Back From Baghdad 157


The good news is that I am back safely from Baghdad where I attended (and spoke at) the Arab League conference on Palestinian prisoners in Israel. The bad news is that as usual I am knocked flat with a bug or two picked up on my travels.

I will write on the subject matter of the conference and on the Baghdad experience when I feel a bit stronger. But one thing is for certain – the politicians who peddle the line that, while they may have been wrong about WMD, Iraq is now a haven of freedom and democracy, are telling a most blatant lie. Nothing in the mainstream media conveys the sense of what a total disaster zone Baghdad now is, and I have never been anywhere – not Uzbekistan, not Turkmenistan, not Belarus, not Sierra Leone during the war – that felt less like a free democracy. More detail later.


157 thoughts on “Back From Baghdad

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  • Venceremos

    Glad you survived the trip and I hope you fee better soon.

    Iraq Occupation Focus email newsletter is an excellent source of what is actually happening on the ground in Iraq. It is a superb source of real news from a wide variety of sources. It highlights just how skewed and filtered our “news” is. IOF doesn’t have a website but this blog is at the head of each newsletter: http://www.justiceforiraq.blogspot.co.uk/

    Subscribe to the newsletter here: http://lists.riseup.net/www/info/iraqfocus.

  • Noor-e-Hira

    Welcome back. Waiting for more details. Iraq situation, the intent of ‘politicians’ to build it into a democracy can be read in Bankrolling Basra by Andrew Alderson. This book really saddened me.

  • John Goss

    Bush and Blair were not aiming for democracy in Iraq. They were only after a change of government because it gave them the opportunity to steal Iraq’s oil. There has probably never been a more transparent reason for war. How could they do that to an ancient and historical city as Baghdad? I look forward to reading your account when you are recovered.

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    I tip my hat to you Craig. Just going there takes a lot of gumption and intestinal fortitude.

    Did you get to talk with any plain ol’ citizens, or was security too tight?

    Iraq will simmer for decades, like the fires of Dresden.

  • Tony Gosling

    Looks like the Arab League were quite right in 2003 when they said an attack on Iraq would ‘open the gates of hell’. That remains the case despite BBC online editors altering that headline then scrubbing the article altogether.
    The secret government behind these was crimes : the Boorman network that finances it must be arrested & jailed if we value our future.
    As this week’s LIBOR arrests prove
    No organisation is too big to jail 😉

  • Phil W

    Glad you’re back safe and sound, Craig.

    @John Goss. The US aim seems to be not just anti-democratic, but actually to destroy states. Maybe it is easier to plunder parts of the world like the Congo which have no functioning government.

    The UK, and increasingly the rest of Europe, has a sort of Dominion status within the US Empire. We have to do as directed, but have a certain amount of self-government in domestic spheres, and a certain level of protection. Those who refuse to sign up to be loyal parts of the Empire are ruthlessly destroyed.

    I feel particularly sorry for the Iraqi refugees in Syria. They have had their lives destroyed once already, now they are having to go through it all again. And whilst the vast majority were just seeking a quiet life in a new country, quite probably the US infiltrated a lot of militants with them, and so they are all under heavy suspicion by the Assad regime.

  • doug scorgie

    From Haaretz online today:

    “Netanyahu to Obama: Israel is ‘shocked and horrified’ over U.S. school shooting”

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his condolences to President Barack Obama and the American people on Saturday, saying that “we in Israel have experienced such cruel acts of slaughter and we know the shock and agony they bring.” He added: “I was shocked and horrified by today’s savage massacre of innocent children and adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.” “I want to express my profound grief and that of the people of Israel to the families that lost their loved ones.”

    President Shimon Peres also sent a letter expressing his grief over the incident. “On behalf of the people of Israel, as friends and as parents, we stand with you today in contemplation and grief over the atrocious, incomprehensible massacre of 20 children and six adults – educators – and Sandy Hook Elementary School,” Peres wrote.

    “No experience with death can be likened to that of a parents’ loss of their child. No crime is more heinous than the killing of a child,”

    What hypocritical bastards!

  • Courtenay Barnett

    I just watched President Obama address his nation on the recent tragic shootings.
    My first reaction was a sense of grief for the families who lost their children.
    Upon conclusion of the speech my mind wandered wider afield. I thought about war and violence in general. Also, it seemed to me( without for a moment diminishing the horror of the recent US shootings) that Iraqis, Afghans, Palestinians – to mention a few groups of people – I believe also have children and have grieved when their children have been bombed, traumatised, and shot.
    Maybe we should take the opportunity to reflect on the roots and causes of violence and war.
    As heartfelt as Obama’s kind, gentle and thoughtful words and sympathetic tears were – does he; do we – have some tears ready for the shedding for the dead children of the Iraqis, Afghans and Palestinians?

  • Courtenay Barnett

    @ Phil W and all,

    ” The US aim seems to be not just anti-democratic, but actually to destroy states. Maybe it is easier to plunder parts of the world like the Congo which have no functioning government.”
    This frank and honest commentary from General Wesley Clark of the US military is as convincing a statement on the evil of violence, greed, and an expression of imperial hubris that one is likely to find anywhere :-
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXS3vW47mOE
    One can only conclude, that with the examples of Iraq and Libya, there was the removal of a government that was stable, with strong, even if dictatorial, control – bur there was functional government in a country at peace. The quagmire left post Iraq invasion and post Libyan counter-revolution sees chaos and confusion in both countries. Bush may have thought that the PNAC projections would materialise and that the Iraqis would indeed welcome the “liberators” with flowers. However, one, post-Iraq invasion, has now to agree with the observations of Wesley Clark and come to the conclusion that the destruction of any state that may militarily or in any other way question or oppose US power is in the cross-hairs for attack or invasion. It really does seem odd that a tamed Gadaffi, who posed no threat to the US or the West was disposed of, with US and Western backing, in the way he was. But – then, as with Saddam, who would have shifted oil sales from the US dollar to the Euro once sanctions were lifted, found himself in the same line of fire as Gadafffi, who was fixing to back an all Africa currency with Libyan gold. Both steps would fit in with the thesis that the US will destroy every state that is perceived as not having policies that accord with US global dominance.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    “…the politicians who peddle the line that, while they may have been wrong about WMD, Iraq is now a haven of freedom and democracy, are telling a most blatant lie…”
    The same politicians who peddled that line, were either active participants in the WMD deception to sell the war to the public – or – were themselves duped. The fact that they seek further to distort the truth of the tragedy which is Baghdad today, bears witness to their true purpose. As with the WMD lie before in support of the policy of war with Iraq – today the myth of a better Iraq is the only way to foist another lie that the war was worth it, by reason of some “democratic” success in Iraq.
    Watch closely, and compare the politics of Egypt as that “democratic” experiment unfolds vis-à-vis Israeli and US interests in the Middle East.

  • arsalan

    Not surprised that the right wing Zionist nut jobs think Iraq now is a domocracy full of freedom. Isn’t that what they call Israel?

    Well if the is Freedom and Democracy, the Muslim world message to the white supremists that rule Britian and America is “take you freedom and democracry and shove it up your arse!”

    Khilafah is our system. Freedom and Democracy is yours. So you keep your way of life and we will keep ours.

  • John Devon

    @ Courtney Barnett 6.33

    Well said that man!

    @ Arsalan

    “Freedom and Democracy is yours. So you keep your way of life and we will keep ours”

    Sounds good. When can we start?

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    “Khilafah is our system. Freedom and Democracy is yours. So you keep your way of life and we will keep ours.”

    If he is a benevolent dictator, you may have a better system. People power seems overrated. Most folks don’t give a crap how they get their bread ad butter, or from whom, as long as it’s readily available and affordable. It’s as it’s always been. Their’s is always a minority who project outwardly with good intent. The rest are basically narcissistic and passive wrt to others not in their little circle of comfort. You may have a point, but your leaders have failed the people too. Let’s hope a true Leader arises.

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    Polonium….again.

    Murdered ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko worked as a paid agent for the British security service MI6, it was sensationally claimed today.

    He was also employed by Spanish intelligence investigating links between the Kremlin and Russian organised crime, a pre-inquest hearing was told.

    The claims were made as a lawyer for the inquest declared that the Russian state had a case to answer over the dissident’s death at a London hospital in 2006.

    The former KGB agent, 43, was poisoned by radioactive polonium–210 while drinking tea during a meeting in a Mayfair hotel with former security colleagues.

    http://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/alexander-litvinenko-was-paid-m16-agent-as-files-say-russia-has-case-to-answer-on-poisoning-8412863.html

  • Tom Welsh

    Phil W, it seems to me too that the USA is seeking to destroy national governments and promote a state of anarchy. This reminds me strongly of the way in which spiders consume their prey. They inject a strong liquid through the prey’s exoskeleton, and this liquid turns the prey’s insides to mush. The spider can then suck this out with a minimum of trouble.

    Coupled with the powerful idea of the “wealth pump” (Google it, or read John Michael Greer among others) this analogy explains nearly everything.

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    “it seems to me too that the USA is seeking to destroy national governments and promote a state of anarchy.”

    Oh my goodness. The Authoritarian seeks one thing; control the population. It could easily arrange for chaos if it served the agenda. That’s exactly what they wish to avoid. Now if you mean, ‘controlled chaos’, you might fare better with that. Really, the cross-contaminating nature of conspiracy theories makes for interesting petri-dishes, but we don’t live in a sterile lab. No primal screaming, please.

  • Clark

    “Murdered ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko worked as a paid agent for the British security service MI6, […] He was also employed by Spanish intelligence investigating links between the Kremlin and Russian organised crime,”

    Promiscuous, these spies, aren’t they? For the Spanish Spooks, this spy was apparently investigating links between one of his other employers and “organised crime”. So he could just look that up, or ask his colleagues, yes?

    I reckon the fetish for “outsourcing” has been taken to an extreme, and half the world’s spooks are freelancing. Just join multiple countries’ stupidity services, and sell everyone’s secrets to everyone else (until someone does you in). If you join two agencies, you have two buyers. Three memberships enable six possible transactions, four memberships gives twelve; the incentive is obvious.

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    Even still, Clark….there are triangulations which can’t be controlled in the FP arena. They seek
    quantifiable outcomes, not unknown results. If they can’t project specific ends to their means, what is the point of messing with the principles…..(.just for the sake of chaos?)

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