Let's Now Charge the Accomplices

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In a show
trial whose theatrical climax was clearly timed to promote George
W Bush in the American midterm elections, Saddam Hussein was convicted
and sentenced to hang. Drivel about "end of an era" and
"a new start for Iraq" was promoted by the usual false
moral accountants, who uttered not a word about bringing the tyrant’s
accomplices to justice. Why are these accomplices not being charged
with aiding and abetting crimes against humanity?

Why isn’t George
Bush Sr. being charged?

In 1992, a
congressional inquiry found that Bush as president had ordered a
cover-up to conceal his secret support for Saddam and the illegal
arms shipments being sent to Iraq via third countries. Missile technology
was shipped to South Africa and Chile, then "on sold"
to Iraq, while US Commerce Department records were falsified. Congressman
Henry Gonzalez, chairman of the House of Representatives Banking
Committee, said: "[We found that] Bush and his advisers financed,
equipped and succored the monster . . ."

Why isn’t Douglas
Hurd being charged? In 1981, as Britain’s Foreign Office minister,
Hurd traveled to Baghdad to sell Saddam a British Aerospace missile
system and to "celebrate" the anniversary of Saddam’s
blood-soaked ascent to power. Why isn’t his former cabinet colleague,
Tony Newton, being charged? As Thatcher’s trade secretary, Newton,
within a month of Saddam gassing 5,000 Kurds at Halabja (news of
which the Foreign Office tried to suppress), offered the mass murderer
340m in export credits.

Why isn’t Donald
Rumsfeld being charged? In December 1983, Rumsfeld was in Baghdad
to signal America’s approval of Iraq’s aggression against Iran.
Rumsfeld was back in Baghdad on 24 March 1984, the day that the
United Nations reported that Iraq had used mustard gas laced with
a nerve agent against Iranian soldiers. Rumsfeld said nothing. A
subsequent Senate report documented the transfer of the ingredients
of biological weapons from a company in Maryland, licensed by the
Commerce Department and approved by the State Department.

Why isn’t Madeleine
Albright being charged? As President Clinton’s secretary of state,
Albright enforced an unrelenting embargo on Iraq which caused half
a million "excess deaths" of children under the age of
five. When asked on television if the children’s deaths were a price
worth paying, she replied: "We think the price is worth it."

Why isn’t Peter
Hain being charged? In 2001, as Foreign Office minister, Hain described
as "gratuitous" the suggestion that he, along with other
British politicians outspoken in their support of the deadly siege
of Iraq, might find themselves summoned before the International
Criminal Court. A report for the UN secretary general by a world
authority on international law describes the embargo on Iraq in
the 1990s as "unequivocally illegal under existing human rights
law," a crime that "could raise questions under the Genocide
Convention." Indeed, two past heads of the UN humanitarian
mission in Iraq, both of them assistant secretary generals, resigned
because the embargo was indeed genocidal. As of July 2002, more
than $5bn-worth of humanitarian supplies, approved by the UN Sanctions
Committee and paid for by Iraq, were blocked by the Bush administration,
backed by the Blair and Hain government. These included items related
to food, health, water and sanitation.

Above all,
why aren’t Blair and Bush Jr. being charged with "the paramount
war crime," to quote the judges at Nuremberg and, recently,
the chief American prosecutor — that is, unprovoked aggression against
a defenseless country?

And why aren’t
those who spread and amplified propaganda that led to such epic
suffering being charged? The New York Times reported as fact
fabrications fed to its reporter by Iraqi exiles. These gave credibility
to the White House’s lies, and doubtless helped soften up public
opinion to support an invasion. Over here, the BBC all but celebrated
the invasion with its man in Downing Street congratulating Blair
on being "conclusively right" on his assertion that he
and Bush "would be able to take Baghdad without a bloodbath."
The invasion, it is reliably estimated, has caused 655,000 "excess
deaths," overwhelmingly civilians.

If none of
these important people are called to account, there is clearly only
justice for the victims of accredited "monsters."

Is that real
or fake justice?


10, 2006

was born and educated in Sydney, Australia. He has been
a war correspondent, filmmaker and playwright. Based in London,
he has written from many countries and has twice won British journalism’s
highest award, that of "Journalist of the Year," for his
work in Vietnam and Cambodia. His new book, Tell
Me No Lies: Investigative Journalism and Its Triumphs
, is
published by Jonathan Cape in June. This article was first published
in the New Statesman.

John Pilger 2006

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