Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Rudd Australia Report Card #1. Continued Australian and US Coalition war crimes in Occupied Iraq

Decent anti-racist, pro-Peace, pro-Environment, pro-Humanity, pro-Planet Australians were pleased to see the victory of the Australian Labor Party under Kevin Rudd in the recent Australian Federal Elections (24 November 2007) and the substantial Australian Greens vote which assisted that victory and which will restore sensible public review of public policy in the new Senate.

The Australian Government under PM Rudd was sworn in on Monday 3 December, 2007 – Day 1 of Rudd Australia. Kevin Rudd has made it clear that he favours “measurement-based policy” and “evidence-based policy” and has further asked his colleagues to give him Report Cards on progress.

I applaud this approach as a senior scientist committed to rational risk management that successively involves

(a) accurate data,
(b) scientific analysis and
(c) systemic change to minimize risk

(for a detailed. Expert exposition see Professor James Reason, “Human error: models and management”, British Medical Journal, vol. 320, 768-770, 2000: http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/320/7237/768. Indeed as a responsible public service I have committed a lot of time and effort to informing governments, media and fellow citizens about important matters.

Dated 4 December 2007, Day #2 of the Rudd Government, Rudd Australia Report Card #1 is the first of a series of carefully researched and edited “Rudd Australia Report Cards” that I will be sending to the Rudd Government and to media and fellow citizens. I am very happy for anyone to re-publish these “Rudd Australia Report Cards” with attribution in the interests of Australia and Humanity.

Rudd Australia Report Card #1.
Continued Australian and US Coalition war crimes in Occupied Iraq

A. Background

1. Invasion and occupation of other countries violates the UN Charter and is a war crime.
As reported by the UK Guardian (September 2004) the invasion of Iraq was illegal and breached the UN Charter: “The United Nations secretary general, Kofi Annan, declared explicitly for the first time last night that the US-led war on Iraq was illegal. Mr Annan said that the invasion was not sanctioned by the UN security council or in accordance with the UN’s founding charter. In an interview with the BBC World Service broadcast last night, he was asked outright if the war was illegal. He replied: “Yes, if you wish.”” (see: http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1305709,00.html )

2. The ostensible reasons for the invasion of Iraq were false. As is now well-known a series of assertions about pre-invasion Iraq – most notably possession of Weapons if Mass destruction (WMD) - were false.

3. The Australian Government ignored intelligence advice about lack of hard evidence for WMDs. The Australian Government ignored advice over lack of hard evidence for WMD from a chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix (Sydney Peace Prize recipient and who declared the Iraq War was illegal: http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0305-01.htm), Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Wilkie (who resigned from his Intelligence career over the issue), Scott Ritter (a former UN weapons inspector) and Dr David Kelly (top UK WMD expert who apparently suicided but may have been murdered according to the UK Daily Mail.

4. Oil, hegemony and strategic control were evidently the actual reasons for the invasion. Outstanding American scholar Professor Noam Chomsky (from 63 Nobel Laureate MIT, Boston) has concluded that “the huge energy resources of the region were recognized by Washington sixty years ago as a “stupendous source of strategic power,” the “strategically most important area of the world,” and “one of the greatest material prizes in world history.”(reference 1) Control over this stupendous prize has been a primary goal of U.S. policy ever since, and threats to it have naturally aroused enormous concern.” (see: http://www.monthlyreview.org/0607nc.htm.

5. Australian Government admission of oil as a major reason for the invasion. According to the Independent on Sunday (UK) “The Australian Defence Minister, Brendan Nelson has admitted that oil was a major factor in the government’s decision to keep troops in Iraq” (see: http://news.independent.co.uk/world/australasia/article2739741.ece ) .

B. Current situation (4 December 2007, day #2 of the Rudd Labor Government of Australia)

1. A big majority of Australians want Australian forces out of Iraq.
According to a 2007 survey by the US Studies Centre, University of Sydney 67% of Australians polled opposed Australia’s presence in Iraq and 56% opposed Australia’s presence in Occupied Afghanistan (see: http://sydney.edu.au/us-studies/docs/Survey_Murray_OpEd.pdf).

2. Australian forces are still in Iraq – and hundreds will remain indefinitely.
According to the UK Independent on Sunday, “Australia, which continues to back the increasingly unpopular war, initially sent 2,000 troops. It still has 1,000 troops there, supported by 600 air force and navy personnel in the region.” (see: http://news.independent.co.uk/world/australasia/article2739741.ece).

3. Before being sworn in PM-elect Rudd stated that most but not all Australian forces will be withdrawn by mid-2008 – hundreds of Australian forces would be left indefinitely. The UK Guardian has reported (see: http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,2220119,00.html?gusrc=rss&feed=networkfront ) that PM-elect Rudd will pull most but not all of Australia’s troops out of Iraq by mid-2008, leaving some hundreds behind; Rudd will soon meet Robert McCallum, the US ambassador to AAustralia, to discuss the precise timing of the withdrawal; Rudd admits that the presence of troops in Iraq has made Australia more of a target for terrorism; and he will keep Australia’s 1,000 troops in Afghanistan. The Rudd Government will consult with the US Ambassador about withdrawal but there was no indication of whether the Occupied Iraq Government would be consulted.

4. Rudd Government ignores democratic wishes of the Iraqi People who overwhelmingly oppose occupation. WorldPublicOpinion.org, an expert polling organization with an advisory board from top US universities and organizations, reported that as of September 2006 (see: http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/articles/home_page/250.php?nid=&id=&pnt=250&lb=hmpg1 )
“ a large majority of Iraqis—71%—say they would like the Iraqi government to ask for U.S.-led forces to be withdrawn from Iraq within a year or less … support for attacks against U.S.-led forces has increased sharply to 61 percent …79 percent of Iraqis say that the United States is having a negative influence on the situation in Iraq … 77 percent of respondents say that the United States plans to have permanent military bases… 91 percent of Sunnis now say that they want the United States to withdraw within a year, including 84 percent of those in Baghdad….Large numbers say that the United States’ military presence is “provoking more conflict than it is preventing.” This view is held by 78 percent overall, and by 82 percent of Shias and a near-unanimous 97 percent of Sunnis…78% - believe that “If the new Iraqi government were to tell the United States to withdraw all of its forces within six months,” the United States would refuse to do so.”

5. 1.5-2.0 million post-invasion violent and non-violent excess deaths in Iraq. Recent authoritative estimates of violence-related post-invasion excess deaths in occupied Iraq (as of September 2007) are of 1.2 million (from the expert UK ORB polling company: http://www.opinion.co.uk/Newsroom_details.aspx?NewsId=78 and http://www.countercurrents.org/polya190907.htm ) and 0.8 million (from the top US Bloomberg School of Public Health group at Johns Hopkins University who estimated 0.6 million violent deaths as of July 2006) (see: http://www.thelancet.com/webfiles/images/journals/lancet/s0140673606694919.pdf) . The prestigious US Just Foreign Policy organization estimates over 1.1 million post-invasion Iraqi deaths due to U.S. invasion (see: http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/iraq/iraqdeaths.html).

Authoritative estimates of non-violent post-invasion excess deaths in Occupied Iraq as of September 2007 are of 0.7 million (from the latest UN Population Division data: http://esa.un.org/unpp/ ) and of 0.8 million (calculated from United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, data on post-invasion under-5 year old infant deaths: http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/index.html ; for impoverished Third World countries the under-5 infant deaths are about 0.7 of the total excess deaths, as described in the MWC News article “Layperson’s Guide to Counting Iraq deaths”: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/5872/26/ ).

We can now estimate total post-invasion violent and non-violent occupied Iraqi excess deaths and these clearly range from 0.7 million + 0.8 million = 1.5 million (minimum estimate) to 0.8 million + 1.2 million = 2.0 million (upper estimate) (see “Iraq: Genocide by all definition. Bush’s Iraq War. 2 million Iraqi excess deaths”: . http://mwcnews.net/content/view/17066/42/ ).

UNICEF and UN Population Division data indicate 0.6 million post-invasion under-5 infant deaths. UNHCR and the BRussells Tribunal indicate 4.5 million Iraqi refugees (2005 population 27 million) (see “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950” (G.M. Polya, Melbourne, 2007: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/1375/247/ and http://globalbodycount.blogspot.com/).

6. Gross under-estimate of post-invasion excess deaths by Labor leader Kevin Rudd
Labor Leader of the Opposition Kevin Rudd speaking to Parliament as reported on 14 February 2007 on the ABC PM program: “KEVIN RUDD: Prime Minister, given that another 100 Iraqi civilians will die today, adding to the 61,000 who have died so far, following his failed invasion in Iraq, when will the Prime Minister have the courage and the decency to admit that he has got this war radically wrong from day one?”

Yet as of 19 August 2004, Mr Rudd was aware of horrendous passive mass murder of Occupied Iraqi infants of circa 0.1 million annually as revealed by the following e-mail:

“Dear Mr Rudd,

Please find below a DETAILED FORMAL COMPLAINT I have sent to all the major Federal and State Law Officers in Australia (and copied to politicians, media, NGOs etc) concerning Australian Federal Government complicity in war crimes in Iraq, namely

(1) illegal invasion of a remote, non-threatening country and

(2) horrendous mass mortality in an occupied country e.g. current under-5 infant mortality is estimated from UNICEF data to be about 100,000 per year in Iraq (population 24 million) as compared to 1000 in the “occupier” country Australia (population 20 million) - while annual per capita medical expenditure is currently US$40 in occupied, war-ravaged Iraq as compared to US$1000 in Australia. I would be very happy if you would disseminate this to all your colleagues and associates

Yours sincerely,

Gideon Polya
Date: 17 August 2004

To: Federal & State Commissioners of Police, Solicitors General & Attorneys General
From: Dr Gideon Polya
Re: Complaint to Australian law officers about Australian Federal Government complicity in war crimes involving mass mortality, principally of children and in Iraq …”

7. No indication yet of investigations or prosecutions over Australian Iraq-related crimes, including AWB scandal and war crimes
It was estimated by Senator Rachel Siewert in a speech to the Australian Senate that up to 21,000 Iraqi infants may have died as a rwssult of the AWB diversion of $300milion from the Oil for Food Program (see: “Australian Green senator exposes human cost of AWB Iraq kick-back scandal – 21,000 Iraqi infant deaths” at http://www.newsvine.com/awb ). Iraqi litigation against both the Australian Government and AWB is contemplated:http://www.newsvine.com/awb . Formal complaints over Australian war crimes in Occupied Iraq have been lodged by an individual with the International Criminal Court (see: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/3087/247/ ) but there is no indication whether the Australian Government will act responsibly and make a formal complaint to the ICC. The Chief Prosecutor of the ICC has indicated his preparedness to investigate state complaints against Bush and Blair (see: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/03/18/nirq118.xml).

Indeed 2005 UK Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter in his acceptance speech advocated such prosecutions (see: http://www.countercurrents.org/arts-pinter081205.htm ) : “The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law. The invasion was an arbitrary military action inspired by a series of lies upon lies and gross manipulation of the media and therefore of the public; an act intended to consolidate American military and economic control of the Middle East masquerading as a last resort all other justifications having failed to justify themselves as liberation. A formidable assertion of military force responsible for the death and mutilation of thousands and thousands of innocent people.

We have brought torture, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, innumerable acts of random murder, misery, degradation and death to the Iraqi people and call it ‘bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East’.

How many people do you have to kill before you qualify to be described as a mass murderer and a war criminal? One hundred thousand? More than enough, I would have thought. Therefore it is just that Bush and Blair be arraigned before the International Criminal Court of Justice.”

My comment: “2 million? More than enough, I would have thought.”

8. Top experts decry an “Iraqi Holocaust” and an “Iraqi Genocide”. From the authoritative estimates in (5) above, there is clearly an Iraqi Holocaust. However Article 2 of the UN Genocide Convention (see: http://www.edwebproject.org/sideshow/genocide/convention.html ) In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such:

a) Killing members of the group;
b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. The British have been violently killing Iraqis off and on since 1914, the Americans since 1990.

Australia has been variously involved in this sustained and therefore “intentional” mass killing of Iraqis – and is now also involved under the new Rudd Labor Government.
Eminent scholars and writers who decry “Iraqi Holocaust” and/or an “Iraqi Genocide” include Dr Mark Weisbrot (President of Just Foreign policy: http://www.alternet.org/columnists/story/68568/ ), Dr Paul Craig Roberts (eminent US writer, academic, editor and Father of Reaganomics: http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts10162007.html ), and John Pilger (outstanding, award-winning Australian-UK writer and journalist: http://www.newstatesman.com/200711150033).

9. Australian Mainstream media and politicians involved in Holocaust Commission, Holocaust Denial, Genocide Commission, and Genocide Denial
Notwithstanding the matters outlined above, the Iraq War was studiously avoided during the Australian Federal Election after the manner of the John Clease portrayal of Basil Fawlty in “Fawlty Towers” and his injunction “Don’t mention the war”. In relation to Occupied Iraq Australian Mainstream media and politicians are wittingly or unwittingly involved in Holocaust Commission, Holocaust Denial, Genocide Commission, and Genocide Denial.

The ONLY Mainstream Australian publication reporting this carnage (to my knowledge) during the Australian election campaign was a book “Lies, Deep Fries & Statistics” edited by Australia’s top science journalist Robyn Williams and published by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (the ABC) – it contained a chapter (just prior to chapters by top human rights lawyers, former Australian Attorney General Kep Enderby QC and Julian Burnside QC) by me, entitled “Australian complicity in Iraq mass mortality”, this being the transcript of a nation-wide broadcast I had made in 2005: http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/ockham/stories/s1445960.htm).

Yet Mainstream Australian journalists and politicians IGNORE the carnage in the Occupied Palestinian, Iraqi and Afghan Territories – post-invasion excess deaths total 0.3 million, 1.5-2 million and 3-6 million, respectively; under-5 infant deaths total 0.2 million, 0.6 million and 2.2 million, respectively; and the refugees total 7 million, 4.5 million and 3.7 million, respectively (see ”State Terrorism” on MWC News: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/18122/42/ and “Rudd Oz honeymoon over before it began. Me-too Rudd Labor re-commits Australia to US war crimes”: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/18458/42/ ).

Holocaust denial in relation to the Jewish Holocaust (6 million deaths, including 1 million non-violent excess deaths) has been criminalized in a number of Western European countries (punished by up to 10 years’ imprisonment in Austria) and France and Belgium have recently criminalized denial of the Armenian Genocide. Indeed Germany has recently suggested extending EU legislation to criminalize denial or minimization of other contemporary holocausts and genocides (see “Genocide denial. No-penalty criminalization required now”: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/12483/26/).
Put bluntly, Australia has become a Land of Lies and Flies. As powerfully illustrated by this continuing holocaust-ignoring in relation to what outstanding US and UK writers describe as an Iraqi Holocaust or Iraqi Genocide, Australia has become a Murdochracy.

10. Summary
The election of the Rudd Labor Government has been welcomed by decent, anti-racist, pro-Peace, pro-Planet Australians but as this Day #2 Rudd Australia Report Card #1 shows there are many serious issues to be addressed in a resolute fashion, in this instance Australia’s CONTINUING and past involvement in Occupied Iraq and CONTINUING Australian Holocaust Commission, Holocaust Denial, Genocide Commission, and Genocide Denial. There is urgent need for investigation and prosecution of Iraq-related Australian crimes. Of crucial importance is the near-comprehensive, entrenched failure of Mainstream media, politicians, academics and other public servants to tell the truth - lying by omission that represent a major threat to the security, health, wealth and reputation of Australia.

This has been written in the public interest.

Dr Gideon Polya
Melbourne, Australia

Credentials: Dr Gideon Polya published some 130 works in a 4 decade scientific career, most recently a huge pharmacological reference text “Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds” (CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, New York & London, 2003). He has just published “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950” (G.M. Polya, Melbourne, 2007: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/1375/247/ and http://globalbodycount.blogspot.com/). He is very actively involved in a Melbourne, Australia Climate Action Group. For his commentary on global warming as a painter of HUGE polemical paintings, see: “US Nuclear, Greenhouse & Poverty Threats. “Apocalypse Now” Painting”: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/17652/42/ and “War on Terra, Climate Criminals. “Terra” painting”: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/15671/42/).

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