Published on Friday, April 5, 2002 in the Daily Mirror (UK)
Not In Our Name
How Dare George Bush Preach Peace to Israel When He's Meeting Blair to
Plan War on Iraq .. and the Deaths of Thousands More Innocent People?
by John Pilger
PRESIDENT George W Bush yesterday called on Israel to withdraw from the
Palestinian cities occupied by its forces during the last week.
He excused Israel's violence, but lectured the Palestinians and the rest
of the Middle East on the need for restraint and a lasting peace. "The
storms of violence cannot go on," said Bush. "Enough is enough."
What he neglected to say was that he needs a lull in the present crisis
to lay his own war plans; that while he talks of peace in the Middle
East, he is secretly planning a massive attack on Iraq.
This historic display of hypocrisy by Bush will be on show at his ranch
in Texas today, with Tony Blair, his collaborator, in admiring
Yes, enough is enough. It is time Tony Blair came clean with the British
people on his part in the coming violence against a nation of innocent
AS THE crisis in Israeli-occupied Palestine deepens, Tony Blair will
meet George W Bush today to plan an attack on another country, Iraq.
Their decision may condemn to death more than 10,000 civilians. That is
the "medium case scenario" drawn up by the Pentagon. If the Americans
implement their current strategy of "total war" and target Iraq's
electricity and water, the consequences will be even more horrific.
There is no mandate in any United Nations resolution for this invasion.
It will be as lawless as Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland, which
triggered the Second World War. Indeed, it may well trigger a Third
World War, drawing in nations of the region and beyond.
As Blair arrives at Bush's Texas ranch the question begs: Why does he
condemn Iraq, but is silent on Israel's current bloody and illegal
rampage through Palestine? Why has he not demanded that the Israeli
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon comply with UN Security Council resolutions,
to which Britain is a signatory, and withdraw from the Occupied
Territories? Why has Blair said nothing as Sharon has sent tanks and
gunships and snipers against civilians - a government targeting innocent
people, like the deaf old lady shot by an Israeli sniper as she tried to
get to hospital? Why has Blair not called at least for military
sanctions against Israel, which has 200 nuclear weapons targeted at Arab
Blair's culpable silence is imposed by the most dangerous American
administration for a generation. The Bush administration is determined
to attack Iraq and take over a country that is the world's second
largest source of oil. The aim is to get rid of America's and Britain's
old friend, Saddam Hussein, whom they no longer control, and to install
another compliant thug in Baghdad.
THAT is why Bush now tells Israel to withdraw from the Palestinian
cities it recently occupied while continuing to replenish the Israeli
war machine. The Americans want a rampant Israel guarding their flank as
they attack Iraq and expand their control across the Middle East, whose
oil is now more critical than ever to US military and economic
For almost two months, Downing Street, through the discredited system of
unattributable briefings that are secret to the public, have spun two
deceptions. The first is that the Prime Minister will play a vital role
at today's meeting with Bush on his Texas ranch in "counseling caution."
The second is that Blair has a "dossier of detailed evidence" that
"proves" that Saddam Hussein has "a nuclear capability" and is
"investigating a way to launch unsophisticated nuclear bombs" and is
also building chemical and biological weapons.
The fiction of Blair as a steadying hand on his Texas buddy is to be
read in Blair's unrelenting bellicose statements, and his attempts,
against the wishes of his senior military advisers, to send thousands of
British troops into the quagmire of Afghanistan, where his "cautionary
influence" on Bush saw as many as 5,000 civilians bombed to death while
the Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders got away.
While remaining silent on Israel, Blair is alone in Europe in his
promotion of an attack on Iraq, a nation of 22 million people with whom
the British have no quarrel. Mysteriously, the "dossier of proof" of the
dangers posed by the Iraqi regime has now been "shelved." This is
because no such proof exists and because, suddenly, more than 130 Labour
Members of Parliament are in revolt, including Cabinet and former
Cabinet members. It must be dawning on many of them that so much of this
government's "spin" during the "war on terrorism" has been a farrago of
lies and half-truths provided by an American intelligence apparatus
seeking to cover its failure to provide warning of the attacks of
Lie Number One is the justification for an attack on Iraq - the threat
of its "weapons of mass destruction." Few countries have had 93 per cent
of their major weapons capability destroyed. This was reported by Rolf
Ekeus, the chairman of the United Nations body authorized to inspect and
destroy Iraq's arsenal following the Gulf War in 1991. UN inspectors
certified that 817 out of the 819 Iraqi long-range missiles were
destroyed. In 1999, a special panel of the Security Council recorded
that Iraq's main biological weapons facilities (supplied originally by
the US and Britain) "have been destroyed and rendered harmless."
As for Saddam Hussein's "nuclear threat," the International Atomic
Energy Agency reported that Iraq's nuclear weapons program had been
eliminated "efficiently and effectively". The IAEA inspectors still
travel to Iraq and in January reported full Iraqi compliance. Blair and
Bush never mention this when they demand that "the weapons inspectors
are allowed back". Nor do they remind us that the UN inspectors were
never expelled by the Iraqis, but withdrawn only after it was revealed
they had been infiltrated by US intelligence.
Lie Number Two is the connection between Iraq and the perpetrators of
September 11. There was the rumor that Mohammed Atta, one of the
September 11 hijackers, had met an Iraqi intelligence official in the
Czech Republic last year. The Czech police say he was not even in the
country last year. On February 5, a New York Times investigation
concluded: "The Central Intelligence Agency has no evidence that Iraq
has engaged in terrorist operations against the United States in nearly
a decade, and the agency is convinced that Saddam Hussein has not
provided chemical or biological weapons to al-Qaeda or related terrorist
Lie Number Three is that Saddam Hussein, not the US and Britain, "is
blocking humanitarian supplies from reaching the people of Iraq."
(Foreign Office minister Peter Hain). The opposite is true. The United
States, with British compliance, is currently blocking a record
$5billion worth of humanitarian supplies from the people of Iraq. These
are shipments already approved by the UN Office of Iraq, which is
authorized by the Security Council. They include life-saving drugs,
painkillers, vaccines, cancer diagnostic equipment.
This wanton denial is rarely reported in Britain. Hundreds of thousands
of Iraqis, mostly children, have died as a consequence of an American
and British riven embargo on Iraq that resembles a medieval siege. The
embargo allows Iraq less than £100 with which to feed and care for one
person for a whole year. This a major factor, says the United Nations'
Children's Fund, in the death of more than 600,000 infants.
I have seen the appalling state of the children of Iraq. I have sat next
to an Iraqi doctor in a modern hospital while she has turned away
parents with children suffering from cancers that are part of what they
call a "Hiroshima epidemic" - caused, according to several studies, by
the depleted uranium that was used by the US and Britain in the Gulf War
and is now carried in the dust of the desert. Not only is Iraq denied
equipment to clean up its contaminated battlefields, but also cancer
drugs and hospital equipment.
I showed a list of barred drugs given to me by Iraqi doctors to
Professor Karol Sikora, who as chief of the cancer program of the World
Health Organization, wrote in the British Medical Journal: "Requested
radiotherapy equipment, chemotherapy drugs and analgesics are
consistently blocked by United States and British advisers (to the UN
Sanctions Committee). There seems to be a rather ludicrous notion that
such agents could be converted into chemical and other weapons." He told
me: "Nearly all these drugs are available in every British hospital. It
seems crazy they couldn't have morphine. When I was in Iraq, in one
hospital they had a little bottle of aspirin pills to go around 200
patients in pain." No one doubts that if the murderous Saddam Hussein
saw advantage in deliberately denying his people humanitarian supplies,
he would do so; but the UN, from the Secretary General himself, has said
that, while the regime could do more, it has not withheld supplies.
Denis Halliday, the assistant Secretary General of the United Nations,
resigned in protest at the embargo which he described as "genocidal".
Halliday was responsible for the UN's humanitarian program in Iraq. His
successor, Hans Von Sponeck, also resigned in disgust. Last November,
they wrote: "The death of 5-6,000 children a month is mostly due to
contaminated water, lack of medicines and malnutrition. The US and UK
governments' delayed clearance of equipment and materials is responsible
for this tragedy, not Baghdad."
Those who speak these facts are abused by Blair ministers as apologists
for Saddam Hussein - so embroiled is the government with the Bush
administration's exploitation of America's own tragedy on September 11.
This has prevented public discussion of the crime of an embargo that has
hurt only the most vulnerable Iraqis and which is to be compounded by
the crime of attacking the stricken nation. Unknown to most of the
British public, RAF and American aircraft have been bombing Iraq, week
after week, for more than two years. The cost to the British taxpayer is
£800million a year. The Wall Street Journal reported that the US and
Britain faced a "dilemma" because "few targets remain". "We're down to
the last outhouse," said a Pentagon official.
IN any attack on Iraq, Saddam Hussein's escape route is virtually
assured - just as Osama bin Laden's was. The US and Britain have no wish
to free the Iraqi people from a tyranny the CIA once described as its
"greatest triumph". The last thing they want is a separate Kurdish state
and another allied to the Shi'ite majority in neighboring Iran. They
want another Saddam Hussein: one who will do as he is told.
On March 13, the Foreign Office entertained Brigadier-General Najib
Salihi, a former commander of Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard and
chief of the dreaded military intelligence who took part in the invasion
of Kuwait in 1990. Now funded by the CIA, the general "denies any war
crimes". Not that he would ever face arrest in the West. At the Foreign
Office, he is known as a "rapidly rising star". He is their man, and
The British soldiers who take part in an invasion have every right to
know the dirty secrets that will underpin their action, and extend the
suffering of a people held hostage to a dictatorship and to
international power games over which they have no control. Two weeks
ago, the Americans made clear they were prepared to use "low yield"
nuclear weapons, a threat echoed here by Defense Secretary Geoffrey
When will Europe stand up? If the leaders of the European Union fall
silent, too, in the face of such danger, what is Europe for? In this
country, there is an honorable rallying cry: Not In Our Name. Bush and
Blair must be restrained from killing large numbers of innocents in our
name - a view, according to the polls, shared by a majority of the
British people. An arms and military equipment embargo must be enforced
throughout the region, from Saddam Hussein's Iraq to Ariel Sharon's
Israel. Above all, the siege of both the Iraqi and Palestinian peoples
must end now.
Estimated amount the U.S. spends every year safeguarding oil supplies in the Persian Gulf: $50 billion.
Estimated value of U.S. crude-oil imports from that region in 2001: $19 billion.
Doesn't seem like such a great deal at first, but Europe and especially Japan depend on oil from the Gulf States. If that oil supply was curtailed or cut off, those economies would take it on the chin, with the after-shocks wiping out the U.S. recovery.
This war on Iraq has little to do with the war on terrorism ... it has a lot to do with Bush's energy policy. It's all about the oil. However, I really can't see Saudi Arabia and the other "moderate" Arab states playing along this time like they did in '91.
Past hills of chambermaids' dark bare arms and fields of muscles quilted to the bone, Right now I'm flying over, yeah right now I'm flying home.