among grassroots activists should join forces with the growing caucus of anti-interventionist Republicans on the Hill and vigorously oppose her nomination.” — James W. Carden
“Victoria Nuland is highly dangerous and should not be confirmed.”
February 11, 2012
As the Senate prepares to confirm Nuland for Under Secretary for Political Affairs, a reflection of her last 30 years in government shows how she was connected to nearly every foreign policy disaster undertaken by the United States.
President Joe Biden’s nomination of Victoria Nuland for Under Secretary for Political Affairs, the third-highest position at the State Department, is a dangerous sign. Nuland exemplifies the neoconservatives who have led American foreign policy from one disaster to another for the past 30 years, all while evading any shred of accountability.
As a top-level appointee, Nuland must still be confirmed by the Senate. And while pro-peace groups have waged a campaign to stop her confirmation, reflecting on her career in public service makes clear why she is incompetent, highly dangerous, and should not be confirmed.
Afghanistan and Iraq
From 2000 to 2003, when the Bush administration attacked and then invaded Afghanistan, Nuland was serving as Bush’s permanent representative to NATO. The Afghan government offered to work with the Americans to remove al-Qaeda, but the offer was rejected. After al-Qaeda was defeated, the U.S. could have left Afghanistan but instead stayed, established semi-permanent bases, splintered the country, and is still fighting there two decades later.
From 2003 to 2005, Nuland was principal foreign policy advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney who “helped plan and manage the war that toppled [Iraqi leader] Saddam Hussein, including making [the] Bush administration’s case for preemptive military action based on Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction.” The foreign policy establishment, including Nuland, insisted that removing Saddam Hussein and installing a U.S. “ally” would be simple.
The invasion and continuing occupation have resulted in over a million dead Iraqis, many thousands of dead Americans, hundreds of thousands with PTSD, and a bill for American taxpayers of 2 to 6 trillion dollars.Continue reading
From Democracy Now
Interview with retired Gen. Wesley Clark
March 2, 2007
About 10 days after 9/11, I went through the Pentagon, and I saw Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz. I went downstairs just to say hello to some of the people on the Joint Staff who used to work for me, and one of the generals called me in. He said, “Sir, you’ve got to come in and talk to me a second.” I said, “Well, you’re too busy.” He said, “No, no.” He says, “We’ve made the decision we’re going to war with Iraq.” This was on or about the 20th of September. I said, “We’re going to war with Iraq? Why?” He said, “I don’t know.” He said, “I guess they don’t know what else to do.” So I said, “Well, did they find some information connecting Saddam to al-Qaeda?” He said, “No, no.” He says, “There’s nothing new that way. They just made the decision to go to war with Iraq.” He said, “I guess it’s like we don’t know what to do about terrorists, but we’ve got a good military, and we can take down governments.” And he said, “I guess if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail.”
So I came back to see him a few weeks later, and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan. I said, “Are we still going to war with Iraq?” And he said, “Oh, it’s worse than that.” He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, “I just got this down from upstairs” — meaning the secretary of defense’s office — “today.” And he said, “This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.” I said, “Is it classified?” He said, “Yes, sir.” I said, “Well, don’t show it to me.” And I saw him a year or so ago, and I said, “You remember that?” He said, “Sir, I didn’t show you that memo! I didn’t show it to you!”
For the full interview:
José Maurício Bustani is a Brazilian diplomat who was the first director-general of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) until he was ousted after falling out with the US government in April 2002. He was Ambassador of Brazil to the United Kingdom between 2003 and 2008 and is currently Ambassador of Brazil to France.
It was the first time in history that the head of a major international organization was removed during his/her term of office. There is much controversy surrounding the reasons behind Bustani’s removal. Bustani had been negotiating with the Iraqi government, and was hoping to persuade them to sign up to the OPCW, thus granting OPCW inspectors full access to Iraq’s purported “chemical weapons arsenal”. If Bustani had succeeded, this would have placed a formidable obstacle in the path of the Bush administration’s war plans, by removing their ostensible motive. Bustani’s supporters insist this was the reason why the US forced him out.
In an extraordinary interview with RT today (7th April), Bustani (image on the right) tells of having his family threatened by none other than newly appointed U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton back when Bolton was Under Secretary of State for Arms Control just prior to the Iraq war that led to hundreds of thousands of casualties and the destabilisation of the region.
Bustani tells RT that he had made a proposal for Iraq to join the OPCW and it was only a shock to the Americans “because they had plans already to take military action against Iraq.”
“It was obvious that everything (chemical weapons) had been destroyed and that there was nothing left for Iraq to be accused of in terms of still possessing chemical weapons.”
Jose Bustani was then asked by the then Under Secretary of State for Arms Control John Bolton to resign. Bustani refused.
“Bolton then came to the Hague to my office and he said you have to resign and I give you 24 hours. This is what we want”
Bustani objected on the grounds that he was elected by all members states of the OPCW, not just the U.S.
Bustani alleges that Bolton physically threatened members of his family if he did not comply and immediately resign.
“If you don’t there will be consequences, there will be retaliation – we know where your kids are.”
Bustani confirmed that his two sons were in New York at the time and is clearly becoming uncomfortable recounting the story for this interview.
Bustani ends the interview with the words
“he is not a man you can have a dialogue with.”
he Combined Joint Task Force, in its monthly assessment of civilian casualties from the U.S. coalition’s operations against ISIS acknowledged at least 352 civilians had been killed in U.S.-led strikes in Iraq and Syria since the operation began in 2014.
According to The Guardian, however, the Pentagon put civilian deaths in strikes on ISIS way lower than outside groups. Such a conclusion was made due to the latest data published by Airwars monitoring group. Airwars estimated that 3,164 civilians had been killed by the US-led coalition’s indiscriminate air strikes since the beginning of the ‘counter-terrorism’ operation in Syria and Iraq. Earlier, Airwars reported that only in March this year, as a result of the numerous coalition’s attacks, the number of civilian casualties increased to 1,782.
According to Amnesty International, the likely civilian death toll in Syria from air strikes by Coalition forces between 23 September 2014 and August 2016 was in the range of 804 to 1,213. It was also reported that such an impressive number of victims was caused by inaccurate air strikes, erroneously carried out mainly not at the positions of terrorists, but at residential areas and civil infrastructure.
In this regard, it becomes clear why the command of the international coalition deliberately hides the real number of victims in Iraq and Syria. Having officially acknowledged the deaths of such an impressive number of civilians, Washington will be forced to acknowledge the low level of training of the U.S. Armed Forces in fighting terrorism.
The White House can’t allow this. Now all its efforts are directed to a show of force such as the previous strikes at the Syrian Shayrat airfield. Moreover, in order to maintain the image of a superpower, Washington is ready to neglect even the lives of helpless civilians.
There is no doubt that it is difficult for Washington to hide the real number of casualties among civilians during its military operation in Syria and Iraq. To try and mitigate the reaction of the world community, the Combined Joint Task Force can only dose the ‘new information’ about the victims and demonstratively express its deepest sympathies to the families and others affected by the coalition’s air strikes.
Anna Jaunger is a freelance journalist from Inside Syria Media Center.
Mattis: ‘No doubt‘ Syrian regime has chemical weapons, April 21, 2017
“There can be no doubt in the international community’s mind that Syria has retained chemical weapons in violation of its agreement and its statement that it had removed them all. There is no longer any doubt,” Mattis told reporters.
Full text of Dick Cheney‘s speech, August 27, 2002
Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us. And there is no doubt that his aggressive regional ambitions will lead him into future confrontations with his neighbors …
“Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.”― Edmund Burke
UN Security Council meeting
April 7, 2017
Video from C-SPAN
1:45:50 – 1:57:26
Syrian Ambassador to the UN Bashar al Ja’Afari
“At the outset, my delegation wishes to thank both the Russian Federation and Bolivia that joined us in calling for the convening of this urgent meeting.
I have a question at the very outset to the under-Secretary General who stated that Syrian Arab Republic perpetrated an act of aggression without defining that act by the terms of the Charter of the United Nations.
The United States at 3:42 at dawn today, April 7, 2017, waged a barbaric, flagrant act of aggression against a base of the Syrian Arab Air Force in the central area of the country using a number of missiles which led to a number of martyrs, many injured, including women and children, and wide-ranging material damage.
This treacherous act of aggression is a grave violation of the Charter of the United Nations as well as all international norms and laws.
The United States attempted to justify it with empty pretexts, fabricated arguments, claiming that the Syrian Arab Army had used the chemical weapons in Khan Sheikhoun, without genuine knowledge of what happened, without identifying who was responsible, the very same pretexts shouted out by terrorist organizations as well as their handlers in Washington and in ___Riyadh, ____Tex Aviv, London, and Paris, as well as their media.
The Syrian Arab Republic has stressed that the Syrian Arab Army does not have chemical weapons in the first place, and that it would never use such weapons in any of its operations against armed terrorist groups, that it condemns the use of such weapons as being unjustified under any conditions.
Let me stress that it is well-known that those weapons had been used and stockpiled in many parts of Syria by terrorist armed organizations in cooperation, or rather with a wink and a nudge, by some ruling regimes in the region and outside, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and some European states.
They completely ignore all the facts and documented information on the use of chemical weapons by terrorists in many parts of the Syrian Arab Republic.
This aggression would surely send erroneous messages to these terrorist groups, emboldening them to use chemical weapons in the future and to continue perpetrating terrorist acts against the Syrian civilians. Jabhat al Nusra and ISIL, both terrorist organizations, and associated terrorist organizations, following this aggression, did wage many attacks on many parts of Syria. The Syrian Arab Army and its allies in the war against terrorism are confronting them, despite attempts to support them. The American aggression is under this umbrella.
This condemnable aggression is a grave extrapolation of the same erroneous American strategy that began six years ago: one of providing all forms of assistance to what the United States called moderate armed opposition groups. This strategy harms counterterrorism by the Syrian Arab Army and its partners. It makes the United States of America a partner of ISIL and Jabhat al Nusra and other terrorist groups that since day one of the unjust war against Syria have attacked army positions and military bases as well as the infrastructure.
Let me recall in this Council that the United States of America leads a purported alliance against ISIL. However, the real achievements of that coalition is to kill civilians and to strike at infrastructure in Syria. Its real objective is to weaken the Syrian Arab Army and its allies when confronting terrorist groups. In this regard, we see the air strike by the aircraft of this coalition illegally against the Syrian Arab Army in the Jabal Tharda in the city of Deir Ezzor on 17 September 2016 in an attempt to protect ISIL elements falling between Syrian and Iraqi territory and opening a corridor for them.
Today’s aggression aimed at saving the Jabhat al Nusra following the grave damage that was done to them by the Syrian Arab Army and its allies in the center of the country following their attack on cities and peaceful villages in the region.
Let me also stress that media reports tell us that the U.S. Congress some time ago approved a law allowing the U.S. administration to send manpads to armed terrorist groups in Syria.
We have warned only two days ago in this very Council that these colonialists, permanent member states in the Security Council, the three colonialists have a renewed appetite to renew their lies and their stories that have been spread by the United States and the United Kingdom 14 years ago in this very hall to justify the destruction and occupation of Iraq using a major lie – being WMDs. Perhaps history has come full circle now in a regrettable scenario when we saw Secretary of State Colin Powell at the time trying to delude the international community and the United Nations to justify the aggression of his country against Iraq by talking about highly credible information.
Today the United States of America in its policy, in an attempt to justify its aggression against Syria, is using fabricated information provided by the Jabhat al Nusra terrorists.
This aggression incontrovertibly proves that Syria has been correct: that successive American administrations will not change their sterile policies, which is to target states to make peoples kneel to their will and spread hegemony around the world.
International public opinion, the people of the free world, have no doubt that the successive United States, UK, and French administrations for decades have not cared for democracy or freedom or human rights, indeed, let alone the welfare of people or their security and stability. These are just pretexts to wage war, to occupy other states, to divide them, to control their wealth and energy resources.
What is truly disgusting today is that these governments that supported the Wahhabi thinking, the terrorist extremist ideology of the House of Saud since its creation, is today orchestrating terrorism and investing in it without any care for the lives of people, even their own peoples when terrorism reaches their own threshold because of these wrong and hypocritical policies.
The Syrian Arab Republic strongly condemns the active aggression by the United States of America which is counter to the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations, indeed with the status of the United States as a permanent member of the Security Council which is responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security. Let alone that these aggressions really promise total chaos in many parts of the world and will make the law of the jungle the only way to deal with the regional and economic crises without any heed to the Charter of the United Nations.
When you kill millions of innocents starting in South Asia all the way through Latin America, what was your position? A member from France spoke on the issue and spoke about exceptions.
You should not be the exception.
You should be made accountable for the killings in July of 2017 [2016?] of hundreds by your war planes.
You in the international coalition must be held accountable for the killing of 800 civilians in Syria at the beginning of 2017.
You must be made accountable for your support of armed terrorist groups and their political cover there, too, as they continue their terrorist acts.
The government of the Syrian Arab Republic, proceeding from its belief that all efforts must be mobilized to counteract terrorism, as it respects the rules of international law, the Charter of the United Nations, calls on the Security Council to shoulder its responsibilities according to the Charter to condemn this act of aggression and to ensure that it shall not be repeated.
It is an act that threatens peace and security in the region and the world.”
From Global Research
April 4th, 2016
by Joyce Chediac
The indiscriminate bombing of tens of thousands of Iraqi troops and civilians retreating from Kuwait is one of the most heinous war crimes in history.
I want to give testimony on what are called the “highways of death.” These are the two Kuwaiti roadways, littered with remains of 2,000 mangled Iraqi military vehicles, and the charred and dismembered bodies of tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers, who were withdrawing from Kuwait on February 26th and 27th 1991 in compliance with UN resolutions.
US planes trapped the long convoys by disabling vehicles in the front, and at the rear, and then pounded the resulting traffic jams for hours. “It was like shooting fish in a barrel,” said one US pilot. The horror is still there to see.
On the inland highway to Basra is mile after mile of burned, smashed, shattered vehicles of every description – tanks, armored cars, trucks, autos, fire trucks, according to the March 18, 1991, Time magazine. On the sixty miles of coastal highway, Iraqi military units sit in gruesome repose, scorched skeletons of vehicles and men alike, black and awful under the sun, says the Los Angeles Times of March 11, 1991. While 450 people survived the inland road bombing to surrender, this was not the case with the 60 miles of the coastal road. There for 60 miles every vehicle was strafed or bombed, every windshield is shattered, every tank is burned, every truck is riddled with shell fragments. No survivors are known or likely. The cabs of trucks were bombed so much that they were pushed into the ground, and it’s impossible to see if they contain drivers or not. Windshields were melted away, and huge tanks were reduced to shrapnel.
“Even in Vietnam I didn’t see anything like this. It’s pathetic,” said Major Bob Nugent, an Army intelligence officer. This one-sided carnage, this racist mass murder of Arab people, occurred while White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater promised that the US and its coalition partners would not attack Iraqi forces leaving Kuwait. This is surely one of the most heinous war crimes in contemporary history.
The Iraqi troops were not being driven out of Kuwait by US troops as the Bush administration maintains. They were not retreating in order to regroup and fight again. In fact, they were withdrawing, they were going home, responding to orders issued by Baghdad, announcing that it was complying with Resolution 660 and leaving Kuwait. At 5:35 p.m. (Eastern standard Time) Baghdad radio announced that Iraq’s Foreign Minister had accepted the Soviet cease-fire proposal and had issued the order for all Iraqi troops to withdraw to positions held before August 2, 1990 in compliance with UN Resolution 660. President Bush responded immediately from the White House saying (through spokesman Marlin Fitzwater) that “there was no evidence to suggest the Iraqi army is withdrawing. In fact, Iraqi units are continuing to fight. . . We continue to prosecute the war.” On the next day, February 26, 1991, Saddam Hussein announced on Baghdad radio that Iraqi troops had, indeed, begun to withdraw from Kuwait and that the withdrawal would be complete that day. Again, Bush reacted, calling Hussein’s announcement “an outrage” and “a cruel hoax.”
Eyewitness Kuwaitis attest that the withdrawal began the afternoon of February 26, 1991 and Baghdad radio announced at 2:00 AM (local time) that morning that the government had ordered all troops to withdraw.
The massacre of withdrawing Iraqi soldiers violates the Geneva Conventions of 1949, Common Article III, which outlaws the killing of soldiers who are out of combat. The point of contention involves the Bush administration’s claim that the Iraqi troops were retreating to regroup and fight again. Such a claim is the only way that the massacre which occurred could be considered legal under international law. But in fact the claim is false and obviously so. The troops were withdrawing and removing themselves from combat under direct orders from Baghdad that the war was over and that Iraq had quit and would fully comply with UN resolutions. To attack the soldiers returning home under these circumstances is a war crime.
Iraq accepted UN Resolution 660 and offered to withdraw from Kuwait through Soviet mediation on February 21, 1991. A statement made by George Bush on February 27, 1991, that no quarter would be given to remaining Iraqi soldiers violates even the US Field Manual of 1956. The 1907 Hague Convention governing land warfare also makes it illegal to declare that no quarter will be given to withdrawing soldiers. On February 26,199 I, the following dispatch was filed from the deck of the USS. Ranger, under the byline of Randall Richard of the Providence Journal:
Air strikes against Iraqi troops retreating from Kuwait were being launched so feverishly from this carrier today that pilots said they took whatever bombs happened to be closest to the flight deck. The crews, working to the strains of the Lone Ranger theme, often passed up the projectile of choice . . . because it took too long to load.
New York Times reporter Maureen Dowd wrote, “With the Iraqi leader facing military defeat, Mr. Bush decided that he would rather gamble on a violent and potentially unpopular ground war than risk the alternative: an imperfect settlement hammered out by the Soviets and Iraqis that world opinion might accept as tolerable.” In short, rather than accept the offer of Iraq to surrender and leave the field of battle, Bush and the US military strategists decided simply to kill as many Iraqis as they possibly could while the chance lasted. A Newsweek article on Norman Schwarzkopt, titled “A Soldier of Conscience” (March 11,1991), remarked that before the ground war the general was only worried about “How long the world would stand by and watch the United States pound the living hell out of Iraq without saying, ‘Wait a minute – enough is enough.’ He [Schwarzkopf] itched to send ground troops to finish the job.” The pretext for massive extermination of Iraqi soldiers was the desire of the US to destroy Iraqi equipment. But in reality the plan was to prevent Iraqi soldiers from retreating at all. Powell remarked even before the start of the war that Iraqi soldiers knew that they had been sent to Kuwait to die. Rick Atkinson of the Washington Post reasoned that “the noose has been tightened” around Iraqi forces so effectively that “escape is impossible” (February 27, 1991). What all of this amounts to is not a war but a massacre.
There are also indications that some of those bombed during the withdrawal were Palestinians and Iraqi civilians. According to Time magazine of March 18, 1991, not just military vehicles, but cars, buses and trucks were also hit. In many cases, cars were loaded with Palestinian families and all their possessions. US press accounts tried to make the discovery of burned and bombed household goods appear as if Iraqi troops were even at this late moment looting Kuwait. Attacks on civilians are specifically prohibited by the Geneva Accords and the 1977 Conventions.
How did it really happen? On February 26, 1991 Iraq had announced it was complying with the Soviet proposal, and its troops would withdraw from Kuwait. According to Kuwaiti eyewitnesses, quoted in the March 11, 1991 Washington Post, the withdrawal began on the two highways, and was in full swing by evening. Near midnight, the first US bombing started. Hundreds of Iraqis jumped from their cars and their trucks, looking for shelter. US pilots took whatever bombs happened to be close to the flight deck, from cluster bombs to 500 pound bombs. Can you imagine that on a car or truck? US forces continued to drop bombs on the convoys until all humans were killed. So many jets swarmed over the inland road that it created an aerial traffic jam, and combat air controllers feared midair collisions.
The victims were not offering resistance. They weren’t being driven back in fierce battle, or trying to regroup to join another battle. They were just sitting ducks, according to Commander Frank Swiggert, the Ranger Bomb Squadron leader. According to an article in the March 11, 1991 Washington Post, headlined “US Scrambles to Shape View of Highway of Death,” the US government then conspired and in fact did all it could to hide this war crime from the people of this country and the world. What the US government did became the focus of the public relations campaign managed by the US Central Command in Riyad, according to that same issue of the Washington Post. The typical line has been that the convoys were engaged in “classic tank battles,” as if to suggest that Iraqi troops tried to fight back or even had a chance of fighting back. The truth is that it was simply a one-sided massacre of tens of thousands of people who had no ability to fight back or defend themselves.
The Washington Post says that senior officers with the US Central Command in Riyad became worried that what they saw was a growing public perception that Iraqi forces were leaving Kuwait voluntarily, and that the US pilots were bombing them mercilessly, which was the truth. So the US government, says the Post, played down the evidence that Iraqi troops were actually leaving Kuwait.
US field commanders gave the media a carefully drawn and inaccurate picture of the fast-changing events. The idea was to portray Iraq’s claimed withdrawal as a fighting retreat made necessary by heavy allied military pressure. Remember when Bush came to the Rose Garden and said that he would not accept Saddam Hussein’s withdrawal? That was part of it, too, and Bush was involved in this cover up. Bush’s statement was followed quickly by a televised military briefing from Saudi Arabia to explain that Iraqi forces were not withdrawing but were being pushed from the battlefield. In fact, tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers around Kuwait had begun to pull away more than thirty-six hours before allied forces reached the capital, Kuwait City. They did not move under any immediate pressure from allied tanks and infantry, which were still miles from Kuwait City.
This deliberate campaign of disinformation regarding this military action and the war crime that it really was, this manipulation of press briefings to deceive the public and keep the massacre from the world is also a violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution, the right of the people to know.
Joyce Chediac is a Lebanese-American journalist who has traveled in the Middle East and writes on Middle East issues. Her report was presented at the New York Commission hearing, May 11, 1991.
Commander of Asa’eb al-Haq Movement affiliated to the Iraqi popular forces of Hashd al-Shaabi said that the US forces have carried out a rapid heliborne operation and evacuated two commanders of ISIL terrorists from Western Mosul in Northern Iraq.
Javad al-Talaybawi said that the US forces carried out the heliborne operation in one of the Western neighborhoods of Western Mosul, evacuating two senior ISIL commanders to an unknown location after the commanders came under siege by Iraqi government forces in intensified clashes in Western Mosul.
“Americans’ support and assistance to the ISIL is done openly to save their regional plan in a desperate attempt,” al-Talaybawi underlined.
Al-Talaybawi had warned late in February that the US forces tried hard to evacuate ISIL commanders from the besieged city of Tal Afar West of Mosul.
After photos surfaced in the media displaying US forces assisting ISIL terrorists, al-Talaybawi said that the Americans were planning to take ISIL commanders away from Tal Afar that is under the Iraqi forces’ siege.
In the meantime, member of Iraqi Parliament’s Security and Defense Commission Iskandar Watut called for a probe into photos and footages displaying US planes airdropping aid packages over ISIL-held regions.
Watut further added that we witnessed several times that US planes dropped packages of food stuff, arms and other necessary items over ISIL-held regions, and called on Iraq’s air defense to watch out the US-led coalition planes.
Eyewitnesses disclosed at the time that the US military planes helped the ISIL terrorists in Tal Afar region West of Mosul.
“We saw several packages dropped out of a US army aircraft in the surrounding areas of the city of Tal Afar in Western Nineveh province and six people also came out of a US plane in the ISIL-controlled areas,” the Arabic-language media quoted a number of eyewitnesses as saying.
Tal Afar city has been under the siege of the Iraqi volunteer forces (Hashd al-Shaabi) for about two months now and the efforts by the ISIL terrorists to help their comrades besieged in Tal Afar have failed so far.
The news comes as the Iraqi army had reported that the US air force has been helping the ISIL terrorists in areas controlled by the terrorist group.
The Iraqi army says that the US army is trying to transfer the ISIL commanders trapped in areas besieged by the Iraqi army to safe regions.