WHO report on Iraqi birth defects a whitewash: Michael Keefer, interviewed by Jane Williams

This interview with Jane Williams, “WHO report on Iraqi birth defects a whitewash,” was first aired on Redeye, Vancouver Cooperative Radio, CFRO 100.5 FM, on 5 October 2013, 9:05-9:20 a.m. Pacific Time; a podcast is available at Rabble.ca (6 October 2013), http://rabble.ca/podcasts/shows/redeye/2013/10/who-report-on-iraqi-birth-defects-whitewash. The oral quality of the interview has been preserved in the transcript given here.


JW  You're listening to Redeye on Vancouver Co-operative Radio, CFRO 100.5 FM.

In 2003, the United States led an invasion of Iraq, based on false allegations of their possession of weapons of mass destruction. After a nine-year illegal occupation ended in 2012, the Iraq war dropped off the media radar, and Iraqis were left to deal with the devastating aftermath. Among the many daily hardships, there has been a sharp increase in cancer rates and babies born with congenital defects. Not only has this been under-reported internationally, there has been a concerted effort to repress this information.

Michael Keefer is a professor emeritus of Theatre Studies and English at Guelph University; he's also a graduate of the Royal Military College, and he joins me by phone this-morning. Hello, Michael.

MK  Hello, Jane.

JW  Now the Iraqi Ministry of Health just released a report. What's it about, and who is involved in conducting that study?

MK  Well, that's a bit of a mystery, because we know that the report comes from the Ministry—there's no indication of authorship, so it's the Iraqi Ministry of Health with the collaboration of the World Health Organization, WHO. And that came out—I think it was released on September the 11th.

What's interesting about the report is that it has been, I would say, universally condemned by researchers and scientists in the fields of toxicology and epidemiology. In particular, there's a newly published article in the medical journal The Lancet, “Questions raised over Iraq Congenital Birth Defects Study.”

Now what's scandalous about the study is that it in effect claims that there's no problem, nothing significant going on, which is of course quite simply untrue. There have been repeated peer-reviewed studies in medical journals carried out by scholars from many different countries. And insofar as this report makes any mention of those, it dismisses them as “lacking in objectivity.”

JW  So it's a study about birth defects?

MK  Yes, it's a study based on—and this is one of the defects of the study, one would have to say—it's based solely on interviews with mothers. Now there are several problems with that, one being of course that in the case of many of the monstrous births that have occurred in Iraqi hospitals, the mothers are simply informed that it was a stillbirth: they're not told that the child was too horribly deformed for her to tolerate seeing.

Of course in many cases as well where you have subtler forms of birth defect, cardiac problems or other not monstrous sorts of deformations, the parents may not be aware of a defect until some months after the birth. There's also the problem that many of the people in Iraq, many of the women who have given birth to deformed children were themselves very seriously contaminated by toxic agents like depleted uranium, and are dead.

So there are many reasons, methodological reasons, for saying this study is based on the wrong methodology, the wrong research principles. And there's at least one scientist with expertise in the field who has said, “Look, I was consulted by the researchers when they were starting their study,” and he told them, “Look, here's the way to do it; don't do it that way.” And they went ahead in what's, I think, a pretty classic cover-up.

JW  But now you've been waiting a while to actually see the report, I understand.

MK  Yes. I should make it clear—well, you already did in introducing me—that I'm not myself a toxicologist or an epidemiologist. But I was one of fifty-eight signatories of a letter demanding the publication of this WHO report on Iraqi birth defects.

That letter was made public in May of this year [2013]—and the signatories, by the way, include professors of obstetrics, and gynecology, and environmental toxicology, epidemiology, environmental health, neuroscience, genetics, you name it, from universities in Iraq, of course, but also from the U.S., the United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands—in other words, a very serious group of international scientists—as well as human rights activists.

And the response to that letter was thoroughly negative. The group that organized that first letter sent out a follow-up letter in late July, reiterating international concern over the fact that this report was being mysteriously delayed. And of course now that the report has come out, it's quite clear that there have been major political influences exerted on the WHO and the Iraqi Ministry of Health.

And by the way, one needs to say that in a formal sense the occupation of Iraq may be over, but the country is still overrun with so-called contractors—in effect, with U.S. military—and it still has that gigantic embassy complex that is a giant blemish in the middle of Baghdad—and it still has of course a very strong U.S. military presence. So it's by no means a properly independent country, or one whose health ministry wouldn't be subject to the pressures exerted by the U.S. and the U.K.

JW  Now you mentioned a number of peer-reviewed studies that tell a very different story. What kind of thing do they say about the kinds of birth defects that you can see in Iraq?

MK  What they say quantitatively is that the numbers of birth defects have risen catastrophically. There were already in the—Before the invasion of 2003, you remember, there was the Gulf War of 1991, after which the Pentagon acknowledged that it had used something like 320 tons of depleted uranium munitions in Kuwait and Iraq. Following that war, there were studies indicating that rates of birth defects in southern Iraq in particular had more than doubled, and childhood cancer rates had increased in a very disturbing way.

There are subsequent reports indicating much much greater increases in birth defect prevalences—seventeen-fold, according to one study.

So it's a major health disaster, and of course, one can see why, because what you have here is a heavy metal that is radioactive, of course, the by-product of civilian nuclear plants. It's radioactive; it is used by the military because it's extremely dense and it's what's called pyrophoric.

Now, the density means that it punches right through steel armour or through concrete or through stone walls; but when it's fired out of a tank barrel, a depleted uranium shell in effect is already on fire. When it hits something, it goes through it, and fragments into, in many cases, microscopic particles, many of them less than 5 microns. Now a micron is one-millionth of a meter. So these are tiny tiny particles of radioactive material, and of course, anything behind the armour plate or the wall is killed—incinerated, or killed by the shock wave—and the stuff is then dissipated.

Because it has formed these tiny particles, they get carried everywhere. So it's literally impossible, unless you're wearing a hazmat suit, to enter into a depleted-uranium-contaminated setting in an Iraqi city or a former battlefield, wherever that was, without inhaling or ingesting particles of depleted uranium. And once it's inside your body, every radioactive emission from a uranium atom is going to hit something.

So every time one of these particles emits, say, an alpha particle, it's doing damage to you. People can excrete some of it, but of course as it goes through your kidneys it gives you kidney damage. The results have been well known since the 1990s, that DU exposure immediately produces very serious lung damage, kidney damage, produces cancers, and there's now a long series of studies of the genetic abnormalities produced by depleted uranium as well.

JW  Now then, it took a long time for the report to be released. Now that it has been released, what kind of response has there been in the media to it?

MK  Well, I'm glad to say that there seems to be a gathering chorus of condemnation. There was a piece just yesterday I think in the Huffington Post; there have been other essays, articles, appearing elsewhere.

You see, what's involved here is that the—Basically, it's a corruption of science, and it's a corruption of the international agency whose job is to provide leadership—I'm quoting here from the WHO website—“providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options,” and so on.

And they also say, “providing collective defence against transnational threats.” It's not clear what they mean by that, but one would think that a country that is showering defenceless victims with depleted uranium is a transnational threat.

Unfortunately, the principal disseminator of depleted uranium weapons is the United States, which has been quite clearly twisting people's arms to prevent the obvious consequences in international law. I mean, it's—these are—The invasion was a war crime. The use of these munitions is quite clearly a war crime. And so the agency that ought to be doing its job, the WHO, is part of the structure of cover-up.

JW  Well, thanks so much for talking to me this-morning, Michael.

MK  Thank you very much.

JW  I've been speaking with Michael Keefer. He's Professor Emeritus of Guelph University, and a graduate of the Royal Military College, and he joined us this-morning from Toronto.


Lenten Meditation 2009 (for Bloor Street United Church)

In February 2009 I was asked to contribute a short text to a collection of Lenten Meditations that members of the congregation of Bloor Street United Church in Toronto were bringing together. (The invitation came, I suppose, because in the preceding several months I had delivered three public lectures at the church, two of them in the Reel Activism series organized by Karin Brothers.) The terms were quite strict: meditations were to be less than four hundred words in length, were to incorporate reflections on one or more of three set scriptural passages (in my case, Jeremiah 26: 1-16, Romans 11: 1-12, and John 10: 19-42), and were to be followed by the author's name and a short prayer. The result was this rather elliptical text—which I supplemented, some months later, with an Afterword which unfolds some of its implications. The present version incorporates a small correction in the third paragraph, for which I'm grateful to Lia Tarachansky. The Afterword has not previously been published.


In late 2002, one of my students, knowing that I had been speaking out in public against the impending American invasion of Iraq, sent me, as encouragement, a quotation from the Talmud: “Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.”

I found this moving. Perhaps because I knew my efforts to help expose the fraudulence of the coming war would likely be futile, I valued all the more this incitement to courage and stamina, with its reminder that what counts—what is obligatory—is our participation, now, in an unassuming practice of justice and mercy.

Though my student didn’t say so, this Talmudic text is a midrashic expansion of words ascribed to the early-second-century Rabbi Tarfon, in the Pirkei Avot (or Ethics of the Sages), 2:16. Tarfon is elsewhere said to have debated with Rabbi Akiba the question of which was greater, ma‘aseh (deeds or action), or learning. Tarfon said action, and Akiba said learning; they concluded that learning is greater, because it leads to action (Kiddushin 40b). The same ethical imperative seems again to be implied.

This may seem a peculiar way to enter a meditation on the texts proposed to me: Jeremiah 26: 1-16, Romans 11: 1-12, and John 10: 19-42. But I would note that all three passages represent, as action, an undaunted proclamation of a message that the speaker takes to be both true and obligatory. Jeremiah is threatened with death for prophesying (bar penitence) the destruction of Jerusalem; Paul, quoting Elijah, implies that his own life has been sought for proclaiming the fulfillment of prophecy; and John represents Jesus as threatened with stoning for his proclamation of divinity.

These texts cluster around experiences of historical catastrophe. Jeremiah anticipates (or his redacted texts remember) the destruction of the kingdom of Judah. Paul—Saulus before his conversion—served the Temple authorities in repressing the messianism that culminated in the rising of C.E. 66-70 (and Romans 16: 11 suggests a link to the colonial elite, the Herodians). John, writing a generation or more after the cataclysmic siege of Jerusalem and destruction of the Second Temple, is striving to revision events that preceded a war of genocidal intensity.

Rabbi Tarfon, one might add, lived through the final convulsion of the Bar Kochba revolt against Rome in C.E. 135-36.

Michael Keefer is a professor in the School of English and Theatre Studies of the University of Guelph; he lives in Toronto with the novelist and poet Janice Kulyk Keefer. The prayer he would suggest is from Act III, scene iv, lines 26-36 of Shakespeare’s King Lear. In this scene, the dispossessed Lear insists that his Fool enter ahead of him the hovel that his few loyal followers have found for him as shelter from the storm:

In boy; go first. You houseless poverty— 
Nay, get thee in. I’ll pray, and then I’ll sleep. 
[Exit Fool into the hovel.] 
Poor naked wretches, wheresoe’er you are, 
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm, 
How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides, 
Your looped and windowed raggedness, defend you
From seasons such as these? O, I have ta’en
Too little care of this! Take physic, pomp; 
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel, 
That thou mayst shake the superflux to them
And show the heavens more just.


An Afterword

Though there wasn’t space in Bloor Street United Church's Lenten booklet to say so, this is an unusual prayer. Instead of invoking some higher power, Lear addresses his words to the homeless, the abject, the defenseless. He reproaches himself for failing to attend to their needs when he had the means to do so. And he exhorts those who now have position and power to learn about the suffering of the wretched of the earth—by sharing it, as Lear himself is being forced to do—and then to transform what they have learned into action by another kind of sharing, a distribution to the needy of “the superflux,” what they possess beyond their own needs.

The last line is perhaps the most startling: Lear is telling us that our sense of the justice or injustice of the cosmos arises out of our own human enactments of justice or injustice. The idea feels modern, so we may be surprised to encounter it in a play written four centuries ago.

But perhaps Rabbi Tarfon (or his midrashic commentator) was on to something similar one and a half millennia earlier. You want to live in a world governed by justice and mercy? Do justly, now. Love mercy, now.

The words of King Lear suggest that to act upon these imperatives we must first learn experientially what it means to suffer injustice and oppression. Lear proposes no more than a modest sharing out of superfluities, but declares, realistically enough, that action of this kind needs to be impelled by an empathetic understanding of what people who are oppressed and impoverished have to endure.

Yet as Rabbi Tarfon and Rabbi Akiba seem to have recognized when they debated the matter, another kind of learning is equally necessary as the basis for just action. What, for contemporary purposes, would this learning have to incorporate? Ethical principles, to be sure, but equally importantly, an understanding of what is actually going on around us.

Take the example of Haiti. Canadians would no doubt like to think that we are, collectively, behaving justly and with mercy towards Haiti: after all, on a per capita basis, Canada is by far the most significant donor to that tragically impoverished country.

Would it alter our perceptions to know that in 2004 the Canadian government organized, and Canadian troops participated in, the overthrow of Haiti’s democratically elected government and its replacement by a reign of terror? That Canadian, American and French troops occupied Haiti with an illegal Multinational Interim Force, one of whose first actions was to shut down Haiti’s only medical school and turn its buildings into a barracks? That the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) gave generous support to a corrupted human rights organization which fabricated atrocity charges against senior members of the overthrown government, and that CIDA paid the salary of the deputy minister responsible for the appalling prisons in which these and other political prisoners of the coup regime were confined? That the RCMP took responsibility for training the Haitian National Police, which over the next two years repeatedly sent out sniper teams to murder participants in peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations? That Canada continues to support a Haitian electoral system which denies participation to the Fanmi Lavalas, the party of the poor that commands the support of an overwhelming majority of the Haitian electorate?1

How just and merciful, to take another prominent example, has been the collective engagement of Canadians with the people of Gaza? Would most Canadians be proud to know that since 2006, when the Palestinians democratically elected a government of which our government disapproves, Canada has participated in an aid embargo against Gaza, and has provided diplomatic support to an Israeli blockade that has destroyed the local economy and deprived an already desperate population of food, fuel, medical supplies, and the materials needed to repair collapsing water supply and sewage systems?

And what of the fact that during the Israeli assault on Gaza in December 2008-January 2009, which subjected defenceless people to a storm of bombs, missiles, artillery fire and white phosphorus, killing 1,400 and wounding many thousands more, leaving tens of thousands homeless and wrecking their life-sustaining civic infrastructure, the Canadian government gave loud and unequivocal support to the aggressors?2

One remembers that Rabbi Tarfon, after exhorting us to do justly and love mercy, invites us to “Walk humbly, now” as we set about the work that we are not free to abandon.




1  For documentation, see the materials collected in Press for Conversion, issues 60 (March 2007), 61 (September 2007), 62 (May 2008), and 63 (November 2008), available at http://coat.ncf.ca; see also http://www.haitianalysis.com, http://www.haitiaction.net/, http://canadahaitiaction.ca, http://pih.org/inforesources/reading.html#Haiti, and http://www.ijdh.org.

2  For evidence that the Israeli Operation Cast Lead was unambiguously an act of aggression, see Avi Shlaim, Israel and Palestine: Reappraisals, Revisions, Refutations (London: Verso, 2010), pp. 311-17.   

Gulf War 1991: Canada's Involvement

This letter to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney did not receive the courtesy of a response. It has not previously been published.


P.O. Box 140, Eden Mills, Ontario, N0B 1P0
February 26, 1991.

The Right Hon. Brian Mulroney, 
Prime Minister of Canada.


Dear Mr. Mulroney,

Canada's participation in the Gulf War has effectively destroyed our reputation in the third world as a nation which, however close its ties to one of the superpowers, could be relied on to exercise a moderating influence at moments of crisis. We should not have taken part in a naval blockade or in any other military activities except under a properly constituted United Nations command. Nor should we have taken part in a war which was launched under the fraudulent pretext that the economic sanctions against Iraq had been ineffective. (That these sanctions were having a crippling effect upon Iraq, and would within months have obliged the Iraqi government to order a retreat from Kuwait was evident to informed observers—not least to Mr. Bush and his advisers, whose about-face on the subject after October of last year was patently hypocritical.)

But my principal concern here is with more urgent matters. Now that the military coalition arrayed against Iraq has achieved the major objective of an Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait, all military operations should cease at once. Mr. Bush's refusal to put an immediate end to military operations is a clear signal—there have been many other such signals during the past weeks and months—that the aims of the United States in this war go far beyond those of the United Nations Security Council resolutions directed against Iraq.

Further prosecution of the war against Iraq would be criminal. (I use this word in a precise sense—that of the system of international law to which the United States appeals when it is convenient to do so, but which it has openly flouted in its attacks upon small nations, most recently Grenada, Nicaragua, and Panama.) Coalition air attacks have already violated international law in several respects. Refugee convoys on the Baghdad -Amman road have been bombed and strafed; residential areas and civilian air-raid shelters in Iraqi cities have been bombed; and supplies of food, water, and electrical power to civilian populations have been interrupted. The mounting evidence that Saddam Hussein's government is guilty of war crimes against Kuwait—as previously against its own Kurdish population and against Iran—does not excuse such acts: one war crime does not justify another.

I therefore call upon you to order the immediate withdrawal of all Canadian air and naval units from the Gulf region. I do not wish to see the Canadian armed forces stained with the shame of having participated in further attacks upon a routed army and upon the civilian population of an already shattered country.

Yours sincerely,

Michael H. Keefer

¿Provocan EE.UU. y Gran Bretaña une guerra civil en Irak?

This translation by Germán Leyens of my essay “Were British Special Forces Soldiers Planting Bombs in Basra?” was first published at Rebelión (3 October 2005); it subsequently appeared at eight other websites in 2005. I have added the notes which now appear here as in the English text. 



¿Recuerda alguien el choque que sintió el público británico ante la revelación hace cuatro años de que uno de los miembros de la unidad del IRA cuyo ataque con bombas en Omagh el 15 de agosto de 1998, mató a veintinueve civiles, había sido un agente doble, un soldado del ejército británico?

Ese soldado no fue el único agente doble terrorista de Gran Bretaña. Un segundo soldados británico infiltrado dentro del IRA afirmó que había dado aviso anticipado de 48 horas sobre el ataque con una coche bomba en Omagh a sus jefes del Royal Ulster Constabulary [RUC, por sus siglas en inglés; policía real en Irlanda del Norte, N. del T.], incluyendo “detalles de uno de los miembros del grupo de ataque terrorista y la patente del coche del individuo.” Aunque el agente había hecho una grabación de su llamado de información, Sir Ronnie Flanagan, jefe policial de la RUC, declaró que “no se recibió una tal información.”1

Este segundo agente doble reveló la información a la prensa en junio de 2002, afirmando que desde 1981 a 1994, mientras recibía un sueldo completo del ejército británico, había actuado como topo en el IRA para la “Unidad de Investigación de la Fuerza [FRU, por sus siglas en inglés], un brazo ultra-secreto de la inteligencia militar británica.” Con pleno conocimiento y consentimiento de sus superiores en la FRU y en MI5, se convirtió en un especialista en bombas que “mezclaba explosivos y … ayudaba a desarrollar nuevos tipos de bombas,” como “bombas sensibles a la luz, activadas por flash fotográfico, para superar el problema de que los controles remotos del IRA eran interferidos a veces por señales de las unidades de radio del ejército.” Más adelante llegó a ser “miembro del escuadrón de seguridad interna del IRA Provisional”—también conocido como la ‘unidad de tortura’—que interrogaba y ejecutaba a presuntos informantes.”2

El tan temido comandante de esa misma “unidad de tortura” era igualmente un topo que había servido previamente en el Escuadrón de Botes Especiales de los Royal Marines (una unidad de elite de las fuerzas especiales, el equivalente de los Marines para la mejor conocida SAS). Un cuarto topo, un soldado con el alias “Stakeknife” cuyos manipuladores militares “le permitieron que realizara una gran cantidad de asesinatos terroristas a fin de proteger su cobertura dentro del IRA,” seguía en actividad en diciembre de 2002, como “uno de los Provisionales más importantes de Belfast.”3

También apareció evidencia fiable a fines de 2002 de que el ejército británico había estado utilizando a sus dobles agentes en organizaciones terroristas “para realizar asesinatos por encargo del Estado británico”—el más tristemente célebre es el caso del abogado de Belfast y activista de los derechos humanos Pat Finucane, que fue asesinado en 1989 por la Ulster Defence Association [UDA] protestante. Parece que la FRU pasó detalles sobre Finucane a un soldado británico que había infiltrado la UDA; él por su parte “suministró la información a equipos de asesinos de la UDA.”4

Los recientes acontecimientos en Basora han despertado la sospecha de que el ejército británico pueda haber reactivado las mismas tácticas en Irak.

Artículos publicados por Michel Chossudovsky, Larry Chin y Mike Whitney en el sitio en la Red del Centre for Research on Globalization [Centro de Investigación sobre la Globalización] el 20 de septiembre de 2005 han presentado evaluaciones preliminares de las afirmaciones de las autoridades iraquíes de que dos soldados británicos en ropas civiles, que fueron arrestados por la policía iraquí en Basora el 19 de septiembre,—y poco después liberados por un ataque británico con tanques y helicópteros contra la prisión en la que estaban detenidos—habían estado involucrados en la colocación de bombas en la ciudad.5

Otro artículo de Kurt Nimmo recuerda operaciones bajo bandera falsa realizadas por tropas de las fuerzas especiales británicas en Irlanda del Norte y en otros sitios, y la formación por Donald Rumsfeld del P2OG, o Grupo de Operaciones Preventivas Proactivas, como directamente relevantes a las acusaciones iraquíes de posibles operaciones de terror bajo falsa bandera por las potencias ocupantes en Irak.6

Estas acusaciones de parte de funcionarios iraquíes hacen eco a afirmaciones insistentes pero no substanciadas, que datan por lo menos de la primavera de 2004, en cuanto a que muchos de los atentados con bombas realizados contra objetivos civiles en Irak han sido perpetrados en realidad por las fuerzas de EE.UU. y Gran Bretaña en lugar de los insurgentes iraquíes.

Algunas de dichas afirmaciones pueden ser rápidamente descartadas. A mediados de mayo de 2005, por ejemplo, un grupo que se autodenomina “Al Qaeda en Irak” acusó a las tropas de EE.UU. de “detonar coches bomba y de acusar falsamente a los militantes.”7 Incluso para los más crédulos, estos podrían ser en el mejor de los casos ejemplos de la sartén diciéndole al cazo: retírate que me tiñes. Pero no es obvio por qué alguien iba a creer esa afirmación, ya que proviene, como es el caso, de un grupúsculo que es supuestamente dirigido por el íntegramente mítico al-Zarqawi8—cuyo propio nombre lo afilia con terroristas que colocan bombas. Esa gente, si existe, podrían tener buenas razones para culpar a otros por sus crímenes.

Otras afirmaciones, sin embargo, son en su conjunto más preocupantes.

El periodista estadounidense Dahr Jamail escribió el 20 de abril de 2004, que se rumoreaba que la reciente cadena de atentados con coches bomba en Bagdad había sido obra de la CIA:

Se dice en las calles de Bagdad que el cese de los atentados suicidas con coches bomba prueba que la CIA era responsable. ¿Por qué? Porque como dice un hombre: “[Los agentes de la CIA están] ahora demasiado ocupados combatiendo, y los disturbios que querían causar con los atentados los persiguen actualmente.” Cierto o no, no dice nada bueno sobre la imagen de los ocupantes en Irak.9

Dos días después, el 22 de abril de 2004, Agence France-Presse informó que partidarios del clérigo chií Moqtada al-Sadr culpaban a los británicos por cinco atentados con coche bomba en Basora—tres ataques casi simultáneos delante de comisarías en Basora que mataron a sesenta y ocho personas, incluyendo a veinte niños, y dos atentados subsiguientes. Mientras ochocientos de sus seguidores manifestaban afuera de las oficinas de Sadr, un portavoz de Sadr afirmó que poseía “evidencia de que los británicos estaban involucrados en esos ataques.”10

Un alto oficial militar británico anónimo dijo el 22 de abril de 2004 sobre esos ataques en Basora que “Parece como Al-Qaeda. Tiene todas características: fue suicida, fue espectacular y fue simbólico.” El brigadier general Nick Carter, comandante de la guarnición británica en Basora, declaró de modo más ambiguo que no se podía culpar necesariamente a Al-Qaeda por los atentados, pero que los responsables vinieron de afuera de Basora y que “es muy posible” que hayan venido de afuera de Irak: “'De lo único que podemos estar seguros es que esto es algo que vino de afuera,' dijo Carter.”11 Seguidores de Moqtada al-Sadr creían exactamente lo mismo—la única diferencia era su identificación de los extranjeros criminales como agentes británicos en lugar de muyahidín islamistas de otros países árabes.

En mayo de 2005, 'Riverbend', el autor bagdadí del blog ampliamente leído Baghdad Burning [Bagdad en llamas], informó que lo que la prensa internacional llamaba atentados suicidas eran en realidad a menudo “coches bomba que son detonados por control remoto o por bombas de tiempo.” Después de una de las mayores explosiones recientes, que ocurrió en el área de clase media Ma’moun al oeste de Bagdad, se dice que un hombre que vive en una casa frente al lugar de la explosión fue detenido por haber disparado contra un miembro de la Guardia Nacional. Pero según 'Riverbend', los vecinos contaban una historia diferente:

La gente del área afirma que al hombre se lo llevaron no porque haya disparado contra alguien, sino porque sabía demasiado sobre la bomba. El rumor es que vio pasar a una patrulla estadounidense por el área que se detuvo en el lugar del atentado minutos antes de la explosión. Poco después se alejaron en su vehículo, la bomba estalló y sobrevino el caos. Salió corriendo de su casa gritando a sus vecinos y a los espectadores que los estadounidenses habían colocado la bomba o la habían visto y no habían hecho nada. Se lo llevaron rápidamente.12

También en mayo de 2005, Imad Khadduri, el físico iraquí en el exilio cuyos escritos ayudaron a desacreditar las invenciones estadounidenses y británicas sobre las armas de destrucción masiva, informó sobre una historia de que en Bagdad a un conductor cuyo permiso de conducción había sido confiscado en un punto de control estadounidense le dijeron “que se presentara en un campo militar estadounidense cerca del aeropuerto de Bagdad para ser interrogado y para recuperar su permiso.” Después de interrogarlo durante media hora, le dijeron que no había nada en su contra, pero que su permiso había sido enviado a la policía iraquí en la comisaría de al-Khadimiya para ser “procesado”—y que debía dirigirse rápido a ese lugar antes de que el teniente, cuyo nombre le dieron, terminara su turno.

El conductor partió apurado, pero pronto le alarmó un sentimiento de que su coche se comportaba como si llevara considerable peso, y también sospechó de un helicóptero que volaba a baja altura y que lo sobrevolaba continuamente. Detuvo su coche y lo inspeccionó cuidadosamente. Encontró cerca de 100 kilos de explosivos ocultados en el asiento trasero y a lo largo de las dos puertas traseras. La única explicación posible de este incidente es que definitivamente los estadounidenses le habían colocado bombas al coche y que el objetivo era el distrito chií al-Khadimiya de Bagdad. El helicóptero controlaba sus movimientos y debía presenciar el esperado “horroroso ataque realizado por elementos extranjeros.”13

Según Khadduri, “el mismo guión se repitió en Mosul, en el norte de Irak.” En esta ocasión, el conductor salvó la vida cuando su coche se descompuso en camino a la comisaría donde supuestamente debía recuperar su permiso, y cuando el mecánico al que recurrió “descubrió que el neumático de repuesto estaba completamente repleto de explosivos.”

Khadduri menciona, como algo que merece ser investigado, un “incidente tal vez no relacionado” en Bagdad del 28 de abril de 2005 en el que fue muerto un conductor de camión canadiense con doble nacionalidad canadiense-iraquí. Cita un informe de CBC según el que “Algunos medios mencionaron fuentes no identificadas que dijeron que puede haber muerto después de que fuerzas de EE.UU. ‘rastrearon’ un objetivo, utilizando un helicóptero artillado, pero Relaciones Exteriores dijo que todavía está investigando informes conflictivos sobre la muerte. Funcionarios de EE.UU. han negado toda participación.”14

Otro incidente, también de abril de 2005, exige una investigación con más urgencia, ya que una de sus víctimas sigue en vida. Abdul Amir Younes Hussein, un camarógrafo de CBS, fue ligeramente herido por fuerzas de EE.UU. el 5 de abril “mientras filmaba las consecuencias de un atentado con coche bomba en Mosul.” Las autoridades militares inicialmente se mostraron apologéticas por sus heridas, pero tres días más adelante lo arrestaron por haber estado “involucrado en actividad contra la coalición.”15

Arianna Huffington, en su detallado informe sobre este caso, subraya con mucha razón sus cualidades kakfkaescas: Younes Hussein ha estado ahora detenido, en Abu Ghraib y en otros sitios, durante más de cinco meses—sin acusación, sin la menor señal de la evidencia que el Pentágono pueda tener en su contra, y sin ninguna indicación de que jamás se le vaya a permitir que sea juzgado, que cuestione esa evidencia, y refute las acusaciones que puedan ser presentadas en algún momento en el futuro. Pero aparte de confirmar, una vez más, la voluntad del Pentágono de violar los principios más fundamentales de la jurisprudencia humana y democrática, este caso también provoca una nueva pregunta. ¿Fue tal vez arrestado Younes Hussein, como el iraquí cuya suerte rumoreada fue mencionada por ‘Riverbend’, porque había visto—y en el caso de Younes, fotografiado—más de lo que le convenía?


¿Agentes provocadores?

Portavoces de la ocupación estadounidense y británica de Irak, junto con periódicos como el Daily Telegraph, han rechazado, como era de esperar, con indignación, toda sugerencia de que sus fuerzas hayan participado en operaciones terrorista de bandera falsa en Irak.

Podrían recordar que durante los años ochenta, portavoces del gobierno de Ronald Reagan también hacinaron el ridículo sobre las acusaciones nicaragüenses de que EE.UU. suministraba ilegalmente armas a los 'contras'—hasta que un avión de carga C-123 operado por la CIA repleto de armas fue derribado sobre Nicaragua y Eugene Hasenfus, un manipulador de carga que sobrevivió la caída, testificó que sus supervisores (uno de los cuales era Luis Posada Carriles, el agente de la CIA responsable por el atentado con bomba en 1976 de un avión comercial cubano) trabajaban para el vicepresidente de aquel entonces, George H. W. Bush.

El arresto [por los iraquíes]—y la urgente liberación [por las fuerzas británicas]—de dos soldados británicos clandestinos en Irak podría se interpretado del mismo modo como un haz de luz retrospectivo sobre afirmaciones que no habían sido substanciadas, respecto a la participación de miembros de los ejércitos de ocupación en ataques terroristas con bombas contra civiles.

El paralelo está lejos de ser exacto: en este caso no ha habido confesiones dramáticas como la de Hasenfus, y no ha habido documentos directamente incriminatorios como la bitácora del piloto del C-123 derribado. Existe, además, una marcada falta de consenso sobre lo que realmente ocurrió en Basora. ¿Deberíamos, por lo tanto, junto con Juan Cole, descartar la posibilidad de que soldados británicos estuvieran actuando como agentes provocadores como una “teoría [que] casi no tiene hechos que la apoyen”?16


Miembros de las fuerzas de elite de Gran Bretaña: el SAS

Parece que cuando el 19 de septiembre policías iraquíes suspicaces detuvieron el Toyota Cressida conducido por los soldados británicos encubiertos, los dos hombres abrieron fuego, matando a un policía e hiriendo a otro. Pero los soldados, identificados por la BBC como “miembros de las fuerzas especiales de elite, el SAS,”17 fueron reducidos por la policía y arrestados. Un informe publicado por The Guardian el 24 de septiembre agrega el detalle ulterior de que “se piensa que” los hombres del SAS “se encontraban en una misión de vigilancia delante de una comisaría en Basora cuando fueron encarados por una patrulla de la policía iraquí.”18

Como ha señalado Justin Raimondo en un artículo el 23 de septiembre en Antiwar.com, casi todos los demás aspectos de este episodio son cuestionados.19

El Washington Post observó desdeñosamente, en el párrafo dieciocho de su informe sobre estos eventos, que “las fuerzas de seguridad iraquíes acusaron diversamente a los dos británicos que detuvieron de disparar a las fuerzas iraquíes o de tratar de colocar explosivos.”20 En realidad, los funcionarios iraquíes los acusaron no de uno, sino de ambos actos.

Fattah al-Shaykh, miembro de la Asamblea Nacional Iraquí, declaró a Al-Jazeera TV el 19 de septiembre que los soldados abrieron fuego cuando la policía trató de arrestarlos, y que su coche llevaba una bomba “y que querían hacerlo estallar en el centro de la ciudad de Basora en el mercado popular.”21 Un comunicado de prensa deliberadamente inflamatorio enviado el mismo día por la oficina de Moqtada al-Sadr (y colocado en su traducción inglesa en el blog de Juan Cole Informed Comment el 20 de septiembre) indica que el arresto de los soldados fue provocado porque habían “abierto el fuego contra pasantes” cerca de una mezquita de Basora, y que se descubrió que tenían “en su posesión explosivos y artefactos de control remoto, así como armas ligeras y medianas y otros accesorios.”22

¿Hasta qué punto es posible creer la afirmación sobre los explosivos? Justin Raimondo escribe que mientras los informes iniciales de la radio de la BBC reconocían que por cierto los dos hombres tenían explosivos en su coche, informes subsiguientes de la misma fuente indicaron que la policía iraquí no encontró nada aparte de “rifles de asalto, una ametralladora ligera, un arma anti-tanques, equipo de radio, y un botiquín. Se piensa que se trata de un equipo estándar para miembros del SAS que operan en un teatro de operaciones.”23

Cabría preguntarse, junto con Raimondo, si un arma anti-tanques es “equipo estándar de operaciones”—o qué uso hombres del SAS en “una misión de vigilancia delante de una comisaría” querían darle. Pero, lo que es más importante, una fotografía publicada por la policía iraquí y distribuida por Reuters muestra que—a menos que el equipo haya sido colocado para inculparlos—los hombres del SAS llevaban un buen poco más que lo que los ítems reconocidos por la BBC.24

Quisiera la opinión de un experto en armas antes de arriesgarme a un juicio definitivo sobre los objetos mostrados, que podrían haber llenado fácilmente el baúl y gran parte del asiento trasero de un Cressida. Pero esta fotografía hace plausible la declaración de Jeque Sheik Hassan al-Zarqani, portavoz de la milicia del Ejército Mehdi de Al-Sadr:

Lo que nuestra policía halló en su coche fue muy inquietante—armas, explosivos y un detonador de control remoto. Son armas de terroristas. Creemos que esos soldados estaban planeando un ataque contra un mercado u otros objetivos civiles….25

La feroz determinación del ejército británico por alejar a estos hombres de cualquier peligro de interrogación por sus propios supuestos aliados en el gobierno que los británicos están sosteniendo—incluso aunque su rescate significó la destrucción de una prisión iraquí y la liberación de gran cantidad de prisioneros, tiroteos con la policía iraquí y con el Ejército Mehdi de Al-Sadr, una gran movilización popular contra las fuerzas de ocupación británicas, y el subsiguiente retiro de toda cooperación de parte del gobierno regional—tiende, si no es otra cosa, a apoyar el punto de vista de que este episodio involucró algo mucho más tenebroso y más serio que un simple estallido de mal humor en un punto de control.


Guerra civil auspiciada por EE.UU. Y Gran Bretaña

Hay motivos para creer, además, que la guerra civil que los ataques con coches bomba contra civiles parecen querer provocar no serían una evolución mal recibida desde el punto de vista de las fuerzas de ocupación.

Escritores en los medios corporativos en idioma inglés han señalado repetidamente que los recientes ataques terroristas han causado víctimas masivas entre los civiles parecen querer empujar a Irak hacia una guerra civil de suníes contra chiíes, y de kurdos contra ambos. Por ejemplo, el 18 de septiembre de 2005, Peter Beaumont propuso en The Observer que la matanza de civiles, que atribuye sólo a Al Qaeda, “tiene un solo objetivo: la guerra civil.”26

Pero H.D.S. Greenway ya había sugerido el 17 de junio de 2005 en el Boston Globe que “En vista de la gran cantidad de ataques dirigidos por los suníes contra objetivos chiíes, los emergentes ataques dirigidos por chiíes contra suníes, y los secuestros extralegales de árabes por autoridades kurdas en Kirkuk, hay que preguntarse si la guerra civil iraquí, temida desde hace tanto tiempo, no ha comenzado ya.”27

Y el 21 de septiembre de 2005 Nancy Youssef y Mohammed al Dulaimy deKnight Ridder, Oficina de Washington, escribieron que la limpieza étnica de chiíes en vecindarios predominantemente suníes de Bagdad “procede a un ritmo alarmante y potencialmente desestabilizador,” y citaron el desesperanzado punto de vista de un experto iraquí:

“La guerra se encuentra hoy en día más cerca que en ningún tiempo precedente.” dijo Hazim Abdel Hamid al Nuaimi, profesor de política en la Universidad al-Mustansiriya de Bagdad. “Todas estas explosiones, los esfuerzos de la policía y la purga de vecindarios, constituyen una batalla por el control de Bagdad.”28

Haya o no comenzado o vaya a ocurrir, la erupción de una guerra civil en todo el sentido de la palabra, que conduzca a la fragmentación del país, sería claramente bienvenida en algunos círculos. Estrategas y periodistas israelíes ya propusieron en 1982 que uno de los objetivos estratégicos de su país debería ser la partición de Irak en un Estado chií, un Estado suní, y una parte kurda separada. (Vea “A Strategy for Israel in the 1980s,” Kivunim 14 [February 1982] del funcionario del ministerio de exteriores Oded Yinon,29 o la propuesta similar presentada por Ze’ev Schiff en Ha’aretz durante el mismo mes es mencionada por Noam Chomsky en su libro Fateful Triangle.)30

Una partición de Irak en secciones definidas por el origen étnico y por las diferencias entre suníes y chiíes conllevaría, obviamente, la guerra civil y la limpieza étnica en una escala masiva. Pero esas consideraciones no disuadieron a Leslie H. Gelb de propugnar en el New York Times, el 2 de noviembre de 2003, lo que llamó “La solución de tres Estados.”31

Gelb, ex alto funcionario del Departamento de Estado y del Pentágono, antiguo editor y columnista del New York Times, presidente emérito del Consejo de Relaciones Exteriores, conoce lo confidencial sobre lo confidencial. Y si los ensayos de Yinon y Schiff son algo repugnante, especialmente en el contexto del bombardeo por Israel en 1981 del reactor nuclear Osirak de Irak, sigue existiendo una cierta diferencia entre proponer especulativamente el desmembramiento de un poderoso país vecino, y abogar activamente por el desmembramiento de un país que su propia nación ha conquistado en una guerra de agresión no provocada. Lo primero podría ser descrito como una imaginación enfermiza bélica y criminal; lo último pertenece obviamente a la categoría de crímenes de guerra.

El ensayo de Gelb propone castigar a la insurgencia dirigida por los suníes a través de la separación del centro del actual Irak, en gran parte suní, del norte kurdo rico en petróleo y del sur chií rico en petróleo. Se refiere al desmembramiento de la Federación Yugoslava en los años noventa (con las atroces matanzas la que siguieron), como un “precedente esperanzador”. El ensayo de Gelb ha sido ampliamente interpretado como una señal de la intención de una facción dominante en el gobierno de EE.UU. También ha sido denunciado, correctamente, por Bill Vann como la promoción abierta de “un crimen de guerra de proporciones históricas en el mundo.”32

Considerando la creciente desesperación de los gobiernos estadounidense y británico ante una insurgencia que sus tácticas de masivos arrestos y torturas, el Programa Phoenix33 o los escuadrones de la muerte “de la opción salvadoreña,”34 el uso ilimitado de una abrumadora fuerza militar y el criminal castigo colectivo no han logrado reprimir, no puede sorprender que en recientes acciones militares como el ataque contra Tal Afar, el ejército de EE.UU. haya desplegado tropas peshmerga kurdas y milicias chiíes de un modo que parece diseñado para inflamar los odios raciales.

Nadie, espero, se sorprende ya por el hecho de que Abu Musab al-Zarqawi—esa construcción ficticia de las filas cerradas de pequeños Tom Clancy del Pentágono, ese Dalek de una sola pierna, ese Pimpinela Escarlata del terrorismo, que logra estar aquí, allá, y en todas partes al mismo tiempo—esté tan devotamente dedicado a aterrorizar y a exterminar a sus correligionarios chiíes.

¿Debería sorprendernos en algo, entonces, si vemos evidencia que emerge en Irak de atentados terroristas bajo bandera falsa, realizados por las principales potencias ocupantes? Los servicios secretos y las fuerzas especiales de EE.UU. y de Gran Bretaña, después de todo, ya tenían bastante experiencia en dichos asuntos.





1  Neil Mackay, “British double-agent was in Real IRA's Omagh bomb team,” Sunday Herald (19 agosto 2001), www.sundayherald.com/17827; disponible en HighBeam Research, www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-19045280.html.

2  Neil Mackay, “The army asked me to make bombs for the IRA, told me I had the Prime Minister's blessing ... then tried to kill me,” Sunday Herald (23 junio 2002), www.sundayherald.com/print25646; disponible en www.whale.to/b/ni22.html.

3  Neil Mackay, “IRA torturer was in the Royal Marines: Top republican terrorist exposed in court documents as a special forces soldier,” Sunday Herald (15 diciembre 2002), www.sundayherald.com/29997; disponible en www.whale.to/b/ni30.html.

4  Ibid.

5  Véase Michel Chossudovsky, “British 'Undercover Soldiers' Caught driving Booby Trapped Car,” Centre for Research on Globalization (20 septiembre 2005), www.globalresearch.ca/british-undercover-soldiers-caught-driving-booby-trapped-car/972; Larry Chin, “British prison break and blown covert operation, exposes 'war on terrorism lie,” Centre for Research on Globalization (20 septiembre 2005), www.globalresearch.ca/british-prison-break-and-blown-covert-operation-exposes-war-on-terrorism-lie/982; Mike Whitney, “Who's Blowing up Iraq? New evidence that bombs are being planted by British Commandos,” Centre for Research on Globalization (20 septiembre 2005), www.globalresearch.ca/who-s-blowing-up-iraq/981.

6  Kurt Nimmo, “British 'Pseudo-Gang' Terrorists Exposed in Basra,” Centre for Research on Globalization (24 septiembre 2005), www.globalresearch.ca/british-pseudo-gang-terrorists-exposed-in-basra/992.

7  Esta affirmación fue publicada por la ahora desaparecida SITE Institute, en http://siteinstitute.org/bin/articles.cgi?ID=publications45605&Category=publications&Subcategory=0.

8  Como prueba de que el Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi conocido por los lectores de la prensa occidental como un cerebro terrorista principal es una construcción mítica producida por la propaganda, véase Michel Chossudovsky, “Who Is Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi?” Centre for Research on Globalization (11 junio 2004), http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO405B.html; Chris Shumway, “Experts Dispute Bush Line on Zarqawi,” Antiwar.com (16 July 2004), http://tinyurl.com/z5rft; Brendan O'Neill, “Blowing up Zarqawi,” Spiked Online (5 octubre 2004), http://www.spiked-online.com/Articles/0000000CA71C.htm; y Michel Chossudovsky, “Who is behind 'Al Qaeda in Iraq'? Pentagon acknowledges fabricating a 'Zarqawi Legend',” Centre for Research on Globalization (18 abril 2006), http://www.globalresearch.ca/who-is-behind-al-qaeda-in-iraq-pentagon-acknowledges-fabricating-a-zarqawi-legend/2275.

9  Dahr Jamail, “Dahr Jamail Blog from Baghdad,” The New Standard (20 abril 2004); disponible en Countercurrents.org, www.countercurrents.org/iraq-jamail200404.htm.

10  http://www.inq7.net/wnw/2004/apr/23/wnw_3_1.htm.

11  http://www.inq7.net/wnw/2004/apr/23/wnw_4_1.htm.

12  'Riverbend', “The dead and the undead...,” Baghdad Burning (18 mayo 2005), http://riverbendblog.blogspot.ca/2005_05_01_riverbendblog_archive.html#111636281930496496.

13  Imad Khadduri, “'Combat terrorism' by causing it,” Albasrah.net (15 mayo 2005), www.albasrah.net/maqalat/english/0505/Combat-terrorism_160505.htm.

14  Ibid.

15  Arianna Huffington, “Kafka Does Iraq: The Disturbing Case of Abdul Amir Younes Hussein.” Huffington Post (23 septiembre 2005), http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/Kafka-does-iraq-the-dist_b_7796.html. (En abril de 2006, siete meses después de la publicación del artículo de Huffington y mi ensayo, fue puesto en libertad: ver “CBS cameraman freed after being held for a year by US military,” Reporters Without Borders [20 April 2006], http://en.rsf.org/iraq-cbs-cameraman-freed-after-being-20-04-2006,16937.html.)

16  “US Bombs Dhulu'iyyah[,] Basra declares Noncooperation,” Informed Comment (22 septiembre 2005), www.juancole.com/2005/09/page/5.

17  “Iraq probe into soldier incident,” BBC News (20 septiembre 2005), http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4264614.stm.

18  “Iraqi judge issues warrant for British troops,” The Guardian (24 septiembre 2005), www.guardian.co.uk/iraq/Story/0,2763,1577575,00.html.

19  Justin Raimondo, “Bizarro Basra,” Antiwar.com (24 septiembre 2005), www.original.antiwar.com/justin/2005/09/23/bizarro-basra/.

20  http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/09/20/MNGSSEQNGN1.DTL.

21  Citado por Chossudovsky, “British 'Undercover Soldiers'.”

22  “Muqtada Al Sadr's Response to Basra,” Informed Comment (20 septiembre 2005), www.juancole.com/2005/09/page/5.

23  Citado por Raimondo, “Bizarro Basra.”

24  http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=20050923&articleid=989.

25  Citado por Raimondo, “Bizarro Basra.”

26  Peter Beaumont, “Al Qaeda's slaughter has one aim: civil war,” The Observer (18 septiembre 2005), www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/sep/18/iraq.alqaida.

27  H.D.S. Greenway, “Facing facts in Iraq,” Boston Globe (17 junio 2005), http://www.realcities.com/mid/krwashington/12704935.htm.

28  Nancy Youssef and Mohammed al Dulaimy, “Shiites fleeing Sunni-dominated neighbourhoods,” Knight Ridder Newspapers (21 septiembre 2005).

29  Oded Yinon, “A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties,” Kivunim 14 (Invierno 5742, febrero 1982), traducido por Israel Shahak, www.cosmos.ucc.ie/cs1064/jabowen/IPSC/articles/article0005345.html.

30  Noam Chomsky, Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians (2nd ed., Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 1999), p. 457.

31  Leslie H. Gelb, “The Three-State Solution,” New York Times (25 noviembre 2003); available at Council on Foreign Relations, www.cfr.org/world/three-state-solution/p6559.

32  Bill Vann, “The New York Times: a proposal for ethnic cleansing in Iraq,” World Socialist Web Site (26 noviembre 2003), http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2003/11/gelb-n26.html.

33  El programa Phoenix era un sistema de escuadrones de la muerte y el terrorismo de Estado la tortura de la CIA en Vietnam del Sur entre 1966 y principios de 1970 en la que algunos 82.000 simpatizantes 'Vietcong' fueron “eliminados” y más de 26.000 prisioneros fueron asesinados. Véase Alfred W. McCoy, A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror (New York: Metropolitan/Owl Books, 2006), pp. 64-71.

34  En enero de 2005, la revista Newsweek informó que la administración Bush estaba considerando volver a usar en Irak la “Opción El Salvador,” una “estrategia aún secreta” supuestamente de utilizar “los llamados escuadrones de la muerte dirigidos a cazar y matar a los líderes rebeldes y simpatizantes” que había sido utilizado por el gobierno de Reagan en El Salvador en la década de 1980 (citado por Ken Gude, “Roots of Iraq Civil War May Be in 'Salvador Option',” Thinkprogress [2 marzo 2006], www.thinkprogress.org/security/2006/03/02/4006/roots-of-iraq-civil-war-may-be-in-salvador-option/?mobile=nc). “Opción El Salvador” escuadrones de la muerte fueron los responsables por el asesinato de decenas de miles de civiles en El Salvador; véase Tom Gibb, “'Salvador Option' mooted for Iraq,” BBC News (27 January 2005), www.news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/4209595.stm. Hay pruebas claras de que a principios de 2005 el ejército de EE.UU. ya operaba escuadrones de la muerte en Irak; véase Max Fuller, “For Iraq, 'The Salvador Option' Becomes Reality,” Centre for Research on Globalization (2 junio 2005), www.globalresearch.ca/articles/FUL506A.html.   

Soldati Britannici delle Forze Speciali posizionavano bombe a Bassora? Sospetti rafforzati da notizie precedenti

This translation of my essay “Were British Special Forces Soldiers Planting Bombs in Basra?” was made “a cura di Oriente” and first published at Come Don Chisciotte on 2 October 2005; it was subsequently published at five other websites on 2005 and 2006. I have made small corrections to the translation at several points, and have added the notes which now appear here as in the English text.


Ricordano tutti lo shock con cui quattro anni fa l'opinione pubblica Britannica accolse la rivelazione che uno dei membri delle unità Real IRA il cui attacco con esplosivi di Omagh del 15 agosto 1998 uccise 29 civili era un doppio agente, un soldato dell'esercito Britannico?

Quel soldato non era l'unico doppio agente terrorista. Un secondo soldato Britannico infiltrato all'interno dell'IRA sostenne di aver avvisato i suoi punti di contatto all'interno del Distretto Reale di Polizia dell'Ulster (Royal Ulster Constabulary, RUC) dell'attacco con un veicolo pieno di esplosivo con 48 ore di anticipo, insieme a “dettagli su una delle squadre e la targa della macchina dell'uomo.” Anche se l'agente aveva fatto una registrazione audio della sua informazione riservata, Sir Ronnie Flanagan, poliziotto capo del RUC, dichiarò che “non fu ricevuta nessuna informazione del genere.”1

Il secondo doppio agente divenne pubblico nel giugno 2002 con la dichiarazione che dal 1981 al 1994, sul libro paga dell'esercito Britannico, aveva lavorato per “la Force Research Unit (FRU), un'ala ultra segreta dell'intelligence militare Britannica,” come talpa dell'IRA. Con la piena conoscenza e approvazione da parte del suo FRU e di appoggi nell'MI5, divenne uno specialista in esplosivi che “mescolava esplosivi e ... contribuiva a sviluppare nuovi tipi di ordigni,” comprese “bombe ad alta sensibilità, attivate da flash fotografici, per superare il problema dei dispositivi di controllo remoto i cui segnali venivano disturbati da radio unità dell'esercito.” Proseguì col diventare “un membro della squadra provvisoria di sicurezza interna dell'IRA—conosciuta anche come “l'unità di tortura”—che interrogava e giustiziava informatori sospetti.”2

Il comandante più temuto di queste stesse “unità di tortura” era anch'egli una talpa, che aveva precedentemente servito nella Royal Marines' Special Boat Squadron (un unità d'elite delle forze speciali, gli equivalenti in Marina del più conosciuti SAS). Una quarta tolpa, un soldato dal nome in codice “Stakeknife” i cui appoggi militari “gli permisero di portare a termine un gran numero di assassinii terroristici con lo scopo di proteggere la sua copertura all'interno dell'IRA,” era ancora attiva nel dicembre 2002 come “uno deo capi provvisori di Belfast.”3

Una prova attendibile emerse anche a fine 2002: che l'esercito Britannico aveva utilizzando i suoi doppi agenti in organizzazione terroristiche “per portare a termine assassinii per procura negli interessi dello Stato Britannico”—il più famigerato nel caso del avvocato di Belfast ed attivista dei diritti civili Pat Finucane, che fu assassinato nel 1989 dalla Protestant Ulster Defence Association (UDA). Para che il FRY passò dettagl su Finucane ad un soldato UK che si era infiltrato nell'UDA; lui, in cambio, “riforni le squadre assassine di informazioni.”4

Eventi recenti a Bassora hanno alimentato sospetti secondo i quali l'esercito Britannico potrebbe aver riattivato queste stesse tettiche in Iraq. Articoli pubblicati da Michel Chossudovsky, Larry Chin e Mike Whitney sul sito del Centro di Recerca sulla Globalizzazione il 20 settembre 2005 hanno efferto delle valutazioni preliminari sulle asserzioni di autorità Irachene secondo le quali i due soldati Britannici in abiti civili che furono arrestati dalla Polizia Irachena a Bassora il 19 settembre—e subito liberati da un assalto effetuato da carri armati ed elicotteri alle prigione in cui erano rinchiusi—erano impegnati a posizione bombe in città.5

Un ulteriore articolo di Kurt Nimmo si rivolge alle operazioni sotto falsa bandiera portate a termine da soldati delle forze speciali in Irlanda del Nord ed altrove, ed alla formazione del P2OG (Proactive Preemptive Operations Group) di Donald Rumsfeld, come direttamente rilevante per le accuse Irachene in probabili operazioni di terrorismo sotto falsa bandiera da parte dei poteri di occupazione in Iraq.6

Queste accuse de parte di funzionari Iracheni riecheggiano con insistenza ma poco fondamento delle affermazioni, che si riconducono al più tardi alla primavera 2004, secondo cui molti degli attacchi bomba sferrati contro obiettivi civili in Iraq son stati effettivamente perpetuati da forze USA e UK piutosto che da ribelli Iracheni.

Contro alcune dichiarazioni di questo tipo si possono respingere vivacemente. A metà maggio 2005, per esempio, un gruppo che si fa chiamare “Al Qaeda in Iraq” accusò soldati USA “di far detonare veicoli pieni d'esplosivo e accusare falsamente gli militanti.”7 Anche per il più credulone, nella migliore delle ipotesi questo potrebbe essere come il caso della teiera che accusa il pentolino di essere sporco di fuliggine. Ma non è chiaro perché tutti vorrebbero credere a questa dichiarazione, dal momento in cui proviene da un gruppo o gruppuscolo che fa intendere di essere guidato dal fantomatico Al Zarqawi8—e pure uno il cui nome stesso si lega a terroristi del genere. Queste persone, se esistono, potrebbero avere loro stessi buone ragioni ad incolpare qualcun altro dei lro crimini.

Altre affirmazioni, comunque, sono nel complesso più preoccupanti.

Il giornalista USA Dahr Jamail il 20 aprile ha scritto che correva voce che la recente ondata di attacchi bomba a Baghdad sarebbe stata opera della CIA: “La voce circolante a Baghdad è che la cessazione di attacchi suicidi con veicoli esplosivi è la dimostrazione che la CIA ne stava dietro. Perché? Perché come dice qualcuno, '[Gli agenti della CIA] sono troppo occupati a combattere adesso, e l'agitazione che volevano provocare con le bombe ora riguarda loro stessi.' Vero o falso, no fa molto bene all'immagine degli occupanti in Iraq.”9

Due giorni dopo, il 22 aprile 2004, l'Agenzia France-Presse riferì che cinque auto esplose a Bassora—tre attacchi quasi simultanei davanti a stazioni di polizia a Bassora che ucciserò 68 persone, inclusi 20 bambini, e due bombe successive—erano imputate ai Britannici dai sostenitori del religioso Sciita Moqtada Al-Sadr. Mentre 800 sostenitori manifestavono fuori dalla sede di Al-Sadr, un suo portavoce dichiarò di avere “le prove che i Britannici erano coinvolti negli attacchi.”10

Un anonimo alto ufficiale militare britannico disse il 22 aprile 2004 riguardo a questi attacchi a Bassora che “somilglia Al-Qaeda. Ne ha tutti i segni distintivi, è stato spettacolare ed è stato simbolico.” Il Generale di Brigata Nick Carter, comandante della guarnigione Britannica a Bassora, affermò più ambiguamente che non era necessario accusare Al-Qaeda dei cinque attacchi, ma che quei responsabili venivano da fuori Bassora e “con buona probabilità” da fuori l'Iraq: “Tutto ciò di cui possiamo essere certi è che è qualcosa che è venuto dall'esterno,” ha detto Carter.11

I sostenitori di Moqtada Al-Sadr ovviamente pensavano la stessa cosa—con la sola differenza che identificavano i criminali esterni come agenti Britannici piuttosto che come mujaheddin Islamici da altri paesi arabi.

Nel maggio 2005 “Riverbend,” l'autore di Baghdad del ben conoscuto blog Baghdad Burning, scrisse che quello che la stampa internazionale riportava come attacchi suicidi erano in realtà molto spesso “veicoli esplosivi sia fatti detonare dell'esterno sia a orologeria.” Dopo una delle principali raffiche recenti, avvenute nella zona della classe media Ma'moun nella parte ovest di Baghdad, un uomo che viveva nella casa di fronte ai luoghi degli attentati fu arrestato, a quanto si dice, per aver sparato ad un soldato della Guardia Nazionale Irachena de un nascondiglio. Ma stando a quanto dice “Riverbend,” i suoi vicini avevano una versione diversa: “Gente del posto dice l'uomo fu portato via non perché avesse sparato a qualcuno, ma perché sapeva qualcosa di troppo riguardo all-esplosione. A quanto pare aveva visto una pattuglia USA che passava nella zona e soffermarsi nel luogo degli attacchi pochi minuti prima delle esplosione. Poco dopo si allontanarono, e quindi ci fu l'esplosione con il caos che ne conseguvistaì. L'uomo corse fuori dalla casa gridando ai vicini e agli astanti che gli Americani o avevano piantato loro la bomba o l'avevano vista ma non avevano fatto niente. Fu prontamente portato via.12

Sempre nel maggio 2005, Imad Khadduri, il fisico Iracheno in esilio i cui scritti hanno aiutato a screditare le menzogne Britanniche e Statunitensi sulle armi di distruzione di massa, riferì della situazione che a Baghdad ad un guidatore a cui era stata ritrata la patente presso un check-point Americano fu detto di “ricarsi in un campo militare USA vicino all'aeroporto di Baghdad per essere interrogato e per recuperare la sua patente.” Dope essere stato interrogato per una mezz'ora gli fu detto che non c'era nulla contro di lui, ma che la sua patente era stata inviata all polizia Irachena all stazione Al-Khadimiya “per la procedura”—e che avrebbe fatto meglio a recarsi in fretta dal luogotenente, di cui gli fu dat il nome, prima che questi finisse il suo turno:

Il guidatore se ne andò in fretta, ma si allarmò presto per l'impressione che la sua macchina stesse guidando come se stesse trasportando un carico pesante, e si insospetti anche di un elicottero che volava basso poco al di sopra di lui, come se lo stesse sequendo. Fermò la macchina e la ispezionò accuramente. Provò quasi 100 kg di esplosivo nascosti sotto il sedile posteriore e lungo le due portiere posteriori. L'unica spiegazione verosimile per questo episodio è che la macchina era stata manomessa in modo esplosivo dagli Americani e volta al distretto Sciita Al'Khadimiya di Baghdad. L'elicottero stava controllando i suoi movimenti e testimoniando in anticipo un “orrendo attacco da parte di elementi esterni.”13

Secondo Khadduri, “La stessa scena si ripetuté a Mosul, nord dell’Iraq.” In questo caso, la vita del conducente fu salvata quando la sua auto ebbe un guasto sulla strada per la stazione di polizia dove si pensa stesse andando a ritirare la sua patente, e quando il meccanico al quale aveva chiesto soccorso “scoprì che la ruota di scorta era stata interamente riempita di esplosivo.”

Khadduri menziona, come meritevole di indagine, un “caso forse non ricollegabile” a Baghdad il 28 aprile 2005, nel quale un camionista Canadese con la doppia cittadinanza Irachena fu ucciso. Riferisce une notizia della CBC secondo la quale “alcuni media hanno citato fonti imprecisate che dicevano che questi sarebbe morto dopo che le forze USA l'avevano seguito come un ogiettivo, usando artiglieria da elicottero, ma agli Affari Esterni dicono che si sta ancora investigando sulle notizie contrastanti della morte. Gli ufficiali USA hanno negato ogni coinvolgimento.”14

Un altro caso, anch'esso nell'aprile 2005, richiede un'inchiesta molto più urgentemente, dal momento che una delle sue vittime è ancora viva. Abdul Amir Younes Hussein, cameraman della CBS, fu lievemente ferito dalle forze USA il 15 aprile “mentre riprendeva le conseguenza di un attacco bomba a Mosul.” Le autorità militari Americane erano all'inizio spiacuti per le sue ferite, ma 3 giorni dopo lo arrestarono col pretesto che “si fosse dato ad attività anti-coalizione.”15

Arianna Huffington, nel suo resoconto dettagliato di questo caso, ne enfatizza giustissimamente le sue qualità kafkiane: Younes Hussein è stato detenuto, ad Abu Graib e altrove, per più di cinque mesi—senza accuse, senza alcuna traccia di quale prova il Pentagono avrebbe potuto muovergli contro, e senza nessuna indicazione se gli sarebbe mai stato permesso di assistere al processo, ricusare quelle prove, e confutare le accuse che gli potrebbero essere mosse in un futuro prossimo. Ma oltre a confermare, ancora una volta, la buona volontà del Pentagono di violare i principi fondamentali basilari del diritto umano e della democrazia, questo caso solleva anche un'altra domanda. Younes Hussein fu forse arrestato, come l'Iracheno la cui vociferata fatalità fu menzionata da “Riverbend,” perché aveva visto, e in questo caso fotografato, più che era buono per lui.


Agenti provocatori?

Dei portavoce dell'occupazione USA e Britannica dell'Iraq, insieme a quotidiani come il Daily Telegraph, hanno naturalmente respinto con indignazione ogni insinuazione che le lore forze potessero essere state coinvolte in operazioni di terrorismo sotto falsa bandiera in Iraq. Andrebbe ricordato che durante gli anni '80 dei portavoce del governo di Ronald Reagan riempirono di ridicolo allo stesso modo le accuse Nicaraguensi secondo le quali gli USA stavano illegalmente rifornendo i “Contras” di armi—fino a quando, successe così, un cargo C-123 pieno di artiglieria diretto dalla CIA fu abbattuto in Nicaragua, e Eugene Hasenfus, un scaricatore che sopravvisse allo schianto, testimoniò che i suoi sovrintendenti (uno dei quali era Luis Posada Carriles, l’agente CIA responsabile nel 1976 dell’abbattimento di un aereo civile Cubano) stavano lavorando per il vice presidente di allora George H. W. Bush.

L’arresto – e la liberazione repentina – dei due soldati Britannici clandestinamente in Iraq si potrebbe interpretare in maniera simile come per gettare un luce retrospettiva sulle inconsistenti affermazioni precedenti riguardo il coinvolgimento di elementi degli eserciti di occupazione in attacchi terroristici contro civili.

Il paragone è lungi dall’essere corretto: in questo caso non ci sono confessioni drammatiche come quella di Hasenfus, e non ci sono documenti direttamente incriminanti come quelli della registrazione del pilota del C-123 abbattuto. C’è, per giunta, una marcata carenza di consenso per quello che è recentemente avvenuto a Bassora. Dovremmo quindi, con Juan Cole, respingere la possibilità che soldati Britannici agissero come agenti provocatori come “una teoria che quasi non ha elementi alle spalle”?16


Membri della Forze Britanniche d'Elite SAS

Sembra che quando il 19 settembre degli agenti di polizia Iracheni sospettosi fermarono la Toyota Cressida che i soldati clandestini Britannici stavano guidando, i due uomini aprirono il fuoco, uccidendo un poliziotto e ferendone un altro. Ma i soldati, identificati dalla BBC come “membri delle forze speciali d’élite SAS,”17 furono bloccati dalla polizia ed arrestati. Un resoconto pubblicato dal Guardian il 24 settembre aggiunge il dettaglio ulteriore “si pensa [che gli uomini dei SAS] fossero in missione di sorveglianza davanti a una stazione di polizia a Bassora quando furono affrontati dalla pattuglia di polizia Irachena.”18

Come ha osservato Justin Raimondo in un articolo pubblicato il 23 settembre su Antiwar.com, quasi ogni altro aspetto di questo episodio è controverso.19

Il Washington Post ha osservato prendendo le distanze, nel 18mo paragrafo di un suo rapporto riguardo a questi fatti, che “ufficiali Iracheni della sicurezza hanno accusato distintamente i due Britannici arrestati di aver sparato contro forze Irachene o di aver tentato di posizionare esplosivo.”20 Gli ufficiali Iracheni in realtà li hanno accusati non di una, ma di tutte e due le cose.

Fattah Al-Shaykh, membro dell’Assemblea Nazionale Irachena, ha detto all’emittente Al-Jazeera il 19 settembre che i soldati hanno aperto il fuoco quando la polizia ha tentato di arrestarli, e che la loro macchina era esplosivamente manomessa “e destinata ad esplodere nel centro di Bassora al mercato popolare.”21 Un comunicato stampa deliberatamente infiammato uscito il giorno stesso dalla sede di Moqtada Al-Sadr (e postato e tradotto in Inglese sul blog di Juan Cole Informed Comment il 20 settembre) dice che l’arresto dei soldati fu dovuto al loro “aver aperto il fuoco sui passanti” vicino alla moschea di Bassora, e all’essere stati trovati in possesso di esplosivi e apparecchiature per il controllo a distanza, così come armi leggere e medie più altri accessori.”22

Quale credibilità si può dare alle affermazioni sugli esplosivi? Justin Raimondo scrive che mentre all’inizio le notizie della BBC riconoscevano che i due uomini avevano effettivamente dell’esplosivo nella loro macchina, le notizie successive dalla stessa fonte indicavano che la polizia Irachena non trovò nulla oltre a “fucili d’assalto, una mitragliatrice leggera, un’arma anti-carro, un congegno radio, e kit medici. Si ritiene che questo sia la dotazione standard per le SAS che operano in teatri operativi del genere.”23

Ci si potrebbe benissimo chiedere, insieme a Raimondo, se un’arma anti-carro faccia parte dell’“equipaggiamento standard”—oppure quale uso intendessero farne gli uomini delle SAS durante le “missioni di sorveglianza fuori dalle stazioni di polizia.” Ma, più importante, una foto pubblicata dalla polizia Irachena e distribuita da Reuters mostra che – a meno che l’equipaggiamento non sia una attrezzatura – gli uomini SAS stavano trasportando parecchio più quanto riconosciuto dalla BBC.24

Gradirei conoscere il parere di un esperto in armi prima di arrischiare un giudizio definitivo su quanto detto, chi potrebbe aver facilmente riempito il baule e gran parte dei sedili posteriori di una Cressida. Ma questa foto autorizza l’affermazione di Sheik Hassan al-Zarqani, portavoce delle milizie di Al-Sadr: “Quello che la polizia ha trovato nella loro macchina è stato davvero rivoltante—armi, esplosivi, e un detonatore per controllo a distanza. Queste sono armi da terrorista. Noi crediamo che questi soldati stessero pianificando un attacco contro un mercato o altri obiettivi civili….”25

L’ostinata determinazione dell’esercito Britannico di preservare questi uomini da ogni rischio di interrogatorio da parte dei loro presunti alleati al governo è sorprendente—anche quando il loro salvataggio implicava la distruzione di una prigione Irachena e la liberazione di un gran numero di prigionieri, scontri ad arma da fuoco con la polizia Irachena e con le milizie di Al-Sadr, una grande mobilitazione popolare contro le forze di occupazione Britanniche, e la conseguente cessazione di ogni cooperazione di parte del governo regionale—e porta, casomai, a sostenere l’idea che l’episodio abbia implicato qualcosa di più oscuro che non una semplice scaramuccia di teste calde ad un check-point.


Guerra civile sponsorizzata USA-UK

C’è motivo di credere, per di più, che la guerra civile aperta che gli attacchi su civili con veicoli esplosivi sembrano intenzionati a produrre non sarebbe uno sviluppo sgradito agli occhi delle forze occupanti.

Scrittori dei media corporativi di lingua inglese hanno ripetutamente osservato che i recenti attacchi che hanno causato un gran numero di vittime tra i civili paiono sospingere l’Iraq verso una guerra civile tra Sunniti e Sciiti, e i Curdi contro entrambi. Per esempio il 18 settembre 2005 Peter Beaumont ha avanzato l’ipotesi sull’Observer che il massacro di civili, che imputa alla sola Al-Qaeda, “ha un unico scopo: la guerra civile.”26 Ma H.D.S. Greenway aveva già suggerito il 17 giugno sul Boston Globe che “dato il grande numero di attacchi condotti da Sunniti contro obiettivi Sciiti, l’emergere di attacchi Sciiti contro i Sunniti, e il sequestro fuori dalla legalità di Arabi ad opera delle autorità Curde a Kirkuk, ci si deve chiedere se la tanto a lungo temuta guerra civile Irachena non sia in realtà già iniziata.”27 E il 21 settembre 2005 Nancy Youssef e Mohammed al-Dulaimy del Knight Ridder Washington Bureau hanno scritto che la pulizia etnica degli Sciiti in zone nei dintorni di Bagdad a prevalente presenza Sunnita “sta proseguendo ad un ritmo allarmante e potenzialmente destabilizzante”, e hanno citato l’opinione di un esperto Iracheno: “'La guerra civile è più vicina oggi che non in passato,' ha detto Hazim Abdel Hamid al-Nuaimi, professore di scienze politiche all’Università al-Mustansiriya di Bagdad. 'Tutte queste esplosioni, i tentativi alla polizia e l’epurazione nei dintorni sono una battaglia per controllare Bagdad.'”28

Che sia già cominciata o no o che capiti in futuro, lo scoppio di una guerra civile molto accesa, che porterebbe alla frammentazione del Paese, sarebbe chiaramente benvenuta in certi ambienti. Strateghi e giornalisti Israeliani hanno proposto nel lontano 1982 che uno degli obiettivi strategici del loro Paese dovrebbe essere la suddivisione dell’Iraq in uno Stato Sciita, uno Stato Sunnita, e una parte separata Curda (Consultare "A Strategy for Israel in the 1980s," Kivunim 14 [Febbraio 1982] del funzionario del Ministero degli Esteri Oded Yinon;29 una proposta simile avanzata da Ze’ev Schiff su Ha’aretz lo stesso mese è riportata da Noam Chomsky nel suo libro Fateful Triangle.)30

Una divisione dell’Iraq in parti definite dalle etnie e dalle differenze tra Sunniti e Sciiti implicherebbe, abbastanza chiaramente, sia guerra civile che pulizia etnica su vasta scala. Ma queste considerazioni non hanno distolto Lesile H. Gelb dal patrocinare sul New York Times quella che chiama “La Soluzione dei Tre Stati.”31

Gelb, un ex funzionario del Dipartimento di Stato e del Pentagono, un ex editore e curatore di rubriche del New York Times, e presidente emerito del Consiglio per le Relazioni Estere, è un iniziato tra gli iniziati. E se i saggi di Yinon e Schiff sono materiale sgradevole, soprattutto nel contesto del bombardamento Israeliano nel 1981 di un reattore nucleare Iracheno a Osirak, c’è pur sempre qualche differenza tra il proporre teoricamente lo smembramento di un vicino Paese potente, e patrocinare attivamente lo smembramento di un Paese che la propria nazione ha conquistato in una guerra di aggressione da questo non provocata. Il primo si potrebbe descrivere come un fantasticare malato di guerra e criminalità, il secondo appartiene molto chiaramente alla categoria dei crimini di guerra.

Il saggio di Gelb propone di punire la ribellione dei Sunniti separando il grosso centro Sunnita dell’attuale Iraq dal nord Curdo ricco di petrolio e dal sud Sciita ricco di petrolio. Mira allo smembramento della federazione Yugoslava negli anni ’90 (con gli spaventosi massacri che ne sono seguiti) come ad un “promettente procedente.” Il saggio di Gelb è stato largamente interpretato come un indicatore delle intenzioni delle fazioni predominanti nel governo USA. E’ stato anche, molto opportunamente, denunciato da Bill Vann come apertamente istigatore di “un crimine di guerra dalle proporzioni storiche e planetarie.”32

Data la crescente disperazione dei governi Britannico ed Americano nel fronteggiare una rivolta che le loro tattiche di torture ed arresti arbitrari di massa, squadre della morte del Programma Phoenix33 o “opzione Salvadoregna,”34 uso senza controllo di forze militari soverchianti, e punizioni per assassinii collettivi non sono riuscite a reprimere, non sorprende che in azioni militari recenti come l’assalto a Tal Afar l’esercito USA abbia schierato truppe di Peshmerga Curdi e milizie Sciite in un modo che sembra intenzionato ad infiammare i contrasti etnici.

Nessuno, vorrei sperare, è ancora sorpreso dal fatto che Abu Musab al-Zarqawi—quella creazione romanzesca dei ranghi serrati del Pentagono di piccoli Tom Clancies, quel Dalek da una gamba sola, quella Primula Rossa del terrorismo, che riesce ad essere qua e là ed ovunque nello stesso momento35—dovrebbe essere così ferocemente dedito a terrorizzare e sterminare i suoi correligiosi Sciiti.

Dovremmo ancora stupirci, quindi, di veder spuntare in Iraq le prove di attacchi terroristici sotto falsa bandiera orchestrati dai principali poteri occupanti? I servizi segreti e le forze speciali sia degli Usa che della Gran Bretagna dopo tutto hanno una certa esperienza in materia.




1  Neil Mackay, “British double-agent was in Real IRA's Omagh bomb team,” Sunday Herald (19 agosto 2001), www.sundayherald.com/17827; disponibile da HighBeam Research, www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-19045280.html.

2  Neil Mackay, “The army asked me to make bombs for the IRA, told me I had the Prime Minister's blessing ... then tried to kill me,” Sunday Herald (23 giugno 2002), www.sundayherald.com/print25646; disponibile da www.whale.to/b/ni22.html.

3  Neil Mackay, “IRA torturer was in the Royal Marines: Top republican terrorist exposed in court documents as a special forces soldier,” Sunday Herald (15 dicembre 2002), www.sundayherald.com/29997; disponibile da www.whale.to/b/ni30.html.

4  Ibid.

5  Vedi Michel Chossudovsky, “British 'Undercover Soldiers' Caught driving Booby Trapped Car,” Centre for Research on Globalization (20 settembre 2005), www.globalresearch.ca/british-undercover-soldiers-caught-driving-booby-trapped-car/972; Larry Chin, “British prison break and blown covert operation, exposes 'war on terrorism lie,” Centre for Research on Globalization (20 settembre 2005), www.globalresearch.ca/british-prison-break-and-blown-covert-operation-exposes-war-on-terrorism-lie/982; Mike Whitney, “Who's Blowing up Iraq? New evidence that bombs are being planted by British Commandos,” Centre for Research on Globalization (20 settembre 2005), www.globalresearch.ca/who-s-blowing-up-iraq/981.

6  Kurt Nimmo, “British 'Pseudo-Gang' Terrorists Exposed in Basra,” Centre for Research on Globalization (24 settembre 2005), www.globalresearch.ca/british-pseudo-gang-terrorists-exposed-in-basra/992.

7  Questa affermazione è stata pubblicata dalla ormai defunta SITE Institute, http://siteinstitute.org/bin/articles.cgi?ID=publications45605&Category=publications&Subcategory=0.

8  Per le prove che l'Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi noto ai lettori della stampa occidentale come un leader terrorista mente è un costrutto mitico prodotto dalla propaganda, vedi Michel Chossudovsky, “Who Is Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi?” Centre for Research on Globalization (11 giugno 2004), http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO405B.html; Chris Shumway, “Experts Dispute Bush Line on Zarqawi,” Antiwar.com (16 luglio 2004), http://tinyurl.com/z5rft; Brendan O'Neill, “Blowing up Zarqawi,” Spiked Online (5 ottobre 2004), http://www.spiked-online.com/Articles/0000000CA71C.htm; e Michel Chossudovsky, “Who is behind 'Al Qaeda in Iraq'? Pentagon acknowledges fabricating a 'Zarqawi Legend',” Centre for Research on Globalization (18 aprile 2006), http://www.globalresearch.ca/who-is-behind-al-qaeda-in-iraq-pentagon-acknowledges-fabricating-a-zarqawi-legend/2275.

9  Dahr Jamail, “Dahr Jamail Blog from Baghdad,” The New Standard (20 aprile 2004); disponibile da Countercurrents.org, www.countercurrents.org/iraq-jamail200404.htm.

10  http://www.inq7.net/wnw/2004/apr/23/wnw_3_1.htm.

11  http://www.inq7.net/wnw/2004/apr/23/wnw_4_1.htm.

12  'Riverbend', “The dead and the undead...,” Baghdad Burning (18 maggio 2005), http://riverbendblog.blogspot.ca/2005_05_01_riverbendblog_archive.html#111636281930496496.

13  Imad Khadduri, “'Combat terrorism' by causing it,” Albasrah.net (15 maggio 2005), www.albasrah.net/maqalat/english/0505/Combat-terrorism_160505.htm.

14  Ibid.

15  Arianna Huffington, “Kafka Does Iraq: The Disturbing Case of Abdul Amir Younes Hussein.” Huffington Post (23 settembre 2005), http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/Kafka-does-iraq-the-dist_b_7796.html. (Nell'aprile 2006, sette mesi dopo la pubblicazione dell'articulo e il mio saggio, è stato liberato: vedere “CBS cameraman freed after being held for a year by US military,” Reporters Without Borders [20 aprile 2006], http://en.rsf.org/iraq-cbs-cameraman-freed-after-being-20-04-2006,16937.html.)

16  “US Bombs Dhulu'iyyah[,] Basra declares Noncooperation,” Informed Comment (22 settembre 2005), www.juancole.com/2005/09/page/5.

17  “Iraq probe into soldier incident,” BBC News (20 settembre 2005), http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4264614.stm

18  “Iraqi judge issues warrant for British troops,” The Guardian (24 settembre 2005), www.guardian.co.uk/iraq/Story/0,2763,1577575,00.html.

19  Justin Raimondo, “Bizarro Basra,” Antiwar.com (24 settembre 2005), www.original.antiwar.com/justin/2005/09/23/bizarro-basra/.

20  http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/09/20/MNGSSEQNGN1.DTL.

21  Citato da Chossudovsky, “British 'Undercover Soldiers'.”

22  “Muqtada Al Sadr's Response to Basra,” Informed Comment (20 settembre 2005), www.juancole.com/2005/09/page/5.

23  Citato da Raimondo, “Bizarro Basra.”

24  http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=20050923&articleid=989.

25  Citato da Raimondo, “Bizarro Basra.”

26  Peter Beaumont, “Al Qaeda's slaughter has one aim: civil war,” The Observer (18 settembre 2005), www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/sep/18/iraq.alqaida.

27  H.D.S. Greenway, “Facing facts in Iraq,” Boston Globe (17 giugno 2005), www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2005/06/17/facing_factsin_iraq/.

28  Nancy Youssef e Mohammed al Duhaimy, “Shiites fleeing Sunni-dominated neighbourhoods,” Knight Ridder Newspapers (21 settembre 2005).

29  Oded Yinon, “A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties,” Kivunim 14 (Inverno 5742, febbraio 1982), tradotto da Israel Shahak, www.cosmos.ucc.ie/cs1064/jabowen/IPSC/articles/article0005345.html.

30  Noam Chomsky, Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians (2nd ed., Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 1999), p. 457.

31  Leslie H. Gelb, “The Three-State Solution,” New York Times (25 novembre 2003); disponibile da Council on Foreign Relations, www.cfr.org/world/three-state-solution/p6559.

32  Bill Vann, “The New York Times: a proposal for ethnic cleansing in Iraq,” World Socialist Web Site (26 novembre 2003), http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2003/11/gelb-n26.html.

33  Il programma Phoenix era un sistema di squadroni della morte e la tortura terrorismo di Stato, gestito dalla CIA in Vietnam del Sud tra il 1966 e primi anni 1970, in cui alcuni 82.000 simpatizzanti 'Vietcong' sono stati “eliminati,” e più di 26.000 prigionieri sono stati ucisi. Vedi Alfred W. McCoy, A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror (New York: Metropolitan/Owl Books, 2006), pp. 64-71.

34  Nel gennaio 2005, Newsweek ha riferito che l'amministrazione Bush stava contemplando riutilizzando in Iraq la “opzione Salvador,” una “strategia ancora-secret” si suppone di utilizzare “cosiddetti squadroni della morte rivolte a dare la caccia e uccidere i leader ribelli e simpatizzanti” che era stato usato dalla amministrazione Reagan in El Salvador nel 1980 (citato da Ken Gude, “Roots of Iraq Civil War May Be in 'Salvador Option',” Thinkprogress [2 marzo 2006], www.thinkprogress.org/security/2006/03/02/4006/roots-of-iraq-civil-war-may-be-in-salvador-option/?mobile=nc). “Opzione Salvador” squadroni della morte sono stati responsabili per l'assassinio di decine di migliaia di civili in El Salvador; vedi Tom Gibb, “'Salvador Option' mooted for Iraq,” BBC News (27 gennaio 2005), www.news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/4209595.stm. Vi è la prova evidente che entro l'inizio del 2005, l'esercito degli Stati Uniti è stato già operativo squadroni della morte in Iraq; vedi Max Fuller, “For Iraq, 'The Salvador Option' Becomes Reality,” Centre for Research on Globalization (2 giugno 2005), www.globalresearch.ca/articles/FUL506A.html.

35  L'eroe del romanzo di Baronessa Orczy The Scarlet Pimpernel (La Primula Rossa, 1905), fissato al momento della Rivoluzione francese, è un aristocratico inglese che sotto apparenze affettato è un soccorritore brillantemente efficace di aristocratici francesi condannati alla ghigliottina, è egli stesso l'autore di versi beffardi suo aspiranti rapitori: “Lo cercano qui, lo cercano lì, / Quei Francesi lo cercano dappertutto ....” In televisione britannica serie Dr. Who, Daleks sono malvagi robot su ruote che cercano costantemente di distruggere il buon scienziato. Zarqawi, secondo una considerazione di lui, aveva perso una gamba, ma secondo un altro, era abbastanza agile da saltare da un camion in movimento e la fuga a piedi dalle forze speciali americane soldati che lo stavano perseguendo. 

Were British Special Forces Soldiers Planting Bombs in Basra? Suspicions Strengthened by Earlier Reports

This essay was first published at the Centre for Research on Globalization (25 September 2005), www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=KEE20050925&articleid=994, and subsequently reproduced online at thirty-five other websites between 2005 and 2010. In October 2005 it was translated into Italian and Spanish; these versions appeared at a further fifteen websites in 2005-06. As originally published, the footnotes were replaced by parenthetical URLs, most of which are no longer active. In the present text, the original notes have been replaced. With the exception of notes 8, 15, 33, and 34, which refer to material published in 2006, and note 35, which is also new, the essay has not been updated.

For a fine recent analysis of some of the issues touched on at the end of this essay, see Derek Gregory, “Baghdad Burning: neo-liberalism and the counter-city,” a paper prepared for the 12th Mediterranean Research Meeting, Florence, 6-9 April 2011, http://www.roundtable.kein.org/sites/newtable.kein.org/files/GREGORY%20Baghdad%20Burning.pdf

Does anyone remember the shock with which the British public greeted the revelation four years ago that one of the members of the Real IRA unit whose bombing attack in Omagh on August 15, 1998 killed twenty-nine civilians had been a double agent, a British army soldier?

That soldier was not Britain's only terrorist double agent. A second British soldier planted within the IRA claimed he had given forty-eight hours advance notice of the Omagh car-bomb attack to his handlers within the Royal Ulster Constabulary, including “details of one of the bombing team and the man's car registration.” Although the agent had made an audio tape of his tip-off call, Sir Ronnie Flanagan, chief constable of the RUC, declared that “no such information was received.”1

This second double agent went public in June 2002 with the claim that from 1981 to 1994, while on full British army pay, he had worked for “the Force Research Unit, an ultra-secret wing of British military intelligence,” as an IRA mole. With the full knowledge and consent of FRU and MI5 handlers, he became a bombing specialist who “mixed explosive and ... helped to develop new types of bombs,” including “light-sensitive bombs, activated by photographic flashes, to overcome the problem of IRA remote-control devices having their signal jammed by army radio units.” He went on to become “a member of the Provisional IRA's 'internal security squad'—also known as the 'torture unit'—which interrogated and executed suspected informers.”2

The much-feared commander of that same “torture unit” was likewise a mole, who had previously served in the Royal Marines' Special Boat Squadron (an elite special forces unit, the Marines' equivalent to the better-known SAS). A fourth mole, a soldier code-named “Stakeknife” whose military handlers “allowed him to carry out large numbers of terrorist murders in order to protect his cover within the IRA,” was still active in December 2002 as “one of Belfast's leading Provisionals.”3

Reliable evidence also emerged in late 2002 that the British army had been using its double agents in terrorist organizations “to carry out proxy assassinations for the British state”—most notoriously in the case of Belfast solicitor and human rights activist Pat Finucane, who was murdered in 1989 by the Protestant Ulster Defence Association. It appears that the FRU passed on details about Finucane to a British soldier who had infiltrated the UDA; he in turn “supplied UDA murder teams with the information.”4

Recent events in Basra have raised suspicions that the British army may have reactivated these same tactics in Iraq.

Articles published by Michel Chossudovsky, Larry Chin, and Mike Whitney at the Centre for Research on Globalization's website on September 20, 2005 have offered preliminary assessments of the claims of Iraqi authorities that two British soldiers in civilian clothes who were arrested by Iraqi police in Basra on September 19—and in short order released by a British tank and helicopter assault on the prison where they were being held—had been engaged in planting bombs in the city.5

A further article by Kurt Nimmo points to false-flag operations carried out by British special forces troops in Northern Ireland and elsewhere, and to Donald Rumsfeld's formation of the P2OG, or Proactive Preemptive Operations Group, as directly relevant to Iraqi charges of possible false-flag terror operations by the occupying powers in Iraq.6

These accusations by Iraqi officials echo insistent but unsubstantiated claims, going back at least to the spring of 2004, to the effect that many of the terror bombings carried out against civilian targets in Iraq have actually been perpetrated by U.S. and British forces rather than by Iraqi insurgents.

Some such claims can be briskly dismissed. In mid-May 2005, for example, a group calling itself “Al Qaeda in Iraq” accused U.S. troops “of detonating car bombs and falsely accusing militants.”7 For even the most credulous, this could at best be a case of the pot calling the kettle soot-stained. But it's not clear why anyone would want to believe this claim, coming as it does from a group or groupuscule purportedly led by the wholly mythical al-Zarqawi8—and one whose very name affiliates it with terror bombers. These people, if they exist, might have good reason to blame their own crimes on others.

Other claims, however, are cumulatively more troubling.

The American journalist Dahr Jamail wrote on April 20, 2004 that the recent spate of car bombings in Baghdad was widely rumoured to have been the work of the CIA:

The word on the street in Baghdad is that the cessation of car bombings is proof that the CIA was behind them. Why? Because as one man states, “[CIA agents are] too busy fighting now, and the unrest they wanted to cause by the bombings is now upon them.” True or not, it doesn't bode well for the occupiers' image in Iraq.9

On April 22, 2004, Agence France-Presse reported that five car-bombings in Basra on the preceding day—three near-simultaneous attacks outside police stations in Basra that killed sixty-eight people, including twenty children, and two follow-up bombings—were being blamed by supporters of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on the British. While eight hundred supporters demonstrated outside Sadr's offices, a Sadr spokesman claimed to have “evidence that the British were involved in these attacks.”10

An anonymous senior British military officer said on April 22, 2004 of these Basra attacks that “It looks like Al-Qaeda. It's got all the hallmarks: it was suicidal, it was spectacular and it was symbolic.” Brigadier General Nick Carter, commander of the British garrison in Basra, stated more ambiguously that Al Qaeda was not necessarily to blame for the five bombings, but that those responsible came from outside Basra and “quite possibly” from outside Iraq: “'All that we can be certain of is that this is something that came from outside,' Carter said.”11 Moqtada al-Sadr's supporters of course believed exactly the same thing—differing only in their identification of the criminal outsiders as British agents rather than as Islamic mujaheddin from other Arab countries.

In May 2005, 'Riverbend', the Baghdad author of the widely-read blog Baghdad Burning, reported that what the international press was reporting as suicide bombings were often in fact “car bombs that are either remotely detonated or maybe time bombs.” After one of the larger recent blasts, which occurred in the middle-class Ma'moun area of west Baghdad, a man living in a house in front of the blast site was reportedly arrested for having sniped an Iraqi National Guardsman. But according to 'Riverbend', his neighbours had a different story:

People from the area claim that the man was taken away not because he shot anyone, but because he knew too much about the bomb. Rumor has it that he saw an American patrol passing through the area and pausing at the bomb site minutes before the explosion. Soon after they drove away, the bomb went off and chaos ensued. He ran out of his house screaming to the neighbours and bystanders that the Americans had either planted the bomb or seen the bomb and done nothing about it. He was promptly taken away.12

Also in May 2005, Imad Khadduri, the Iraqi-exile physicist whose writings helped to discredit American and British fabrications about weapons of mass destruction, reported a story that in Baghdad a driver whose license had been confiscated at an American check-point was told “to report to an American military camp near Baghdad airport for interrogations and in order to retrieve his license.” After being questioned for half an hour, he was informed that there was nothing against him, but that his license had been forwarded to the Iraqi police at the al-Khadimiya station “for processing”—and that he should get there quickly before the lieutenant whose name he was given went off his shift.

The driver did leave in a hurry, but was soon alarmed with a feeling that his car was driving as if carrying a heavy load, and he also became suspicious of a low flying helicopter that kept hovering overhead as if trailing him. He stopped the car and inspected it carefully. He found nearly 100 kilograms of explosives hidden in the back seat and along the two back doors. The only feasible explanation for this incident is that the car was indeed booby trapped by the Americans and intended for the al'Khadimiya Shiite district of Baghdad. The helicopter was monitoring his movement and witnessing the anticipated “hideous attack by foreign elements.”13

According to Khadduri, “The same scenario was repeated in Mosul, in the north of Iraq.” On this occasion, the driver's life was saved when his car broke down on the way to the police station where he was supposed to reclaim his license, and when the mechanic to whom he had recourse “discovered that the spare tire was fully laden with explosives.”

Khadduri mentions, as deserving of investigation, a “perhaps unrelated incident” in Baghdad on April 28, 2005 in which a Canadian truck-driver with dual Canadian-Iraqi citizenship was killed. He quotes a CBC report according to which “Some media cited unidentified sources who said he may have died after U.S. forces “tracked” a target, using a helicopter gunship, but Foreign Affairs said it's still investigating conflicting reports of the death. US officials have denied any involvement.”14

Another incident, also from April 2005, calls more urgently for investigation, since one of its victims remains alive. Abdul Amir Younes Hussein, a CBS cameraman, was lightly wounded by US forces on April 5 “while filming the aftermath of a car bombing in Mosul.” American military authorities were initially apologetic about his injuries, but three days later arrested him on the grounds that he had been “engaged in anti-coalition activity.”15

Arianna Huffington, in her detailed account of this case, quite rightly emphasizes its Kafkaesque qualities: Younes Hussein has now been detained, in Abu Graib and elsewhere, for more than five months—without charges, without any hint of what evidence the Pentagon may hold against him, and without any indication that he will ever be permitted to stand trial, challenge that evidence, and disprove the charges that might at some future moment be laid. But in addition to confirming, yet again, the Pentagon's willingness to violate the most fundamental principles of humane and democratic jurisprudence, this case also raises a further question. Was Younes Hussein perhaps arrested, like the Iraqi whose rumoured fate was mentioned by 'Riverbend', because he had seen—and in this case photographed—more than was good for him?


Agents provocateurs?

Spokesmen for the American and British occupation of Iraq, together with newspapers like the Daily Telegraph, have of course rejected with indignation any suggestion that their forces could have been involved in false-flag terrorist operations in Iraq.

It may be remembered that during the 1980s spokesmen for the government of Ronald Reagan likewise heaped ridicule on Nicaraguan accusations that the US was illegally supplying weapons to the 'Contras'—until, that is, a CIA-operated C-123 cargo aircraft full of weaponry was shot down over Nicaragua, and Eugene Hasenfus, a cargo handler who survived the crash, testified that his supervisors (one of whom was Luis Posada Carriles, the CIA agent responsible for the 1976 bombing of a Cuban civilian airliner) were working for then-Vice-President George H.W. Bush.

The arrest—and the urgent liberation—of the two undercover soldiers in Iraq might in a similar manner be interpreted as casting a retrospective light on previously unsubstantiated claims about the involvement of members of the occupying armies in terrorist bombing attacks on civilians.

The parallel is far from exact: in this case there has been no dramatic confession like that of Hasenfus, and there are no directly incriminating documents like the pilot's log of the downed C-123. There is, moreover, a marked lack of consensus as to what actually happened in Basra. Should we therefore, with Juan Cole, dismiss the possibility that British soldiers were acting as agents provocateurs as a “theory [that] has almost no facts behind it”?16


Members of Britain's Elite SAS Forces

It appears that when on September 19 suspicious Iraqi police stopped the Toyota Cressida the undercover British soldiers were driving, the two men opened fire, killing one policeman and wounding another. But the soldiers, identified by the BBC as “members of the SAS elite special forces,”17 were subdued by the police and arrested. A report published by The Guardian on September 24 adds the further detail that the SAS men “are thought to have been on a surveillance mission outside a police station in Basra when they were challenged by an Iraqi police patrol.”18

As Justin Raimondo has observed in an article published on September 24 at Antiwar.com, nearly every other aspect of this episode is disputed.19

The Washington Post dismissively remarked, in the eighteenth paragraph of its report on these events, that “Iraqi security officials variously accused the two Britons they detained of shooting at Iraqi forces or trying to plant explosives.”20 Iraqi officials in fact accused them not of one or the other act, but of both.

Fattah al-Shaykh, a member of the Iraqi National Assembly, told Al-Jazeera TV on September 19 that the soldiers opened fire when the police sought to arrest them, and that their car was booby-trapped “and was meant to explode in the centre of the city of Basra in the popular market.”21 A deliberately inflammatory press release sent out on the same day by the office of Moqtada al-Sadr (and posted in English translation at Juan Cole's Informed Comment blog on September 20) states that the soldiers' arrest was prompted by their having “opened fire on passers-by” near a Basra mosque, and that they were found to have “in their possession explosives and remote-control devices, as well as light and medium weapons and other accessories.”22

What credence can be given to the claim about explosives? Justin Raimondo writes that while initial BBC Radio reports acknowledged that the two men indeed had explosives in their car, subsequent reports from the same source indicated that the Iraqi police found nothing beyond “assault rifles, a light machine gun, an anti-tank weapon, radio gear, and a medical kit. This is thought to be standard kit for the SAS operating in such a theater of operations.”23 One might well wonder, with Raimondo, whether an anti-tank weapon is “standard operating equipment”—or what use SAS men on “a surveillance mission outside a police station” intended to make of it. But more importantly, a photograph published by the Iraqi police and distributed by Reuters shows that—unless the equipment is a plant—the SAS men were carrying a good deal more than just the items acknowledged by the BBC.24

I would want the opinion of an arms expert before risking a definitive judgment about the objects shown, which could easily have filled the trunk and much of the back seat of a Cressida. But this photograph makes plausible the statement of Sheik Hassan al-Zarqani, a spokesman for Al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia:

What our police found in their car was very disturbing—weapons, explosives, and a remote control detonator. These are the weapons of terrorists. We believe these soldiers were planning an attack on a market or other civilian targets....25

The fierce determination of the British army to remove these men from any danger of interrogation by their own supposed allies in the government the British are propping up—even when their rescue entailed the destruction of an Iraqi prison and the release of a large number of prisoners, gun-battles with Iraqi police and with Al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia, a large popular mobilization against the British occupying force, and a subsequent withdrawal of any cooperation on the part of the regional government—tends, if anything, to support the view that this episode involved something much darker and more serious than a mere flare-up of bad tempers at a check-point.


US-UK Sponsored Civil War

There is reason to believe, moreover, that the open civil war which car-bomb attacks on civilians seem intended to produce would not be an unwelcome development in the eyes of the occupation forces.

Writers in the English-language corporate media have repeatedly noted that recent terror-bomb attacks which have caused massive casualties among civilians appear to be pushing Iraq towards a civil war of Sunnis against Shiites, and of Kurds against both. For example, on September 18, 2005 Peter Beaumont proposed in The Observer that the slaughter of civilians, which he ascribes to Al Qaeda alone, “has one aim: civil war.”26 But H.D.S. Greenway had already suggested on June 17, 2005 in the Boston Globe that “Given the large number of Sunni-led attacks against Shia targets, the emerging Shia-led attacks against Sunnis, and the extralegal abductions of Arabs by Kurdish authorities in Kirkut, one has to wonder whether the long-feared Iraqi civil war hasn't already begun.”27 And on September 21, 2005 Nancy Youssef and Mohammed al Dulaimy of the Knight Ridder Washington Bureau wrote that the ethnic cleansing of Shiites in predominantly Sunni Baghdad neighbourhoods “is proceeding at an alarming and potentially destabilizing pace,” and quoted the despairing view of an Iraqi expert:

“Civil war today is closer than any time before,” said Hazim Abdel Hamid al Nuaimi, a professor of politics at al-Mustansiriya University in Baghdad. “All of these explosions, the efforts by police and purging of neighbourhoods is a battle to control Baghdad.”28

Whether or not it has already begun or will occur, the eruption of a full-blown civil war, leading to the fragmentation of the country, would clearly be welcomed in some circles. Israeli strategists and journalists proposed as long ago as 1982 that one of their country's strategic goals should be the partitioning of Iraq into a Shiite state, a Sunni state, and a separate Kurdish part. (See foreign ministry official Oded Yinon's “A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties,” Kivunim 14 [February 1982];29 a similar proposal put forward by Ze'ev Schiff in Ha'aretz in the same month is noted by Noam Chomsky in his book Fateful Triangle.)30

A partitioning of Iraq into sections defined by ethnicity and by Sunni-Shia differences would entail, obviously enough, both civil war and ethnic cleansing on a massive scale. But these considerations did not deter Leslie H. Gelb from advocating in the New York Times, on November 25, 2003, what he called “The Three-State Solution.”31

Gelb, a former senior State Department and Pentagon official, a former editor and columnist for the New York Times, and president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, is an insider's insider. And if the essays of Yinon and Schiff are nasty stuff, especially in the context of Israel's 1981 bombing attack on Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor, there is still some difference between speculatively proposing the dismemberment of a powerful neighbouring country, and actively proposing the dismemberment of a country that one's own nation has conquered in a war of unprovoked aggression. The former might be described as a diseased imagining of war and criminality; the latter belongs very clearly to the category of war crimes.

Gelb's essay proposes punishing the Sunni-led insurgency by separating the largely Sunni centre of present-day Iraq from the oil-rich Kurdish north and the oil-rich Shia south. It holds out the dismembering of the Yugoslav federation in the 1990s (with the appalling slaughters that ensued) as a “hopeful precedent.” This essay has been widely interpreted as signalling the intentions of a dominant faction in the US government. It has also, very appropriately, been denounced by Bill Vann as openly promoting “a war crime of world-historic proportions.”32

Given the increasing desperation of the American and British governments in the face of an insurgency that their tactics of mass arbitrary arrest and torture, Phoenix-program33 or “Salvadoran-option” death squads,34 unrestrained use of overwhelming military force, and murderous collective punishment have failed to suppress, it comes as no surprise that in recent military actions such as the assault on Tal Afar the US army has been deploying Kurdish peshmerga troops and Shiite militias in a manner that seems designed to inflame ethnic hatreds.

No one, I should hope, is surprised any longer by the fact that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi—that fictional construct of the Pentagon's serried ranks of little Tom Clancies, that one-legged Dalek, that Scarlet Pimpernel of terrorism, who manages to be here, there, and everywhere at once35—should be so ferociously devoted to the terrorizing and extermination of his Shiite co-religionists.

Should we be any more surprised, then, to see evidence emerging in Iraq of false-flag terrorist bombings conducted by the major occupying powers? The secret services and special forces of both the US and Britain have, after all, had some experience in these matters.




1  Neil Mackay, “British double-agent was in Real IRA's Omagh bomb team,” Sunday Herald (19 August 2001), www.sundayherald.com/17827; available at HighBeam Research, www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-19045280.html.

2  Neil Mackay, “The army asked me to make bombs for the IRA, told me I had the Prime Minister's blessing ... then tried to kill me,” Sunday Herald (23 June 2002), www.sundayherald.com/print25646; available at www.whale.to/b/ni22.html.

3  Neil Mackay, “IRA torturer was in the Royal Marines: Top republican terrorist exposed in court documents as a special forces soldier,” Sunday Herald (15 December 2002), www.sundayherald.com/29997; available at www.whale.to/b/ni30.html.

4  Ibid.

5  See Michel Chossudovsky, “British 'Undercover Soldiers' Caught driving Booby Trapped Car,” Centre for Research on Globalization (20 September 2005), www.globalresearch.ca/british-undercover-soldiers-caught-driving-booby-trapped-car/972; Larry Chin, “British prison break and blown covert operation, exposes 'war on terrorism lie,” Centre for Research on Globalization (20 September 2005), www.globalresearch.ca/british-prison-break-and-blown-covert-operation-exposes-war-on-terrorism-lie/982; Mike Whitney, “Who's Blowing up Iraq? New evidence that bombs are being planted by British Commandos,” Centre for Research on Globalization (20 September 2005), www.globalresearch.ca/who-s-blowing-up-iraq/981.

6  Kurt Nimmo, “British 'Pseudo-Gang' Terrorists Exposed in Basra,” Centre for Research on Globalization (24 September 2005), www.globalresearch.ca/british-pseudo-gang-terrorists-exposed-in-basra/992.

7  This claim was published by the now-defunct SITE Institute, at http://siteinstitute.org/bin/articles.cgi?ID=publications45605&Category=publications&Subcategory=0.

8  For evidence that the Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi known to readers of the western press as a leading terrorist mastermind is a mythical construct produced by propaganda, see Michel Chossudovsky, “Who Is Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi?” Centre for Research on Globalization (11 June 2004), http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO405B.html; Chris Shumway, “Experts Dispute Bush Line on Zarqawi,” Antiwar.com (16 July 2004), http://tinyurl.com/z5rft; Brendan O'Neill, “Blowing up Zarqawi,” Spiked Online (5 October 2004), http://www.spiked-online.com/Articles/0000000CA71C.htm; and Michel Chossudovsky, “Who is behind 'Al Qaeda in Iraq'? Pentagon acknowledges fabricating a 'Zarqawi Legend',” Centre for Research on Globalization (18 April 2006), http://www.globalresearch.ca/who-is-behind-al-qaeda-in-iraq-pentagon-acknowledges-fabricating-a-zarqawi-legend/2275.

9  Dahr Jamail, “Dahr Jamail Blog from Baghdad,” The New Standard (20 April 2004); available at Countercurrents.org, www.countercurrents.org/iraq-jamail200404.htm.

10  http://www.inq7.net/wnw/2004/apr/23/wnw_3_1.htm.

11  http://www.inq7.net/wnw/2004/apr/23/wnw_4_1.htm.

12  'Riverbend', “The dead and the undead...,” Baghdad Burning (18 May 2005), http://riverbendblog.blogspot.ca/2005_05_01_riverbendblog_archive.html#111636281930496496.

13  Imad Khadduri, “'Combat terrorism' by causing it,” Albasrah.net (15 May 2005), www.albasrah.net/maqalat/english/0505/Combat-terrorism_160505.htm.

14  Ibid.

15  Arianna Huffington, “Kafka Does Iraq: The Disturbing Case of Abdul Amir Younes Hussein.” Huffington Post (23 September 2005), http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/Kafka-does-iraq-the-dist_b_7796.html. (In April 2006, seven months after the publication of Huffington's article and my essay, he was released: see “CBS cameraman freed after being held for a year by US military,” Reporters Without Borders [20 April 2006], http://en.rsf.org/iraq-cbs-cameraman-freed-after-being-20-04-2006,16937.html.)

16  “US Bombs Dhulu'iyyah[,] Basra declares Noncooperation,” Informed Comment (22 September 2005), www.juancole.com/2005/09/page/5.

17  “Iraq probe into soldier incident,” BBC News (20 September 2005), http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4264614.stm.

18  “Iraqi judge issues warrant for British troops,” The Guardian (24 September 2005), www.guardian.co.uk/iraq/Story/0,2763,1577575,00.html.

19  Justin Raimondo, “Bizarro Basra,” Antiwar.com (24 September 2005), www.original.antiwar.com/justin/2005/09/23/bizarro-basra/.

20  http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/09/20/MNGSSEQNGN1.DTL.

21  Quoted by Chossudovsky, “British 'Undercover Soldiers'.”

22  “Muqtada Al Sadr's Response to Basra,” Informed Comment (20 September 2005), www.juancole.com/2005/09/page/5.

23  Quoted by Raimondo, “Bizarro Basra.”

24  http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=20050923&articleid=989.

25  Quoted by Raimondo, “Bizarro Basra.”

26  Peter Beaumont, “Al Qaeda's slaughter has one aim: civil war,” The Observer (18 September 2005), www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/sep/18/iraq.alqaida.

27  H.D.S. Greenway, “Facing facts in Iraq,” Boston Globe (17 June 2005), http://www.realcities.com/mid/krwashington/12704935.htm.

28  Nancy Youssef and Mohammed al Dulaimy, “Shiites fleeing Sunni-dominated neighbourhoods,” Knight Ridder Newspapers (21 September 2005).

29  Oded Yinon, “A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties,” Kivunim 14 (Winter 5742, February 1982), trans. Israel Shahak, www.cosmos.ucc.ie/cs1064/jabowen/IPSC/articles/article0005345.html.

30  Noam Chomsky, Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians (2nd ed., Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 1999), p. 457.

31  Leslie H. Gelb, “The Three-State Solution,” New York Times (25 November 2003); available at Council on Foreign Relations, www.cfr.org/world/three-state-solution/p6559.

32  Bill Vann, “The New York Times: a proposal for ethnic cleansing in Iraq,” World Socialist Web Site (26 November 2003), http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2003/11/gelb-n26.html.

33  The Phoenix program was a system of death-squad and torture state terrorism run by the CIA in South Vietnam between 1966 and the early 1970s in which some 82,000 'Vietcong' sympathizers were “eliminated,” and more than 26,000 prisoners were killed. See Alfred W. McCoy, A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror (New York: Metropolitan/Owl Books, 2006), pp. 64-71.

34  In January 2005, Newsweek reported that the Bush administration was contemplating re-using in Iraq the “Salvador option,” a supposedly “still-secret strategy” of using “so-called death squads directed to hunt down and kill rebel leaders and sympathizers” that had been used by the Reagan administration in El Salvador in the 1980s (quoted by Ken Gude, “Roots of Iraq Civil War May Be in 'Salvador Option',” Thinkprogress [2 March 2006], www.thinkprogress.org/security/2006/03/02/4006/roots-of-iraq-civil-war-may-be-in-salvador-option/?mobile=nc). “Salvador option” death squads were responsible for the murder of tens of thousands of civilians in El Salvador; see Tom Gibb, “'Salvador Option' mooted for Iraq,” BBC News (27 January 2005), www.news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/4209595.stm. There is clear evidence that by the beginning of 2005 the US army was already operating death squads in Iraq; see Max Fuller, “For Iraq, 'The Salvador Option' Becomes Reality,” Centre for Research on Globalization (2 June 2005), www.globalresearch.ca/articles/FUL506A.html.

35  The hero of Baroness Orczy's novel The Scarlet Pimpernel (1905), set at the time of the French Revolution, is an English aristocrat who beneath a foppish exterior is a brilliantly effective rescuer of French aristocrats condemned to the guillotine; he is himself the author of doggerel verses mocking his would-be captors: “They seek him here, they seek him there, / Those Frenchies seek him everywhere....” In the British television series Dr. Who, Daleks are evil robots-on-wheels who seek constantly to destroy the good scientist. Zarqawi, according to one account of him, had lost a leg, but according to another, was agile enough to leap from a moving truck and escape on foot from American special forces soldiers who were pursuing him. 

George Galloway’s Lesson in Speaking Truth to Power

First published at the Centre for Research on Globalization (18 May 2005), this essay and transcript was also published online by ColdType and by three other websites in 2005. Several typographical errors have been corrected in this version.


George Galloway, the British parliamentarian who was drummed out of Tony Blair’s Labour Party in 2003 for his principled opposition to the American and British aggression against Iraq, and for his unrelenting willingness to publicly call prime-ministerial and presidential lies and war crimes by their proper names, has had copious experience of being libeled and slandered in return.

In the immediate aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War, Galloway spoke out against the deliberate and intentional targeting of Iraq’s civilian infrastructure—of power stations and of water and sewage treatment facilities especially—by the cruise missiles and bomber aircraft of the U.S.-led coalition. He did not hesitate to inform his audiences and his readers (Galloway is a widely published journalist as well as a politician) that under international law attacks of this kind constitute a war crime.

Throughout the 1990s and up until the invasion of Iraq, Galloway spoke out against the United Nations sanctions imposed on Iraq (at the behest of the United States and Britain, principally)—sanctions which were used to prevent the Iraqis from rebuilding their shattered civilian infrastructure, and which as the United Nations itself has documented, resulted in the deaths of something like a million Iraqis, most of them children killed by easily-preventable water-borne diseases. The Oil for Food program was introduced by the United Nations in the mid-1990s, purportedly to reduce the appalling level of civilian suffering and death caused by the sanctions regime—but more plausibly as a means of deflecting rising criticisms of the sanctions. It is worth noting that two successive United Nations administrators of the Oil for Food program, Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck, resigned in protest against what they both called the genocidal consequences of the continued sanctions. Galloway himself set up a charitable foundation called the Mariam Appeal for the purpose of providing medical assistance to Iraqi children and of publicizing their increasingly desperate plight.

George Galloway’s predictable reward was to see his political career dead-ended. (He had previously been regarded as a rising star within the Labour Party, someone of clear ministerial and perhaps even prime-ministerial potential.) He was mockingly described by fellow members of the House of Commons as “the member for Baghdad Central.” Although he had a record from early in his political career of principled opposition to the Saddam Hussein dictatorship, the witty pundits of Britain’s corporate press—measuring him, one must presume, by the standards of their own behaviour—found it hard to imagine that an apparently astute politician could be sacrificing any future prospect of political advancement on the basis of ethical principles: Galloway, they made a habit of insinuating, must in some sense be in the Iraqi dictator’s pocket.

In August 2002, Galloway made an ill-judged appearance on Iraqi television with Saddam Hussein. During their exchanges Galloway, whose mission had been to persuade the dictator to re-admit United Nations weapons inspectors into Iraq, applied to him flattering language that he later said he had meant for the Iraqi people. However, while doing all he could against the sanctions, Galloway also continued to denounce the tyranny of Saddam Hussein and of the Baathist regime.

Since there was no evidence that Galloway was impelled by improper motives—and since, moreover, he was a major voice in the burgeoning anti-war movement—the evidence had to be manufactured.

Shortly after the fall of Baghdad in April 2003, a British journalist working for the right-wing London Daily Telegraph—a man who, by a curious coincidence, shared with his Prime Minister the surname Blair—was led by his handlers into the burnt-out ruins of the Iraqi Foreign Office building in Baghdad. There he discovered documents—miraculously undamaged—purporting to show that Galloway had been a big-time recipient of funds from the fallen dictatorship, and that the large sums of money paid to him had been drawn from the Oil for Food money.

The story resonated around the world: not merely was the major parliamentary opponent of the Bush-Blair aggression corrupt, but he had been enriching himself from funds intended to feed the very children on whose behalf he had been so solicitous.

Other documents supporting this slander were at the same time being fed to other media outlets. The Christian Science Monitor made one such set of documents into front-page news, but quickly discovered them to be fraudulent, and paid Galloway a substantial settlement. In late 2004, the Daily Telegraph was more grudgingly brought by a British court to an acknowledgment that its assault on Galloway had likewise been based on inauthentic documents.

Under the chairmanship of Republican Senator Norm Coleman, the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has been looking into the Oil for Food program and the widespread system of kick-backs that appears to have become an integral part of that program. Coleman’s evident motive has been to do as much damage as possible to the United Nations—and to its Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who has dared to venture the opinion that the invasion of Iraq was a violation of international law.

In the recent UK general election, Galloway won a stunning upset in an east London riding, ousting a pro-war Tony Blair loyalist who had held the seat in the previous election with a massive majority. The man whom the Blairite Labour Party, U.S. intelligence services and the corporate press had attempted to destroy was back in town, riding a renewed wave of anti-war sentiment. It can be surmised that the researchers who at Democratic Senator Carl Levin’s instigation wrote a report for the Senate Subcommittee that recycled the discredited libels of the Daily Telegraph and the Christian Science Monitor, together with the U.S. intelligence agencies who attempted to buttress these libels with “intelligence” derived from former members of the Iraqi government who are now held in the American gulag, were trying to do their friend Tony Blair a favour.

Perhaps someone neglected to tell them that Galloway is a combative politician.

He testified before Senator Coleman’s Subcommittee in Washington DC on May 17. On his way into the committee’s chambers, Galloway encountered a media scrum which included the egregious Christopher Hitchens, a former leftist who disgraced himself by noisily supporting the invasion of Iraq. Hitchens’ journalistic stock-in-trade includes, very prominently, the bullying of interviewees. But before he was properly out of his corner, Galloway flattened him with a rhetorical uppercut to the jaw:

“You’re a drink sodden former-Trotskyist popinjay,” Mr Galloway informed him. “Your hands are shaking. You badly need another drink.”

Unable to get an insulting question in edgewise, Hitchens, according to Oliver Burkeman of The Guardian, was reduced to hissing “You’re a real thug, aren’t you?” and stalking away (“Galloway and the mother of all invective,” Guardian Unlimited [18 May 2005]).

Senator Coleman, in Galloway’s presence, recited all of the charges against Galloway and others assembled by his Subcommittee, and then invited his witness to be sworn in and to speak.

What follows is Galloway’s opening statement, which I have transcribed from the BBC’s video-stream report of the event. Galloway spoke in a deliberate voice, without notes, and with his eyes fixed firmly on the hapless Senator. His remarks began with a mocking historical allusion to the language commonly deployed a half-century ago in another set of investigative hearings, those of the House Un-American Activities Committee chaired by the infamous Senator Joe McCarthy.


Statement of George Galloway, MP, before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, chaired by Senator Norm Coleman, Washington DC, Tuesday 17 May 2005.

Senator, I am not now, nor have I ever been, an oil-trader; and neither has anyone on my behalf.

I have never seen a barrel of oil, owned one, bought one, sold one; and neither has anybody on my behalf.

Now I know that standards have slipped over the last few years in Washington, but for a lawyer you’re remarkably cavalier with any idea of justice.

I’m here today, but last week you already found me guilty. You traduced my name around the world without ever having asked me a single question, without ever having contacted me, without ever having written to me or telephoned me, without any contact with me whatsoever. And you call that justice.

Now, I want to deal with the pages that relate to me in this dossier, and I want to point out areas where there are—let’s be charitable, and say “errors.” And then I want to put this in the context that I believe it ought to be.

On the very first page of your document about me you assert that I have had many meetings with Saddam Hussein. This is false. I have had two meetings with Saddam Hussein, once in 1994, and once in August of 2002. By no stretch of the English language can that be described as “many meetings with Saddam Hussein.”

As a matter of fact, I’ve met Saddam Hussein exactly the same number of times as Donald Rumsfeld met him. The difference is, Donald Rumsfeld met him to sell guns, and to give him maps the better to target those guns. I met him to try and bring about an end to sanctions, suffering, and war—and on the second of the two occasions, I met him to try and persuade him to allow Dr. Hans Blix and the United Nations weapons inspectors back into the country. A rather better use of two meetings with Saddam Hussein than your own Secretary of State for Defense made of his.1

[You have very publicly accused me of being a support]er of the Hussein regime. This is false. I have brought along here a dossier—a dossier for all the members of your committee—of statements by me as late—as early, rather—as the 15th of March 1990, in which I condemn the Saddam Hussein dictatorship in the most withering terms, a stance I have taken since around about the time you were an anti-Vietnam War demonstrator.

I was an opponent of Saddam Hussein when British and American governments and businessmen were selling him guns and gas. I used to demonstrate outside the Iraqi embassy when British and American officials were going in and out doing commerce.

You will see from the official parliamentary record, Hansard, from the 15th of March 1990 onwards, voluminous evidence that I have a rather better record of opposition to Saddam Hussein than you do, and than any members of the British or American governments do.

Now, you say in this document—you quote a source—you have the gall to quote a source, without ever having asked me if the allegation from the source was true—that I am, quote, “the owner of a company which has made substantial profits from trading in Iraqi oil.”

Senator, I do not own any companies, beyond a small company whose entire purpose, whose sole purpose, is to receive the income from my journalistic earnings from my employer, Associated Newspapers in London. I do not own a company that’s been trading in Iraqi oil, and you had no business to carry a quotation, utterly unsubstantiated and false, implying otherwise.

Now, you have nothing on me, Senator, except my name on lists of names from Iraq, many of which have been drawn up after the installation of your puppet government in Baghdad. If you had any of the letters against me that you had against [Vladimir] Zhirinovsky, and even [Charles] Pasqua, they would have been there in your slide show for the members of your committee today.

You have my name on lists provided to you by the Doelfer Inquiry, provided to him by the convicted bank robber and fraudster and con-man Ahmed Chalabi, who many people to their credit in your country now realize played a decisive role in leading your country into the disaster in Iraq.

There were two hundred and seventy names on that list originally. That’s somehow been filleted down to the names you chose to deal with in this committee. Some of the names on that list2 included the former Secretary to His Holiness Pope John Paul the Second, the former head of the African National Congress Presidential Office, and many others, who had one defining characteristic in common: they all stood against the policy of sanctions and war which you vociferously prosecuted, and which has led us to this disaster.

You quote Mr. Dahar Yassein Ramadan. Well, you have something on me, I’ve never met Mr. Dahar Yassein Ramadan. Your sub-committee apparently has. But I do know that he’s your prisoner. I believe he’s in Abu Graib prison. I believe he’s facing war crimes charges punishable by death.

In these circumstances, knowing what the world knows about how you treat prisoners in Abu Graib prison, in Bagram Airbase, in Guantanamo Bay—including, I may say, British citizens being held in those places—I’m not sure how much credibility anyone would put on anything you managed to get from a prisoner in those circumstances.

But you quote thirteen words from Dahar Yassein Ramadan, whom I have never met. If he said what he said, then he is wrong.

And if you had any evidence that I had ever engaged in any actual oil transaction, if you had any evidence that anybody ever gave me any money, it would be before the public and before this committee today. Because I agree with your Mr. Greenblatt.3 Your Mr. Greenblatt was absolutely correct. What counts is not the names on the paper. What counts is where’s the money, Senator. Who paid me hundreds of thousands of dollars of money? The answer to that is, nobody. And if you had anybody who ever paid me a penny, you would have produced them here today.

Now you refer, at length, to a company named in these documents as Aredio Petroleum. I say to you under oath here today, I have never heard of this company; I have never met anyone from this company. This company has never paid a penny to me. And I’ll tell you something else, I can assure you that Aredio Petroleum has never paid a single penny to the Mariam Appeal campaign—not a thin dime.

I don’t know who Aredio Petroleum are, but I dare say if you were to ask them, they would confirm that they have never met me or ever paid me a penny.

Whilst I’m on that subject, who is this “senior former regime official” that you spoke to yesterday? Don’t you think I have a right to know? Don’t you think the committee and the public have a right to know who this “senior former regime official” you were quoting against me—interviewed yesterday—actually is?

Now, one of the most serious of the mistakes that you have made in this set of documents is—to be frank—such a schoolboy howler as to make a fool of the efforts that you have made. You assert on page nineteen—not once but twice—that the documents that you’re referring to cover a different period of time from the documents covered by the Daily Telegraph which were the subject of a libel action won by me in the high court in England late last year. You state that the Daily Telegraph article cited documents from 1992 and 1993, whilst you are dealing with documents dating from 2001.

Senator, the Daily Telegraph documents date identically to the documents that you’re dealing with in your report here. None of the Daily Telegraph’s documents dealt with a period of 1992-1993. I had never set foot in Iraq until late in 1993, never in my life. There could possibly be no documents relating to Oil for Food matters in 1992-93, for the Oil for Food scheme did not exist at that time.

And yet you’ve allocated a full section of this document to claiming that your documents are from a different era to the Daily Telegraph documents, when the opposite is true. Your documents and the Daily Telegraph documents deal with exactly the same period.

But perhaps you were confusing the Daily Telegraph action with the Christian Science Monitor. The Christian Science Monitor did indeed publish on its front pages a set of allegations against me very similar to the ones that your committee have made. They did indeed rely on documents which started in 1992-1993. These documents were unmasked by the Christian Science Monitor themselves as forgeries.

Now the neo-con websites and newspapers in which you’re such a hero, Senator, were all absolutely cock-a-hoop at the publication of the Christian Science Monitor documents. They were all absolutely convinced of their authenticity. They were all absolutely convinced that these documents showed me receiving ten million dollars from the Saddam Hussein regime. And they were all lies.

In the same week as the Daily Telegraph published their documents against me, the Christian Science Monitor published theirs, which turned out to be forgeries, and the British newspaper Mail on Sunday purchased a third set of documents which also on forensic examination turned out to be forgeries.

So there’s nothing fanciful about this, nothing at all fanciful about it. The existence of forged documents implicating me in commercial activities with the Iraqi regime is a proven fact. It’s a proven fact that these forged documents existed, and were being circulated—amongst right-wing newspapers, in Baghdad, and around the world—in the immediate aftermath of the fall of the Iraqi regime.

Now, Senator, I gave my heart and soul to oppose the policy that you promoted.

I gave my political life’s blood to try to stop the mass killing of Iraqis by the sanctions on Iraq, which killed a million Iraqis, most of them children. Most of them died before they even knew that they were Iraqis, but they died for no other reason other than that they were Iraqis, with the misfortune to be born at that time.

I gave my heart and soul to stop you committing the disaster that you did commit in invading Iraq.

And I told the world that your case for the war was a pack of lies.

I told the world that Iraq, contrary to your claims, did not have weapons of mass destruction.

I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to Al Qaeda.

I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to the atrocity on 9/11, 2001.

I told the world, contrary to your claims, that the Iraqi people would resist a British and American invasion of their country, and that the fall of Baghdad would not be the beginning of the end, but merely the end of the beginning.

Senator, in everything I said about Iraq I turned out to be right, and you turned out to be wrong. And a hundred thousand people have paid with their lives, sixteen hundred of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies. Fifteen thousand of them wounded, many of them disabled forever, on a pack of lies.

If the world had listened to Kofi Annan, whose dismissal you demanded, if the world had listened to President Chirac, who you want to paint as some kind of corrupt traitor, if the world had listened to me and the anti-war movement in Britain, we would not be in the disaster that we’re in today.

Senator, this is the mother of all smoke screens. You are trying to divert attention from the crimes that you supported, from the theft of billions of dollars of Iraqi wealth.

Have a look at the real Oil for Food scandal.

Have a look at the fourteen months you were in charge of Baghdad—the first fourteen months—when 8.8 billion dollars of Iraq’s wealth went missing, on your watch.

Have a look at Halliburton and the other American corporations that stole not only Iraq’s money, but the money of the American taxpayer.

Have a look at the oil that you didn’t even meter, that you were shipping out of the country and selling, the proceeds of which went who knows where.

Have a look at the eight hundred million dollars you gave to American military commanders to hand around the country without even counting it or weighing it.

Have a look at the real scandal, breaking in the newspapers today, revealed in the earlier testimony in this committee, that the biggest sanctions-busters were not me or Russian politicians, or French politicians. The real sanctions-busters were your own companies, with the connivance of your own government.





1  At this point there is a seven-second gap in the audio feed supplied by the BBC. Galloway was evidently here responding to the accusation that he was an ardent supporter of Saddam Hussein's dictatorship. The words in square brackets in the following sentence are my conjectural reconstruction.

2  Galloway said “on that committee”; I have corrected what was obviously a slip of the tongue.

3  Galloway is referring here to the Subcommittee's legal counsel.