Hats off to Julian Assange and Wikileaks for their assiduous work in uncovering yet more shocking and shameful stories of torture, murder, arbitrary violence and wanton brutality carried out in the name of [enduring] freedom and democracy. While the British media have focussed on examples of US and Iraqi brutality, The Guardian advises us that,
“Some have been killed by indiscriminate attacks on civilians or the unjustified use of lethal force. Others have been killed in custody by UK forces and no one knows how many Iraqis lost their lives while held in British detention facilities”.
Phil Shiner of Public Interest Lawyers,
…cited one case in which he claimed a British rifleman had shot dead an eight-year-old girl who was playing in the street in Basra. “For some reason the tank stopped at the end of the street, she’s there in her yellow dress, a rifleman pops up and blows her away.
Years ago, this kind of information would have taken ages to assemble, let alone gather. When John Negroponte was chosen as US Ambassador to Iraq in 2004, I immediately suspected that he would employ the same tactics that he did in Honduras and El Salvador; namely, that he employed death squads to roam the country looking for ‘insurgents’ to murder (the so-called Salvador Option). For examplewhile Negroponte was Ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985 he met the leader of the notorious death squad Battalion 3-16, General Gustavo Alvarez Martínez on many occasions. My suspicions were realized when I saw this,
THE Pentagon is considering forming hit squads of Kurdish and Shia fighters to target leaders of the Iraqi insurgency in a strategic shift borrowed from the American struggle against left-wing guerrillas in Central America 20 years ago.
Under the so-called “El Salvador option”, Iraqi and American forces would be sent to kill or kidnap insurgency leaders, even in Syria, where some are thought to shelter.
For all the talk of bringing ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ to Iraq, it was clear from the outset that the Iraq invasion was about oil. We were told how Saddam Hussein killed ‘his own people’ and why it was necessary to topple him – it was a smokescreen. The end was used to justify the means: go in, secure the oilfields and make up the defence later.
UPDATE 18/4/11 @ 14.55
Yes, it was all about oil. From the Independent.
Five months before the March 2003 invasion, Baroness Symons, then the Trade Minister, told BP that the Government believed British energy firms should be given a share of Iraq’s enormous oil and gas reserves as a reward for Tony Blair’s military commitment to US plans for regime change.
The papers show that Lady Symons agreed to lobby the Bush administration on BP’s behalf because the oil giant feared it was being “locked out” of deals that Washington was quietly striking with US, French and Russian governments and their energy firms.
Minutes of a meeting with BP, Shell and BG (formerly British Gas) on 31 October 2002 read: “Baroness Symons agreed that it would be difficult to justify British companies losing out in Iraq in that way if the UK had itself been a conspicuous supporter of the US government throughout the crisis.”