Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Guardian makes the case for trying former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in front of the ICC.

Courtesy of The Guardian:  

Geoffrey Robertson rightly argued that it is not legally possible to put Tony Blair on trial in the international criminal court for a crime of aggression, because aggression was not included in the Rome statute that established the ICC. Joshua Rozenberg suggested that the focus should therefore be on cases against British soldiers for abuse of detainees. However, there is an alternative route to take Blair and his ministers to the ICC over their war crimes. 

Under the Hague and Geneva rules, occupying powers are prohibited from fundamentally transforming the economy and political system of a country. Yet this is exactly what happened: the coalition provisional authority (CPA), through which the UK and US governed, forced through a series of major structural economic reforms, including the removal of product subsidies and protective trade barriers and other tariffs, a flattened tax system in which the richest and the poorest paid the same rate, and economic policies that threw Iraqi industry wide open to foreign investors. It also reformed the political system root and branch, creating a government structure based on sectarian identity, which arguably played a key role in stimulating the violence that continues to this day. 

One Foreign and Commonwealth Office lawyer advised Blair in February 2004 that because “the extensive body of CPA legislation dealing with economic reform and governance was of questionable lawfulness … the risk of claims against the UK could not be ruled out”. 

This issue had been contentious in the days leading up to the invasion. Concerns about the legality of the occupation were expressed in writing by several officials. In his memo to Blair on 26 March 2003, the attorney general Lord Goldsmith had warned that “wide-ranging reforms of governmental and administrative structures would not be lawful”. Meanwhile, Iraqi oil revenues were used to fund reconstruction, the majority of it carried out by US and UK contractors. Chilcot noted that by the end of the CPA’s first year of occupation, there were more than 60 UK companies working in Iraq, on contracts worth an estimated $2.6bn. To the victor, the spoils. Over $8bn of that Iraqi oil revenue was lost, unaccounted for in a process described thus by Blair’s representative in the CPA, Sir Jeremy Greenstock: “A lot of cash was going round in suitcases to be dispensed to Iraqis, not all of which was accounted for.” 

The CPA also laid the groundwork for a fundamental restructuring of Iraq’s vast oil industry. While the period formally defined as occupation ended in June 2004, British troops remained in Iraq for a further five years. The official narrative was that they were there at the invitation of sovereign Iraqi governments, but those nominal governments were successively appointed, promoted or defined by the US and UK. 

Contrary to Blair’s protestations, government documents released this week spell out how Iraqi oil was a central motive behind the war. Throughout the six years that British troops remained in Iraq, the UK consistently maintained two objectives in relation to oil: to transfer oil from public ownership to multinational companies, and to ensure BP and Shell got a large share of it. While the post-2004 phase may escape the formal legal definitions, it raises important political and ethical questions.

Remember how protesters of the Iraq War claimed that it was all about oil, and they were dismissed as being liberals who did not understand the "post 9-11 world" we lived in?

Well guess what?

It was all about the oil. 

The attacks were just a convenient excuse to do what George W. Bush and his neocon buddies wanted to do seconds after he was sworn in as President of the United States.

And we just sat back and let it happen.


  1. Anonymous4:18 AM

    And we just sat back and let it happen.
    Plenty of us knew what the underlying reason was and were perilous to stop it. We were sold a bill of goods, pure and simple. Would our voices have mattered? Hell no.

    Countless lives snuffed out, our country nearly destroyed economically, and what does that rat bastard Dubya do? Closes himself up at his ranch and paints while President Obama tries to clean it up. PIG.

  2. I remember when they changed the name of their invasion from Operation Iraqi Liberation (OIL) to Operation Iraqi Freedom. My husband and I both knew it was all about oil, and revenge.

    1. Marthe6:30 AM

      First time I notice the acronym OIL. They even had the gall to name their military operation for it's real objective !!!
      I do hope that the British outrage against the Iraq war right now crosses the Atlantic and reignites a new discussion here within the public, especially during this election season. Maybe it's too late for indictments or not advisable for political reasons since the Republicans would retaliate in kind somehow against an old Democratic Administration if the Republicans ever regain power. But it's not too late to hang the blame around the neck of the main architects and try them in the court of public opinion along with their neoconservative friends and supporters. I bet this would quiet down all the hawks who are always advocating sending troops in every conflict around the world (only where there's oil of course, they don't care if it's a genocide against some African group). The name John McCain comes to mind. The Republicans have never expressed regret for that unlawful war and the damage it caused to the Iraqis, to the troops of the Coalition and the terrorist organizations that it gave rise to. It's time for some justice.

  3. Anonymous4:59 AM

    GWB and many others should be tried for war crimes.

  4. And Cheney's Halliburton got 39 billion. Oh, I protested. I almost got in fistfights. I now shun the Reno Mensa group because they cheered for the invasion. Not all of them, but too many.

  5. Anonymous5:21 AM

    And we just sat back and let it happen.
    WE didn't have a say in it and many of WE voted against George W.
    Guess the GOP will have to shut down the government in protest:

    O/T Disaster for GOP as Ryan’s Request to Deny Clinton Security Briefings is Rejected

    Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, you’ll remember, asked that Hillary Clinton be denied classified info. He got a big ole fat rejection letter from the Director of National Intelligence yesterday.

    Ryan had claimed that “given the FBI’s findings denying Secretary Clinton access to classified information certainly constitutes appropriate sanctions.”

    James R. Clapper dropped Ryan a letter Monday, telling him he “does not intend to withhold briefings from any officially nominated eligible candidate.” Including Hillary R. Clinton.....

  6. Anonymous6:52 AM

    At last. Someone finally heard me screaming it's all about the oil. So good to be vindicated.

  7. Anonymous6:53 AM

    Please don't forget that the neocons are in both parties. Victoria Nuland at the State is a close associate of Hillary's; Nuland is partly responsible for the US-backed overthrow of the democratically elected government in Ukraine and she's married to Republican Robert Kagan--a notorious neocon and one of the movers behind the Iraq invasion. (For more on neocon aims see their strategy paper Project for a New American century (PNAC) which was adopted by Bush Jr. and his accomplices to illegally invade countries and/or overthrow regimes the US didn't want in power.)

    It is usually about the money, of course. But many neocons are also fanatical idealogues and have changed party affiliations to further their agendas.

    Until some of these people are charged with war crimes here in the US they will continue operating without regard to ethics or law. Besides the inherent immorality of wars of aggression against people, another reason to stop the neocons is that the US is suffering blowback from the terrorists in the Middle East and Afghanistan, places that have suffered and still are suffering enormously due the neocon invasions and constant attacks with no peace plans or reparations in sight.

  8. Anonymous6:58 AM

    The Iraq invasion was blueprinted in 1997 by the neocons with PNAC (Plans for a New American Century). It includes the need for "a new Pearl Harbor" (9/11) to justify the war.
    Many of us were aware of it, but powerless to stop.

    1. Marthe8:08 AM

      I googled PNAC and I found this most interesting site. Unfortunately, all the original documents that the site alludes to are not available because the websites where they appeared have been deleted. While the claims made by this site cannot all be verified with the original documents cited, this site certainly raises a lot of good questions.


  9. Anonymous8:28 AM

    Few people realize it, but Viet Nam was about oil rights as well.

  10. Anonymous4:35 AM

    The first time GW was running for President, I was horrified to learn my son was planning to vote for him. I told him then that if GW was elected he would invade Iraq & we'd be starting an illegal war - because they wanted the oil & also that GW wanted to make himself look like a much stronger Pres. than his father was. His Dad didn't go after Saddam because he knew what the results would be. He was right - the entire middle east has been a mess ever since. Gw never agreed with daddy. My son thought I was crazy.


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