Mike Powers comments at the Nordic peace talks in Degerfors

   With regard to international law and the legal principles discussed here today, the ideas put forward by Lars-Gunnar Liljestrand and other lawyers in other contexts can be said to be largely valid also for Iraq. I would like to remind you of the documentation issued by the Swedish session of the World Tribunal on Iraq in Stockholm in 2005 (Iraq war, occupation, international law by the Swedish Committee for the World Tribunal on Iraq with the support of ABF Stockholm). Even by that time it struck Sverker Åström that "the attack on Iraq by the United States, together with Britain, undertaken in March last year, is so obviously in violation of international law that it need not really to be explained further." He added that "their actions" (looking at the occupiers) "fit quite well into the definitions of war crimes contained in the Nuremberg Laws." 

    We know that the arguments which were used to justify the violation of the prohibition of aggression were lies. Iraq had no WMD. Hans Blixt has revealed that the United States refused to help fund his commission final report to the United Nations because the findings were not consistent with what the U.S. had initially regarded as a commissioned job. Moreover, it was very clear that Al Qaeda was not present in Iraq. But they were there on a large scale after the invasion! The whole war was based on lies. 

   Two days ago, I read an editorial in Dagens Nyheter (the liberal morning newspaper), the house organ for war activists in Sweden. I was very concerned when I saw that they are using the same type of argument to create a public opinion in favor of humanitarian intervention in Syria: "Assad has chemical weapons," "refugee flows are increasing in scope," "foreign terrorists", "threat to peace in the whole area”, " dictatorship must be replaced with democracy“ and so on. And the conclusion is of course that "we" have to intervene with "preventative measures." And even more frightening is DN´s conclusion. If the UN does not sanction a humanitarian intervention, those countries that are willing to do so should carry it out outside the framework of the UN! Perhaps Sweden as a partner to NATO can take their share of responsibility. DN is warmongering!

    Jan Myrdal has in other contexts clearly illustrated how you sell in a war and how the Nazis described the armed resistance to their occupation during World War II. As regards the nature of war propaganda, I would add three things. 

1. The war in Iraq is a colonial war. It is difficult for them in our "post-colonial era" (ie the neo-colonial world we live in), to justify imperialism in positive terms. Propaganda must be refined. And Iraq is a typical case. It is dressed mostly in racist terms. It paints a picture of the lawless, uncivilized "natives". We must invade to stop a bloodbath. Not of course in Darfur and not in Rwanda. But when a reason is needed, or rather, when the oil is needed, you have a noble purpose to stop the fighting to justify your intervention. In this case it was between Sunnis and Shiites. Nobody cared about the Christians of course. 

2. They demonize opponents. Saddam was compared to Hitler. Iraq had only a GDP equivalent to the state of Arkansas in the United States. But he was said to be as great a threat as Hitler’s industrialized Germany was against the rest of Europe in its time! But the link to dictatorship and to the evil influenced public opinion on Iraq. 

3. Newspeak developed to make war as such easier to digest. The weapons became more human. They are described as "smart" and "intelligent" though they are deadly. However, the victims are de-humanized, becoming "collateral damage", some insignificant side effects. "Drones" are without pilots; U.S. military are not at risk, just as the bombs always hit their targets safely. Innocent victims are for the most part not reported at all!

   The crimes during the occupation of Iraq have been widely reported and are well documented. The US imposed an occupation constitution under Bremer, which was completely contrary to international law. This was followed by the illegal elections. The torture at Abu Ghraib, the massacre in Hadita and the helicopter massacre that Wikileaks revealed were only part of the massive violations of humanitarian law that have occurred. The genetic consequences of uranium weapons in Fallujah have also been documented. Iraq today is a society that has collapsed! Its education and health systems are in shatters. This has been a deliberate policy - to destroy Iraq as a nation and as a functioning society. The rebellion against the colonial masters had to be punished! 

  We believe however that it is important that the criminals be punished. In many contexts, attempts have been made ​​both in national courts and international forums to demand charges be brought against Bush, Blair, Cheney, Rumsfeldt and the others, yes, even against Obama and Hilary Clinton who continued the war against the Iraqi people. In Spain, an attempt was made to accuse them of genocide. But the law was amended so that foreign statesmen could no longer be prosecuted. However, similar attempts in Canada have led for example to that Cheney does not dare go there. And recently, it was decided that individual Iraqis have the right to demand to have their complaints tried in British courts. The 2005 World Tribunal in Istanbul formulated the accusations of the peoples of the world against these war criminals. Recently, an important legal session was held in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia with highly regarded former judges and lawyers arrived at similar conclusions. There is sufficient evidence that war crimes have taken place. Prosecution must be instituted for these crimes! We must continue to pursue this matter in any and every context. We have a responsibility to help the Iraqi people achieve justice. We must take every opportunity to isolate the criminals in all international forums; their crimes can never be accepted. We must force UN agencies such as the WHO and UNESCO to meet their responsibilities to treat the consequences of war. We must take the battle to recapture the UN,our UN, the people´s United Nations, and ensure that the organization can achieve its stated purpose - that mankind must escape the scourge of war.








(05-01-2013) To an Unknown Iraqi

(05-01-2013) To an Unknown Iraqi


The BRussells Tribunal is independent and wants to remain independent.

The BRussells Tribunal is an activist think tank and peace organisation with a special focus on Iraq. Read more...

Desde noviembre de 2009 hasta octubre de 2010 se encontraron malformaciones congénitas en el ...




Open letter from the Iraqi protesters to the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon ...