Greens MP Adam Bandt was forced to apologise twice to new Liberal Senator and renowned fan of British neo-Nazi’s social media work Jim Molan, after Bandt called the former Australian general a war criminal.
Facing defamation, Bandt retracted and so let me state clearly I am not accusing the potentially litigious Molan of being a war criminal. Rather, he is simply an honourable member of our parliament who also happened, in 2004, to act as the Chief of Staff of the Multinational Force in Iraq that was occupying the Middle Eastern nation after the illegal invasion a year earlier, justified by lies.
In this position, Molan directly oversaw the occupiers’ military assault on Fallujah that included alleged war crimes, such as targeting civilians and medical facilities and using chemical weapons.
Writing in Online Opinion in 2008, Chris Dolan noted that as the third highest-ranking officer in the multinational force, Molan “not only planned, but also directed, the late 2004 attacks on Najaf, Fallujah, and Samarra”.
Dolan noted: “Fallujah is particularly notorious for the widespread and well documented allegations of serious atrocities, if not outright war crimes, committed by Coalition troops under Molan’s command. Noam Chomsky ... has described these allegations as ‘far more severe than the [Abu Ghraib] torture scandals’.
Dolan was writing in response to Molan’s just-released book Running the War in Iraq. Cynics might suggest, seeing as the said war was illegal under international law, such a title at least serves as a confession of complicity in that regard alone.
Dolan wrote that Molan gives a “highly sanitised version of what actually occurred under his command”.
Dolan said: “[Molan] conveniently omits the fact that an estimated 30,000 to 50,000 civilians still remained in Fallujah when the attack began ... Once the bombing began, all exits out of the city were sealed off.
“On October 16, the Washington Post reported that ‘electricity and water were cut off to the city just as a fresh wave of [bombing] strikes’ ... The Red Cross and other aid agencies were also denied access to deliver the most basic of humanitarian aid — water, food, and emergency medical supplies to the civilian population.
“The situation was so severe that the United Nation’s Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Jean Ziegler, stated that the Coalition had used ‘hunger and deprivation of water as a weapon of war against the civilian population [in] flagrant violation’ of the Geneva Conventions. Specifically Article 14, which clearly states that cutting off water, electricity, and denying access to humanitarian aid is considered to be a war crime.
“But it gets worse ... On November 7, a New York Times front page story detailed how the Coalition’s ground campaign was launched by seizing Fallujah's only hospital ... The city’s two medical clinics were also bombed and destroyed.
“Independent American journalist Dahr Jamail ... documented eye witness accounts of US troops denying the Red Cross entry to Fallujah to deliver medical aid, and firing on ambulances trying to enter the city ... The fourth Geneva Convention strictly forbids attacks on hospitals, medical emergency vehicles and any impeding of medical operations.
“Molan’s account also neglects to mention the now irrefutable evidence that chemical weapons, specifically white phosphorous, were used under his command on Fallujah. Irrefutable because US Colonel Barry Venable admitted it to the UK’s Independent newspaper a year later ... [T]he use of chemical weapons is considered to be a war crime, and a particularly heinous one ...
“Further allegations of atrocities occurred when US and Iraqi troops entered Fallujah. Jamail reports first-hand accounts of US snipers shooting women and children in the streets; unarmed men shot while seeking safe passage with their wives and children under a white flag; photographers shot as they filmed battle.”
Dolan concluded: “It is not conceivable that Molan was unaware of the serious and well documented accusations of atrocities being committed under his command.”
Well, I guess whether any of these alleged war crimes, about which Molan allegedly knew, are reasonable grounds to accuse Molan of being a war criminal, is just one of those matters best left for the philosophers to debate. Or possibly, I suppose, those versed in the nuances of international law like, say, I dunno, a legal team working for the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague.
Now again, I am not suggesting the ICC would necessarily find Molan guilty of anything. I am merely saying that the outcome of a serious investigation of this sort into the actions of military forces he headed in Fallujah would certainly make interesting reading. At the very least for those policy geeks out there who are into the meaning and potential application of obscure documents like the Geneva Conventions.