Blair has made Britain a target

The prime minister’s “we are at war” statements are irresponsible in the extreme. It is said that some of his senior officials understand this, as do many MPs: thus the messages of “restraint” now being whispered to journalists.

Tony Blair is endangering the people of this country as well as Britons abroad. His willingness to join Bush’s “crusade” and use military force will neither avenge nor bring justice to nor honour the memory of the ordinary people who died so terribly in America last week because this will almost certainly lead to a gratuitous slaughter of more innocents in Afghanistan, Iraq or elsewhere. It also risks nurturing a new generation of suicidal killers. Two years ago, Denis Halliday, the assistant secretary general of the United Nations who resigned over the Anglo-American-imposed embargo of Iraq, told me: “We are likely to see the emergence of those who may well regard Saddam Hussein as too moderate and too willing to listen to the west. Such is the desperation of people whose children are dying in their thousands and who are bombed almost every day by American and British planes.”

Blair’s wanton disregard of this threat has been demonstrated in recent years. On a bogus pretext, he joined America’s all-out assault on Iraq in 1998 and backed Clinton’s missile attack on a pharmaceutical factory in Sudan. The following year, his “moral crusade” with Clinton against Yugoslavia killed hundreds of

— source | john pilger | 21 Sep 2001

Nullius in verba

Gilligan was an exception

Shortly after the collapse of the Iraqi regime, the BBC’s Today programme sent Andrew Gilligan to Baghdad. Gilligan’s reports were unlike anything the BBC had broadcast. They contradicted the official Anglo-American line about “liberation” and made clear that, for a great many Iraqis, the invasion and occupation were at least as bad as life under Saddam Hussein.

This was heresy, prompting Alastair Campbell to move Gilligan to the top of his list of “rants”, as Greg Dyke has described them. “Gullible Gilligan” was Campbell’s term of abuse, which meant that the reporter was on to something. Like his subsequent report that the government had “sexed up” its Iraq dossier, Gilligan’s conclusion was right, and has since been repeatedly proven right. There is no liberation in Iraq. There is a vicious colonial occupation. The government “sexed up” not one, but two dossiers.

Campbell’s attacks were reminiscent of those orchestrated against other journalists who have distinguished themselves by departing from the script. For telling

— source | john pilger | 9 Feb 2004

Nullius in verba

This war of lies goes on

There is no victory in Afghanistan’s tribal war, only the exchange of one group of killers for another. The difference is that President Bush calls the latest occupiers of Kabul “our friends”.

However welcome the scenes of people playing music and shaving off their beards, this so-called Northern Alliance are no bringers of freedom. They are the same people welcomed by similar scenes of jubilation in 1992, who then killed an estimated 50,000 in four years of internecine feuding.

The new heroes so far have tortured and executed at least 100 prisoners of war, and countless others, as well as looted food supplies and re-established their monopoly on the heroin trade.

This week, Amnesty International made an unusually blunt statement that was buried in the news. It ought to be emblazoned across every front page and television

— source | john pilger | 16 Nov 2001

Nullius in verba

Eisenhower rejected military chiefs’ demand for nuclear war on China

A previously censored account of the 1958 Taiwan Strait crisis that was sponsored by the Pentagon has been published in full by the leaker of the Pentagon Papers, Daniel Ellsberg. The report provides a hair-raising portrait of a reckless US military leadership relentlessly pressing President Dwight Eisenhower for the authority to carry out nuclear attacks on communist China.

After holding the still-classified version of the account in his possession for fifty years, Ellsberg said he decided to release it because of the growing threat of US war with China over Taiwan, and the danger that such a conflict could escalate into a nuclear exchange.

A May 22 New York Times report on the account offered only general details of the role the US Joint Chiefs of Staff played in the run-up to the 1958 Taiwan crisis. However, it is now clear from the original highly classified documents as well as other evidence now available that from the beginning, the Joint Chiefs

— source | Gareth Porter | May 27, 2021

Nullius in verba

‘War on Terror’ a smokescreen created by the ultimate terrorist, America itself

It is 10 months since 11 September, and still the great charade plays on. Having appropriated our shocked response to that momentous day, the rulers of the world have since ground our language into a paean of cliches and lies about the ‘war on terrorism’ – when the most enduring menace, and source of terror, is them.

The fanatics who attacked America came from Saudi Arabia and Egypt. No bombs fell on these American protectorates. Instead, more than 5,000 civilians have been bombed to death in stricken Afghanistan, the latest a wedding party of 40 people, mostly women and children. Not a single al-Qaeda leader of importance has been caught.

Following this ‘stunning victory’, hundreds of prisoners were shipped to an American concentration camp in Cuba, where they have been held against all the conventions of war and international law. No evidence of their alleged crimes has been produced, and the FBI confirms only one is a genuine suspect. In the United States, more than 1,000 people of Muslim background have ‘disappeared’; none has been charged. Under the draconian Patriot Act, the FBI’s new powers

— source | john pilger | 22 Jul 2002

Nullius in verba

US cost of ISIS war crosses $6B mark

The total U.S. cost of the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has crossed the $6 billion mark, the Pentagon said on Wednesday. A defense spokesman says that, as of January 31, the total cost to U.S. taxpayers of anti-ISIS operations that began on Aug. 8, 2014, is $6.2 billion. That’s an average of $11.5 million per day, for 542 days of operations. The average daily cost of operations has gone up from $11.4 million per day, as of late December. The war has still not been authorized by members of Congress, despite more than half a dozen lawmakers — Republicans and Democrats — drafting proposals to do so. The White House also sent over a draft proposal, but it was panned by both sides of the aisle.

— source | 2016

Nullius in verba

Without any evidence Iraq was a threat

The Blair government was told in January by the Americans that there was no justification for attacking Iraq in the “war on terrorism” and that their main aim was getting rid of Saddam Hussein who stood in the way of the West’s control of Middle Eastern oil wealth.

This partly explains why Blair abandoned presenting to Parliament a famous “dossier” in which “the evidence of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction is simply vast”.

The dossier is no more than a stream of warmed-over assertions and deceptions, supplied by Washington. According to reliable intelligence sources in another Western country, who were privy to the same communications, the Central Intelligence Agency has made clear that there is “no credible evidence” justifying an attack in Iraq.

While Blair has continued to repeat propaganda that Iraq is a threat to the region and to what he calls “civilisation”, the truth has long been an open secret.

— source | john pilger | 27 Aug 2002

Nullius in verba

Blair ignores Sun’s smear of British journalist hanged by Saddam

When Saddam hanged a British journalist in 1990, MI5 had the journalist smeared in the Sun, and the Mail agreed he was a spy. What did Blair say? John Pilger can find nothing.

Having failed to fabricate a link between Iraq and al-Qaeda, and prove that Iraq has a secret armoury of banned weapons, the warmongers have fallen back on the “moral case” for an unprovoked attack on a stricken country. Farce has arrived. We want to laugh out loud, a deep and dark and almost grief-laden laugh, at Blair’s concern for the “victims of Saddam Hussein” and his admonishment (reprinted in the Observer) of the millions of protesters: “There will be… no protests about the thousands of [Iraqi] children that die needlessly every year…”

First, let’s look back to Saddam’s most famous victim, the British journalist Farzad Bazoft, who was hanged in 1990 for “spying”, a bogus trial following a bogus charge. Those of us who protested at his murder did so in the teeth of a smear campaign by the British government and a press determined to cover for Britain’s favourite tyrant.

The Sun smeared Bazoft by publishing his conviction for stealing when he was a student – information supplied by MI5 on behalf of the Thatcher government, which

— source | john pilger | 3 Mar 2003

Nullius in verba

As the world protests against war, we hear again the lies of old

A painful decision,” say the supporters of an invasion. But it is not they who will feel the pain: it will be the Iraqi infants writhing in the dust when the cluster bombs fall.

In “Dulce et decorum est”, his classic poem from the First World War, Wilfred Owen described young soldiers, doomed to die, “like old beggars under sacks”, and a man’s “hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin”.

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,-
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

What has changed since Owen wrote those words, not long before his own death in the trenches? In the Gulf war in 1991, the slaughter of Iraqi conscripts was conducted in a similar industrial way. Three brigades of the United States 1st Mechanised Infantry Division used snow ploughs mounted on tanks and combat earth movers, mostly at night, to bury terrified Iraqi teenagers, many of them still alive, including the wounded, in more than 70 miles of trenches. A brigade commander, Colonel Anthony Moreno, said: “For all I know, we could have killed thousands.”

The policy of General Norman Schwarzkopf, the American field commander, was that the Iraqi dead were not to be counted. “This is the first war in modern times,”

— source | john pilger | 17 Feb 2003

Nullius in verba