Press TV & World Beyond War – 2018-03-03 00:48:20
US Must Pay $245 Million in Damage
To Chemical Victims of Iraq-Iran War: Judiciary
(August 21, 2017) — The Iranian Judiciary has issued a ruling demanding that the US government pay around 245 million dollars in damage to a number of victims of chemical attacks carried out by Saddam Hussein’s troops during the 1980 to 1988 imposed war on Iran.
Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei, Iran’s Judiciary spokesman, made the remarks on Sunday, while noting that the amount would be distributed among 18 victims of the attacks who had filed for the legal action.
Hundreds of thousands of Iranians were killed in the Iraqi-imposed war and many more were affected by the chemical weapons like mustard gas that were used by the regime of the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Many of those Iranians who were attacked by chemical weapons and are alive today continue to suffer the lingering aftereffects.
Dead bodies are seen after Iraq’s gas attack on the Iranian city of Sardasht in 1987 during the rule of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. (Press TV)
Iraq once possessed a huge arsenal of chemical weapons, the production of which was facilitated by exports of chemicals as well as financial and technological support from the United States and other Western countries.
Iraq is believed to acquire the technology and the materials to develop chemical weapons from the US and a number of Western countries. According to reports, US spy agency, CIA, had knew about Iraq’s use of chemical weapons as early as 1983, but the US took no action against the violations of international law, and even failed to alert the UN.
US Oblivious to Trauma of War Victims
Press TV & World Beyond War
Press TV has conducted an interview with Leah Bolger, Veterans for Peace, Oregon about US military concerns for the mental health of returned soldiers from combat; and the inadequacy of institutional support.
The following is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Press TV: The comments made by Admiral Mike Mullen, are they testament to the fact that the US does not provide adequate health care and transitional facilities to veterans that are coming back from deployment in Iraq or Afghanistan?
Bolger: Well, I think that’s true I think that’s been a problem for a long time that service men and women and not receiving the adequate care they need. So, Admiral Mullen is calling for, in a very general way, saying we need to support our men and women who go into combat and help them with their mental health issues.
Press TV: Why do you think this help isn’t being provided by the government, which has made these people go and fight wars abroad?
Bolger: I think mental health has had a stigma for a long time. Soldiers that came back from World War I, World War II had the same kinds of symptoms that soldiers are experiencing now, but we didn’t call it post-traumatic stress disorder, it was called battle fatigue or shell shock â€“ it had different names.
It’s nothing new that soldiers that go into war zones come back different people and they have mental health problems as a result of their participation in combat. But we’re just now beginning to accept it as something normal. I think with this â€“ and this is not a shameful thing, but something that really is quite understandable when somebody is in something as traumatic as combat.
What upsets me and concerns me as a human being and as an American and just as a person of the world is that if combat is affecting soldiers in this way so that they are so severely depressed or that they are committing homicide or suicide, how must it be affecting the real victims of war â€“ the innocent people in Afghanistan and Iraq and Pakistan and all the other countries that American military has attacked?
These are truly the victims of war who are living an ongoing trauma and yet American society seems not to be concerned about their trauma or mental health issues at all.
Press TV: Indeed that is a very pressing question you raise there.
Going back to the issue of veterans and looking at a bigger picture also, it’s not just mental health issues now is it, it’s also the fact that they find it increasingly hard to get adequate health care; they find it increasingly difficult to get jobs once they’re back.
So, it’s a system-wide flaw, wouldn’t you agree?
Bolger: Absolutely. Once again, when people go and experience combat they are changed people. So they come back and many, many people that come back from combat have difficulty returning to a civilian life.
They find that their relationships with their family are no longer solid; there are much higher incidents of alcohol and drug abuse; homelessness; unemployment â€“ These kinds of problems escalate dramatically after people have been in combat.
And so what this says to me is that combat is not a natural thing, it doesn’t come naturally to people and so when that happens they are altered in a negative way and they find it very, very difficult to re-acclimate.
UN Judge Censures Croatia’s
Disrespect for Victims of Bosnia War
(December 3, 2017) — The chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has lambasted Croatian officials and the media for their refusal to come to terms with the court’s final rulings on Bosnia war of the 1990s, saying the posture clearly disrespects the victims of the war.
“It would have been hoped that Croatian officials and media would act more responsibly and promote acceptance of the facts, but that unfortunately is not what we are seeing,” ICTY chief prosecutor Serge Brammertz said Sunday.
“Instead, among many there is again a refusal to respect the judicial process and the facts proved, and claims that convicted war criminals are in fact heroes,” he said, adding, “This denial disrespects the victims.”
Brammertz’s statement comes days after an appeals court of the United Nations-backed ICTY upheld 2013 convictions for six leading former Bosnian Croat commanders for crimes they committed against the Bosnian Muslims during the Balkans conflicts.
The rulings issued in The Hague on Wednesday, however, were overshadowed by the suicide inside the court of one of the convicts who swallowed poison in protest to a 20-year jail sentence given to him. The 72-year-old Slobodan Praljak , who later died in a Dutch hospital, has been hailed by some Croatian authorities as a hero despite his proven role in killing of many Bosnian Muslims.
Brammertz said he regretted Praljak’s death, but insisted that it should not come at the expense of the suffering of thousands who were affected by his orders during the war.
“It is unfortunate that Mr. Praljak made the choice to end his life,” he said, adding, “But you will understand that my thoughts are with the victims and survivors of the crimes for which he was convicted.”
The UN judge defended ICTY for the job it has done over the past 24 years to prosecute those behind the worst atrocities in Europe since World War II.
“Our job as prosecutors was to establish the facts and hold senior officials accountable, and that is what we did,” he said, adding, “The final judgment in this case remains fully valid.”
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