A 15-month investigation by the Guardian and BBC Arabic reveals how retired US colonel James Steele, a veteran of American proxy wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua, played a key role in training and overseeing US-funded special police commandos who ran a network of torture centres in Iraq. Another special forces veteran, Colonel James Coffman, worked with Steele and reported directly to General David Petraeus, who had been sent into Iraq to organise the Iraqi security services.
Message from Lindsey German, national convener Stop the War Coalition
A big thank you to everyone who contributed to the conference on 30 November 2013. With over 400 registrations, plus speakers, volunteers and guests, it was a great chance to discuss and debate a range of issues from drone wars to the history of British imperialism, from the Middle East to Africa. The conference heard from a number of guest speakers including US journalist Jeremy Scahill, Indian campaigner Manik Mukherjee, Diane Abbott MP, Guardian journalists Jonathan Steele and Seumas Milne, Stop the War president Tony Benn, Jean Lambert MEP and many others. The various sessions were lively and well attended.
The conference was another chance to discuss the changing situation following the Syria vote in the British parliament, which forced the US and Britain to abandon its plan for direct airstrikes. At the same time, the general feeling was that the Middle East remains highly unstable and a target for imperialism, and that there are growing tensions elsewhere, especially in the Pacific with growing conflict between China on the one hand and Japan and the US on the other.
Below is a selection of speeches from the conference. Click image to play...
Recruiting 16-year-olds into the infantry puts the most vulnerable group in roles most exposed to trauma when they turn 18 and are sent to war