Saturday, December 27, 2008

Blix clip via

You Tube video clip from / spidered

"Hans Blix: Cheney THREATENED me and El-Baradei"

Thursday, December 25, 2008

More on Blix

Former UN Weapons Inspector to Testify against Washington

HAVANA, Cuba, Dec 25 (acn) Former weapons inspector of the United Nations, Hans Blix, said that he is ready to testify before an international court on Washington's false accusations that paved the way to the US invasion of Iraq.

Cuban News Agency

An article posted on the website Rebelion, cites Blix as saying that he along with Mohamed ElBaradei, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) were subjected to implicit threats by Dick Cheney in the US effort to launch the invasion of Iraq.

In an interview with Al Jazeera TV, the former UN weapons inspector said that Cheney also threatened him and ElBaradei with defamation if they rejected to provide the "required" information on the alleged possession by Iraq of weapons of mass destruction.

"The Bush administration lied to the US people and the world by unleashing a media campaign on the weapons of mass destruction to justify the invasion of Iraq," said Blix, who noted that he is now ready to testify before an international court on the false accusations raised by Washington.

The Judicial Committee of the US House of Representatives, the source adds, accused Cheney of "manipulating the intelligence to lie to Congress and the US people about a fabricated Iraqi threat of weapons of mass destruction and an alleged relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda."

Following 9/11, Vice-president Cheney gave the NBC a false statement declaring Iraq as the "geographic source" of the attacks; however, President George Bush admitted that he had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved in the 9/11 attacks.

Lining up for the Inquiry?

Blix to testify against Iraq war makers?

Mon, 22 Dec 2008 19:30:39 GMT


A former UN chief weapons inspector says he is ready to testify about the false US allegations which led to the Iraq war before a tribunal.

Hans Blix, in a Sunday interview with Al Jazeera television said he and the Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, were subjected to implicit threats from US Vice President Dick Cheney in the run-up to the Iraq war.

The former top UN inspector said Cheney had also threatened to defame ElBaradei and him if they refused to provide the "required" information on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction.

"The Bush administration misled Americans and the world by creating a hype about weapons of mass destruction in order to justify the invasion of Iraq," Blix added.

The Swedish constitutional lawyer had earlier in 2004 told NBC News that, "It is probable that the governments were conscious that they were exaggerating the risks they saw in order to get the political support they would not otherwise have had.''

Blix, who was the director general of the IAEA from 1981 to 1997, added that he is ready to testify about the false US allegations before an international tribunal.

After the invasion of Iraq and the US failure to find the alleged WMD in the country, intelligence officials were severely criticized for relying "too much on defectors and exercising too little critical judgment in assessing their information."

Earlier in January 2008, members of the House Judiciary Committee called for starting impeachment hearings against Cheney.

The House Judiciary Committee members accused Cheney of "manipulating intelligence to deceive Congress and the American people about a fabricated threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and an alleged relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda."

Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Vice President Dick Cheney made a false claim on NBC that Iraq had been the 'geographic base' for the attacks.

However, President George W. Bush acknowledged on September 17, 2003 that, "We have no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the 11 September attacks."


The politics of politics

Thursday, 25 December 2008, 02:38 EST

Iraq's Parliament speaker resigns

The Kurdish Globe

Resignation clears way for all non-U.S. troops to remain in Iraq until 2009

Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, long the epicenter of arguments in legislature because of his strange behavior and abusive language, is forced to resign.

Iraqi Parliament speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani announced his resignation during a special Parliament session on Tuesday, said Firyad Rwandizi, spokesman for the Kurdistan Coalition bloc in Parliament.

"The [Sunni] Accordance Front List, which holds the Parliament speaker post, has to announce its candidate to fill the position in the coming days," added Rwandizi. He pointed out that the new speaker should win Parliament approval.

The resignation followed days of tension inside Parliament over the speaker's behavior. Major parliamentary blocs, including the Shiite United Iraqi Alliance, with 83 seats, and the Kurdistan Coalition list, with 53 seats, and even members of his own bloc, the Accordance Front List, demanded al-Mashhadani either resign or be dismissed.

The tension over the speaker's behavior peaked after a verbal argument between him and members of the parliamentary committee about security, defense, and the legal committee during a session on December 17, which was supposed to discuss a project law about the withdrawal of the non-American multinational forces from Iraq. After the argument, the speaker warned he would resign. And he was forced to keep his word.

"I do believe that I was faithful in doing good work," al-Mashhadani said in his address to Parliament. "If I caused hurt to you, I ask your forgiveness."

Lawmakers applauded his announcement and quickly approved the resignation with the majority of votes. The decision should pass the approval of the Republic President Board.

Earlier on Tuesday, Mahmud Osman from the Kurdistan List announced that members of his list would not attend the sessions run by al-Mashhdani, repeating his List's demands that the speaker be dismissed. "His existence halts the work of Parliament," Osman noted.

Al-Mashhdani is a leader of the National Dialogue Council Party, led by Sheikh Khalaf Al-Aliyan. His party is one of the three components of the Sunni bloc of the Accordance Front List along with the Iraqi Islamic Party led by vice president Tariq Al-Hashimi and the Iraqi People Congress Party led by member Adnan Al-Dulemi. The Accordance Front holds 23 of Parliament's 275 seats.

Acting speaker passes bill into law

After al-Mashhdani's departure, the first deputy speaker, Sheikh Khalid al-Attiya, took the position of leading Parliament; he then called for a vote on a bill authorizing the presence of foreign forces for several months after a UN mandate expires by the end of the year. Parliament voted in favor of the bill.

"We authorize the government to take all necessary steps regarding foreign forces other than U.S. forces," said acting speaker al-Attiya. He said the measure approved would allow the troops to stay in Iraq through the end of July 2009.

Passage of this law follows Parliament's approval of an agreement between Baghdad and Washington to keep U.S. forces till the end of 2011.

The remaining foreign forces in Iraq include troops from Australia, El Salvador, Estonia, and Romania, as well as Britain with 4,000 soldiers in the southern province of Basra. Britain will withdraw all of their remaining troops by next May.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

(F)all out - at the double?

From The Times

December 23, 2008

Britain gets ready for urgent Iraq pullout

Baghdad fails to extend December 31 deadline

Oliver August in Baghdad

British commanders have been forced to plan for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq after the country's parliament failed to vote on a resolution that would allow British troops to stay beyond the end of the year.

The Speaker of the Iraqi parliament suspended moves to approve the resolution after a group of MPs called for his resignation. The resolution failed to pass for a second time on Sunday and its passage after a third reading is now in doubt.

With nine days to go before British troops become an illegal presence in Iraq, sources say that lawyers are working on an alternative that would bypass Parliament and give Nouri al-Maliki, the Prime Minister, a free hand. But this, too, needs parliamentary approval and Western officials are concerned that it may not work.

"The Government is trying to get authority to approve the agreement without parliamentary ratification, but if that were so easy then one wonders why they didn’t do it in the first place," a military source said. "It all gets very interesting."

The process is further complicated by the uncertainty over when parliament will resume. No session is scheduled until January 7. If the agreement is not passed before a UN mandate expires on December 31, all non US troops lose their legal status in Iraq. The US struck a deal with the Iraqi Government a month ago, extending its troop presence by three years.

Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, the Speaker of the Iraqi parliament, called for a delay yesterday, after a group of MPs demanded his resignation on an unrelated issue. They said that they were boycotting the session until their demands were met.

Mr al-Mashhadani threatened to resign last week after he failed to control a shouting match among MPs over an Iraqi journalist who threw his shoe at President Bush.

The first reading of the Status of Forces Bill failed last Wednesday after the shoe-throwing incident.

Asked what would happen if no agreement were in place by December 31, John Hutton, the Defence Secretary, said: "That would be a very serious situation and obviously we couldn’t let it happen, but I don’t think it will happen. We have contingency plans."

"The safety of our guys out there is our top priority. There will have to be an agreement, a proper agreement, before our guys are out on the streets."

The ethnic slaughter and insurgent violence that began after the 2003 invasion have dropped significantly over recent months although suicide and car bombs remain common. From next year Iraqi police and soldiers will take the lead in security matters.

US combat forces will have to leave Iraqi cities and villages by the end of June and will not be able to conduct operations without Iraqi permission. Most British forces are due to withdraw in May, with the last troops to leave in July.

British commanders will remain part of the US military leadership structure in Baghdad.

The commander of the US led military in Iraq said yesterday that US forces would be deployed to southern Iraq to replace the British troops.

"It is important that we provide some forces to lend oversight in southern Iraq," General Raymond Odierno said, without giving details on the number to be deployed or a timetable.

"Clearly, the Iraqi security forces are playing the major role in security for the area. We want to maintain ongoing training and continuity of communications with the Iraqi security forces to ensure that we can respond to their requests for assistance."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Time to go...

From The Times

December 15, 2008

Britain faces humiliating Iraq withdrawal

Deborah Haynes in Baghdad

British Forces will leave Iraq by the end of next July under a humiliating proposal that lumps the once-valued deployment with five smaller contingents, including those of Romania, El Salvador and Estonia.

Even as President Bush paid a surprise farewell visit to Baghdad yesterday to celebrate the passage of a bilateral accord with Iraq, Britain faced being only a part of a shared military pact after negotiators ran out of time to seal country-specific deals.

Under the US-Iraq status of forces agreement, drawn up after nine months of heated negotiation, US forces will leave within three years. The deal for Britain and the others was described by Muwafaq al-Rubaie, Iraq's National Security Adviser, as a "mini-agreement for the six entities".

The proposed legislation states that all duties performed by the contingents, which include 42 Australian officers and 200 troops from 15 Nato countries, as well as the larger British presence, must stop by the end of May. "There will be two months' grace for the forces to leave Iraq by July 31," Fawzi Hariri, the Iraqi Industry Minister, said. "There was no way we could have done a security agreement to the same level of detail that we had with the Americans in such a short period."

The Iraqi Government has the option to ask certain elements to remain beyond July to help with specific tasks, such as training the small Iraqi Navy. "We believe this is a workable document and we discussed it at the Cabinet level," Mr Hariri told The Times.

Ministers vote on the deal tomorrow. If passed, it will go before the Iraqi parliament later in the week.

Grouping Britain with contingents such as Estonia, which has only 36 soldiers in Iraq, and El Salvador, with a mere 200, is a far cry from the start of the invasion when British Forces were second in importance only to those of the US.

However, the pact will provide much needed legal cover for 4,100 British troops, largely based in southern Iraq, beyond the end of the year when the UN mandate authorising the presence of all foreign forces expires.

A British government spokeswoman declined to comment on "leaked" information.

Yesterday Mr Bush ducked – twice – as an Iraqi journalist hurled his shoes at him as he shook hands with Nouri al-Maliki, the Prime Minister. "It is the farewell kiss, you dog," Muntazer al-Zaidi, from the Cairo-based al-Baghdadia channel, said, before security staff took him away.

Earlier, Mr Bush defended the invasion of Iraq and heralded the US-Iraqi accord as a "reminder of our friendship and a way forward to help the Iraqis to realise the blessings of a free society". Speaking after meeting President Talabani, he said of the invasion and the aftermath: "The work hasn’t been easy, but it has been necessary for American security, Iraqi hope and world peace."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Iraq inquiry set for next summer?

Iraq inquiry next year

Posted by Chris Ames

Wednesday, 10 December 2008 at 04:51 pm

David Miliband has just all but announced that the Iraq Inquiry promised by Gordon Brown will begin in the middle of next year.

During this afternoon’s House of Commons foreign policy debate, the foreign secretary was asked how many troops would have to be withdrawn from Iraq before the inquiry could take place. He replied: “Of course we are not going to be hiding behind the idea that all the troops must come home” before the inquiry can happen.

Miliband made it clear that, although the government’s position is that the inquiry can only be held “when our troops are safely home”, this refers to “combat troops”, not the 400 or so troops who will remain behind to train Iraqi forces following a “fundamental change of mission” in the spring.

This is very much a new development – a straight answer that I have previously struggled to obtain.

This morning a “senior defence source” was widely quoted as saying that the majority of the 4,100 British troops in Basra will begin to leave in March next year, with only around 400 remaining by June. It was predicted that Gordon Brown would make a formal announcement in the Commons in January.

I’m trying to find out whether this was an officially sanctioned pre-announcement, or the kind of criminal, national security-endangering leak that results in the recipients being arrested and their offices searched. William Hague has made the same point, saying that “we have a government that deplores leaks by day and lives by leaks by night”. He challenged Miliband to deny the story.

On the other hand, Number 10 has told me that Miliband was of course speaking for the government regarding the inquiry.

Putting the two things together, we can look forward to Brown announcing in January that the Iraq Inquiry will begin sometime after June, when combat troops are safely home. Or will he forget to mention it?

Update: Liberal Democrat Ed Davey has said:

“It was quite wrong for the Government to allow this detailed briefing of the press, without a statement to MPs.

“The fact that the Prime Minister still refuses to set up an enquiry into the Iraq war, despite leaking the withdrawal, only makes this Government’s behaviour more reprehensible. What part in this foreign policy disaster does Brown himself want to hide from the public?”