Pilger: Not In Our Name
By John Pilger
6/4/2002 2:09 pm Sat
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?
John Pilger : 05 Apr 2002
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 attendance.
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 people.
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 capitals?
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
"counselling 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 September 11.
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 authorised 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
As for Saddam Hussein's "nuclear threat," the International
Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iraq's nuclear weapons
programme 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 rumour 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 authorised by the Security Council. They include
life-saving drugs, painkillers, vaccines, cancer diagnostic
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
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 programme of the World Health Organisation, 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
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 programme 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
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
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 neighbouring
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 Washington's man.
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 Defence Secretary
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 honourable
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