The Trial of Saddam Hussein and The Fallout of The War

The Trial of Saddam Hussein


The fallout in the Middle East from the regime change in Iraq

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Saddam's Yacht

Saddam Hussein's yacht, Ocean Breeze, is up for sale.

The yacht is in berth in the port in Nice, and is up for sale for $34M.

Ocean Breeze was built in 1981 by Danish shipbuilder Helsingor Vaerf. The yacht is 82metres long, and was originally named Qadissiyat Saddam. No word on who is the beneficiary of Saddam's universal life insurance policy.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Saddam's Vice President Escapes

Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, Saddam Hussein's former vice president, escaped an Iraqi security raid on him in Salaheddin province, north of Baghdad.

Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri escaped an overnight raid last week on his hideout. The raid was conducted as a result of an intelligence report that al-Douri and his aides were holding a meeting in the village.

The Iraq security force did not find al-Douri, but seized documents which describe the links between al-Douri and al-Qaeda as well as other insurgent groups in Iraq.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Lousy Bookkeeping

Lousy bookkeeping by US forces has meant that there is a $5.2BN black hole in the accounts of the Iraqi security forces. Equipment and services allegedly supplied, at the cost of $5.2BN, to the Iraqi forces cannot be proven.

The Multinational Security Transition Command in Iraq cannot prove that the money was used for its intended results and not wasted.

That is no way to run a budget or a country.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Maliki Asks Bush To Hand Over Chemical Ali

Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has formally asked President Bush to hand over Saddam Hussein's cousin, "Chemical Ali", and two other former officials sentenced to hang for the 1986-88 crackdown against Kurds.

The US is, quite rightly, refusing to hand over the men until the Iraqi leadership agree as whether the executions should be carried out or not. Were the US to give in to the Prime Minister's request, it would provoke a backlash from Sunni Arabs.

Maliki has accused unnamed politicians of interfering in the legal process for personal reasons, and insisted that Sunni politicians had no right under Iraqi law to pardon or ease the sentences of people convicted of crimes against humanity and condemned.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sentencing Lite

Houston oilman Oscar Wyatt, accused of paying kickbacks to Saddam Hussein under the United Nations' Oil-for-Food programme has been sentenced to 12 months 1 day in a low security jail.

In explaining the sentence, which was six months less than the low end of the sentencing range under federal guidelines, U.S. District Judge Denny Chin cited "amazing letters" from admirers of the 83 year old.


"Mr. Wyatt is a most extraordinary man.

He has lived a remarkable life.

There is little doubt in my mind that Mr. Wyatt broke the law

What a remarkable country America is; where, on the one hand, the death sentence is routinely carried out yet there are times when mercy is also shown.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Delay in Excecutions Drags On

Iraqi Shiite and Kurdish MPs have condemned the delay in carrying out the executions of "Chemical Ali" and two other convicted former officials of the Saddam Hussein regime.

Ali Hassan al-Majid, Sultan Hashim al-Tai, Saddam's defence minister, and Hussein Rashid al-Tikriti, his armed forces deputy chief of operations, were sentenced to death on June 24.

Kurdish and Shiite deputies called for the executions to be carried out without further delay.

The US military will not hand the condemned men over until the legal row between Iraqi officials over the execution is resolved.

Two members of the presidential council President Jalal Talabani, and Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, have refused to sign the execution orders.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Vaile Denies Accusations

The Australian Nationals leader, Mark Vaile, has rejected allegations that Foreign Minister Alexander Downer knew about the AWB scandal before it was revealed.

Former Austrade director John Finnin, who was Australia's top Middle East trade official, told Fairfax newspapers that Mr Downer would have known AWB, Australia's single-desk wheat exporter, was paying kickbacks to Saddam Hussein.

Mr Finnin says he met with the owners of Jordanian trucking firm Alia in September 2003.

Alia was was used to channel funds to Saddam through "trucking fees".


"I was the senior trade officer in the region and Iraq was my responsibility.

The foreign minister had enough advisers to know that (the meeting occurred).

Mr Vaile, a former trade minister, retorted:

"We established, for all intents and purposes, a Royal Commission that was overseen by Royal Commissioner Cole into this whole issue.

It's conclusion was that there was certainly no wrong-doing by government or by government officials and that is a matter on the public record.

As far as we are concerned, the case is closed - it's finished

Monday, November 19, 2007

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Double Your Money

The Democrats delivered something of a bombshell with their report "The Hidden Costs of the Iraq War". In it they claim that the total cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is expected to be $1.6 trillion, double the amount President George Bush says it will cost.

The report says:

"The full economic costs of the war to the American taxpayers and the overall US economy go well beyond even the immense federal budget costs already reported."

The Whitehouse responded by saying that the Democrats were playing politics. True enough, but that's what politicians (Republicans included) do.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Hanging Delayed

The stay of execution for Chemical Ali, and two other ex members of Saddam Hussein's inner circle, remains in place; as the US continues to hold them and will not hand them over to the Iraqis, until a legal row is resolved.

US spokeswoman Mirembe Nantongo said:

"There continue to be differences in viewpoint within the government of Iraq regarding the necessary Iraqi legal and procedural requirements for carrying out death sentences issued by the Iraqi High Tribunal.

Coalition forces will continue to retain physical custody of the defendants until this issue is resolved

The Iraqi Prime Minister, Nuri al-Maliki, is less than pleased with the US policy wrt this matter. On Sunday he accused the US embassy of playing an "unfortunate role" in preventing the handover of the three. He added that his government was "determined" that the executions be carried out.

However, the irresistible force appears to have met the rock in the form of Nantongo who said:

"There is still discussion within the government of Iraq over the legal requirements in this case. We are waiting for the government to come to consensus as to what their law requires before preparing a physical transfer."

Two members of the presidential council, President Jalal Talabani and Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi have refused to sign the execution orders.

This stand off is not due to end anytime soon.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Father Defends Son

Former President George Bush senior defended his son, President George W Bush, in a rare interview with USA Today.

Bush senior, speaking about the Iraq war, said:

"Do they want to bring back Saddam Hussein, these critics?

Do they want to go back to the status quo ante? I don't know what they are talking about here. Do they think life would be better in the Middle East if Saddam were still there

That's all very well. However, when Bush senior was faced with the decision (in the earlier Gulf War) as to whether to invade Iraq or not he decided against it.


"It would have been a disastrous decision."

Good call!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Blix Questions US Intentions

Hans Blix, the former chief United Nations weapons inspector, fears that the United States has a secret plan to keep its troops in Iraq.

Dr Blix, speaking in Sydney, said:

"One fear I would have is that the US has a hidden thought to remain in Iraq.

One reason why they wanted in was that they felt they must leave Saudi Arabia.

After the Gulf War in 1991 they left their troops in Saudi Arabia to protect pipelines. And when they felt they could no longer stay in Saudi Arabia, Iraq was the next best place because it was more secularised than Saudi Arabia and had the second biggest oil reserves in the region

Whilst it may be the intention of the current administration in Washington to remain in Iraq, it may not be the intention of the people of the US. In one year's time there will be a new president elect, and the true intentions of the US may then become a little clearer.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Diplomatic Rebellion

There is something of a rebellion going on the the US State Department. Hundreds of diplomatic staff and diplomats have point blank refused to be sent to Iraq, as they regard it as a death sentence.

The postings in Iraq have been voluntary up until now. However, the Secretary of State does have the legal authority to order assignments.

ABC News has a brief recording of a town meeting where the diplomats vented their spleens. Listen to it here ABC

Not much of a vote of confidence for the way things are being "managed" at the moment.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Blackwater Immunity

There is more than a little confusion at the moment over the status of the Blackwater personnel, who shot dead 17 Iraqis. It is reported, albeit unofficially, that they have been granted immunity.

These reports have infuriated the Iraqi government, as they accuse the men of murder and want to try them in Iraq, and has put further strains on the relationship between Iraq and the US.

The Iraqi government has been demanding that the Blackwater guards be handed over for trial, since the deaths on 16th September.

State department spokesman, Sean McCormack, has refused to confirm the reports of the immunity deal. However, he said that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had tried to ensure "in as much as we are able, that if people broke the rules or broke the law, that they're held to account".

The Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri Maliki, is not mincing any words on the matter; he has described the shooting as a "criminal act". To pour further petrol on the fire, an inquiry by the Iraqi interior ministry concluded the security guards were "100% guilty".

The head of Blackwater denies the killings were unprovoked, insisting his men had been fired upon.

A mess by anybodies standards.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Blame Game

With the descent of Iraq into chaos and bloodshed, the British and US administrations are now playing the blame game in order to salve their troubled consciences.

The BBC's John Ware concludes in "No Plan, No Peace" that both the British and American governments got just about everything wrong in their assumptions about what would follow the fall of Saddam Hussein.

The people of Iraq and the US/UK soldiers on the ground are now paying the price of their failure.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Audit Suspended

The State Department has had to publicly humiliate itself, by admitting that it does not know what it received for a billion dollar contract with security firm DynCorp International to provide training services for Iraqi police.

The Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) has had to suspend its audit of the DynCorp contract, after administration officials admitted that they had no confidence in their own accounting records.

The list of problems are very familiar to auditors who have worked with companies in total disarray. Duplicate invoices, payments for equipment (eg a $1.8M scanner) that was never used and expense payments ($387K for hotels) that were unnecessary.

Needless to say, all of the above issues are red lights to professional accountants and auditors as they indicate the very real possibility of fraud.

The agency responsible for the contract was the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL). SIGIR castigates them, and is quoted by Reuters:

"INL does not know specifically what it received for most of the $1.2 billion in expenditures under its DynCorp contract for the Iraqi Police Training Program. INL's prior lack of controls created an environment vulnerable to waste and fraud."

Although the audit may well resume in January 2008, it is expected that it will take up to five years to complete it. Needless to say by that time the people responsible for this mess, ie the Bush administration, will have long since left office.

Mission accomplished!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Jailer Jailed

Lieutenant Colonel William Steele, a former US commander at the jail that held Saddam Hussein, was jailed on Friday for two years after a court martial found him guilty of illegally possessing classified documents.

Lieutenant Colonel Steele was also dismissed from military service, and will forfeit all pay and allowances. However, his sentence will be cut by 229 days as he has already served that in detention in Kuwait awaiting trial.

Steele was acquitted on the more serious charge of aiding the enemy by supplying an unmonitored mobile phone to an inmate.

The judge, Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Grammel, also found him guilty of having an inappropriate relationship with an Iraqi interpreter and failing to obey an order.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Execution Wrangle

The political wrangling over the death sentences against Saddam's cousin "Chemical Ali" al-Majid, Defence Minister Sultan Hashim Ahmad al-Tai and Hussein Rashid Mohammed, former deputy operations director of the Iraqi armed forces, continues.

The three are currently being held in US custody, and will not be handed over until questions over the legality of the death warrants are resolved.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Death Sentence Delayed

The execution of Chemical Ali (Ali Hassan al-Majeed), scheduled for Tuesday, has been delayed as a result of legal wrangling over who should sign the order.

Ali Hassan al-Majeed was convicted in June of planning and directing the Anfal military campaign in 1988, in which prosecutors said up to 180,000 Kurds were killed and which the trial court later ruled was an act of genocide.

The issue revolves around whether Iraq's presidency council needs to issue a decree authorising the execution, or if Maliki's government can set the date.

The council consisting of President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, Vice-President Adel Abdul-Mahdi, a Shi'ite, and Vice-President Tareq al-Hashemi, a Sunni Arab is reportedly split as to whether the execution should take place.

It is reported that Hashemi has refused to sign the execution order.

The Iraqi government has formed a committee to review the mechanism of carrying out death sentences issued by the Iraqi High Tribunal.

The committee will meet during the coming fortnight, and Majeed would not be executed until it gave its report.

When Charles I was executed by Cromwell, Cromwell made sure that all members of the new government signed the order for the execution and that it was not done in a dark corner. The Iraqi government would do well to take a lesson from Cromwell.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Execution Status Unclear

Chemical Ali (Ali Hassan al-Majid) was set to be executed yesterday.

Munir Hadad, a senior judge of the Supreme Criminal Court, said that the execution could take place anytime after 5:00am on Tuesday.

Majeed and two other lieutenants of Saddam Hussein were convicted in June of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity for their role in Operation Anfal, in which as many as 180,000 Kurdish civilians and guerrillas were killed two decades ago.

It is not yet clear as to whether the sentence has been carried out.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Saddam's Jailer on Trial

Lt-Col William Steele, a US serviceman who was in charge of the detention of Saddam Hussein, has gone on trial in Baghdad by court martial accused of aiding the enemy.

Lt-Col Steele is standing trial on a total of seven counts, and could face a life sentence.

The most serious charge is that he aided the enemy by providing a mobile phone to detainees. It has not been disclosed whom Col Steele lent the phone to.

During pre-trial hearings Steele was also accused of supplying Cuban cigars and hair dye to Saddam.

Echoes of Nuremberg, when a US serviceman aided Goring in committing suicide.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Ex Defence Minsiter To Hang

Ex Iraqi Defence Minister, Sultan Hashim Ahmed al-Tai, is to be hanged in Iraq in the next few days for war crimes. However, Rick Francona an Air Force lieutenant colonel during the Iraq war believes that the sentence should be commuted.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Turkey Ups The Ante

Turkey has stirred up the quagmire of Iraq, by threatening a cross border raid. A council of Turkey's top political and military leaders issued a statement yesterday allowing troops to cross the border, in order to eliminate separatist Kurdish rebel camps in the border area of Northern Iraq.

This idea, needless to say, is not welcome. The United States strongly opposes the idea, not least because this is one of the few areas in Iraq that is actually stable.

The office of Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, issued a statement saying that the offices and institutions of the Turkish government have been ordered "to take all economic and political measures, including cross-border operations when necessary, in order to end the existence of the terror organization in a neighboring country."

Ironically an agreement between Turkey and Iraq, during Saddam Hussein's rule, did allow Turkey to make cross-border raids without prior approval.

PKK rebels currently carry out attacks on Turkey, then disappear across the border to mountain hideouts in the predominantly Kurdish region of Northern Iraq.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Brown Announces Pullout

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, in an attempt to shore up his poll ratings, has announced that Britain will cut its forces in Iraq by half in the spring.

This will reduce the British presence in Iraq to around 2,500 troops. It is expected that there will be a total pullout before the next British general election (now expected to be in 2009).

Quite how well this announcement went down in Washington is unclear. However, some wise heads in the media (LA Times) note that the US Administration should follow suit:

"So the British will not leave behind a peaceful Basra, but they are nonetheless right to leave it. The United States should take note and recognize that it is a delusion to believe that any foreign occupier can stop Iraqi factions hellbent on fighting for power. We owe the Iraqis our best efforts at mediation, but to insist on stability as a prerequisite for withdrawal is to commit to indefinite and fruitless military occupation."

Monday, October 08, 2007

Aziz Ill

It is reported that the health of former Iraqi deputy prime minister, Tariq Aziz, is deteriorating as a result of his hunger strike.

Aziz went on strike last month, as a protest against his transfer to the custody of Iraqi authorities.

His lawyers have requested an independent medical examination.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Saddam's Number Two

Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri, Saddam Hussein's number two in the Revolutionary Command Council, is now reportedly leading a coalition of Iraqi insurgent groups.

The United States, in November 2003, offered a $10M reward for his death or capture.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Wyatt Confesses

Oscar Wyatt, the Texan oil tycoon on trial for paying kickbacks to Saddam Hussein, has confessed that he paid illegal kickbacks to Saddam in exchange for oil contracts through the U.N. oil-for-food program.

Wyatt, who is 83, opted for a plea bargain and agreed to serve up to 24 months behind bars.

Wyatt must also pay the $11M he made as a result of his dealings with Iraq between 2000 and 2003.

Wyatt's sentencing date is set for November 27th.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Saddam's Stuff For Sale

The lovers of the macabre may find a website set up by Haitham Wihaib, a former henchman of Saddam Hussein, to be of interest.

The site offers for sale various items that once belonged to Saddam, including; a diamond-encrusted Rolex watch, a pair of Dior sunglasses, a ring and a Cartier pen.

It takes all sorts, I suppose.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Saddam Offered Exile

Saddam Hussein was prepared to take $1BN and to go into exile before the Iraq war, thus preventing the invasion of Iraq and the fiasco that we see the US embroiled in today.

This story is apparently being propagated by none other than President George Bush, who allegedly told José Maria Aznar, the then prime minister of Spain, about it a month before the 2003 invasion.

During a meeting at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, on 22 February 2003, Bush told Mr Aznar that Saddam could also be assassinated, according to a transcript of their talks published yesterday in the Spanish newspaper El Pais.

Bush is quoted as saying:

"The Egyptians are speaking to Saddam Hussein. It seems he's indicated he would be prepared to go into exile if he's allowed to take $1 billion [£500 million] and all the information he wants about weapons of mass destruction."

Asked by Mr Aznar whether the Iraqi dictator could really leave, Bush replied:

"Yes, that possibility exists. Or he might even be assassinated."

Bush talked about pressuring countries that were members of the United Nations Security Council to support a resolution authorising force. Whatever happened, "we'll be in Baghdad by the end of March".

Mission accomplished!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Iran Shuts Some Iraq Borders

Iran closed major border crossings with northeastern Iraq on Monday, to protest against the U.S. detention of Mahmudi Farhadi an Iranian official that the military accuses of weapons smuggling.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Chemical Ali Trial

Ali Hassan al-Majid, aka "Chemical Ali", has today demanded that the trial accusing him and 14 other former regime officials for crimes against humanity be adjourned for a month.

Ali Hassan al-Majid, who is due to be hanged after his conviction for genocide in a separate trial, and his co-defendants are accused of having overseen the killing of up to 100,000 Shiites.

Majid and another defendant Ibrahim Abdul Razzaz said that their lawyers were afraid to attend the court, and had asked for protection from the US military which was refused.

Majid told judge Mohammed al-Khalifah al-Oreibi:

"My brothers here have some demands.

They said they would stop eating and drinking if their lawyers are not back. They need more negotiations (with the US military). I don't think this will take more than one month.

I ask that we adjourn the trial for one month so that we can come up with a solution

Judge Oreibi noted his comments but then went on to call the first witness of the day, an old man who spoke from behind a curtain.


"The tanks started to shell our houses. There were lots of soldiers. I told my family to run away. The soldiers took my two sons.

They were rounding up all the young men of the village. One of the boys resisted so they shot him dead. I saw it with my own eyes. Many houses were destroyed

The trial continues.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Saddam's Old Friend

Saddam Hussein allegedly told Houston oilman Oscar Wyatt in 1995, that the ranks of Iraq's friends had dwindled so much during the years of economic sanctions he could count them on one hand.

Iraqi-American consultant Samir Vincent told the federal court, trying Wyatt for paying kickbacks to Saddam:

"You are one of them."

Wyatt allegedly replied:

"I appreciate the gesture, Mr. President. I feel the same way about Iraq."

Vincent, appearing for the prosecution, said that he accompanied Wyatt on seven or eight trips to Iraq between 1991 and 1997.

Vincent identified a photograph he said showed Saddam sitting with Wyatt, Vincent and Tariq Aziz, Iraq's former deputy prime minister.

At that time Iraq was under international sanctions, and Americans were barred from spending any money to travel to Iraq without the U.S. government's permission.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Blackwater Given The Boot

The Telegraph reports that Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, has called the Iraqi prime minister to express her regret over a shootout involving a private American security firm (Blackwater) in which at least eight people were killed and 13 wounded.

The Iraqi government has withdrawn the licence from Blackwater, one of the largest foreign security firms working in the country, and says it intends to prosecute the guards after they "opened fire randomly at citizens".

The article notes that Blackwater has more than 1000 staff in Iraq, this figure is a tad misleading.

Balckwater has in fact, according to this article, over 100,000 personnel operating in Iraq.

Why so many?
  • The body count figures, reported by the media and Pentagon, exclude the 770 mercenary deaths.

  • The mercenaries are unaccountable to public oversight by Congress, re their actions and their costs.

  • When Bush announces in the future with great flourish that the US is pulling out of Iraq, the mercenaries will be left there continuing the war.

Has anyone told the Iraqi's exactly how many Blackwater operatives there are in Iraq?

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Elephant in The Room

Alan Greenspan, the ex head of the US Federal Reserve, has clearly identified the elephant in the room wrt the Iraq war; namely that the primary motive for the war was oil.

Greenspan is quited as saying:

"I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil."

This view is of course at variance with the official line, proffered by President Bush, namely that the aim was to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction and end Saddam's regime.

Friday, September 14, 2007

How Dumb Can You Be?

A survey conducted by CBS and The New York Times has revealed that nearly one out of every three Americans, 33%, still believes that Saddam Hussein was personally responsible for 9/11.

It beggars belief that a country that is so wealthy and so powerful can be home to such mind numbing ingnorance.

Class Action Filed Against AWB

Australia's main wheat exporter AWB Ltd has stated that a class action has been filed against it, and its United States subsidiary AWB (USA) Ltd, by lawyers acting for Iraqi citizens.

The class action, filed in the Southern District of New York, is being undertaken by victims of crimes perpetrated by the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq from 1996 to 2003, or their surviving immediate family members.

The action, which also names French bank BNP Paribas as a defendant, alleges that the defendants contributed to the injuries and damages sustained by the plaintiffs by giving substantial assistance to the Saddam regime.

AWB was found by an Australian judicial inquiry to have paid kickbacks of $222M to the regime to secure sales.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Tony Blair's former foreign affairs adviser, Sir David Manning, has claimed that Blair "hoped to avoid" war in Iraq.

Manning then goes on to state, in an interview with the BBC, that "I don't think anybody can see that the immediate post-war situation was anything other than a failure".

The 20/20 vision that hindsight imparts is wondrous to behold!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Wyatt Trial

Oscar Wyatt, a Texan oil billionaire, is now being tried in the US accused of paying millions of dollars in kickbacks to Saddam Hussein's government.

Wyatt, 83, is pleading not guilty. However, if convicted, he faces 74 years in jail.

Assistant US Attorney Stephen Miller opened for the prosecution by stating:

"When the world imposed sanctions on Iraq, Oscar Wyatt stepped up to help them evade sanctions."

Wyatt's lawyers contend that he "did not pay any surcharge to the Iraqis".

Wyatt faces five charges, including engaging in prohibited financial transactions with Iraq.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

US Intellectually Bankrupt

The former head of the British army, General Sir Mike Jackson, has described US policy in Iraq as "intellectually bankrupt".

Well said!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Audit Report Rejected

Accountancy Age reveal that an audit report that concluded that Iraq met just three of 18 congressionally mandated benchmarks, has been rejected by the US government.

Seemingly the auditors "set the bar too high"!

President Shrub takes the view that if the facts don't fit the story, then clearly the facts are wrong not the story.

Tip Off Trial

U.S. District Judge Denny Chin has ruled that prosecutors can introduce evidence (in the form of a diary) in the trial of Oscar Wyatt, a Texas oil tycoon, that shows that Wyatt tipped off Iraq about the impending 2003 US invasion.

Judge Chin also allowed evidence that the defence claims unfairly suggested that payments made by Wyatt to Iraq's state oil marketing organisation were bribes passed on to Saddam Hussein.

Wyatt will stand trial on September 5, at a federal court in Manhattan, accused of paying millions of dollars in kickbacks to Iraq to win oil contracts and corrupting the oil-for-food program.

The judge agreed with prosecutors who said that the diary was needed to show Wyatt's close ties with Iraqi officials.


"It shows Mr. Wyatt was trying extremely hard to get additional (oil) allocations," the judge said. "Why was the Iraq government treating Mr. Wyatt so well? Why did he get the first (oil) allocation? ... This is further evidence of that relationship."

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Israel Warned US Not To Invade Iraq

It seems that back in 2001 Israeli officials warned the Bush administration that an invasion of Iraq would destabilise the region, and wanted the US to focus its attention on the "main enemy" Iran.

That at least is the case according to the Asia Times.

The "good" news is that the Israelis now have their wish, President Shrub is now focusing on Iran; despite the fact that Iraq and Afghanistan are seriously out of control.

Mission accomplished!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Saddam's Daughter in Terror Link

A man arrested on Sunday is alleged to be the leader of an Iraqi terror cell which allegedly is being funded by Raghad Hussein, Saddam Hussein's eldest daughter.

US forces apprehended the man in Saddam's hometown of Tikrit, he is now under interrogation about a series of attacks on coalition forces using rocket-propelled grenades and roadside bombs.

Interpol this month issued a worldwide warrant for Raghad Hussein. She is reportedly living in Jordan, under the protection of the royal family. The Iraqi government requested the warrant on charges of inciting terrorism and crimes against life and health.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

De Baathification Cancelled

Several years too late, the powers that be in Iraq have finally woken up to the fact that one of the worst mistakes post "regime change" was the "De Baathification" of the country.

Iraq's top political leaders have announced an agreement to release thousands of prisoners, being held without charge (wasn't the invasion meant to do away with such practices?), and to reform a law that has kept thousands of members of Saddam Hussein's political party out of government jobs.

"De-Baathification" was one of the worst thought through (if "thought" was ever applied in this case) "initiatives" that the US imposed upon Iraq post invasion. It resulted in the total meltdown of the political, military, police and civil service infrastructure. The reason being that the Baathists, like it or not, were the ones who held the key positions and knew how to run the country.

It is unlikely that this last minute gesture will be enough to secure the political stability/future of Iraq. Last week a US national intelligence report predicted that "the Iraqi Government will become more precarious over the next six to 12 months"; in other words it will collapse.

What will Shrub do then?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Thrown From A Helicopter

A mother has accused Saddam Hussein's cousin, Chemical Ali, of throwing her sons out of a helicopter to their deaths during the crushing of a Shia rebellion in Iraq.

The woman was giving testimony in the trial of 15 of Saddam's aides accused of crimes against humanity, during the repression of the 1991 rebellion.

She was speaking from behind a curtain, in order to protect her identity, and accused Ali Hassan al-Majid (aka Chemical Ali) of killing her two sons.


"The army detained my two sons, my brother and my niece on March 3, 1991.

Nine days later, my brother and niece were released and they told me that Ali Hasan al-Majid had executed my two sons by throwing them out of a helicopter into the Gulf

The Shias who took part in the uprising expected the US to back them in the rebellion. However, former US president George Bush instead ordered a halt at the Iraqi border, leaving the rebels to be dealt with by Saddam's Revolutionary Guards.

Around 90 victims and witnesses are expected to testify against the defendants in the current trial.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Accusations of Torture

Kamil Abu al-Hail, an Iraqi ex-MP, accused the 15 aides of Saddam Hussein of crimes against humanity has said he was falsely imprisoned for months.

Kamil Abu al-Hail said he had been held at a prison in Baghdad, where hundreds were beaten and tortured daily.

The defendants are on trial for allegedly helping to suppress a Shia uprising after the 1991 Gulf War.

Kamil Abu al-Hail said that he had been arrested after arriving in Baghdad to attend a parliamentary session in the aftermath of the uprising, and taken to al-Radwaniya prison.


"I heard screams of pain as prisoners were beaten and tortured.

At the end of the day, I could see people being carried out on blankets soaked with blood. They could not walk because of the harsh torture

Mr Abu al-Hail was released several months later, after receiving a presidential pardon.


"I was dismissed from the parliament. My cotton factory and my house were destroyed by the shelling from the army."

The Shaaban Intifada (Uprising) started in March 1991 as defeated Iraqi troops fled back to southern Iraq after US-led forces took control of Kuwait.

Many Shia blame the US for the uprising's failure, as it came to a ceasefire agreement with the Iraqi government and did not intervene.

The trial continues.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Chemical Ali On Trial

Ali Hassan al-Majid, known as "Chemical Ali", is on trial again in Baghdad together with 14 other aides of Saddam Hussein. They are charged with the suppression of a Shia uprising after the 1991 Gulf War.

This is the third trial held by the Iraq High Tribunal.

Majid and two other defendants have already been sentenced to death, in an earlier trial, for crimes against the Kurdish population.

The uprising happened when the then President of the US, George Bush senior, had called on the Iraqi people and the military to oust Saddam.

However, Bush chose not to cross the border into Iraq and Saddam was able to launch a counter-attack with tanks and helicopters.

Bush senior argued that while he hoped a popular revolt would topple Saddam, he did not want to see the break-up of the Iraqi state.

It is therefore somewhat ironic that the actions of his son, by invading Iraq, have most likely brought about the break up of Iraq.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Cheney Speaks Out Against Invasion of Iraq

Cheney explains why invading Iraq was a very bad idea (1994).


" many additional dead Americans is Saddam worth? Our judgment was, not very many.."

Plus ca change!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

AWB Bill Passed

The Australian lower house of parliament has passed a bill that will punish those who break UN sanctions. It is ten years since allegations first surfaced that AWB might have been bribing Saddam Hussein.

Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said:

"I reject the suggestion the government has been slow in its response to the threat of money laundering or terrorist financing.

The government, of course, remains committed to ensuring that Australian businesses uphold our international obligations in relation to trade sanctions and combating foreign bribery.

Contravention of UN sanctions and bribery of foreign officials will not be tolerated

AWB's $300M kickbacks to Saddam were uncovered after the government set up the Cole Commission.

The bill adds a new offence to the 1945 Charter of the United Nations Act which makes it illegal to break an Australian law which enforces UN sanctions, and creates a separate criminal offence for providing false or misleading information relating to sanctions.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Was Saddam Tipped Off?

The prosecution of Oscar S. Wyatt Jr., a Texas businessman accused of being involved in the Iraqi oil scandal, alleged that he told the Iraqi government crucial details of the impending 2003 American invasion of Iraq.

Lawyers for Wyatt said that the allegations, contained in an Iraqi official's diary, were highly prejudicial and irrelevant and should be kept out of his upcoming trial.


"This document essentially alleges that Wyatt has committed the deplorable crime of treason and aided an enemy of the United States."

Wyatt is charged with conspiring to pay millions in kickbacks to Saddam Hussein's regime, to win contracts under the United Nations' oil-for-food program in Iraq.

The statements about him were contained in a diary kept by an employee of Iraq's State Oil Marketing Organisation. The diary suggests Wyatt notified the Iraqi government that the United States would bomb Iraq, when it would invade Iraq and how many soldiers would be sent.

Wyatt has pleaded not guilty, and is scheduled to go to trial in early September.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Chemical Ali Faces Another Trial

Saddam Hussein's cousin known as "Chemical Ali", and 14 other defendants, will face charges next week in Iraq's third trial against former regime officials.

Prosecutor Jaafar al-Moussawi said that the trial will begin on August 21st. Ali Hassan al-Majid, Saddam's cousin and the former defence minister, will be among the defendants. This trial will commence whilst Ali awaits a decision on his death sentence appeal in a separate case.

The charges include genocide, mass murder and crimes against humanity and the defendants will face a possible death sentence if convicted.

The chief judge will be Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa, who also presided over the Anfal trial, and the chief prosecutor will be Mahdi Abdul-Amir.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Surge Likely To Fail

British MP's have questioned the likelihood of Presidents Bush's surge strategy actually succeeding.

A report by the Commons foreign affairs committee concluded:

"It is too early to provide a definitive assessment of the US 'surge' but it does not look likely to succeed.

We believe that the success of this strategy will ultimately ride on whether Iraq's politicians are able to reach agreement on a number of key issues

In other words, the fate if Iraq is in the hands of the Iraqi politicians. Unfortunately, the current Prime Minister of Iraq is failing miserably; as such the future looks bleak.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Lost Without Trace

Congratulations to President Shrub for engineering a situation in Iraq, whereby over 190,000 weapons supplied by the US have gone missing.

Over 190,000 AK-47 assault rifles and pistols, distributed to Iraqi forces by the US, are missing. It is assumed that they simply haven't been "lost", but are now in the hands of those intent on causing chaos and bloodshed.

A report from the government accountability office (GAO), said that US military officials did not know what had happened to 30% of the weapons the US had given to Iraqi forces since 2004.

Rachel Stohl, a senior analyst at the Centre for Defence Information, said:

"They really have no idea where they are.

It likely means that the United States is unintentionally providing weapons to bad actors

The watchdog said that weapons distribution was rushed and failed to follow established procedures, particularly in 2004 and 2005. During that period, security training was led by General David Petraeus.

Ironically he is now the top US commander in Iraq, and the one that Shrub is waiting to hear from in September; when the final decision to pull US forces out of Iraq will be forced on Shrub, like it or not.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Disunity Government of Iraq

Those of you who still believe that the current political situation in Iraq is viable, in the long term, may need to revise your opinions.

Another nail has been driven into the coffin of the "unity" government of Nuri al-Maliki, Iraq's prime minister, as five ministers withdrew from cabinet meetings. This is less than a week after the main Sunni Arab bloc quit.

Nearly half, that's 17 in total, of al-Maliki's cabinet have now quit or are boycotting meetings. There are no longer any Sunni members of cabinet.

Al-Maliki has been accused of not responding to demands for political reform.

The only way to force political compromise and action, from the "unity" government, is to withdraw the military support it receives and relies on from the US; ie the troops should be withdrawn.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Back To The Stone Age

Congratulations to President Bush for his "competent" handling and "management" of post invasion Iraq.

It seems that despite once being a wealthy, technologically advanced country with very respectable reserves of oil, Iraq is now teetering on the brink of returning to the stone age.

Iraq's power grid is on the brink of collapse; because of insurgent sabotage of infrastructure, rising demand, fuel shortages and provinces that are unplugging local power stations from the national grid.

Electricity Ministry spokesman, Aziz al-Shimari, said that power generation nationally is only meeting half the demand, and there had been four nationwide blackouts over the past two days. The shortages are the worst since 2003, after the invasion to topple Saddam Hussein.

Baghdad power supplies have been sporadic all summer and are down to just a few hours a day, if that. The water supply in the capital has also been severely curtailed by power blackouts and cuts that have affected pumping and filtration stations.

Mission accomplished!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Slip Up

A celebration thrown by the ruler of Dubai for the Iraqi national team, after its Asian Cup win, was marred when Iraq's Saddam Hussein-era anthem was played by mistake.

On hearing the music, some players and members of the Iraqi delegation walked out.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Mission Accomplished

Congratulations to President Bush for turning Iraq into a third world country!

"The number of Iraqi children who are born underweight or suffer from malnutrition has increased sharply since the US-led invasion, according to a report by Oxfam and a network of about 80 aid agencies.

The report describes a nationwide catastrophe, with around 8 million Iraqis - almost a third of the population - in need of emergency aid. Many families have dropped out of the food rationing system because they have been displaced by fighting and sectarian conflict. Others suffer from the collapse in basic services caused by the exodus of doctors and hospital staff

Source The Guardian

Thursday, July 26, 2007


If the Iraqi parliament goes away for several weeks on holiday, not to return until the end of August, how does President Bush think that the political situation will be improved in time for the September report that determines whether US forces stay in Iraq or not?

Does Bush actually feel that the absence of the Iraqi parliament is in fact a political improvement?

Monday, July 23, 2007

Aziz Normal

Tariq Aziz, Iraq's former foreign minister under Saddam Hussein, was admitted to hospital last week for a check up after fainting. His health has been confirmed as "normal", and he was sent back to prison on Thursday.

Aziz had been due to face questioning by a judge last Wednesday, but he fainted on Tuesday.

Badie Arif Ezzat, Aziz's lawyer, said that Aziz had fainted repeatedly on Tuesday. In January last year, Ezzat told the BBC that his client had suffered a stroke and had barely a month to live.

The coalition issued a statement:

"All studies came back normal for a person Mr Aziz's age... and [he] is currently in the same health and with the same functional status as he was prior to his fall."

Friday, July 20, 2007

Irish Kickbacks

The Gardai (Irish police) have confirmed that they are continuing investigations into claims that three Irish companies paid illegal kickbacks to Saddam Hussein in 2001.

The companies were named by a UN investigative committee, in a report published in 2005.

The Irish chapter of anti-corruption group, Transparency International, said it welcomed the Gardai investigation. However, it accused the Irish government of not doing enough to enforce or raise awareness of the crime of bribing foreign public officials.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Chemical Ali To Hang in Baghdad

Saddam Hussein's cousin "Chemical Ali", Hassan al-Majid, and two other former regime officials will be hanged in Baghdad and not in Kurdistan if their death sentences for killing Kurds are upheld by an appeals court.

The Iraqi government, not noted for its competence, is concerned that hanging them in Kurdistan would make their executions look like revenge killings.

An appeals court is considering their appeal of sentences handed down last month.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Galloway Suspended

As predicted George Galloway is to be suspended from the Commons for 18 days, after being found guilty of not disclosing his links with Saddam Hussein's regime.

Parliament's anti-sleaze watchdogs found "strong circumstantial evidence" that the United Nations' discredited oil-for-food programme was used by the Iraqi government, with Mr Galloway's connivance, to fund the Mariam Appeal he set up partly to campaign against sanctions imposed on Iraq.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Galloway Faces Suspension

George Galloway, the independent MP and anti-war campaigner, faces suspension from the Commons this week.

The Committee on Standards and Privileges is set to suspend Galloway, a former Labour MP who now sits for the Respect Party, over a charity he is associated with.

Galloway was rebuked last month by a charity watchdog for failing properly to vet donations made to the charity.

The Charity Commission found donations to the Respect MP's Mariam appeal, totalling tens of thousands of pounds, were funded with money linked to the United Nations oil-for-food scandal.

The commission concluded that the money was used for humanitarian causes.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Draft Oil Law

Iraq's cabinet has approved changes to a draft oil law, and sent it to parliament in an attempt to curb the sectarian violence.

Nuri al-Maliki, Iraq's prime minister, said it was the "most important" law in the country.

"The law was approved unanimously ... it was referred to the parliament which will discuss it tomorrow.

I call on all our partners in the political process and in this national unity government to respect this deal

However, the Kurds have said that they had neither seen nor approved the final text of the law and might oppose it.

The Kurdistan regional government said it would reject the latest text, if it made "material and substantive changes" to the outline agreed upon during weeks of protracted negotiations.

For the Iraqi people, time is running out.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Libby "Pardon"

President Bush should be aware that no President, or friend of the President, is in the long run above the law.

The decision to "commute" Libby's 30th month sentence, with the likelihood of a future pardon, reflects very badly on this President and his attitude to the law.

Monday, July 02, 2007

UN Inspection Body Closed

Friday saw the closure of the UN Inspection body that searched without success for non existent Saddam Hussein's WMD.

The US and Iraq have called it an "historic day".

The resolution terminating the mandate of the U.N. bodies responsible for overseeing the dismantling of Saddam's programs to develop nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and long-range missiles was approved by a vote of 14-0 with Russia abstaining.

Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin objected to the council's failure to comply with previous resolutions demanding that the inspectors certify that Iraq has no banned weapons or missiles before terminating their mandate.

"The adoption of this resolution does not give any clear answers to the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq."

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Saddam - The Series

A four-episode mini-series on Saddam Hussein is in development.

The BBC-HBO collaboration, entitled "Between Two Rivers", will star Yigal Naor as Saddam, together with Shohreh Aghdashloo and Christine Stephen-Daly.

Between Two Rivers is about the dynamics of Saddam's family and his relationships with his close advisers.

Shooting will start this summer in North Africa.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Shocking Ignorance

A new Newsweek poll published this weekend, has exposed a shocking level of ignorance in the minds of the American people as to their knowledge of history and current events.

A staggering 41% of Americans believe that Saddam Hussein had some involvement in 9/11.

When asked:

"Do you think Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq was directly involved in planning, financing, or carrying out the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001?"

41% said yes.

Quite how that level of ignorance can exist in such a wealthy and, allegedly, "well educated" society is truly alarming. It bodes ill for the future.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Chemical Ali Sentenced to Death

Saddam Hussein's cousin known as "Chemical Ali", and two other former regime officials, have been sentenced to death by hanging today for their roles in a 1980's campaign that led to the deaths of 180,000 Kurds.

Ali Hassan al-Majid, Saddam's cousin and the former head of the Baath Party's Northern Bureau Command, stood silently as the judge read the verdict.

The judge, Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa, said that al-Majid was convicted of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes for ordering army and security services to use chemical weapons in a large-scale offensive that killed or maimed thousands.

As he was led out of the court, al-Majid said:

"Thanks be to God."

The death sentence is subject to an appeal confirmation.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Crafty Clinton

Hillary Clinton, presidential hopeful for 2008, has been searching for a way to distance herself form the fact that she voted in favour of the Iraq war back in 2002.

Now, she may have found a way to lance this boil.

She is asking her fellow senators to support her, and Senator Robert Byrd's, plan for a new vote on the Iraq war.

Clinton has written a letter to all the 98 other senators, saying that Congress should request that there be a new war vote when the Senate debates the 2008 military spending bill in the next few weeks.

The letter argues that the 2002 vote for the war, which Clinton backed, is hopelessly out of date.


"That authorisation, which references the government of Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction, is no longer relevant.

Our troops have toppled the dictator. The Iraqis have voted in a new government.

The American public and our troops in the field are entitled to a new debate about this war

Whilst many people may dislike Clinton, and her opportunism, one has to grudgingly respect her shrewd political skills. This letter, and possible vote, may well be an effective means of distancing herself from the vote in 2002.

Whether it helps the Iraqi people, is another matter!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Mission Accomplished

Iraq is now the world's second most unstable country, behind Sudan, according to the 2007 Failed States Index. This despite the fact, or maybe because of the fact, that President George W. Bush ordered the U.S. invasion to topple Saddam Hussein.

The 2007 Failed States Index is produced by Foreign Policy magazine and the Fund for Peace. The index said that Iraq has suffered a third straight year of deterioration in 2006; with diminished results across a range of social, economic, political and military indicators.

Iraq ranked fourth last year.

Afghanistan, six years into a US invasion, was in eighth place.

The reports says:

"Iraq and Afghanistan, the two main fronts in the global war on terror, both suffered over the past year.

Their experiences show that billions of dollars in development and security aid may be futile unless accompanied by a functioning government, trustworthy leaders, and realistic plans to keep the peace and develop the economy

Mission Accomplished!

It's Official - No WMD

The hunt for Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction is now reaching its final conclusion, having found nothing.

The US and Britain have proposed that members of the United Nations Security Council "terminate immediately the mandates" of UN weapons inspectors.

This means the end of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Saddam's Golden Gun

Australia is to display Saddam Hussein's golden gun in its war museum.

Today, the Australian War Memorial accepted a golden Tabuk rifle (an Iraqi version of the AK-47) from the Australian military, which itself had received it from U.S. troops in thanks for taking part in the Iraq war.

The rifle was found by American soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) during the clearance of buildings around Kirkuk, in northern Iraq.

Friday, June 15, 2007

British Oil Trader Arrested

John Irving, a British oil trader was arrested yesterday on U.S. charges of paying bribes to Saddam Hussein as part of the U.N. oil-for-food program for Iraq.

Irving was detained in London, by the Metropolitan Police, on a U.S. extradition warrant. He appeared at the city's Westminster Magistrates Court and was released on bail until his next hearing on July 20.

Irving was one of three men charged in New York in 2005 with defrauding the United Nations of at least $100M, money that should have gone to humanitarian aid for Iraqis.

The other two men, Texas oil executive David Chalmers and Bulgarian oil trader Ludmil Dionissiev, have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The extradition warrant accuses Irving of colluding with Chalmers and others to defraud the U.N., and pay "illegal and secret commissions and surcharges to officials of the government of Iraq" between January 2000 and March 2003.

Irving has previously denied any wrongdoing.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Pentagon Paints Grim Picture

A report issued by the Pentagon yesterday states that in the three months since sending in a "surge" of US troops, the overall levels of violence in Iraq have not decreased. All that has happened is that the violence has been displaced from Baghdad and Anbar, where U.S. forces are concentrated, to rise in most other provinces.

The report also notes that Iraq's government has proven "uneven" in delivering on its commitments under the strategy. Public pledges by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki have in many cases produced no concrete results.

The report notes that:

"some analysts see a growing fragmentation of Iraq....the Iraqi people would be better off if the country were divided into three or more separate countries."

A mess by anyone's standards.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Powell Calls For Closure of Guantanamo Bay

Former United States Secretary of State Colin Powell said yesterday that the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay for foreign terrorism suspects should be immediately closed, and its inmates moved to the US.

Mr Powell, who in a 2003 speech to the UN Security Council made the case for war against Iraq for possessing weapons of mass destruction that were never found, described the prison in Cuba as a "major problem" for the US's image abroad and has done more harm than good.


"Guantanamo has become a major, major problem ... in the way the world perceives America, and if it were up to me I would close Guantanamo, not tomorrow but this afternoon ... and I would not let any of those people go. I would simply move them to the United States and put them into our federal legal system.

Essentially, we have shaken the belief the world had in America's justice system by keeping a place like Guantanamo open and creating things like the military commission. We don't need it and it is causing us far more damage than any good we get for it

That's all very well, but why did he not say this several years ago?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Verdict Soon on Chemical Ali

The Iraqi court trying Saddam Hussein's cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid, aka "Chemical Ali", and other former regime officials for their roles in a 1980s military campaign against the Kurds said Sunday that it would issue a verdict on 24 June.

They all face a possible death sentence, if convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Turkey Invades Iraq?

There are unsubstantiated reports that hundreds of Turkish soldiers crossed into Northern Iraq on Wednesday, pursuing Kurdish guerrillas who stage attacks on Turkey from hideouts there.

In the event that these reports are true, it would embarrass the United States and be seen as a broad indictment of its Iraq policy.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Bolton on Newsnight

BBC Newsnight's Jeremy Paxman interviews former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton in March 2007, and gets under his skin.

No Improvement

Lt. General Douglas E. Lute, President Bush's nominee Iraq war czar, said yesterday that conditions in Iraq have not improved significantly, despite the so called "surge" of U.S. troops in recent months.

General Lute went on to say that, absent any major political reform, violence will continue to rage over the next year.

General Lute, asked by Bush to serve as a new high-powered White House coordinator of the war, told senators at a confirmation hearing that Iraqi factions "have shown so far very little progress" toward the reconciliation necessary to stem the bloodshed.

If that does not change, he said, "we're not likely to see much difference in the security situation" a year from now.

The war is unwinnable, the only reason that Bush keeps the troops there is so that he does not lose face before his term of office expires.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

British Army Moral Falls

Not surprisingly the unwinnable war in Iraq is sapping the moral of the British army.

BBC Newsnight reports that sources within the army have stated that the only reason that they and the US troops remain in Iraq, is to ensure that Bush is not seen to "lead" the withdrawal before the next presidential election.

Bush prefers to save face rather than lives in this unwinnable conflict.

The Newsnight video report can be watched via this link Newsnight.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Leave Now

Sir Christopher Meyer, the UK's former ambassador to Washington, has told the Iraq Commission in London that the British and American military presence in Iraq is worsening security across the region and should be withdrawn quickly.


"I personally believe that the presence of American and British and coalition forces is making things worse, not only inside Iraq but the wider region around Iraq. The arguments against staying for any greater length of time themselves strengthen with every day that passes.

I think the Iraqis are in fact sorting themselves out - often bloodily - independent of what we're doing

This comes at the same time that the Americans themselves have realised that the security "surge" in Baghdad is failing.

As per the New York Times:

"Three months after the start of the Baghdad security plan that has added thousands of American and Iraqi troops to the capital, they control fewer than one-third of the city's neighborhoods, far short of the initial goal for the operation, according to some commanders and an internal military assessment.

The American assessment, completed in late May, found that American and Iraqi forces were able to 'protect the population' and 'maintain physical influence over' only 146 of the 457 Baghdad neighborhoods

Mission accomplished!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Call For Release of Detainees

The defence team of Saddam Hussein and his assistants, have called for the release of all the Former Army Officials accused in Al Anfal case.

The attorney of the defence, Khalil Al Dulaymi, called in a statement to release the detainees in Al Anfal case and to issue a decision in order to close all the investigations and the trials. He added that Iraq didn't witness such investigations and trials even in the times of Inspection Courts.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Turkish Invasion?

As if Iraq were not already in a complete mess,it seems that things might get worse.

Turkey is becoming increasingly impatient at continued attacks made against it by by the Kurdish guerrilla group PKK (Kurdish Workers' Party), which is based mostly in Northern Iraq. Turkey, in response, has moved troops and tanks close to the border with Iraq.

Iraqi newspapers have expressed concerns that Turkey may be planning to cross the border in pursuit of the PKK guerrillas.

How bad can things get for the Iraqi people?

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Indefinite Presence?

Following on from my earlier article about the US staying in Iraq for an indefinite period of time; White House spokesman, Tony Snow, attempted to explain the concept of "indefinite" more clearly.

He failed!

Clearly no one has a clue as to what they are doing.

Indefinite Presence

The Wall Street Journal quotes White House spokesman Tony Snow saying that President Bush envisions an indefinite American military presence in Iraq, that would resemble the one in South Korea.

The US would be in a support role, able to "react quickly to major challenges or crises."

The question is, has anyone asked the Iraqis or the American people?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Spoils of War

AWB Ltd, the Australian wheat exporter caught up in the oil for food scandal in Iraq, will survive losing its position as the monopoly wheat exporter.

That at least is the view of its chief executive officer, Gordon Davis.

A new grower-controlled, single desk wheat exporter will take over from AWB next year.

This change is as a result of AWB having been found to have paid Saddam Hussein's regime about $300M in bribes.

AWB's export arm, AWB International, could still regain full control of the single desk if grower lobby groups cannot form a new desk structure by March next year.

Mr Gordon said AWB began weaning itself off income from the single desk some time ago.

"When the company was privatised in 1999, 100 per cent of its income was from managing the single desk."

He said the aim had been to reduce this to 20% by 2010.

However, not everyone is convinced by AWB's publicly stated change of purpose.

Liberal backbencher Sophie Mirabella has AWB of trying to blackmail an Australian grain company.

Ms Mirabella has told parliament the grain company Silo Bags developed a revolutionary way of handling storing and trading grain around the world.

She says the AWB saw this innovation as a threat to its lucrative market, and tried a boorish takeover which Silo Bags knocked back.

Ms Mirabella says that the unethical vultures of the AWB have now forced the smaller company onto the sidelines, with blackmail and legal manoeuvres.

Seemingly, AWB has some PR issues that it needs to address!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Bush Ignored Warnings

The Senate Intelligence Committee on Friday released declassified pre Iraq war intelligence reports, and summaries of others, that warned that establishing democracy in Iraq would be "long, difficult and probably turbulent."

The committee's chairman, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, said:

"These dire warnings were widely distributed at the highest levels of government, and it's clear that the administration didn't plan for any of them."

The documents also said that while most Iraqis would welcome elections, the country's ethnic and religious leaders would be unwilling to share power.

President Bush and then Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld ignored the warnings; they decided not to deploy the major occupation force that military planners had recommended.

They instead planned to reduce U.S. troops rapidly after the invasion, in the naive belief that toppling Saddam Hussein would ignite a democratic revolution across the Middle East.

The administration also instituted a massive purge of members of the Baath Party, and disbanded the Iraqi army. This misguided policy sparked the Sunni Muslim insurgency.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Cheney Organising Coup

Those of you who are fed up with the Iraq war, may be "pleased" to know that there will soon be another war to occupy your waking hours.

It would seem that Dick Cheney is trying to organise, in all but name, a coup against President Bush and start a war with Iran.

Source: The Washington Note

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Eye of The Storm

President Bush said, during a commencement speech at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy:

"It is tempting to believe that the calm here at home after 9/11 means that the danger to our country has passed.

Here in America, we are living in the eye of a storm.

All around us, dangerous winds are swirling and these winds could reach our shores at any moment

He added:

"Victory in Iraq is important for Osama bin Laden, and victory in Iraq is vital for the United States of America."

Herein lies Bush's fundamental error, bin Laden would not be in Iraq were it not for Bush's invasion. Had Bush concentrated his efforts on tracking and eliminating bin Laden and his network in Afghanistan, instead of invading a non combatant country, the terrorist infestation would have been neutralised and would not have spread.

As long as Bush chooses to send more Americans to die in Iraq, the terrorists will be unified and grow in strength.

Like it or not, Bush should pull all US forces out of Iraq now and let nature take its course. The terrorist groups will lose their focus of hatred, and kill each other.

Unfortunately Bush seems unwilling or unable to grasp that point.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Cost of Kick Backs

Australian wheat exporter AWB Ltd is now suffering "payback", for the kick back allegations that engulfed it.

First-half profits fell 72%, to $9.7M, the company blamed Australia's worst drought in 100 years and costs from a scandal related to kickbacks to Iraq to win wheat contracts.

AWB paid $2.2M towards the cost of a government inquiry into the kickbacks scandal.

The Australian government has promised to reform the Australian wheat market after an inquiry last year concluded that AWB paid $220M in kickbacks to Saddam Hussein's regime between 1999-2003, to secure lucrative wheat contracts under the discredited U.N. oil-for-food scheme.

What goes around, comes around!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Chaos Predicted

Two intelligence assessments from January 2003 predicted that the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, and subsequent US occupation of Iraq, could lead to internal violence and provide a boost to terrorists in the region.

The two assessments, "Principal Challenges in Post-Saddam Iraq" and "Regional Consequences of Regime Change in Iraq," were produced by the National Intelligence Council.

The assessments were delivered to the White House and to congressional intelligence committees before the war started.

The committee chairman, Senator John D. Rockefeller IV , Democrat of West Virginia, said that the panel had asked Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell to declassify the report for public release.

The assessment on post Hussein Iraq included judgments that while Iraq was unlikely to split apart, there was a significant chance that domestic groups would fight each other and that former regime military elements could merge with terrorist groups to battle any new government.

The second assessment discussed "political Islam being boosted and the war being exploited by terrorists and extremists elsewhere in the region," one former analyst said. It also suggested that fear of US military occupation of a Middle East country would attract foreign Islamic fighters to the area.

It seems that Bush and his cronies chose to ignore the advice. How very foolish of them!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Bar-Ilan University, just outside of Tel Aviv, has awarded an honorary doctorate to billionaire Marc Rich, who was pardoned of tax evasion charges by President Clinton in 2001 and founded of an oil trading firm under investigation for dealings with Saddam Hussein.

In 1983, Rich left the U.S. for Switzerland after he was charged with tax evasion and illegal oil trading with Iran. Clinton pardoned Rich of all criminal charges on his last day in office in 2001.

In 2005, a commission investigating the U.N. oil-for-food scandal concluded the Marc Rich Group – a Swiss-based oil trading firm – illegally gave kickbacks to Iraqi officials under Saddam.

Swiss authorities launched an investigation, which is still ongoing. The company has denied the accusations.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Execution Reenacted

Those of you with a ghoulish sense of the macabre, may find an exhibition in the Indian capital of Mumbai to be to your taste.

A waxwork House of Horrors is showing a reenactment of Saddam Hussein's hanging.

As visitors walk along on an uneven pathway, a rubber replica of Hussein's head pops up with a noose tied around the neck. The head makes a snapping noise, to simulate the neck being broken.

The visitors then run into a masked actor chasing them with an axe. The 20-minute walk through costs about $4 per person.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Poisoned Chalice

As President Bush's "policy" on Iraq sinks further into the quagmire, it seems that he is unable to find a new "tsar" for the Iraq war.

Bush is searching for someone credible to fill the new post of Iraq war “tsar” in the White House. Up to six US generals have reportedly rebuffed the White House's overtures.

Many Republicans are now wondering aloud what Bush's "Plan B" is, when the "surge" is proven to be a failure in September.

They should not wonder too hard, there isn't a plan B; American "policy" is being made up as they go along.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Saddam's Former Minister Denies Chemical Weapons

Sultan Hashim Ahmad al-Tai, Saddam Hussein's former defence minister, said on Sunday that he had no access to chemical weapons and had received no orders to use them in an operation that killed tens of thousands of Iraqi Kurds.

Also on trial is Saddam's cousin, Ali Hassan al-Majid, also known as "Chemical Ali" for allegedly ordering poison gas attacks against the Kurds.

If convicted, the defendants could be sentenced to death by hanging.

Al-Tai said:

"I did not receive any order asking me to use chemical weapons, but if so I would have implemented it. I did not receive any chemical-related weapons."

Chief Prosecutor Munqith al-Faroon said al-Tai knew about the chemical attack, and showed the court a letter sent by his superiors asking him to use "special ammunition (chemical weapons) against enemy poison."

Al-Tai's lawyer said that his client was only defending his country against Iranian attacks in northern Iraq during the 1980-88 war between the two countries.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Cigars For Saddam

The final day of a hearing to determine if Lt. Col. William H. Steele, a former military police commander at the Camp Cropper prison, should stand trial on various charges of "aiding the enemy" heard that he let detainees use his cell phone to make unmonitored calls and approved buying Cuban cigars and hair dye for Saddam Hussein.

One of those investigating Steele noted:

"that during an interview, [Steele] admitted that he empathised with the prisoners he oversaw, who included ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and members of his former regime, and that he had lent them his cellular phone to make private calls."

A similar "bonding with the enemy" happened at Nuremberg, when the US guards allowed Goering to commit suicide rather than face the gallows.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Iraq Reconsturction Fails

A US federal audit report has condemned the US attempts to reconstruct Iraq as being a total failure.

The reconstruction is so blighted by local corruption and insurgency violence, that most buildings fall into disrepair within six months of being completed.

The 210 page report was prepared by the American Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (Sigir). It concludes that fraud and corruption are so widespread within Iraqi departments, that the Iraqi annual financial loss now exceeds $7BN.

When buildings are completed, they are not being "adequately maintained". Repairmen and workers face intimidation and death threats, making their task all but impossible.

The report noted that at Baghdad Airport the vast majority of electricity generators were not working. At a maternity hospital in Irbil hypodermic needles, bandages and other medical wastes were found to have been thrown in the sewer system's traps and septic tank.

The US Government is trying to lay the blame on Iraqi incompetence, and notes that it could not "micro-manage" how American-funded facilities are run on the ground.

Sigir's last report, in January, said that reconstruction cash was being stolen by corrupt Iraqi officials and often disappearing without proper accounting in a "Wild West" atmosphere.

The State Department report on global terrorism noted that 46% of all terrorism attacks around the world took place in Iraq alone in 2006.

Therefore when President Bush claimed "mission accomplished", some time ago, what exactly was he talking about?

How has the invasion of Iraq made the world a safer place?

Monday, April 30, 2007

Saddam's Birthday Marked

Hundreds of people brought unlit candles and flowers to Saddam Hussein's tomb on Saturday, to mark what would have been his 70th birthday.

Children wore white, along with badges bearing Saddam's portrait, and sang songs and poems as cake was served in Saddam's burial place.

The supporters said they were also mourning the state of their country.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Tenet Assails Administration

George J. Tenet, the former director of the CIA, has assailed Vice President Dick Cheney and other Bush administration officials in his new book, "At the Center of the Storm", saying that they pushed the US into war in Iraq without ever conducting a "serious debate" about whether Saddam Hussein posed an imminent threat to the United States.


"There was never a serious debate that I know of within the administration about the imminence of the Iraqi threat."

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Pentagon's Lies Exposed

When a country or political regime is losing a war, it searches desperately for stories that will encourage and embolden the "home front".

Usually, the more desperate the regime is to save its sorry reputation, the more embellished the stories become.

Under the full glare of a congressional committee, the lies told by the Pentagon (with the tacit approval of the Whitehouse) regarding the "heroism" of two of its service personnel have been exposed.

The brother of the late Cpl Pat Tillman, and Pte Jessica Lynch herself both appeared before the committee and debunked the stories propagated by the Pentagon about the heroism of Pte Lynch and Cpl Tillman.

Miss Lynch, who was injured near Nasiriyah in the 2003 invasion, said:

"I am still confused why they chose to lie and make me a legend."

Kevin Tillman, brother of Cpl Tillman, said that the deception "crossed the legal definition of fraud".

When a country and a "regime" deceives its own people in this way, the war is most assuredly lost and the grip on power of that "regime" failing fast.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Weapons of Mass Deception

Those of you with access to American PBS on Wednesday 25th April, between 21:00 and 22:30, should make sure that you tune in.

PBS will be showing a 90-minute video "Buying The War" which documents the lies that the Bush administration told to sell the Iraq War to the American public, with a special focus on how the media aided and abetted Bush lie to the public.

There are even house parties in homes and community centres being arranged for groups of people to come together to watch it. Prior to viewing Bill Moyers, who made the video, will be available for an exclusive conference call with house party attendees.

Those of you who want to host a house party can register here Host House Party.

You can watch a preview here: Buying The War.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Saddam's Body Taken

It is reported that Saddam Hussein's corpse has been taken from his grave.

The Kurdistan patriotic party said on its website that there had been unofficial reports that Saddam's grave in Auja village, just outside Tikrit had been exhumed.

It is also reported that the body was devoured by dogs.

These reports have not been validated.

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Surge

When is a "surge" not a "surge"?

When it will take until June for the troops to be in situ.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Crucible

Over a year ago, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said that Iraq had become a "crucible" in the so called "war against terror".

The slaughter of around 200 people in Iraq yesterday, by terrorists, certainly confirms Blair's statement.

However, the unasked/unanswered question is this:

Did the people of Iraq want their country turned into a crucible?

As Blair's friend said:

"Mission accomplished!"

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

AWB Sued

AWB Ltd, the Australian wheat exported implicated in the oil for food kickback scandal, is facing lawsuits in both Australia and the USA.

Lawyers in both Sydney and New York have lodged claims for a combined $125M.

Retired farmers John and Kaye Watson are the lead plaintiffs in a class action lodged on behalf of AWB shareholders in Sydney's Federal Court.

Mr Watson owned 10,000 AWB shares, which were once worth more than $6 each. The share price halved during the Cole inquiry into the Iraq kickback scandal, which found that AWB had been channeling money to Saddam Hussein's regime in the build up to the Iraq war.

Mr Watson says he lost around $10,000 of his investment in AWB.

Mr Watson said:

"The evidence suggests they were corrupt, full-stop. They were supposed to keep the market informed but they misled the government and the shareholders."

The US law firm of Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld and Toll filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of American wheat farmers in federal district court in New York.

The suit seeks up to $100 million in damages from AWB Ltd and its US subsidiary, AWB (USA) Ltd.

US farmers claim they were "stuck with an oversupply of wheat" between 1999 and 2003, because Iraq dealt only with AWB Ltd.

The suit invokes the RICO racketeering law, it says AWB "paid bribes to the Iraqi government" to "exploit a monopoly on wheat sold into Iraq."

Partner Benjamin Brown said:

"AWB knew that, by paying these bribes, it would profit at the direct expense of American farmers -- its only real competition in the Iraqi market.

Unfortunately, AWB achieved its monopoly in the Iraqi market not through fair competition, but by deceiving the United Nations into unwittingly funding Hussein's corrupt regime

What goes around, comes around.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Bomb Blast at Iraqi Parliament

A suicide bomber has killed eight people in Iraq's Parliament building, including at least two lawmakers, after penetrating the security of Baghdad's fortified Green Zone.

The bomber exploded a device in a cafe where members of Council of Representatives were eating lunch.

In addition to the eight deaths, 23 people were hurt.

Four years since the "regime change" and there is still chaos.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Four Years On

Four years after the toppling of Saddam Hussein, by the US, life for the Iraqi people can be reasonably described as being "pretty awful".

In the midst of the corruption, revenge killings, sectarian warfare and chaos that the enforced "regime change" has brought about there have been some attempts to instill a spirit of freedom and hope for the future. Yet none of these have captured the hearts or minds of the people of Iraq.

Four years ago Saddam Hussein's statue was toppled, for all the world to see, by US marines; this was a potent symbol of the regime's downfall.

However, nature abhors a vacuum. What was there to replace the regime?

It became all to clear that the US had not thought through its post regime change occupation, and indeed had very naively hoped that democracy "light" would magically take root.

Two months after the statue was felled a replacement statue, called Najeen (survivor), was erected. It shows a woman, supported by a man and a child, holding up an Islamic crescent moon that frames a Sumerian sun.

It failed to inspire and was derided.

The most telling sign of trouble to come is the fact that the "new" Iraq has yet to create a new flag. This failure is the most potent symbol of the failure of the invasion and enforced regime change, the inability to agree on the design of a flag means that the Iraqi's themselves do not see that they they have a future.

A country without a flag, is a country without a future.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Re Baathification

Most commentators agree that one of the worst mistakes made, post Iraq invasion, by the US and interim Iraq administration was the "de Baathification law" which removed anyone with Baath party connections from positions of responsibility.

This naive and foolish ruling resulted in utter chaos, as there was no one left in positions of responsibility with the ability or understanding to run organisations and government ministries effectively.

Finally someone has seen come commonsense, and Iraq's prime minister and president will introduce legislation to let former members of the Baath party to resume their jobs in the government.

Whether this is measure is enough to pull Iraq out of its engulfing chaos remains to be seen.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Bolton Attempts To Rewrite History

John Bolton's, President Bush's acerbic ex ambassador to the UN, attempted to rewrite history on CNN's Late Edition, by claiming that Bush never said that Saddam Hussein posed an imminent threat.

In answer to a question from Wolf Blitzer, Bolton said:

"He himself (Saddam Hussein) and his regime were the threat to international peace and security. The president never made the argument that he constituted an imminent threat. It was the existence of the regime that was the threat. And that is why it was right to overthrow it".

Unfortunately for Blizter, historical records show that in fact Bush's administration did make that claim.

Donald Rumsfeld, for example, said in November 2002:

"When did the attack on September 11 become an imminent threat? Now, transport yourself forward a year, two years or a week or a month...So the question is, when is it such an immediate threat that you must do something?"

Bolton should know that history can only be rewritten by the winning side; the Neo Cons have lost the argument, and the war, they are in no position to try to rewrite history.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Ramadan Executed

Taha Yassin Ramadan, Saddam Hussein's former vice president, was hanged this morning.

In order to prevent a repeat of the shambles of the execution of Barzan Hassan, who was decapitated, Ramadan was weighed before the execution and the appropriate size rope was chosen.

Ramadan was sentenced to life in prison in November 2006. However, in December 2006 the appeals chamber decided the original sentence was too lenient and ordered the court to resentence him.

The decision to execute him has been criticised by coalition officials, non governmental groups in Iraq and some members of Iraq's legal advisory community who have suggested that the judges came under pressure from politicians.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Saddam's Aide Dies

Saadoun Hammadi, a Shiite official in Saddam Hussein's government and a senior Iraq Baath Party leader, has died in a hospital in Germany.

Hammadi, 77, was released from a prison camp in Iraq in February 2004 after being held by American troops for nine months.

He was believed to have had leukemia.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Death Sentence Confirmed

An Iraqi appeals court has upheld the death sentence against Taha Yassin Ramadan, Saddam Hussein's former vice president.

Taha Yassin Ramadan was convicted in November, along with Hussein and six others, for the killing of some 140 Shi'a in the 1980s.

He was initially sentenced to life in prison, but that sentence was later raised by a higher court and automatically sent to an appeals panel.

Ramadan's execution is to be carried out within 30 days.

Human Rights Watch has called for the death sentence against Ramadan to be repealed.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Illegal War

Hans Blix, former UN weapons inspector, waded into the row about the legality of the Iraq war by saying that Prime Minister Tony Blair and his government "exercised spin" in exaggerating the case for the war in Iraq.

He went on to describe the conflict as "clearly illegal".

He said that pre-war intelligence, eg the UK government dossier which claimed Saddam Hussein had stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons and could deploy some within 45 minutes, appeared to have deliberately overstated the case for war.

Mr Blix said that he believed that the occupation of Iraq, overall, had been a complete failure.

"I think everything in Iraq after the invasion has been a tragedy. The only positive thing, I think, is the disappearance of Saddam Hussein."

Let us trust that the leaders who took us into this failed occupation leave office soon.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Iraq's Refugee Crisis

Channel Four have produced a damning report on the worsening refugee crisis in Iraq.

Millions of refugees are fleeing the conflict in Iraq country. Where is the coalition of the willing when it comes to their care?

Read and watch the report here Channel Four.

Halliburton Move

Halliburton announced on Sunday that it plans to open a new corporate headquarters in Dubai.

Some US lawmakers have raised concerns that Halliburton, which is the Pentagon's largest contractor in Iraq and holds a logistics contract valued at over $25BN, might be able to reduce its tax burden by moving its headquarters to Dubai.

Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., asked whether it might really be a back-door way to enable Halliburton to expand its business dealings with Iran or avoid paying U.S. taxes.

Halliburton used to employ US Vice President Dick Cheney.

Saddam's Judge Seeks Asylum in The UK

Raouf Abdul Rahman, the judge who sentenced Saddam Hussein to death, has asked for political asylum in Britain.

Raouf Abdul Rahman and his family have received death threats from insurgents linked to the former ruling Ba'ath Party.

The judge, a Kurd, took control of Saddam's trial in Baghdad last year to end a series of interruptions by defendants and political speeches which had reduced the legal process to chaos and extended the hearing by months.

He also told Saddam, at one stage, to remember that he was a prisoner on trial for his life and no longer the dictator of Iraq.

Iraq is spiralling out of control.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Aziz Blames Iran

Tarik Aziz, who was Saddam Hussein's foreign minister and deputy prime minister, has claimed that there "was no genocide" against Iraqi Kurds and blamed Iran for the 1988 poison gas attack on a Kurdish town.

Aziz was appearing before a special tribunal, and claimed that Iraq did not possess the nerve agents that were used to kill an estimated 5,000 people in Halabja.


"You can check with experts.

There was no genocide against the Kurds Those defendants were honest officers who defended their country and fought Iran

Aziz called Saddam a "hero and patriot for Iraq sovereignty."

Friday, February 23, 2007

Iraq Bribe Scandal

Tongsun Park, a South Korean businessman and lobbyist, has has been jailed for five years for accepting kickbacks from Saddam Hussein to subvert the UN's oil-for-food program in Iraq.

Park was convicted on conspiracy charges in July 2006, for receiving at least $2M from Baghdad.

Park was sentenced at a hearing in New York.

US District Court Judge Denny Chin, sentencing Park, said that the 5 year term was "harsh" for a man of Park's age (71) and health but was reasonable and appropriate.

Park was also fined $15K, and told to forfeit $1.2M.

Mr Park travelled to Iraq to collect $700K in cash, and accepted envelopes stuffed with $100 notes, Judge Chin said.


"You acted out of greed, acted to profit out of what was supposed to be a humanitarian program."

Park is also due to face trial in Washington DC, accused of making false statements about his role in the UN programme in an interview with FBI agents in December 2004.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

British Firms Investigated

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is investigating a number of British companies, over allegations that they paid bribes to Saddam Hussein to win lucrative contracts.

The investigation will look at possible breaches of the oil-for-food sanctions.

The UN has issued a report which lists over 2,200 companies, worldwide, that may have been linked to bribery to Iraq.

The British firms listed in the report by Paul Volcker, submitted two years ago, include GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca. They have all denied the accusations.

The SFO spokesman said:

"The SFO has now opened a formal investigation into issues relating to the breaches of the embargo (against Iraq).

All this springs out of the Volcker report and other information that came to us last year. The director of the SFO has now signed us up to conduct a full investigation

AstraZeneca state:

"We deny any allegation of unethical behaviour on our part in our trading relationships with Iraq,” a spokesman said.

AstraZeneca sent a consignment of medicines originally requested by the Hussein government under the United Nations Oil for Food Programme.

Most of the consignment was delivered after the coalition forces of the US and UK had taken control of the country.

The consignment was sent with all relevant United Nations permissions and UK Government Department of Trade and Industry export licences in place

A GlaxoSmithKline spokesman said:

"GSK denies any wrongdoing. The UN Oil for Food programme was run in the UK by the Department of Trade and Industry and GSK operated entirely within DTI guidance in this area.

Indeed, GSK had a regular dialogue with officials at the DTI in order to ensure that all its dealings under the Oil for Food programme were transparent and in accordance with the regulations

The investigation will take years and cost millions.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Third Time Lucky

Iraqi authorities are determined to try to silence their critics, and prove that they can execute a man without a shambles ensuing.

Taha Yassin Ramadan was sentenced to death yesterday, for the murder of 148 Shiite Muslims, and Iraqi officials are reportedly checking rope widths and lengths to ensure the cord can take the weight.

A new gallows is being built to accommodate convicts of different sizes, said Basam Ridha, an aide to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki.


"We're taking the extra precautionary steps, including creating two types of gallows: one for heavyset guys and another for normal folks and skinnier guys."

So that's alright then, the fact that Ramadan had originally only been sentenced to life, seems to have escaped the authorities.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Iraq Fiasco

As President Bush Bush unveiled a $2.9 Trillion budget for 2008, of which $700BN is allocated for Iraq, the body count continues to rise.

The money would be better spent on research for an alternative to oil, as a fuel supply. The only real solution for the worsening Middle East crisis, is for the US and its allies to pull all of their troops out of the Middle East and to stop buying oil from there.

That will allow the Middle East to resolve its problems without interference.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Pictures of Execution Shown To Prisoners

It seems that prisoners being held by the US in Guantanamo Bay have been shown photos of Saddam Hussein, hanging from a rope following his execution.

That at least is the case according to lawyers for David Hicks, Australia's only Guantanamo inmate.

Joshua Dratel, the lead American lawyer for Hicks, said that pictures of Saddam's trial were also shown to detainees, along with articles about executions carried out by extremists.


"Displaying photos of condemned men to those who may be facing capital charges can only be interpreted as an attempt to intimidate and compel submission under a threat of death and mentally torture an already abused detainee population."

A spokesman for Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said:

"This is the first we've heard of it. Mr Hicks did not take the issue up with the consul-general when he had the opportunity, nor has the legal team made an approach to us to follow it up with the Americans.

It's very hard to attempt to verify some of these claims if Mr Hicks himself doesn't feel the need to raise it with us directly

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Call Bush To Account

Can anyone explain to me how it is that the US and UK governments are still claiming that the lives of the Iraqi people have improved since the regime change?

Iraq's Death Squads 2 builds on a previous Dispatches investigation (7 Nov 2006) which revealed the close links between London & Washington backed Shia politicians as the new democratic leaders of Iraq & the death squads responsible for mass murder.

Thousands of civilians are being deliberately killed every month in Iraq - more than were killed in the final years of Saddam's regime. Working with local Iraqi journalists, reporter Deborah Davies shows how night after night death squads rampage through Baghdad's previously mixed neighbourhoods. Up to a hundred bodies a day are dumped on the streets, often showing signs of torture with electric drills. Whole areas of Baghdad have now been ethnically cleansed.

While the US and UK governments have been blaming Sunni insurgents and al-Qaeda for the deaths, Dispatches reveals how the majority of these murders have been carried out by the Shia militia which have systematically infiltrated and taken over police units and entire government ministries. And it highlights how the killers act with impunity - there's little investigation into their activities.

Bush and Blair need to be called to account for this.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Chemical Ali Claims Immunity

Ali Hassan al-Majid, also known as "Chemical Ali", Saddam Hussein's cousin claimed immunity from prosecution yesterday.

He told Iraq's High Tribunal that it had no right to try him for war crimes, because US forces were immune from prosecution for their alleged wrongdoing in Iraq.

Ali Hassan al-Majid said:

"If I made a mistake, then those (the Iraqi government and US troops) who are currently implementing a law that covers all parts of Iraq should be punished. I issued a law for a part of Iraq only."

Prosecutor Munqith al-Faroon told al-Majid that US troops "have immunity in Iraq only. There were soldiers who were tried and received harsh punishment."

The trial will resume on February 7th.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Saddam's Cousin Unrepentant

Ali Hassan al-Majid, also known as "Chemical Ali", Saddam Hussein's cousin stated in court yesterday that he had given orders to destroy Kurdish villages during the campaign against the Kurds in the 1980s.

Ali Hassan al-Majid claimed that the area "was full of Iranian agents. We had to isolate these saboteurs."

I am the one who gave orders to the army to demolish villages and relocate the villagers


"I am not defending myself. I am not apologising. I did not make a mistake."

The trial continues.