October 4, 2005
Index Research by Sarah Meyer
Part I: Basra Timeline 2005
Part II: Mark Curtis, Web of Deceit and the SAS
Part III: Some Questions
Appendix : Blair Fiction Fog (posted 7/10/05)
October 1st 1918, Lawrence of Arabia led the Arabs into Damascus in an
armoured car. "Damascus salutes you, " said a rider, flourishing his
head-dress. "Multitudes of Syrians thronged the streets to celebrate
liberation from the Ottoman Empire."
1. Basra Timeline 2005
There was no such welcome greeting for the armoured tanks in Basra, known as the 'station of death' whilst the Iraqis were celebrating during the Karbala religious festival in September 2005.
There was an air of tension. Recent attacks on Westerners --
once a rare event in Basra -- had targeted British and U.S. diplomatic convoys and killed at least eight Britons and Americans.
Since the increase in attacks against UK forces two months ago, a 24-strong SAS team has been working out of Basra to provide a safety net to stop the bombers getting into the city from Iran.
In the early morning of the 19th, Fakher Haider,
Iraqi journalist and photographer working for the NY Times, was found
dead on the outskirts of Basra. Earlier, on 2 August, Steven Vincent,
another journalist, was kidnapped and killed in Basra, allegedly after
being taken away in a marked police car. Vincent had criticized UK
security forces. More
A British official blamed Islamists. More
In an interview between Al Jazeera TV’s Anchorman Al-Habib al-Ghurayb and Fattah al-Shaykh, Al-Shaykh spoke of the background
to the events of 19 September 2005: "There have been indiscriminate
arrests, the most recent of which was the arrest of Shaykh Ahmad
al-Farqusi and two Basra citizens on the pretext that they had carried
out terrorist operations to kill US soldiers. This is a baseless claim."
Sheikh Hassan al-Zarqani, a spokesman for Moqtada al-Sadr, said "We called a protest outside the mayor’s office on Monday (the 19th) demanding the Sheikh be released," Sheikh Hassan said. "This protest was peaceful."
Two Arrested Men
Fattah al-Shaykh continued
: "the sons of Basra caught two non-Iraqis, who seem to be Britons and
were in a car of the Cressida type. It was a booby-trapped car laden
and was meant to explode in the centre of the city of Basra in the
popular market. However, the sons of the city of Basra arrested them.
They [the two non-Iraqis] then fired at the people there and killed
some of them. The two arrested persons are now at the Intelligence
Department in Basra, and they were held by the National Guard force,
but the British occupation forces are still surrounding this department
in an attempt to absolve them of the crime."
On the 19th of September 2005, Xinhuanet News repeated the story with some rewording, specifically that the car was "packed with explosives."
Sheikh Hassan al-Zarqani, a spokesperson for rebel Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr,
why in another interview, two British soldiers had been arrested in
Basra: ".. Events in our city took a sinister turn when the police
tried to stop two men dressed as members of the Mehdi Army (al-Sadr’s
militia) driving near the protest. The men opened fire on the police
and passers-by. After a car chase they were arrested."
The photographs of the two men,
with their faces blocked out,
appeared on British television.
A note appeared at the bottom of the screen:
"ATTENTION EDITORS - THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT REQUESTS THAT THE
IDENTIFICATION OF THIS MAN IS NOT REVEALED, EITHER VIA PIXELLATION OF
THEIR FACES OR BY NOT PUBLISHING THE PHOTOS."
The white Toyota car, was later removed by the British. The BBC said that the gear in the car was ’standard kit’ for British special forces.’
The men were detained at the police station for questioning by a judge.
They were carrying a a plastic-coated card, ’
the only document found on the men. The card read in English: "In an
emergency, please call US and UK forces on these numbers." There were
phone numbers for the cities of Amara, Nassiriya and Basra."
According to Iraqi MP Ali Dabagh, the militiamen from the outlawed Madhi Army of Muqtada al-Sadr wanted the soldiers as hostages to exchange for two of their leaders arrested on Sunday by British forces.
That afternoon the British army came in tanks and armoured cars demanding the two be released. Lee Watson,
20, said he had driven through walls and over vehicles to get to them.
There were "6 SAS people" in the back of his Warrior tank. He added,
"They looked like computer characters with shotguns, machine guns,
pistols and knives." However, the two British men were not in the jail.
Watson continues, "The helicopter gave us directions and we followed,
stormed the street, rescued the two guys and got out. They had been
battered half to death but were OK. They thanked us for saving their
lives and two choppers came down and away they all went." More
A policeman, Abbas Hassan, told Reuters that a tank cannon
struck a room where a policeman was praying." He was standing next to
mangled cars outside the police station and jail that he said were
crushed by British military vehicles. "This is terrorism. All we had
BBC News: Video and Audio
John Lorimor, commander of the 12th Mechanized Brigade, made a full
statement, in which he said that "Minor damage was caused to the prison
compound wall and to the house in which our two soldiers were held." More
The British Defence Ministry later admitted their intentional breach.
Iraqi television cameraman who lives across the street from the jail
said about 150 Iraqi prisoners also fled as British troops stormed
inside and rescued their comrades. More
arrests sparked protests after British troops, backed by tanks,
attempted to free the soldiers from the police station. (6 –12) other
tanks, as well as helicopter gunships, were nearby. More
British armoured vehicles were attacked by a crowd, angered by the
earlier arrests of two Basra citizens. Reuters television footage
showed two British armoured personnel vehicles sent to the station
attempting to reverse away from the crowd as it came under attack. As
flames engulfed the vehicles, one soldier was seen scrambling from a
top hatch, as he was pelted with stones and set on fire.
Mohammed al-Waili, the governor of Basra province, condemned the British for raiding the prison, an act he called "barbaric, savage and irresponsible"
is an irresponsible act," al-Waili said, adding that the British force
had spirited the prisoners away to an unknown location. They were later
In an interview on Syrian TV,
also on the 19th, Nidal Zaghbur spoke with his colleague in Baghdad,
Ziyad al-Munajjid. Al-Munajjid said: "this incident gave answers to
questions and suspicions that were lacking evidence about the
participation of the occupation in some armed operations in Iraq. Many
analysts and observers here had suspicions that the occupation was
involved in some armed operations against civilians and places of
worship and in the killing of scientists. "
On Tuesday, 20 September, in a Reuters release
Alaa Habib writes: "Residents of Basra, in a region with Iraq's biggest
oil reserves, called on British troops to leave the country. 'It is
unappropriate for any Iraqi to be insulted by a British or an American
or any other occupier, we reject the occupying forces,’ said Abbas
Jassim. … "What the two Britons did was literally international
terrorism … If the British had condemned this, it would have calmed the
situation but instead they came and demanded them back which sets a
dangerous precedent," Ali al-Yassiri, an aide to Sadr, told Reuters.
Reuters report continues. At the Baghdad press conference, Haider
al-Ebadi, an adviser to PM Ibrahim Jaafair, said, "It is a very
unfortunate development that the British forces should try to release
their forces the way it happened," Al-Ebadi also said that the two men
"were acting very suspiciously like they were watching something and
collecting information in civilian clothes in these tense times,"
the same report, Brigadier John Lorimer, the British commander, said:
"From an early stage I had good reason to believe the lives of the two
soldiers were at risk," (see above, exchange of prisoners)
On Wednesday, 21 September, al Jazeera reported that about 300 Iraqis,
including police officers in uniform, have demonstrated in the southern
city of Basra. British forces made no attempt to control them …
demonstrators carried banners calling for the return of the two British
agents to face Iraqi justice. They also demanded the resignation of the
provincial police chief, accusing him of being an agent of the British.
"The British promised us sovereignty. So where is this sovereignty if
they destroy a police station?" asked one demonstrator.
21 September, it was announced that Basra officials, following the
British raid, had decided to boycott British troops. "All regular
meetings between the governorate and British troops have been cancelled
and we will not allow British soldiers into the governorate building or
any other public office in Basra," Nadim al-Jaabari, spokesman for the
provincial governor," told AFP on Thursday. More
On 21 September, alarmed by the focus on the UK SAS disaster, the Media started,
without investigation, to parrot spin about Iranian "insurgents" on the Iraq border. This "news" escalated during the following week.
22 September, Mohammed al-Waili told Reuters: "The governing council
met yesterday and decided to stop all cooperation with the British
until they meet three demands,
To apologise for what happened, to guarantee that it does not happen
again, and … to provide some compensation for all the damage they did
during the operation," he said. The Reuters report continues: "British
troops meanwhile confined themselves to their barracks in and around
Basra, lowering their profile in an effort to tamp down tensions caused
by Monday's raid."
On 23 September, Adrian Blomfeld reported from Baghdad that
an Al-Sadr official said that the staged bombings were aimed at starting an ethnic war. More
24 September, 'Judge Ragheb Mohamad Hassan al-Muthafar told The Sunday
Times in an exclusive interview that the soldiers were "suspects who
attempted to commit a wilful act of murder". According to the judge,
nine people were killed and 14 injured, including two boys aged 13 and
14, when (the protestors) attacked British forces surrounding the
police station where the men were detained. The Ministry of Defense is
carrying out an investigation.' More
On Saturday 24 September, Reuters’ Abdel-Razzak Hameed reported that "an Iraqi judge has issued arrest warrants for two undercover soldiers of freed British soldiers."
military spokesman Major Steve Melbourne: replied: "We are not fully
aware of the issue of these warrants…But what I must say is they have
no legal basis for the issue of these." ,BBC Audio transcript, 0738
Also on the 24th, a "flurry of rockets was fired at buildings occupied by British troops."
26 September, The Guardian reports that Karen McLuskie, a British
diplomat in Basra, commented: "Britain refuses apology and compensation
for Iraqis caught up in Basra riots." More
29 September. British Hand Over Control of Basra More
On October 11th, Britain offers apologies and compensation for damaged buildings and personal injuries which they incurred in Basra following the arrests of the two UK soldiers.
Elias Akleh, British Terrorism in Iraq
Ramzy Baroud, Iraq is an Occupied Nation in Revolt
William Bowles, Agents Provacateurs?
Pratap Chatterjee, Ex-SAS Men Cash In on Iraq Bonanza
Robert Fisk, When Nature and Man Conspire to Expose the Lies …
Michael Keefer: Were British Special Forces Planting Bombs in Basra?
Kurt Nimmo, Big Trouble for British Occupation of Southern Iraq
John Pilger, Sinister Events in a Cynical War
Tom Regan, The "Myth" of Iraq’s Foreign Fighters
Mike Whitney, Another Milestone in the War on Terror
Mike Whitney, Iraq: "A Right Rollicking Cock-up"
"The SAS involvement in Iraq
was discovered on the 30th of January 2005 when an RAF Hercules plane
crashed near Baghdad killing then British servicemen after dropping off
fifty SAS members north of Baghdad to fight Iraqi guerillas."
is a history of occupied countries lacking any form of jurisdiction.
This contradicts the 'democratic’ principles propounded by the
occupier. Human rights are systemically incurred - and ignored.
Part II : Mark Curtis, Web of Deceit and the SAS
On the day following Basra vs. The British, I opened the The Web of Deceit by Mark Curtis 1,
to where I had left off, 'Explaining the War Against Terrorism,’ which
describes British undercover operations. Following is a summary of what
Mark Curtis has written about the SAS, MI5 and MI6. I would like to
thank Mark for allowing me to précis parts of his fine book. All quotes
in the following sections are from The Web of Deceit, with one
The SAS 'Killer Squads
"An SAS officer noted: The SAS is the only agency whose job is to go out and zap people." (p. 97)
set up pseudo-terrorist 'counter gangs’ in Palestine in the 1940s and
Aden in the 1960s." These consisted of "former terrorists and loyal
tribesmen (Aden) led by British officers disguised as locals." They
were sent out in twos and threes to target those suspected of terrorism
against British and local targets. (p. 96)
Aden (South Yemen):
The SAS set up 'hit squads’ whilst the RAF bombed villages and crops
causing death and the evacuation of thousands. (p. 96)
Former SAS officers trained Afghan mojahidins from the beginning of
Soviet occupation. "Some SAS MI6 conducted 'disruptive action’. KMS, (a
private company) and then the SAS, trained commando units. Some Afghans
were disguised and brought for training at a secret spot in Scotland.
"Some SAS had back-up roles with the mojahidin." (pp.62-3) 2
Britain supplied around 600 'Blowpipe’ … anti-aircraft missiles (later
used by the Taliban) to these very same mojahidin, which shot down not
only Soviet aircraft but passenger planes as well. Britain’s MI6
officers also supported and trained Afghan warlords. The CIA and MI6
trained Osama bin Laden’s supporters. The "war on terrorism" is "at
least partly a creation of our (US, Saudi, Pakistan and Britain’s)
making." (p. 64)
Iran: The coup putting The Shah into power was
arranged by the CIA and MI6.. (p. 310) The SAS "loaned soldiers to the
Iranian military to help train the Shah’s special forces for operations
against Kurdish guerillas in N. Iran." MI6 was in contact with the
Shah’s intelligence service, SAVAK; some SAVAK officers were trained in
the UK in 1957. About 100,000 people were killed by the Shah’s regime.
Northern Ireland: Modern 'death squads’.
Kurt Nimmo has written an article about the SAS involvement in Northern Ireland. More
Yemen: MI6 worked with tribesmen to 'direct the planting of bombs’ at
Egyptian military outposts while garrison towns were 'shot up’ and
political figures murdered.’ … MI6 "provided intelligence and
logistical support to the rebels." The rebels failed to dislodge the
government. (p. 281)
Malaya: Between 1948 – 1960 a
'counter-insurgency’ campaign against the Chinese was waged on behalf
of rubber interests in the UK.
'Killer squads’ were used in this
brutal colonial war of decapitations, defoliants, detentions,
villageisations’ and bombs. SAS squads from Rhodesia served alongside
the British. The British declared this war an 'emergency,’ and (as in
the war in Afghanistan/Iraq) thus declared themselves immune from war
crimes. (pp. 334 – 345)
Oman: Britain effectively controlled
Oman, its oil, and the repressive Sultan. Britain was "therefore
responsible for the repression." (p. 277). There was a rebellion in
Northern Oman, during which "the SAS fought a covert guerilla war
whilst the UK Royal Air Force engaged in bombing and shelling of rebel
villages and strongholds." The "British 'success’ was mainly due to
inflicting terrifying violence." The British ridded themselves of this
Sultan and he came to live in the Dorchester Hotel.
Sultan had his own personal 4-man SAS. "An SAS unit organized 1000
irregular forces to fight the rebels. Enemy corpses were
dumped in the main market square. (pp. 277 – 280)
Pakistan: SAS trained special Pakistani forces. (p. 62; see Afghanistan)
"Squads were given a free hand to kill Jewish terrorists seeking an end
to British rule and were able to adopt methods close to those adopted
by the Jewish terrorists"… (p. 96)
Rhodesia: "former SAS officers were recruited… by the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) in the l970s." (p. 97)
Zambia: the SAS were involved with bombings and assassinations against Rhodesian nationalists.
MI5, MI6 And Assassinations
long history has been buried. British government involvement in
assassinating foreign leaders is virtually an elite tradition" (p. 95)
Hoxha, Albanian president, assassination plans by MI6, 1948. (p. 95)
Nasser, in the 1950’s: poisoned chocolate attempt; A SAS hit squad then considered other methods. (p. 95)
Sukarno of Indonesia: evidence of MI6 plot in 1950s. (p. 95)
Colonel Grivas, Cypriot guerilla leader: assassination plans by MI6 in late 1950s. (p. 95)
Hammarskjold, 1959 plane crash: "meetings between MI5, the CIA and a
South African military front company and plans to place TNT in the
wheel bay of an aircraft." described in letters. UK governmental denial
of this was in a Guardian 1998 article. (p. 95)
Others considered: Chandra Bose India; The Mufti of Jerusalem (1950s) (p. 95)
Obote, Ugandan president: assassination plans by MI6 in 1969. (p. 95)
bomb in Beirut, 1985, intended to kill Sheikh Fadlallah, the Shia
leader, exploded. "Around eighty people were killed, including women
and children, and over 200 wounded…The bombing was organized by the CIA
and Saudi agents with the assistance of Britain’s MI6. 3 (p. 94)
President of Serbia: MI6 put forward three options for assassination in
1992. 1) with an SAS bomb/sniper ambush; 2) Serbian paramilitary group
assassination; 3) road crash, eg. with strobe light. Later, NATO
aircraft targeted him during Kosovo war. (p. 96)
Plot, Libya, 1996: MI6 cable revealing knowledge of assassination
attempt by 'one officer and twenty men being trained especially for
this attack.’ "Claims that MI6 was in contact with 'Osama Bin Laden’s
main allies in the plot." Quadafi was not killed; six innocent
bystanders were. (p. 97) 4
MI6 paid £100,000 to the group. "Pure fantasy" said Robin Cook. Ben
Bradshaw, Foreign Office Minister, later noted in 2002 that "There is
no moral distinction between an attacker who kills civilians or
parliamentarians and a state that wittingly provides the resources that
facilitate such a terrorist attack. 5 (pp. 97-8)
British Torture & The British Army
investigation: "The British found the British army had engaged in the
torture of detainees … in counter-insurgency operations in Palestine,
Malaya, Kenya, Cyprus, British Cameroons (1960 – 61), Brunei (1963),
British Guiana (1964), Aden (1964-67), Borneo / Malaysia (1965 – 66),
the Persian Gulf (1970 – 71) and in Northern Ireland (1971)." (pp. 280
1. Mark Curtis, The Web of Deceit, Britain’s Real Role in the World, Vintage GB, 2003. Foreward by John Pilger. Back
2. Curtis footnote no. 30, Cooley, Unholy Wars, pp. 95-7, 81 Back
3.Curtis footnote 42, More Back
Curtis footnote no. 48: Dorril, MI6, p. 793; Richard Norton-Taylor,
'Gagging orders issued in MI6 trial, Guardian, 7 October 2002 Back
5. Curtis footnote no. 50: More Back
Part III : Some Questions
Who is killing doctors in Iraq?
Who is killing journalists and photographers in Iraq?
Who is killing Iraqi teachers?
Who is killing Iraqi scientists?
Who shot Juan Torres in Bagram, Afghanistan?
Who are the "insurgents" kidnapping, beating and drugging people, forcing them to set off bombs that kill Iraqi citizens?
Who is being abducted and where are they?
What company is making the infrared bombs being used in Iraq?
Why are governments allowed to continue to commit torture and murder without fear of legal reprisal?
"State sponsored terrorism is by far the most serious category of terrorism in the world today." (Curtis, ibid., p. 94)
Appendix : Blair Fiction fog
is hypnotically interesting for journalists. The public becomes a
'willing accomplice’ to the crime. The purpose of spin is to get the
media, and thus the world, to take their eyes off the ball. In Basra,
the eye was uncomfortably on the ball marked 'Two British Men
Arrested.’ The most recent spin headlines in the UK media concern the
alleged interference of the Iranian "insurgents" on the borders of
Iraq. Bush supports this, being the original instigator of demonizing Iran.
The British SAS have been faffing around the Iranian border for two months.
The dubious Blair accusation about Iranian "insurgents" was first noticed, I believe, by Kurt Nimmo in his blog Media Shifts Attention from SAS Screw Up to Iran on the 21st of September.
Blair Fiction Fog followed the Basra officials' announcement to boycott British troops
Going yet further back, it can also be seen as a response to the Iranian steadfastness to following its nuclear power development.
This Blair-Spin is now reaching epic proportions, with denials from both Iran and Hizbollah.
The accusation is but a part of the plan to make Iran "dangerous", in the same way as Saddam was "dangerous" with his WMDs.
When the US government feels the spin has seeded, then the (now deleted from Web) DOD nuclear plan of preemptive strike can then be activated. (Document available here)
While God speaks to Bush, we spin along our way, like lemmings, towards the cliff edge.
Photo Charles Dharapak/AP
Sarah Meyer is a researcher, living in Sussex, England. She is also a "citizen reporter" for www.mediachannel.org.