The New York Times has obtained a copy of the 2000 page confidential file of the US Army’s criminal investigation into prisoner abuse – torture – at Bagram, Afghanistan. To watch Tim Golden’s interactive report on his investigation into the deaths of two prisoners at Bagram go to the New York Times site and click on ‘The Bagram File’. (AJ)

The New York Times (registration required) is reporting that “The Iraqi government publicly acknowledged for the first time on Thursday that Iraq was the aggressor in 1980 when it touched off a bloody eight-year war with Iran”. (AJ)

The IFTU posts an excellent article by John Lloyd reporting from Iraq on the struggle for equality of Kurdish women. (AJ)

IFTU defended in today’s Guardian

Support for Iraqi unions Phil Lenton (Letters, May 10), doubts the credibility of the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions. I was part of a delegation that recently visited Iraqi Kurdistan. The IFTU and its Kurdish counterparts are militant trade unionists whose affiliates not only participate in strike action but, in the teeth of savage attacks by fundamentalist and Ba’athist groups, are building a strong trade union movement – the bedrock of civil society. The teachers’ union alone has more than 300,000 members and is growing. Rather than belittle such a process, Mr Lenton should, as does the TUC and many … Continue reading IFTU defended in today’s Guardian

Securing Iraq (14): They are not even Iraqis

As homicide bombers continue to devastate Iraq the Washington Post is reporting that “Officers here said they knew of no documented case in which a suicide attacker turned out to have been an Iraqi”. So it now seems that George Galloway was right when he said “actually, the Iraqi Resistance does not target its own civilians”. What price Tariq Ali’s ‘national liberation movement’ now? (hat tip HP) (AJ)

Support Iraqi unions

Friday May 6, 2005, Guardian Letters Some Iraqis (Letters, May 4) remind voters about the negative consequences of the war, which I and my colleagues also opposed. But positive changes are taking place in Iraq. Unions were repressed brutally by Saddam Hussein. Now a small clandestine network has been turned into a federation with more than 200,000 members. We want the same things as British people do and are trying – through political pressure, as part of the democratic process being supervised by the UN, negotiations with employers and strike action, where necessary – to improve workers’ pay and conditions, … Continue reading Support Iraqi unions

Reconstructing Iraq (11): Denmark to increase reconstruction aid to Iraq

Once a rescuer always a rescuer? Denmark’s government has decided to increase aid for Iraq’s reconstruction by an additional 100 million kroner ($17 million), officials said on Wednesday. Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller said the Scandinavian country would extend its troop mandate in Iraq for another eight months. In words that Charles Kennedy (and Robin Cook for that matter) should ponder long and hard Moeller has refused to set a date for a final pullout of Danish troops from the war-torn country, claiming that “if we did that we would risk seeing the terrorists putting their ammunition on ice … Continue reading Reconstructing Iraq (11): Denmark to increase reconstruction aid to Iraq

Reconstructing Iraq (12) US and Europe combine to support Iraq

On May 3th Hoshyar Zebari, Minister of Foreign affairs of Iraq discussed arrangements for the Brussels International Conference to be held in late June, 2005 with the participation of Iraqi and US governments and the European Union. The conference will discuss how to handle Iraq’s needs of political and economic support, reconstruction programs and maintaining the rule of law. See here and here

Praise for Iraqi elections in Guardian

George Galloway (These are Blair’s last days, May 3) refers to the “manipulated elections” in Iraq. I know the glorious “resistance” which he supports threatened to kill anyone who voted, but presumably that is not the manipulation he is thinking of. I notice too that he does not compare the recent elections with those in Iraq prior to 2003. Obviously no one was manipulating anything when his friend Saddam got 99% of the vote. What a pity those days are not still with us. Prof Bob Borsley University of Essex