The Chilcot Inquiry, set up to look into the British role in the war in Iraq, reported on July 6, and although it was overshadowed by the political fallout from the Brexit vote to leave the European Union, received a largely favorable reception from the media and commentators. It is unclear why those commentators judged it to be “hard-hitting” because in terms of its conclusions all it did was tell us what we already knew.
Then British Prime Minister Tony Blair pursued a war that was arguably illegal has had disastrous consequences, not least for the 179 British servicemen and women killed and their loved ones, but also for Iraq, its people and the fight against terrorism.
I was staggered by the rush to say the report was hard hitting. It wasn’t. It simply laid out the facts in a narrative format and let the reader decide. Those facts were of course damning but I struggle to find anything in the report that a well informed reader of British newspapers wouldn’t already know.
It was a very workmanlike narrative of what happened taken from secret documents and witness testimony and therefore providing far more detail than had been previously available but it was not anything like a proper inquiry in the real sense. It was more like a neutral court report than the solid analysis which was required, and what we actually got from the curiously much derided Butler report.
As a result of the Chilcot’s failure to carry out any detailed analysis of the evidence presented to his inquiry, it completely missed the extensive and conclusive evidence of a ten-month illegal air war by Britain and the U.S. designed to provoke Saddam Hussein into giving the allies an excuse to go to war in Iraq.
All modern wars begin with an air war in which the enemy positions on the ground are “softened up” to make them easier to overcome. The Iraq War was no different in many ways. Except there was a difference. George W. Bush and Tony Blair didn’t tell us it was happening.
So why does this matter now?
It matters because the Iraq War didn’t begin on March 20, 2003 as everybody thought, it began ten months earlier on May 20, 2002 when the allies started the secret air war. It was definitely illegal because it started six months before the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1441 which Tony Blair’s government later used to claim the war was legal.
(U.S. readers might also care to note that it started five months before Congress passed the so-called Iraq Resolution which authorized military action against Iraq.)
The secret air war, codenamed Operation Southern Force, was carried out under cover of the UN-authorized operation under which U.S. and RAF aircraft patrolled a so-called no-fly zone over southern Iraq to protect the Shia majority from Saddam’s forces.
Lt.-Gen. Michael Moseley, the U.S. Air Force commander of allied air operations over Iraq, told a conference at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada in July 2003 that during Operation Southern Force allied aircraft dropped more than 600 bombs on “391 carefully selected targets.”
British and U.S. officials claimed at the time that the reason behind the increased air strikes carried out in the southern no-fly zone, was an increase in Iraqi attacks on allied aircraft. But Lt.-Gen. Moseley said the bombing of Iraqi positions in southern Iraq paved the way for the invasion and was the reason the allies were able to begin the ground campaign without first waging an extensive air war as they had done during the 1991 Gulf War.
Planning for the illegal air war began shortly after Tony Blair attended a summit with George Bush at the U.S. President’s ranch in Crawford, Texas on April 6 and 7, 2002. Chilcot confirmed evidence from a Cabinet Office Briefing Paper leaked to me as part of the “Downing Street Memos” back in the spring of 2005 that Mr. Blair agreed at Crawford “to support military action to bring about regime change” in Iraq.
The British Prime Minister didn’t waste any time sorting out what would happen next. Chilcot records that the very next day, April 8, 2002, Geoff Hoon, the U.K. Defense Secretary, called in Chief of Defense Staff Admiral Sir Michael Boyce (now Lord Boyce) and the Permanent Undersecretary at the Ministry of Defense (MoD) Sir Kevin Tebbit to discuss “military options” in Iraq.
Ten days later, Air Marshal Brian Burridge, Deputy Commander of RAF Strike Command, was sent to the U.S. to act as liaison with General Tommy Franks, commander of the U.S. Central Command, who would lead the invasion force. Now Sir Brian, he told the Chilcot Inquiry that he had a meeting with Gen. Franks shortly after arriving at Central Command’s headquarters in Tampa, Florida, discussing the no-fly zones over Iraq “at some length.”
Nine days later, on April 26, Franks flew to London with Burridge for discussions with the U.K. defense chiefs. The Chilcot Report says they talked about the patrols of the no-fly zones with details of the discussions “circulated on very limited distribution.”
A week later, there was a top secret meeting in 10, Downing St. chaired by Blair and attended by Hoon, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and Adm. Boyce. The Chilcot Report notes briefly that “Mr. Blair had a meeting on Iraq with Mr. Straw, Mr. Hoon and Adm. Boyce on 2 May but there is no record of the discussion.”
It’s worth pointing out that the Downing Street note which describes that key meeting in such brazenly bare detail was initially provided to the Butler Inquiry which first looked at the intelligence provided to back the war in Iraq in 2004. So the cover-up goes back at least to then and in reality far beyond.
Three days later after that secretive Downing Street meeting, Donald Rumsfeld, U.S. Defense Secretary, flew to London for talks with Mr. Hoon, following which British officials announced changes to the rules of engagement in the no-fly zones making it easier for allied aircraft to attack Iraqi military positions.
Simon Webb, then Mod policy director, told the Chilcot inquiry that the Americans had proposed “changing the nature of the no-fly zone, quite a lot of which we were persuaded about but which a part of we weren’t persuaded about … and stood aside from.”
As one of the Mod’s most senior civil servants, Webb was spouting the sort of doublespeak of which the writers of BBC Television’s Yes, Minister would have been very proud. The key words there are not “stood aside from” but “quite a lot of which we were persuaded about.”
On 20 May 2002, allied aircraft began ramping up the number of attacks on Iraqi positions. Throughout the first few months of 2002, they had dropped barely any bombs on Iraq. But answers to parliamentary questions asked by Liberal Democrat MP Sir Menzies Campbell (now Lord Campbell), reveal that during those last ten days of May alone, U.S. and U.K. aircraft patrolling the southern no-fly zone dropped 7.3 tons of bombs on Iraqi positions.
Far from standing aside, as Webb claimed in his testimony to the Chilcot Inquiry, RAF aircraft dropped more than two thirds of those bombs, a total of 4.9 tons.
Throughout the summer of 2002, both British and U.S. aircraft continued to bomb southern Iraq under cover of the no-fly zone while Blair and Hoon insisted that nothing was happening. The Defense Secretary told a cabinet meeting on 20 June 2002 that “except for continuing patrols in the no-fly zones, no decisions have been taken in relation to military operations in Iraq.”
During defense questions in the House of Commons on Monday 15 July 2002, Hoon told Labour MP Alice Mahon that: “Absolutely no decisions have been taken by the British Government in relation to operations in Iraq or anywhere near Iraq … I can assure the House that any such decision would be properly reported to the House.”
The next day, Blair appeared before the Parliamentary Liaison Committee. Asked if the U.K. was “preparing for possible military action against Iraq,” Blair replied: “No, there are no decisions which have been taken about military action.”
Tony Blair and his Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon were able to claim throughout 2002 that no decision had been taken on military action because the truth of what was taking place in southern Iraq under cover of the UN-authorized no-fly zones was kept on an extremely tight “need to know” basis. Even fairly senior British officials believed the increased air strikes were simply the result of the relaxation of the rules of engagement.
A week later, on Tuesday 23 July 2002, Blair was due to have a meeting with his war cabinet. In preparation for that meeting, the Cabinet Office produced a briefing paper which was one of the Downing St. Memos leaked to me when I was on the Sunday Times. It warned the participants that: “When the Prime Minister discussed Iraq with President Bush at Crawford in April he said that the U.K. would support military action to bring about regime change.”
This represented a problem for British policy-makers, the Cabinet Office briefing paper said.
“We need now to … encourage the U.S. Government to place its military planning within a political framework, partly to forestall the risk that military action is precipitated in an unplanned way by, for example, an incident in the no fly zones,” the briefing paper said. “This is particularly important for the U.K. because it is necessary to create the conditions in which we could legally support military action.”
This is all the evidence we need to show that the air war was illegal. Those conditions in which Britain could legally support military action did not yet exist. They had to be created. So although it was clearly not known to the officials who drafted the briefing paper, RAF aircraft and for that matter RAF servicemen were already involved in military action against Iraq which was not legal under the U.K. interpretation of international law.
The minutes of that war cabinet meeting on July 23 became best known for comments by Sir Richard Dearlove, the then head of MI6, who had just returned from a trip to Washington DC to see his CIA counterpart George Tenet. He told the meeting that the intelligence was being “fixed around the policy” in America.
But Hoon said something even more interesting. U.S. aircraft overflying southern Iraq had begun “spikes of activity to put pressure on the regime.” He did not mention that RAF aircraft were also taking part in the attacks. Presumably some of his colleagues in the war cabinet were unaware of that fact and the lack of an official record for the May 2 meeting suggests that both Blair and Hoon thought it sensible not to have the British participation on record.
The attacks continued through June, July and August with both U.S. and British aircraft carrying out increased bombing but nevertheless failing to provoke the Iraqis into a reaction which might give the allies an excuse for war.
The attacks needed to be ramped up still further.
On September 5 2002, more than 100 allied aircraft, both U.S. and British, attacked an Iraqi air defense facility in western Iraq on September 5, 2002, in what was believed to be a prelude to the infiltration of special forces into Iraq from Jordan. The RAF saw it as such a success that it was reported on the front page of the official publication RAF News.
During September, allied aircraft dropped 54.6 tons of munitions on southern Iraq of which 21.1 tons were dropped by RAF aircraft. In October, they dropped 17.7 tons of which 11.4 tons, roughly two-thirds, were British.
The Iraq Resolution authorizing U.S. military action against Iraq was not passed by Congress until the early hours of October 11, 2002, five months after the start of Operation Southern Force, the secret air war preparing the way for the invasion.
UN Security Council Resolution 1441, which the U.K. Government would later claim made the war legal, was not passed until November 8, 2002, six months after the secret air war began.
It was not until March 17, 2003 that British Attorney-General Lord Goldsmith formally confirmed that military action was legal on the basis of UN Security Council Resolution 1441. A day later, the British parliament backed U.K. military action in Iraq.
Two days, later allied troops invaded Iraq. It was and remains widely regarded as the start of the Iraq War. Only a very few people knew that was not the truth. The war had begun ten months earlier on 20 May 2002 when British and American aircraft began bombing the 391 “carefully selected” targets assigned to Operation Southern Force, the illegal joint British and American bombing campaign that Chilcot completely missed.
Intelligence beast reporter Michael Smith broke the story of the secret “Downing Street Memos” in 2005. This article was originally published on Michael Smith’s blog.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Zika virus a global health emergency on Monday (February 1) without providing much detail on the disease. So here are some facts until we receive more information:
This sexually-transmitted virus has been around for 69 years and is a product of two companies: LGC Group (headquartered in the UK) and ATTC (headquartered in the US).
The LGC Group is:
“…the UK’s designated National Measurement Institute for chemical and bioanalytical measurements and an international leader in the laboratory services, measurement standards, reference materials, genomics and proficiency testing marketplaces.”
One of its branches, LGC Standards, is:
“…a leading global producer and distributor of reference materials and proficiency testing schemes. Headquartered in Teddington, Middlesex, UK, LGC Standards has a network of dedicated sales offices extending across 20 countries in 5 continents and more than 30 years experience in the distribution of reference materials. These high quality products and services are essential for accurate analytical measurement and quality control, ensuring sound decisions are made based on reliable data. We have an unparalleled breadth of ISO Guide 34 accredited reference material production in facilities at 4 sites across the UK, the US and Germany.”
LGC Standards entered into a partnership with ATCC, of which the latter is:
“…the premier global biological materials resource and standards organization whose mission focuses on the acquisition, authentication, production, preservation, development, and distribution of standard reference microorganisms, cell lines, and other materials. While maintaining traditional collection materials, ATCC develops high quality products, standards, and services to support scientific research and breakthroughs that improve the health of global populations.”
This “ATTC-LGC Partnership” is intended to facilitate:
“the distribution of ATCC cultures and bioproducts to life science researchers throughout Europe, Africa, and India and […] to make access to the important resources of ATCC more easily accessible to the European, African, and Indian scientific communities through local stock holding of more than 5,000 individual culture items supported by our local office network delivering the highest levels of customer service and technical support.”
And who owns the patent on the virus? The Rockefeller Foundation!
Why has the issue of patent ownership of the Zika virus not been the object of media coverage?
Lest we forget the words of David Rockefeller in an address to a Trilateral Commission meeting in June of 1991
“We are grateful to the Washington Post, the New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost 40 years. … It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supernational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries.”
Is the ownership of the Zika Virus by the Rockefeller Foundation part of that agenda of “supernational sovereignty [dominated] by an intellectual elite and world bankers…”?
Of significance, the Zika virus is a commodity which can be purchased online from the ATCC-LGC for $599.00, with royalties accruing to the Rockefeller Foundation.
The original source of this article is Global Research
December 13, 2015
Protestors in London, Britain December 12, 2015 take part in a demonstration against bombing Syria © Neil Hall / Reuters
Thousands of people have marched in London to protest against UK intervention in Syria and the airstrikes which have recently been launched. Anti-war activists also demanded a full stop to other UK military campaigns abroad.
From Stop the War Coalition
By Mairead Maguire
07 December 2015
Syrian children who have suffered so much from violence and war in their young lives, send a message: ‘UK please do not bomb our country’.
Mairead Maguire was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for her work in promoting peace in Northern Ireland. She has since won many awards for her tireless campaigning for peaceful resolution to conflicts round the world, particularly in the Middle East.
On 2nd December, 2015 the United Kingdom Parliament voted to bomb Syria and the world watched as British planes, equipped with the latest bombs aptly named ‘Brimstone’ are dropped on Syrian targets and country.
On 28/ll/2015 during my visit to Homs and at a school in the heart of Old Homs, Syrian children who have suffered so much from violence and war in their young lives, send a message: ‘UK please do not bomb our country, we love Syria’.
Having returned from my third visit to Syria, the message from the Syrian people is, they do not want outside military interference in their country, they want through peace and reconciliation to stop all violence and build a just and peaceful Syria, and they are already doing this themselves.
Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate. www.peacepeople.com
The world is falling over itself to bomb Syria.
The following statement from Reuters summarizes the situation:
“Most of the world’s powers are now flying combat missions over Iraq and Syria against Islamic State. But any consensus on how to proceed has been thwarted by opposing policies over the 4-year-old civil war in Syria, which has killed 250,000 people, driven 11 million from their homes, left swathes of territory in the hands of jihadist fighters and defied all diplomatic efforts at a solution.”
While it may seem to the outside observer that this catalogue of mayhem is the result of incompetence, to me – on the contrary – it is evidence of things going to plan.
I have never, thus far, seen a war the ruling elite clearly wanted to happen not happen.
Here, as in all other cases, there has been a bit of hand-wringing, some crying, some protests, some moving speeches. But like the morality plays of medieval times, after enjoying the sermon dressed as entertainment, life has inevitably carried on as normal with the barons raping and pillaging and everyone else having to put up with that reality.
Destruction of Syria is the plan
This time the plan – at least judging from the outcomes – is to destroy Syria.
Syria has been anathema to the self-appointed arbiters of righteousness: the ‘international community’, that coterie of hypocrites which arrogates to itself the monopoly on meting out death to those who won’t get with the program.
This group dislikes Syria which has had an uncompromising stance towards Israel and an independent financial system, and is using the chance to destroy it to flood Europe with refugees, thus further debasing the makeup of its constituent nations, and simultaneously justifying a lockdown in those countries.
Everything was going swimmingly until Putin stepped in.
While many in the West who have grown jaundiced at the obvious usurpation of our governments by outside interests ascribe almost saint-like motivations to Putin, I do not. He is a superb strategist. Exactly what he is strategizing for is not clear yet.
What is clear is that his move into Syria threw a spanner in the works of a status quo the US was quite happy with: growing terrorism and mayhem in Syria and spreading nicely to Europe.
Assad himself said a few days ago to the BBC (courtesy of Czech Television) that ISIS was growing smaller after Russian bombing intervention whereas moves by other countries served only to strengthen ISIS and increase their recruitment.
He added: “The facts are telling.”
So what do the facts tell?
They tell us that Russia is the only country involved to date which has the removal of ISIS as an actual goal.
Russia is also the only country with a legitimate mandate under international law.
In addition, ISIS was most eloquently outed by author and journalist Gearóid Ó Colmáin on Russia Today as a US creation.
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In this scenario, the reason for further western efforts in the region is looking increasingly like an attempt to prevent Russia from routing its assets or achieving the informational coup that would follow.
France and Britain milking the crises
The propaganda war is hotting up, with western press issuing unsubstantiated and emotional surmise as news.
Meanwhile, the French and the British are now, of course, bombing Syria.
At home, the French government not only voted to bomb but enacted ‘emergency’ powers at the same time. And Holland wants to change the constitution to extend these powers.
The Telegraph states: “The draft “Protection of the Nation” bill […] would extend the right to strip French citizenship from dual nationals convicted of terrorism offences by also including people born in France.
It would also prolong certain powers after a state of emergency was lifted.
No time limit will be inscribed in the constitution under the new proposals. As is currently the case, parliament will decide how long a given state of emergency should last.”
This all looks so like a dictator’s wet dream, it takes an effort of will to believe it has not been planned this way.
And a man no less respected than Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, formerly Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, has raised legitimate questions about the official line on the Paris attacks.
“European peoples want to be French, German, Dutch, Italian, Hungarian, Czech, British. They do not want their countries to be a diverse Tower of Babel created by millions of refugees from Washington’s wars.
To remain a nationality unto themselves is what Pegida, Farage, and Le Pen offer the voters.
Realizing its vulnerability, it is entirely possible that the French Establishment made a decision to protect its hold on power with a false flag attack that would allow the Establishment to close France’s borders and, thereby, deprive Marine Le Pen of her main political issue.”
The same event, of course, justifies France’s bombing of Syria.
The British government for its part – despite some theatrical hand-wringing – has got on the bandwagon and opted to join in whatever further criminality the US has planned in Syria.
As though to justify the decision, the Telegraph breathlessly informs us that ISIS (or ISIL as it calls it) is planning to attack the UK “next”.
It says: “There are unconfirmed reports that Isil has decided that the next target of an attack will be Britain.
European security agencies, citing specific intelligence that had been obtained, stated that British Isil operatives in Syria and Iraq were being tasked to return home to launch an attack, CNN reported.”
This is the level of the propaganda now: CNN reports security agencies who say that a terrorist group whose name changes every five minutes might be sending members to Britain to do harm.
But this is unconfirmed.
The real reason for this war
I’m going to simplify things: the Plan for a New American Century – a document which was created by neoconservative warmongers in or close to power under George Bush Jr. – listed countries which it wanted the US to attack, namely: North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Syria.
“[all were] pinpointed as enemies of the U.S. well before the illegal war in Iraq in 2003, as well as the illegal 2011 war in Libya and the ongoing proxy war in Syria.”
Retired US General Wesley Clarke went on record in 2007 stating that the fix was in: the U.S. had unilaterally decided to destroy Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran.
This is not some wild-eyed conspiracy theorist. Clarke was a four-star general, and the man who commanded Operation Allied Force in the Kosovo War during his term as the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe of NATO from 1997 to 2000.
The pretense of choice
Any objective assessment of who benefits from attacks upon the countries Clarke mentioned would not include any European country – or even the U.S. for that matter.
But the subtext is clear: if Europeans don’t want to take part, terrorist attacks will be allowed or contrived until they acquiesce.
In short: the ruling elite wants this war. Our pretend governments voted it through on the nod. And we the people will have to deal with the fallout and put up with random terrorist acts if we wake up and speak out about how this charade is rigged.
At the same time, the people of Syria are subject to bombing raids by the US, France and the UK – none of which have any invitation from the legitimate government of that country – actions which, properly speaking, are acts of war against the country the perpetrators claim to want to help.
My prediction: the clean-up operation Russia initiated and Assad approves of will be made to fail; terrorism will increase and spread into Europe; and mass immigration from Syria and that area to Europe will continue; and acts of terrorism on European soil will magically justify endless war, internal lock-down, wholesale surveillance, detention without trial, and troops on the street.
And this – in the absence of hard evidence based in action to the contrary – I can only see as the actual plan.
Do you remember voting for that?
No, nor do I.
David Cameron has announced that at least one billion pounds from UK taxpayers will go to fund the ‘reconstruction’ of Syria after it has been pummeled by British bombs. The lunacy of pledging to rob the public purse to repair the damage Cameron is so hell-bent on creating is breathtaking. That is until you examine who the plan makes sense for: Cameron’s much loved British companies.
The House is rightly also asking more questions about whether there will be a proper post conflict reconstruction effort to support a new Syrian government when it emerges, and Britain’s answer to that qusetion is absolutely yes. I can tell the House that Britain will be prepared to contribute at least another billion pounds for this task.
This is, of course, a direct insult to the British population, who have been forced to endure a crippling amount of cuts to public services in the name of ‘essential’ austerity. However, it is glaringly obvious by now that the Tory party’s austerity program is nothing more than an ideological instrument to re-order society.
Part of this ideology resides in bringing about a British business boom, and Cameron is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that happens. It is why corporation tax has been consistently lowered by his government – leading to companies loving these little isles as they pay next to nothing to trade here.
It’s also why Cameron sees opportunity in the tragedy of Syria. For all his fire and brimstone talk of destroying jihadi “monsters”, he is counting on benefits for the British contractors carrying out the extensive work necessary to rebuild Syria after RAF bombers, and those of numerous other countries, have decimated it.
There is a precedent for this: the Iraq war. Multiple companies profited from the illegal invasion of Iraq, many of them British. An article in Business Pundit details the most vicious of these profiteers, here’s a selection of the UK’s beneficiaries:
A security and risk management company who landed a £250 million contract to coordinate all of Iraq’s private security operations, which led to them being rejected for membership of trade organisation International Peace Operations Association.
The bank bought a 70% controlling stake in Dar es Salaam Investment Bank, which had gathered $91 million worth of assets by 2008. Daesh (ISIS) is already known to have seized control of banks in the areas they maintain, which would open up a lucrative opportunity for western banks should they be defeated.
A London-based private security company who landed a $90 million contract to secure Iraq’s oil fields. Daesh has huge reserves of oil that power it financially, and which would need protecting once wrestled from its control.
Not a UK-based company, but it was acquired by BAE Systems in 2007 – a subsidiary of BAE Systems plc, based in the UK. Armor Holdings provided military and personnel safety equipment for the Iraq war, and saw its profits increase by over 2,000% between 2001 and 2008.
Aside from the businesses set to reap the benefits of a Syria in ashes, there are those who will benefit from creating those ashes – namely defence companies. BAE Systems is one of the military manufacturers that will see a rise in profits from any decision to continue along the western warpath. In fact, BAE announced this year that its profits were up £500 million in 2013, having gained contracts worth over £10bn from the US and UK governments for three consecutive years, according to the BBC.
That corporate behemoths like BAE Systems benefit from the ‘war on terror’ is no accident, and it’s a result Cameron is banking on. As investigative reporter James Risen lays out so well in his book Pay Any Price, many have recognised the opportunities this never-ending war has created, both in the battles abroad, and the enhanced security measures we find on our own doorsteps:
As trillions of dollars have poured into the nation’s new homeland security-industrial complex, the corporate leaders at its vanguard can rightly be considered the true winners of the war on terror.
The first step in tackling this, is to recognise it. If we face the true motivation of our government’s actions, we are able to challenge it.
Cameron’s claims about why he wants to bomb Syria have already been widely debunked, even by members of his own party. His position on who he is doing it for should also be challenged. It is not the Syrian people. They will undoubtedly suffer from further bombing. It is not UK citizens, who will see the threat of terrorism at home further increase. Is it these giant industries, with their lobbyists and political donations, that Cameron actually holds closest to his heart?