No 1200 16th September 2003
The Hutton Inquiry farce where everyone is lying or covering up for the stench of imperialist rottenness in Iraq, sums up the cretinous British ruling-class role in the corrupt decaying mess that is monopoly capitalism as its world rule crumbles. Even the polite & clubbing Swedes smell a rat; and the Third World's "declaration of war" at Cancun means just that. And the cynical Guardian treatment of the Arafat assassination threat as a joke shows that even "liberal democracy" pretensions are giving themselves up as a fraud, including the infamous "two-state solution" nonsense. The lesson the world needs to learn is what is the reason for Cuban muscle
The world trade talks collapse; Sweden's rejection of the Euro; and the latest American warmongering atrocities in Iraq, coupled with deeper-than-ever Zionist genocidal intransigence in Palestine,- all confirm the EPSR's premise that any understanding of global developments will only be grasped from a perspective of total, terminal capitalist system crisis on Earth.
If the assumption is only that the planet is suffering just from its usual plague of wretched or miserable events, but nothing more, - then not only will all predictions fail, but the great historical shift which is brewing will continue to be missed altogether, thus leaving the only true science of social evolution, Marxist-Leninist revolutionary understanding, - still in limbo.
The relentless slide into ever-worsening warmongering all over the world, plus the astonishing mess that Western monopoly imperialism's greatest-ever power, the USA, is getting into in Iraq and with its utterly meaningless and insane "war on terrorism", - was given a new twist by the Cancun trade-talks fiasco, right in line with a Review speculative forum discussion about the nature of World War III (see last week's EPSR).
Despite being from parts of the Earth which are literally still starving, not one but several collective Third-World lobbies were formed which ALL refused to be bullied into submission by the dominant Western imperialist powers, - while inevitably, of course, still failing to agree anything useful amongst themselves,- being all still incapable of a Marxist revolutionary perspective which is all that is going to help the world from now on.
But even though petty bourgeois reformist delusions are still rampant throughout these middle-class regimes and movements which congregated in Mexico, ideas are nevertheless being shifted by events, as was even recorded in the belated attempts by the Zapatistas to rescue their badly-compromised image from its fatal class-collaboration with the lying nonsense of "liberal-capitalist-democracy" promises in Washington and Mexico City. Their message in Cancun said in part:
Brothers and sisters of Mexico and the world, who are gathered in Cancun in a mobilisation against neoliberalism, greetings from the men, women, children and elderly of the Zapatista National Liberation Army.
The world movement against the globalisation of death and destruction is experiencing one of its brightest moments in Cancun today. Not far from where you are meeting, a handful of slaves to money are negotiating the ways and means of continuing the crime of globalisation.
The difference between them and all of us is not in the pockets of one or the other, although their pockets overflow with money while ours overflow with hope.
No, the difference is not in the wallet, but in the heart. You and we have in our hearts a future to build. They only have the past which they want to repeat eternally. We have hope. They have death. We have liberty. They want to enslave us.
This is not the first time, nor will it be the last, that the people who think themselves the owners of the planet have had to hide behind high walls and their pathetic security forces in order to put their plans in place.
As if at war, the high command of the multinational army that wants to conquer the world in the only way possible, that is to say, to destroy it, meets behind a system of security that is as large as their fear.
Before, the powerful met behind the backs of the world to scheme their future wars and displacements. Today they have to do it in front of thousands in Cancun and millions around the world.
That is what this is all about. It is war. A war against humanity. The globalisation of those who are above us is nothing more than a global machine that feeds on blood and defecates in dollars.
This is a world war of the powerful who want to turn the planet into a private club that reserves the right to refuse admission. The exclusive luxury zone where they meet is a microcosm of their project for the planet, a complex of hotels, restaurants, and recreation zones protected by armies and police forces.
All of us are given the option of being inside this zone, but only as servants. 0r we can remain outside of the world, outside life. But we have no reason to obey and accept this choice between living as servants or dying. We can build a new path, one where living means life with dignity and freedom. To build this alternative is possible and necessary. It is necessary because on it depends the future of humanity.
This future is up for grabs in every corner of each of the five continents.
Brothers and sisters, there is dissent over the projects of globalisation all over the world. Those above, who globalise conformism, cynicism, stupidity, war, destruction and death. And those below who globalise rebellion, hope, creativity, intelligence, imagination, life, memory and the construction of a world that we can all fit in, a world with democracy, liberty and justice.
We hope the death train of the World Trade Organisation will be derailed in Cancun and everywhere else.
Back to strength on resentment, emotion, and idealism, but as hopeless as ever on how something can be done about it, lacking the faintest grasp of Marxist science despite all the shallow online bullshit from Marcos and from the hordes of Zapatista admirers, all feigning "acquaintance with Marxism", etc.
Nothing is going to happen because of moral denunciations, no matter how moving.
The Western imperialist monopoly-domination of the planet can only be removed by conscious organised revolution, and that will happen only after the present ruling system in the world has escalated its present growing contradictions to breaking-point, and has also started to meet serious DEFEATS.
That revolution has got to grow out of the existing chaotic conflicts raging all round the planet where, for the most part, the fighting back against imperialist exploitation, corruption, and tyranny is initially erupting quite spontaneously or behind quite naive illusions or prejudices.
The world desperately needs an organised, Marxist understanding of exactly how this global crisis of the capitalist system is unfolding; what its reactionary leadership is likely to try next and how it will fare; and what are all the various forces being stirred up against this Western warmongering domineering, and how they need addressing.
Under the exploitational pressure of globalised capitalist monopolisation, the whole world is now more than able to adopt a Marxist-Leninist class political outlook which will be stimulated by the events themselves, and which alone will be able to make any sense of all the coming dramatic transformations in international affairs.
Even such reactionary bourgeois sources as Murdoch's Times are being drawn towards reflecting the enormous potential consequences of this dangerous crisis in American capitalism's anarchic rule over the planet:
United Nations, stay out of Iraq. Keep away from the snake-pit. Do not dilute the obligation on America and Britain to finish what they lave started. This is not the end. There will be more killings and car combs. Washington will eventually tire of the place and come begging to be rid of another relic of its military adventurism.
I wrote the above words on April 9 after George Bush and Tony Blair's "victory". I write them again. At that time American congressmen were boasting that they had done in a month what the United Nations had not done in 12 years. "Soft power" was for wimps. Hard power works. They had rid the Middle East of weapons of mass destruction and toppled a tyrant. It was "mission accomplished".
The West is now 500 body-bags wiser and a billion pounds a week poorer. Suddenly the path to Kofi Annan's UN office is a yellow brick road. The White House and Pentagon want what they swore they could do without, a UN resolution and the presence of other nations in Iraq, albeit under American command. They want them to take flak and pick up bills. An occupation that was to legitimise itself in cheering crowds on the streets of Baghdad now seems to need the tedious imprimatur of a UN resolution.
To many Iraqis, the UN is not a benign and impartial bystander. It legitimised ten years of bombing and economic sanctions. As every student knows, when sanctions do not work fast they merely bolster a regime in place and enrich the ruler's cronies. Under sanctions Saddam Hussein became one of the richest men in the world. The UN's oil-for-food programme dumped cheap food on 40 per cent of the country and in so doing devastated Iraq's farm sector, forcing people into Baath-dominated towns. It was mad.
The purpose of UN soldiers going to Iraq just now would be to get shot, which is why they are being sought. As the French point out, the UN would merely "rubberstamp American hegemony". Nor will the stamp come cheap. The 150,000 coalition troops in Iraq are contriving to cost as much in real terms ($5 billion a month) as 500,000 did in Vietnam. The cost in occupying what appears a hostile country is near unbelievable. There will be no return to UN partners.
The American volte face is due to domestic pressure for an early exit strategy. To Washington the UN is blatantly part of that strategy. But there is no exit strategy for the UN. As the Americans and British withdraw the UN would be left mixing it with the mullahs and the ayatollahs, the Shias, Sunnis and Kurds. Its troops would have to keep rival factions apart and guard construction sites and American controlled oil flows.
America and Britain are doing this now, honouring a pledge to stay in Iraq until democracy and reconstruction are achieved. Let their noses be kept to that grindstone.
Bush abandoned "mission accomplished" and indicated that Iraq is more unfinished business of September 11. It was now the "central front" in the War on Terror, he said. It was here that "the enemies of freedom are making a desperate stand and must be defeated". Even if Saddam and al-Qaeda were not friends before, they were now. Mr Bush is Horatio on the bridge. Most UN members do not see things this way. They see Iraq as a country desperately wanting peace and self-government that is being made a terrorist safe haven by America's inept occupation.
Osama bin Laden may not have fulfilled his threats to attack America with a "storm of aircraft", but in retrospect his boasts sounded almost restrained and poetic compared with President Bush's B-movie bragging about taking bin Laden "dead or alive". "If bin Laden thinks he can hide and run from the United States he will be sorely mistaken," said Mr Bush. "The guy's a goner. The only question is whether he's arrested in cuffs or taken dead." The interesting puzzle now is whether Mr Bush will still be president if and when that rhetorical question, posed two years ago, is answered.
But nobody can pretend that the US invasions that followed September 11 were entirely successful. Neither Iraq nor Afghanistan has been secured or freed of terror by any stretch of the imagination. Their people continue to live in misery and fear, above all dreading that America will soon abandon them to another tyranny as bad as the one they overthrew.
Now consider how the world must look from bin Laden's eyrie.
Suppose all he wanted was to divide the Western world, to demonstrate the weakness and short-sightedness of American power, to inflame the hysteria of already paranoid Muslim militants and to prove that US foreign policy was motivated by Zionist expansionism and greed for oil. Suppose there was also a streak of personal vanity in bin Laden. Suppose he wanted to humiliate the American Government, to elevate himself to the status of one of the world's greatest statesmen, equal or greater in importance than the presidents of American and Russia or the UN Secretary-General.
Suppose, finally, that he harboured a genuine and abiding hatred of all Jews and Christians, so that it gave him pleasure to cause them suffering - to disrupt their lives, to ruin their businesses and, above all, to scare the living daylights out of hundreds of millions of fat and contented people in America and Europe who had never even heard of the Prophet Muhammad before September 11, 2001. In that case, his coup must be judged as one of the greatest and easiest triumphs in the history of war.
So if bin Laden looks like the winner, at least so far, how on earth did this victory come about? How could a single maniac, commanding just a small ill-trained rabble from a mountain hideout, apparently prevail against the greatest military and economic power the world has seen?
The answer lies not in bin Laden's evil genius, still less in the righteous anger of the Muslim masses (most of whom would far prefer to live in Washington than in a Saudi-style Islamic state), but in the Bush Administration's own unforced errors. Mr Bush was determined at all costs to avoid the blunder made by his father when he failed to "finish the job" in the first Gulf War. Yet ironically that was exactly what the President did after September 11.
After invading Afghanistan, Mr Bush failed to "finish the job" of stabilising that unhappy country and rooting out the Taleban. After investigating the international links of al-Qaeda, he failed to finish the job by refusing to follow the trail of blood and money to its logical conclusion - the anti-Western theocracy of Saudi Arabia, ruled by a government which is the fount of all the Islamic fundamentalism poison pouring out of Wahhabi-financed mosques all over the world. Instead of dealing with the sources of fundamentalist terrorism in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan, Mr Bush capriciously changed the subject to Iraq. The Axis of Evil speech was delivered on January 29, 2002, just four months after September 11 - and from that moment it was clear that bin Laden would win.
Why did Mr Bush deflect attention from what was a straightforward and initially successfully war against terrorism centred on Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, to an ill-defined, legally dubious and morally ambiguous campaign against all "evil" regimes in the world?
Did White House focus groups reveal an emotional longing for a bigger military action than Afghanistan after September 11? Was Mr Bush just a puppet of neo-conservative and Israeli militarists who saw a sudden opportunity to redraw the map of the Middle East? Did the President simply want to keep America on a permanent war footing for political reasons? Did he need another villain after failing to capture bin Laden? Did he have personal reasons for wanting to distract the hostile media attention that was starting to focus on Saudi Arabia just before he delivered his Axis of Evil speech?
These questions may only be answered fully by historians in the future, although next year's election campaign may begin to expose some of the real causes and consequences of Mr Bush's geopolitical calculations. Meanwhile, bin Laden will be smiling mysteriously in his mountain lair, while the world continues to quake.
The slight tone of fanciful bemusement in all this deadly serious grim reading is always incurable in bourgeois class ideology, but the laugh is on the West increasingly, rather than on Bin Laden, as the realisation dawns that despite being by far the greatest-ever power in the whole history of empires, Americas imperial reign is rapidly demonstrating that it simply CANNOT DO ANY LONGER just what it likes in the way that imperialist blitzkrieg aggression normally expects to succeed.
Simple romantic explanations can account for this after a fashion, - the Americans are too fat, complacent, and stupid; the Iraqis are too proud and resourceful, and have suffered enough; the conditions are totally in favour of Middle East natives and totally hostile to Westerners; Washington arrogance messed up what could have been an easily victorious-all-the-way Western imperialist coalition, UN approved; etc, etc, etc, etc.
But a Marxist scientific understanding of why these dramatic world developments are turning out the way they are a) makes a far more convincing explanation of what is going on and, more importantly, how things are likely to turn out next; and b) alone makes possible a conscious global anti-imperialist struggle, organised around imperialism's insoluble weaknesses and the irresistible strengths of all the class and national forces roused up against Western crisis ridden domination.
The world is in the grip of a "classic" capitalist economic crisis (see joining box) in the sense of the two great inter-imperialist "overproduction" crises which culminated in World Wars I and II.
World War III is the only sensible working title for the unspeakable horrors, mess, and stupidity of what is unfolding around the planet now.
Automatically, serious attempts at a Marxist analysis constantly risk over-exaggeration when trying to pinpoint the possible features of a coming crash such as a steady collapse in the value of the dollar because of debt-financed profligate American warmongering; or irreparable trade-war conflict breaking out between the USA and Europe; or corporate bankruptcies engulfing the West in the way that all growth has stagnated in Japan over the past 12 years; etc, etc, etc.
Equally automatically, the capitalist press is now non-stop full of every kind of artificial "recovery" story to boost confidence that another great 1930s Depression has at last been averted by a new boom springing up.
But saying so cannot make it so, and the only scientific expectation must be that the "surplus" of capital's "overproduction" crisis is going to go on causing more and more massive corporate bankruptcies worldwide, leading to ever-increasing currency wars and currency collapses, in turn resulting in overgrowing risks of major banking failures, rapidly followed by the paralysis of state structures themselves, and the wipeout and unemployment of millions upon millions of people in every country.
And in these circumstances, every humiliated ruling-class without exception will refuse to admit their utter uselessness and culpability, or offer to hand the running of the state over to its people, but will instead find scapegoats and excuses for what has gone wrong, preferably naming the country's oldest traditional foreign "enemy" as the one to blame for the catastrophe, for which only going to war would be the fitting response, etc, etc, etc.
But understanding all this, the working people everywhere can be forewarned, and therefore forearmed.
And in this warmongering nonsense, the one crucial understanding that workers must have is that their OWN ruling class's DEFEAT provides the best possible outcome and way forward.
But given this incurable warmongering crisis, and how its final insane destructive climax will play into REVOLUTIONARY anti-imperialism's hands, a convincing Marxist scientific explanation of the monopoly-capitalist system's doom ought to be able to understand some of the intermediate warmongering routes via which the great powers will eventually arrive at their fatal undoing via REVOLUTION following the intolerable suffering and humiliation of DEFEATS.
Speculation that the irreconcilable contradictions of a slump and mass worldwide unemployment could bring brand new serious challenges to Western imperialist world domination not only through inter-imperialist squabbling and defeats (such as led to proletarian revolutionary surges after WWI and WWII) but also through warmongering conflict between the West and Third World powers which have been turned by globalisation and all modern history into formidable opponents of Washington's diktat, - has been underlined at Cancun.
On top of the oilrich and modern-armaments-experienced countries like Iraq, now able to seriously challenge the USA's powers of world control, America-leaning would-be big powers like Brazil, India, Mexico, Nigeria, China, Philippines, Argentina, etc, are all now posturing mightily, - in defiance of Western bullying threats (of more trade war and of aid and cooperation-withdrawal unless the Third World relaxes its barriers against further Western monopoly penetration).
The size and cultural heritage of some of these countries in modern times, compared to Iraq, suddenly puts this crazed. bout of renewed colonial-domination warmongering by US imperialism (repeating the West's build-up to World Wars I and II) into an entirely fresh light.
A regime-change in China is one of the very targets on the Washington neocons warmongering list in the event of an ongoing and incurable global economic crisis which threatens the very imperialist power of America.
Never mind about China. If Iraq is so indigestible, and even Afghanistan is refusing to be knocked passively into shape, what chance does US imperialist domination have of surviving if it even had to take on Iran as the next "axis of evil" nuclear-weapons-seeking "rogue state", - nearly three times as big as Iraq in size, population, potential wealth, difficulty of terrain, and traditional pride of cultural equality with the West, or even superiority.?????
And as for a US military bullying of China, India, or even Pakistan, Indonesia, or Brazil, surely the joke of America's pre-emptive threat to all the countries in the world in its fear of the consequences of insoluble global economic collapse is already up???
Which leaves the USA ludicrously quagmired in Iraq, Afghanistan and (by proxy) Palestine, with no real hope of "complete victory" in any of them so as to enable a triumphant pull-out, - exactly as the capitalist system's own bourgeois realists are admitting (above and subsequently).
But the global economic crisis roars on uncontrollably, driving more and more imperialist voices towards a frantic warmongering response.
But Palestine remains the abiding symbol that even the most total, brutal, genocidal warmongering tyranny against a totally captive population still cannot provide imperialist domination with any comfortable continuation in today's globalised world.
The capitalist ruling-class system has exploited and tyrannised its way into a total historical cul-de-sac from which there is no way out, only DEFEAT.
And the only worthwhile, sane, and constructive follow-up will be world socialist revolution.
Even bourgeois writers are already claiming to see ironical justice in the way that history is turning out, (albeit while still incapable of embracing any notion of a revolutionary new world, but quietly still dreaming of "reforming" the existing set-up in some way, - an obvious impossibility).
And it is even becoming quite bourgeois smart to turn the notion of "terrorism" to the discredit of the USA itself rather than just be mesmerised by it as the terrified capitalist class is supposed all to be:
These two September 11s are related in many ways, and both help us understand why George Bush has led the US into a quagmire in Iraq.
On September 11 1973 Salvador Allende resided in the Chilean presidential palace. He was the first freely elected socialist leader in the world, and ever since his victory in September 1970, the CIA and the US government, headed by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, were determined to oust Allende and his Popular Unity coalition.
It was on September 11 1973 that they succeeded. Led by General Augusto Pinochet, the Chilean military overthrew Allende, who died in the presidential palace. More than 3,000 people perished in the bloody repression that followed under Pinochet's rule, including two American friends of mine, Charles-Horman and Frank Terrugi.
Prior to the attack on the Pentagon on September 11 2001, the most sensational foreign-led terrorist action in Washington had been carried out by a team of operatives sent by the Pinochet regime. On September 21 1976, agents of the Chilean secret police organisation, Dina, detonated a car bomb just blocks from the White House, killing a leading opponent of Pinochet's, Orlando Letelier, and his assistant, Ronni Moffitt.
These assassinations were linked to the first international terrorist network in the west, Operation Condor. Begun in 1974 at the instigation of the Chilean secret police, it was made up by the intelligence services of at least six South American countries that collaborated in tracking, kidnapping and assassinating political opponents. Based on documents divulged under the Chile Declassification Project of the Clinton administration, it is now recognised that the CIA knew about these international terrorist activities and may have abetted them.
After the murders of Letelier and Moffitt, the CIA concluded that Condor was a rogue operation and may have tried to contain its activities. However, the network continued to act throughout Latin America at least until the early 1980s.
Chilean and Argentine military units assisted the dictator Anastasio Somoza in Nicaragua, and helped set up death squads in El Salvador. Argentine units also aided Honduran military death squads that began operating in the early 80s with the direct assistance and collaboration of the CIA.
Similarities abound between the emergence of terrorist networks in Latin America and events leading to the rise of al-Qaeda. Osama bin Laden first became involved in militant Islamist activities when he went to Afghanistan in the 1980s to fight with the Mujahideen against the Soviet-backed regime that had taken power. Even in the 1980s it was recognised that many of those fighting against the Soviets and the Afghan government were religious fanatics who had no loyalty to their US sponsors. Ronald Reagan likened them to America's "founding fathers".
In Central America, Reagan called thousands of former soldiers of Somoza national guard "freedom fighters", as they fought the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. And when the Sandinistas went to the world court to press charges against the US for sending special operatives to bomb its port in Corinto, Reagan withdrew from the court, refusing to acknowledge the rule of international law.
In the aftermath of the attack on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, former US government officials and conservative pundits attempted to rewrite this sordid history. Instead of acknowledging that past CIA operations had gone awry, they insisted that Bin Laden's network had flourished because earlier US collaboration with terrorists had been curtailed. Kissinger said the controls imposed on US intelligence operations over the years had facilitated the rise of international terrorism: He alluded to the hearings of the senate foreign relations committee in 1975, headed by senator Frank Church, which strongly criticised the covert operations approved by Kissinger and led to the first legal restrictions on CIA activities, including the prohibition of US assassinations of foreign leaders.
Other Republicans, including George Bush Sr, who was director of the CIA when the agency worked with many of these terrorist networks, pointed the finger at Bill Clinton for allegedly undermining foreign intelligence operations. They argued against his 1995 order prohibiting the CIA from paying and retaining foreign operatives involved in torture and death squads.
Instead of ending transgressions against other nations, the US has spread carnage and war, violating civil liberties and human rights. The failure of the US to bring stability to Iraq and Afghanistan, along with stepped up terrorist activities around the world, demonstrates that the US war against terror is a failure.
Using the principle of "universal jurisdiction", 19 citizens of Iraq filed a suit in Belgium courts in May against Tommy Franks, the commander of the US invasion. They charged that his troops stood by as hospitals in Baghdad were looted, while other US soldiers fired on ambulances that were carrying civilians. The Bush administration threatened Belgium with "diplomatic consequences" if it allowed the case to go forward. Eventually, Belgium kow-towed to US demands and altered its laws relating to universal jurisdiction. But as we achieve some distance from the war, perhaps charges will yet be brought against the US invaders of Iraq.
The struggle is joined. The years to come will focus on the great divide that has emerged out of the two September 11s. On the one side stands an arrogant unilateralist clique in the US that engages in state terrorism and human rights abuses while tearing up international treaties. On the other is a global movement that is determined to advance a broad conception of human rights and human dignity.
It is fundamentally a struggle over where globalisation will take us, whether the powerful economic and political interests of the world headed up by reactionary US leaders will create a new world order that relies on intervention and state terrorism, or whether a globalist perspective from below based on a more just and egalitarian conception of the world will gain ascendancy.
Weeks go by without serious newspapers investigating or commenting on human rights abuses by the American government. At home and abroad, hundreds, maybe thousands, of men are being held in camps and prisons by the military, by the CIA and by the justice department, incommunicado, without legal representation or hope of release, there to endure prolonged and terrifying interrogation. Alone, this is enough for the US government to place itself in contravention of the Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, which it is obligated to uphold. But that is not all. There is evidence that the US authorities have encouraged the use of torture and may indeed have participated in the torture of those men they believe to hold information on past and future terrorist attacks.
We surely didn't imagine two years ago that this would be an outcome of 9/11 and yet it has happened with such ease, the once rights-conscious American public turning its gaze the other way; along with the self-regarding worthies of the American newspaper industry. The one exception has been the Washington Post, which alone has pressed the US government on the legality of Guantanamo Bay and the processes instituted there, not by lawyers, but the jesuitical neoconservative mandarins of the Pentagon, and it has gone someway to exposing the "stress and duress" techniques applied to prisoners at the US base at Bagram in Afghanistan.
In March, prisoners at Bagram reported being beaten, deprived of sleep and made to lie naked on a sheet of ice. The same month, US military coroners ruled that the deaths of two prisoners in mysterious circumstances were homicides. Just before the invasion, I met an American who is attached to a shadowy military/espionage operation; I asked him about the rumours of torture. He replied with a look of astonishment. "Are you crazy? Of course. That's the war we've got on our hands. We didn't ask for it this way."
By far the most disturbing development is the American practice of handing over recalcitrant prisoners to be tortured by compliant regimes in Jordan, Morocco and particularly Egypt, where beating, drowning and even electric shock treatment are used. When a man is transported bound and blindfolded - in the American parlance "packaged" - it is said that he has been "rendered" to a foreign service, and from the unutterable hell of his subsequent experience come "extreme renditions". The desired result of this process is a complete set of answers to questions drawn up by US intelligence that are then fed into a database which, without a trace of irony, has been codenamed Harmony.
Naturally, the CIA officers are not themselves applying the electrodes to genitals or rubber truncheons to the soles of the feet, but in the case of prisoners being tortured in Saudi Arabia, they are on hand, in the words of CIA director George Tenet, to "share the debriefing results".
When confronted with the facts about the treatment of British subjects in Guantanamo Bay, the government fielded Baroness Symons from the Foreign Office, who refused to condemn outright either the lack of rights in the camp or the threat of the death penalty being ordered by a military panel.
If she can't see it as her primary duty to speak out against human rights abuses by an ally, what on earth is she is doing in the government?
And the latest US imperialist outrage in Iraq shows how this NAZI-Gestapo essence of ALL imperialism now regularly shines through every activity of what Stalin idiotically called "non-aggressive US imperialism" (when preparing the class collaborative ground for Gorbachev's eventual self-liquidation of the world's first workers state replacing capitalism, - the dictatorship of the proletariat replacing the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie).
The American colonial bullies no longer wear jackboots, but the murderous collective punishment brutality, (supposedly the hallmark of German imperialism but in fact all pioneered by British imperialism first as was every filthy trick throughout colonial history), now routinely characterises the spirit of everything inflicted by the US imperialist occupation of Iraq:
The US military reignited tension in one of Iraqis most troubled towns when its troops mistakenly shot dead eight policemen who were chasing a car full of suspected bandits.
American military officials were at a loss last night to explain why their soldiers opened fire with heavy machines guns on the officers, who were in two clearly marked Iraqi police cars in the town of Falluja.
As well as the eight who died, four other policemen were injured. Their patrol cars had their sirens on and their warning lights flashing as they chased the suspects through the centre of town early yesterday. As the vehicles passed in front of a US military base American tanks opened fire without warning.
The suspect car, a dark BMW believed to be carrying several gunmen, disappeared untouched by the shooting.
Police officers described how they pleaded with the soldiers to stop firing as their colleagues died around them.
A Jordanian security guard on duty at a Jordanian funded hospital opposite the US base was also killed. Four other guards outside the hospital were injured and the buildings were seriously damaged by heavy American shelling.
In a separate incident in another troubled Sunni town near Falluja, two US troops were killed and seven others were injured during a raid in Ramadi. The US authorities refused to elaborate on the operation. Many in Falluja are already fiercely critical of the US military occupation.
Even those who welcomed the fall of the Iraqi dictator lost any sympathy for the US troops after they opened fire on a crowd of unarmed protesters in Falluja in May, killing 18 people and leaving at least 70 injured.
In the long run, it is imperialist warmongering reaction which teaches the world its necessary revolutionary Marxist politics and Palestine is the classic current Middle East example of this process at work.
Zionist-NAZI terror just cannot refrain from non-stop brutal tyranny and deliberate personality-destroying humiliation, genocidally imposing torture on an-entire nation.
The sick reformist Revisionist "two-state solution", imposed by Stalinist cretinism to cover up the original monstrousness of Moscow's agreement to armed Zionist colonisation of Palestine in the first place in 1947, - is steadily looking more and more like the cynical artificial idiocy that it is, - an arbitrary reformist daydream which, if implemented, would effectively cement the Zionist imperialist land-grab for all time, and compound the tyrannical genocide of the Palestinian nation's homeland, and therefore compound the genocide of the Palestinian nation itself.
Although still defending the compromiser Arafat himself from more and more Zionist humiliation, a growing sector of Palestinian opinion is turning against the treacherous nonsense of a "two state solution".
There is one country of Palestine with one of the most ancient continuous cultures in the entire world, and from which a Jewish majority has been absent for nearly 2,000 years.
In the more recent shorter historical period than that, England has successively been majority Welsh, Saxon, Danish, and French in ownership, business, statecraft, language, and culture, including venerated books establishing various claimants' "destiny" to rule in the land now known as England.
Can all their "return" to what has been "promised them by God" be expected any day; and will Stalinism and the imperialism-fronting United Nations step in to back up the claims with armed support????
Palestine has been continuously as "Palestinian" in character as Palestine was before the 1948 Zionist invasion and occupation, for far LONGER than "England" has been definitively "English".
There is one Palestine. Let the Zionist colonisers take their chances within a majority Arab state, - if that majority will tolerate them.
And the logic of all modern history, denouncing and attacking Western imperialism and all its works, dictates that this must be the inevitable final conclusion in Palestine.
Put all reformist Revisionist treacherous compromise and its wretched "two-state solution" into the dustbin of history where it belongs.
Even capitalist press reports have started weighing all this up, typically, of course, while still never letting grip of the basic rotten Western-Zionist imperialist infamy that armed Jewish colonisation has some "rights" in the Palestine nation's homeland, - and angling much of the comment in the direction of some more circumspect Zionist urgings (against the most complete "grab-it-all" reactionaries) to settle for their exclusive statehood (on the best land and 78% of the territory - the nightmare "roadmap" plan) while they still can, or risk losing every colonial-imperialist privilege once again in the longer run due to eventually inescapable single-state resolution where the Arabs will soon rapidly out number the Jews:
But growing numbers of Palestinians and Israelis are realising that a point may have been reached where it is impossible for Israel to disengage from the West Bank and Gaza and leave room and resources for a viable Palestinian state.
Khatib believes the only way forward for Palestinians is to accept Israel's control and demand equal rights, an idea that is gaining momentum among Palestinians.
'When I used to analyse opinion polls, it was clear that support for the one state solution was a fast-growing trend although still a minority. Sooner or later things will need to move in that direction and the fault will lie with Israel's right-wing parties' he said.
In a document sent to the United States last year, the PLO warned: 'If the international community continues to remain unwilling to rein in Israeli settlement construction and expansion, irreversible facts on the ground and the de facto apartheid system such facts create will force Palestinian policy-makers to re-evaluate the plausibility of a two-state solution.'
The road network which serves the Israeli West Bank settlements is integrated with the Israeli network as are telecommunications, electricity and water. In many areas it is not clear where the West Bank begins arid Israel ends.
Israeli settlements have become so entrenched in the West Bank that according to Diana Buttu, a legal adviser to the PLO, the only direction for the Palestinians would be to call for equality in a single state for both Arabs and Israelis.
However such a state would lose its already slim Jewish majority within a few years because of the high Arab birth rate and the low Jewish birth rate. Currently there are 5.1million Jews and 4.93m Arabs on the territories controlled by Israel. According to projections, in 2020 there will be 6.69m Jews and 8.49m Arabs.
A former Prime Minister of Israel. Ehud Barak, who is preparing for a return to politics, emphasised the danger in an article last week in the Israeli daily, Yedioth Ahronoth. He wrote that Sharon's failure to act decisively in creating a Palestinian state would 'endanger the whole Zionist enterprise'.
Furthermore he could already discern a Palestinian position coming to the fore which demands not 'two states for two peoples', but one state from west of the Jordan River.
'However (and so the Palestinians will demand) this should conform to the spirit of the twenty-first century, i.e. be democratic, secular, with "one citizen, one vote." This position is liable to gain support from large parts of the world, as long as no acceptable Israeli plan is on the table. Barak wrote.
And some of the wilier Zionist colonists like Barak are even trying some public moral-guilt cleansing in efforts to concede international "peace treaty" confirmation of the land-grab deal before it is too late:
It turns out that the 2,000-year struggle for Jewish survival comes down to a state of settlements, run by an amoral clique of corrupt lawbreakers who are deaf both to their citizens and to their enemies. A state lacking justice cannot survive. More and more Israelis are coming to understand this as they ask their children where they expect to live in 25 years. Children who are honest admit, to their parents' shock, that they do not know. The countdown to the end of Israeli society has begun. It is very comfortable to be a Zionist in West Bank settlements such as Beit El and Ofra. The biblical landscape is charming. You can gaze through the geraniums and bougainvilleas and not see the occupation. Travelling on the fast highway that skirts barely a half-mile west of the Palestinian roadblocks, it's hard to comprehend the humiliating experience of the despised Arab who must creep for hours along the pocked, blockaded roads assigned to him. One road for the occupier, one road for the occupied.
This cannot work. Even if the Arabs lower their heads and swallow their shame and anger for ever, it won't work. A structure built on human callousness will inevitably collapse in on itself.
Note this moment well: Zionism's superstructure is already collapsing like a cheap Jerusalem wedding hall. Only madmen continue dancing on the top floor while the pillars below are collapsing.
We have grown accustomed to ignoring the suffering of the women at the roadblocks. No wonder we don't hear the cries of the abused woman living next door or the single mother struggling to support her children in dignity. We don't even bother to count the women murdered by their husbands.
Israel, having ceased to care about the children of the Palestinians, should not be surprised when they come washed in hatred and blow themselves up in the centres of Israeli escapism. They consign themselves to Allah in our places of recreation, because their own lives are torture. They spill their own blood in our restaurants in order to ruin our appetites, because they have children and parents at home who are hungry and humiliated. We could kill a thousand ringleaders a day and nothing will be solved, because the leaders come from below - from the wells of hatred and anger, from the "infrastructures" of injustice and moral corruption.
Meanwhile, the Stalinist-Zionist Aaronovitch pens a cocky send-up of Jewish monopoly-finance influence in American capitalist-imperialist circles to "humorously" stem the growing global disgust at Zionism's F-16 slaughter programme against defenceless Palestinian assassination targets.
This Goebbelsian "journalism" needs inundating with non-stop atrocity stories of daily Palestinian humiliation and brutal suffering to see if the Guardian finds these "funny' as well.
But all further progress on every anti-imperialist issue will remain bogged down for as long as the great historical question about the nature of workers states remains unresolved.
Aided by universal Stalinist stupidity and cowardice and by congenital Trotskyite petty-bourgeois anti-communism, - the great key to all Marxist-Leninist science of history namely that all capitalism can be only the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and nothing else, even in the most "democratic" of parliamentary republics; and all effective replacement workers states, building a publicly-owned and planned socialist economy, can only be the dictatorship of the proletariat for as long as substantial surrounding imperialist power remains active in the world, - remains under a cloud.
Until new globalised imperialist tyranny experiences and vastly clearer working-class consciousness disperses this cloud, the building of long-term effective anti-imperialist struggle will remain anchored in mud and confusion.
And it is the joke "communists" and "Marxists" who refuse to fight on these issues, all of them on the entire fake-'left' with their wretched "condemnation" of modern "terrorist outrages" which Marx, Engels and Lenin would all have enthusiastically celebrated as humiliating blows to imperialist tyranny (while chiding the laggardly communist movement for failing to be ahead of these spontaneous responses so as to give a better alternative scientific revolutionary leadership to these anti-imperialist manifestations), - - who are the worst obstacle to working-class understanding on these crucial historical questions.
The Western imperialist bourgeoisie do not make the same mistake, and still churn out the most misleading, foul, and distorted propaganda slanders against all workers-state manifestations, - both those surviving and those now matters of historical record, - in order to keep the whole world still well and truly brainwashed in anti-communism.
Another round of outrageous provocations to create more anti-communist propaganda has just been concluded against Cuba, forcing the Revolution to lock up a few more counter-revolutionary provocateurs in the pay of Washington.
And the bourgeois press, especially the "liberal" Guardian, duly obliged with the usual soggy "reporting" mixture of disgracefully irrational carping and mischief-making, interspersed with occasional "balanced" admissions (often unconscious) that the Cuban workers-state proletarian dictatorship is not all bad.
Here is the cleaned-up version, fit for human consumption, of the latest massive anti-communist diatribe from the Guardian:
The fading posters on the wall feature quotes from "the commander-in-chief", Fidel Castro, urging Cubans to "keep up their guard", the reception is one of typical Cuban warmth.
"If someone steals your wallet on the street here, I will run after them myself and get it back," promises Lazaro Gonzalez who, though 74 years old, means what he says.
He has no doubts whatsoever that, 44 years after Castro and his bearded rebels swept into Havana to oust the corrupt regime of Fulgencio Batista, the revolution is alive and kicking. "This is the most marvellous revolution in the world," he says.
If you want to find diehard adherents of Castro's version of state socialism, you can do no better than visit any of the thousands of CDRs, each pledged "to carry out the revolution in every neighbourhood".
A noisy, drunken game of dominoes is being played at the Committee for the Defence of the Revolution on Havana's San Lorenzo street, the pieces slapped down on the bare wooden table to the accompaniment of colourful, if amicable, abuse.
"We may have problems, my friend," says one player, as a bottle of white rum does the rounds at the Saturday night game. "But we have Fidel. He has the answers."
The San Lazaro CDR organises nightly neighbourhood patrols to keep eight city blocks clear of crime. It is an objective that, in a safe city already patrolled by numerous police, is reached with few problems. On a Havana street corner a billboard carries the boast "200 million street children in the world, and not one of them Cuban". Cuban children are just as likely to reach the age of five as their counterparts in the US. At current rates they will live to 76, one year less than in the US.
The few children on Havana's streets during the day are invariably dressed in neat school clothes. Their teachers claim they are serious students who flourish without the distractions of the consumer society. Literacy rates reach 96%.
David Hickey, an Irish surgeon and professor at Havana University, says Cuba does amazing things with limited health resources. "They are short of virtually everything, but I am amazed at the integrity and commitment of the Cuban doctors," he says.
When Fidel Castro wanted to show the film director Oliver Stone the splendours of the Cuban revolution while he was filming his recent documentary, Comandante, they travelled to Havana's Latin American School of Medical Sciences. Castro was mobbed by some of the 3,400 student doctors from Latin America, and even a few from the US, studying for free at the Cuban government's expense.
However, the head of surgery at a Havana hospital, Mr Hickey complains, may earn less in a month than a hotel waitress gets in tips in a single day. Little surprise, then, that some doctors work nights as taxi drivers.
The quality of surgery is so good that health tourism has taken off, with doctors performing operations for dollar-paying customers whose funds boost the health budget. That has led to complaints that foreigners are getting a better service than native Cubans.
The most coveted jobs in Cuba are now in a tourist sector that is the country's biggest earner. The dollar became a legal currency in 1993 as Castro sought to refloat an economy which had been propped up by the old Soviet Union. It rules supreme, at least in the minds of many Cubans.
Those who live solely with Cuban pesos can make ends meet - but only just. Those who have dollars live best. The average monthly salary that goes into a Cuban pocket is 353 pesos, exchangeable for just $14.
A walk up San Lorenzo street gives an idea of how the inequalities function. At the Ideal corner shop, jam jars of rice, soya and oil are on display on the almost bare shelves. The Ideal is part of the peso economy, most of its prices controlled by the state and incredibly cheap. Here a pound of rice costs the equivalent of less than 1p. That would stretch the average salary a very long way, if the same goods were not rationed.
It is, of course, impossible to say with any accuracy how much support Castro's ageing revolution enjoys. One seasoned Cuba watcher, a European academic, puts pro-Castro and anti-Castro Cubans at similar numbers but with even more either too indifferent, tired, scared or conservative to mind about anything more than their immediate lives.
So why do millions go to the May Day parades or queue up to sign Castro's petitions? Not all are pushed there.
The relationship between 11 million Cubans and the 650,000 Cubans on the Miami-Dade county census is, perhaps, the greatest of all the many Cuban paradoxes.
Publicly they live in a state of perpetual confrontation, one lot hatching plots to overthrow Fidel Castro, the other lot in a constant state of vigilance for the invaders they believe may be coming.
Miami is home to the Cuban American National Foundation, the leading critic of the Castro regime. It is also where the US -government owned Radio Marti is based and is a recruiting ground for shadowy armed groups such as Alpha 66. From there the plans were made for the CIA backed invasion of the Bay of Pigs, the failed attempt to overthrow President Castro in 1961.
On Miami's rightwing radio stations and at political gatherings there is often pressure for a strengthening of the 40-year-old trade embargo that has, so far, spectacularly failed to produce the overthrow of Mr Castro.
It is a community which now boasts a leading representative in the Bush administration in the form of the secretary of housing and urban development, Mel Martinez, who lobbied to keep six-year-old Elian Gonzalez in the US after his mother died trying to get to Florida.
Miami hates Havana, Havana hates Miami and never the two shall meet - or that is what most people believe.
In reality, however, many Cuban Americans slip over frequently, disappear from sight in their family homes once they are in Cuba and provide the dollars - either during their visits or by Western Union money transfers - that almost all Cubans seek to improve their lives.
For Cuba, to a great degree, lives off Miami. As always, figures for receipts from abroad are hard to find, but the money sent home is estimated to be up to $800m (£500m) a year. That makes it a greater source of wealth than the sugar harvest and second only to that other provider of foreign currency, tourism.
Restrictions on who can come are obviously not tight. Among those heading off after their three-week stay, at home was 72-year-old Pasqual Gonzalez.
"I was in prison here for five years for trying to overthrow Fidel," he admits cheerily. "I've been back to see my daughter and her family. I miss her, she is my life, but I've never felt better.
"I weighed 134 lb when I left and now I weigh 193," he says, clasping his stomach happily.
The only restrictions on how much money they can bring through are written by the US government: $1,200 a year per person can go by Western Union, another $3,000 can be taken on a flight though nobody appears to check.
Under the terms of the US embargo on Cuba, scheduled airlines are not allowed to fly here. But charter aircraft can, though only Cuban Americans are meant to travel on them.
The Cuban Americans are a mix. There are brash ones who strut around wearing cowboy hats and gold chains and others who, apart from being a few pounds fatter, are indistinguishable from the people waiting for them.
Some demand the most expensive rental cars, others are rumoured to hire their jewellery from a Miami pawn shop. "Most just go and spend time with their families" explained one government official.
Many have been separated from relatives since 1994 when faced with an economy crumbling in the wake of the fall of the iron-curtain countries that had supported Cuba, thousands demanded the right to leave.
Those who try to hijack boats to get to Florida received a warning yesterday that they would no longer be made welcome in the US as 12 people who took a government vessel and three hostages last week were returned to Cuba after authorities pledged they would not face the death penalty. It was a rare example of cooperation.
Driving past the mansions of Havana's once opulent Miramar district, a taxi driver explains proudly how some of these beautiful houses, most owned by Americans or Cubans who fled to Miami, were given to the servants who had worked in them after the revolution.
On the cassette player Willy Chirino, a banned Cuban-American singer, is playing. "I love him, even if he is banned," the taxi driver says as the words of La Jinetera, a song about the Havana girls who swap their bodies for tourist dollars, blasts out.
Florida is less than 100 miles away. Twiddling with the knobs of the radio you can drive along Havana's streets and listen to the baseball commentary or the ranting neoconservative talkshows of Miami radio stations.
Cuban Americans are not the only US citizens who make it to Cuba, despite the formal travel ban that is in place.
"I just wanted to see what it was like before Castro died," explained a young lawyer from Santa Fe as she nursed a mojito in the Cafe Paris in Havana's Old Town. Her trip, however, had been made via Toronto and she risked a $7,000 fine for coming.
Cuban authorities estimate that thousands like her make it here every year. Some are just curious. Others are active embargo-busters, like the Pastors for Peace group who bring medicines to be distributed by the baptist church on K Street in the Varado neighbourhood of Havana.
At the end of the year the capital fills up with tour groups of wealthy American modern art collectors heading for the Havana Biennial or the studios of well-knowm modern artists such as Toirac or Kcho. Under one of the loopholes in the embargo, cultural trips to Cuba are allowed - though there are moves to tighten even that one later this year.
Back at Jose Marti airport, however, not everybody is convinced that moving to Miami is the answer to their problems. "Life is really hard there," says Nancy Hernandez, as she waits for her daughter Lionela. "You have to work hard and pay for everything.
It's not like here, where the government looks after you. I wouldn't go."
Claudia Marquez Linares, wife of the Cuban Liberal Democratic Party leader, Osvaldo Alfonso Valdes, is still bemused by his public "confession" of guilt, later broadcast on state television, during the April trials.
"He told me they had threatened to arrest me too if he didn't do it. They wanted him to say the Americans gave him cash, but he told them that was crazy" she explained.
Claudia and the other women have come together at the house of Gisela Delgado "for some mutual support".
When police came for Gisela's husband, Hector Palacios, in March they blocked off the street and set up floodlights. "It was like a Hollywood film, as though they were coming for a group, of terrorists rather than just one man," she said.
They took stacks of documents, computer equipment and several thousand books - part of a so-called "independent libraries" project which stocked the works of exiled authors such as Guillermo Cabrera Infante and Zoe Valdes. The books were, eventually, returned, but Mr Palacios, who had already spent two shorter periods in jail, never came back.
The severity of his 20-year sentence for "activities against the integrity and sovereignty of the state", and of those, of up to 28 years, handed down to the others, has done more damage to President Castro's support abroad than anything else for a decade.
The jailing of the 75 coincided with another event that shocked people abroad and in Cuba. On April 2, a group of 10 armed people hijacked the Cuarto Congreso ferry as it crossed Havana Bay with 50 passengers. They set a course for Florida where, under US legislation for Cuban exiles, they could have expected a warm welcome. But they ran out of fuel.
They were placed before a Cuban court, and three of the hijackers were shot at dawn three days later. Their families were only told afterwards.
"This represents a return to extreme repressive measures in use decades ago which cannot be justified, and which, ultimately, harm the Cuban people" Amnesty said. It was not enough, however, to deter others. Last week three would-be boat-hijackers reportedly committed suicide after being cornered.
The fallout abroad from the executions and arrests came quickly. Some leftwing intellectuals, such as the Nobel prizewinning novelist Jose Saramago, have publicly abandoned Mr Castro.
According to the Cuban authorities the 75 were paid US agents, aiding a 40-year trade embargo that prevents food and medicines getting here, and receiving both money and instructions from US-government-funded anti-Castro groups in Miami. Some $19,000 was found at the homes of Mr Palacios and another dissident - the family savings, according to their wives.
Mr Castro has laid the blame for all this on James Cason, George Bush's new man in Havana, whom the Cuban leader considers "a bully with diplomatic immunity'. Mr Cason had invited the dissidents into his home, allowing them to run courses there and encouraging his staff to look after them.
"We never gave anybody any cash," said one US diplomat. But, at the Independence Day party at Mr Cason's Havana mansion earlier this month, staff handed out bags that included, along with human rights documents, Tecsun short-wave radios. These were meant to help pick up foreign radio broadcasts. To many Cuban eyes, however, they were the blackmarket equivalent of a month or two's salary.
The arrests have led to an unprecedented confrontation between the EU and Cuba that is being played out in what Havana diplomats call "the cocktail party war". Britain opened the hostilities when its ambassador, Paul Hare, invited dissidents to the star event in the British annual diplomatic calendar, the Queen's Birthday party - forcing Cuban officials and dissidents into the same room, or at least the same subtropical garden. Other EU nations followed suit by inviting dissidents to all their national day parties.
Mr Castro is blaming this stand-off not on Tony Blair but on two recognisably rightwing figures, the Spanish prime minister, Jose Maria Aznar, whom he calls "the little Führer", and Italy's prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi.
The dissidents are grateful for the EU support. "I think there has been real waking up in Europe to what repression here is like," said Gisela Delgado.
But do ordinary Cubans care about the dissidents? With the aid of the state controlled media it has been easy to persuade Cubans, largely obsessed with the dollar and all it can buy, that the dissidents were only in it for cash and the chance of a Miami visa.
Some say the dissidents were fools to think they could outplay Castro.
The answer to that question is Osvaldo Paya, a dissident leader fired by deeply held Christian beliefs. Mr Paya, who is closer to European countries than to the US, has another explanation for the recent crackdown. Many of those arrested were coordinators of the Varela Project, a referendum petition drawn up by him under the terms of the Cuban constitution and signed by 11,000 people.
It called for reforms to guarantee free elections, the release of political prisoners and the right to sell labour freely.
The Varela project drew the ire of the Cuban authorities and of the exiled fundamentalists in Miami who saw it as too conciliatory.
Although Cuban authorities refused to accept the referendum petition, Mr Paya insisted that the project would continue to develop, even without 40 jailed coordinators. The Varela network has already been rebuilt. Mr Paya radiates both faith and optimism.
It is impossible to tell how many Cubans, if they could express themselves freely, would agree with Mr Paya. Few of those who do, however, seem prepared to take the risk.
The great paradox of modern history is that all of Stalinism's most wretched cultist and bureaucratic mistakes and crimes, throughout the workers states, flowed from an INSUFFICIENT understanding that what the Marxist-Leninist purpose was (for as strong-as-possible proletarian dictatorship for as long as necessary) was the NEED TO KEEP WORLD REVOLUTION as humanity's prime aim for as long as imperialism survival anywhere on Earth.
The worst purpose it could embody would be to halt polemical struggle, the lifeblood of ever developing Marxist scientific understanding of the world.
More power to Castro' elbow. Build Leninism. EPSR.
Back to the top
Back to the top