Socialist Worker

The Troublemaker—Court says war crimes were ‘murder’ but offers no justice  

Issue No. 2735

A full investigation into war crimes of British troops will be conducted

A full investigation into war crimes of British troops in Iraq will not be conducted (Pic: AshleyWest/Flickr)


Once again the British murderers have got away with it. The International Criminal Court (ICC) last week said it would not open a full investigation into war crimes committed by British troops during the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq. 

This was despite finding there was a “reasonable basis” to believe that war crimes were committed.

ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda concluded that responsibility for investigating and prosecuting the alleged offences rested with Britain. 

British investigations into thousands of claims over the last ten years have failed to produce a single successful prosecution.

The report nonetheless sets out the allegations of many instances of abuse it says were committed by British forces and may constitute war crimes.

The ICC notes that British forces in Iraq are believed to have committed “wilful killing/murder against seven persons in their custody”.

It said, “While under the control of UK armed forces Naheem Abdullah died from a blow or blows to the left side of his head inflicted by one or more British soldiers on 11 May 2003 at a roadblock control north of Basra. 

Ahmed Jabber Kareem Ali and Sayeed Shabram drowned in the Shatt-Al-Arab river after being detained by British troops on 8 and 24 May 2003, respectively.”

There are horrific charges of rape and sexual violence against victims while they were detained at Camp Breadbasket in May 2003.

One Iraqi detainee “was allegedly forced to the floor under the threat of a knife, brutally undressed, and raped by the two soldiers in turn. After the rape, the victim alleges that the soldiers started to punch him and cut his arms with the knife.”

Other examples of possible war crimes include interrogators and guards using torture methods to extract information and punish detainees. 

The ICC said torture techniques used by British forces include the so-called “five techniques”. 

The British government supposedly banned these in 1972 after they had been used in Northern Ireland.


Study shows fast Covid tests are rapid but rubbish

The rapid test kits most widely used in hospitals, universities and care homes across Britain detect only half of those infected with coronavirus, research has found. 

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) released research last Friday by the University of Liverpool. It found that the “lateral flow test” picked up just 49 percent of active infections. 

The test was the main technology used in a pilot programme in Liverpool involving 200,000 people last month. 

This has since been rolled out to care homes, hospitals and universities. 

The Liverpool university study also revealed that the city’s Health Protection Board postponed a trial of using the test to allow people to visit elderly relatives in care homes last month “due to the accuracy statistics”. 

At the time the council said it had postponed the trial to allow more time for talks. 

Rapid lateral flow tests can provide a result in 30 minutes without a need for laboratory processing. 

The government has spent more than £700 million on the kits, produced by Innova. 

The researchers at Liverpool university found that the Innova test gave a positive result almost 86 percent of the time in people with a high viral load, but failed to pick up those carrying low levels who typically do not display symptoms. 

The findings contrast with an evaluation of the Innova test earlier this year by Public Health England and Oxford university. 

These found it had an overall sensitivity of 76.8 percent.

However that study admitted that the test was only 58 percent accurate when administered by self-trained members of the public—which is how it is often used.


  • Israel’s new Ambassador to Britain, Tzipi Hotovely, used her first speech during an event organised by the Board of Deputies of British Jews to describe the Nakba as “a very strong and very popular Arab lie”. She added that the displacement of Palestinians since 1948, when Israel was created in their land, is “a made up story”. The creation of Israel saw nearly one million Palestinians systematically expelled from their land.

  • Lloyds Banking Group has revealed that its black staff are paid nearly 20 percent less than their colleagues. The average pay gap between black workers and their colleagues was 19.7 percent, while the bonus gap stood at 37.6 percent. It isn’t known whether this is worse than other banks because they don’t release figures.

Huge growth in stealing to eat from shops in US

A growing number of increasingly desperate people in the US are turning to shoplifting to survive. In Philadelphia thefts were estimated to be up 60 percent compared to last year.

Items stolen during the pandemic have largely been staples such as bread, pasta and baby formula. 

Jeff Zisner, chief executive of security firm Aegis, said, “It’s people stealing consumables and items associated with children and babies.”

Nearly 26 million adults—one in eight of the adult population—reported not having enough food, according to the Census Bureau. One shoplifter said, “I don’t feel much guilt about it. It’s been very frustrating to be part of a class of people who is losing so much right now. 

“And then to have another class who is profiting from the pandemic—well, let’s just say I don’t feel too bad about taking stuff from Whole Foods when Jeff Bezos, the owner, is the richest man on Earth.”

Revolving door win for government contracts   

A vice-president at a company with a £113 million government coronavirus testing contract started her role only weeks after finishing a  job at England’s test and trace programme.

Emma Stanton was director for supplies and innovation for test and trace on a fixed-term contract between July and November. 

Later in November she became vice-president clinical at Oxford Nanopore.

It’s one of the first companies to be awarded a contract to supply test and trace with rapid coronavirus tests. 

Elizabeth David-Barrett, an adviser to the government’s anti-corruption strategy, described this as “a revolving door issue”. 

“There’s a potential conflict of interest around what they were doing in office and the information they might be giving out in their new role,” she said.


'We can see them. And what we can see, we can hit, and what we can hit, we can kill, and the kill will be catastrophic’

What General Lloyd Austin, Joe Biden’s nominee for secretary of defense, said on the eve of the Iraq war

'It’s so integral that when you point out it’s existence, people assume you are against gardening, not racism

Botanist James Wong, who pointed out racism in British gardening to tabloid outrage 

‘Enjoy a lamb roast’ ‘Drink British’ 'Enjoy more Japanese’

Three of the ten things The Sun says you should do to make Brexit work

‘Many non-racist football fans will find it inappropriate, pompous and divisive’

Columnist Tony Parsons speaks up for the football fans who oppose taking the knee

‘Enforce our waters’

Tory Dominic Raab prepares himself for publicity to send warships to protect British Fish from foreigners


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