Engraving of Lenin busy studying

Economic & Philosophic Science Review

Only he is a Marxist who extends the recognition of the class struggle to the recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat. This is the touchstone on which the real understanding and recognition of Marxism is to be tested.--- V. I. Lenin

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No 1205 21st October 2003

Blowing up US backers of Zionist colonial tyranny is real taste of WWIII that capitalism's crisis is plunging into. Zionism is the symbol of Western imperialist world domination. Potentially murderous splits in Washington reflect the world hatred for this collapsing global system and how Western internal conflict will help growing international revolt bring it down. Fake-'left' continues totally misleading the working class about where the real struggle for the planet's socialist future is unfolding.

American deaths at the hands of Palestinian resistance merely moves imperialism's warmongering crisis onto a more realistic footing and will not harm the PLO's just cause in the slightest.

It is on the front line of Third World revolt that the West is going to lose its cynical conspiracy to maintain its grip on world exploitation via the cover of a ludicrous "war on terrorism".

Where better for these blows against corporate monopoly tyranny to be seen escalating than in Palestine whose genocidal repression by Western finance capital and its Zionist agents is provoking universal outrage.

The entire nonsense about "terrorism being the enemy", doomed anyway, is shown up best of all for its utterly empty and blind stupidity on the issue of Palestine where the Nazi holocaust tactics of the West and Zionism to ethnically cleanse a whole nation from its homeland has turned the territory into just one giant concentration-camp prison for its talented native Arab people, for the last 1,500 years the overwhelming population from the Jordan to the sea (far, far longer than England has been "English") and now left without any serious homeland of their own, evicted by post-1945 Western colonial terror.

The jackboot of imperialist occupation can only be resisted by armed resistance, blowing up or shooting whatever can be targeted in defiance of barbaric repression.

Now the US imperialist authors of this last great historical outrage by Western colonial tyranny, waging war to subdue the whole Middle East (from Afghanistan to Palestine), or threatening it, — in the joke pretence of a "war on terrorism", — are possibly going to be faced with the decision to come clean and openly strike back themselves at the Palestinians (or just commend more Zionist brutality for doing the job for them); or else just walk away from the challenge, with equally disastrous consequences for this whole sick American warmongering-crisis programme.

The most daunting thing about striking back "to avenge American deaths" is that such brutal imperialist crushing of resistance is already what has failed not just in Palestine but elsewhere round the Middle East as well (apart from notoriously causing catastrophic humiliation for US imperialism (in Vietnam and elsewhere) in earlier challenges to the West's world domination).

The West's Zionists have been non-stop "avenging" and "smiting back" for more than 50 years against any squeak of Arab resistance to this reimposition of colonial tyranny, and doing it far more ruthlessly and effectively that the less motivated US Empire forces themselves could do.

But it still has not stopped the national liberation "terrorist" revolt gaining steadily and relentlessly in strength, capability, and achievement.

And the Americans themselves have already run into brick walls of their own making in their own attempted colonial occupations "for nation-building purposes" in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Getting yet more bloody setbacks for the Americans in Palestine is likely to be the last straw for US public opinion toleration of this degenerate imperialist warmongering in the twilight of the historic epoch of Western imperialist world domination; — and international opinion will only grow increasingly incandescent against American arrogance and bullying.

But as in Iraq and Afghanistan, just walking away from this growing debacle is a disastrous-looking option as well.

And either way, if this broadening of the Palestinian targeting continues, the whole "Middle-East-peace-process" cover for America's blitzkrieg into the region of the world's greatest oil reserves (and potentially greatest political revolutions), will be blown sky-high.

If Palestine now gets a direct US blitzing (as opposed to American repression via Zionist proxies), the entire Third World could go into uproar.

If the Americans just pretend to ignore it, or walk away, or just let Zionist brutality "avenge" it, then the USA's "peace process" involvement in the Middle East will show up blatantly as merely a complete sham which cannot cope with any real engagement.

This open exposure of Washington's "peace" fraud would be a devastating blow to all the rotten Arab-nationalist and Muslim regimes all round the Middle East who have hitherto sheltered from their own irate anti-Western public opinion, to some extent, on the basis of US promises for "comprehensive just peace settlements" for all, once "rogue-state terrorist disruption" (i.e. Saddam Hussein, al-Qaeda, etc) had been "dealt with".

These regimes have used this ludicrous eyewash so they can continue to sit on their hands and do nothing about the monstrous humiliation for all Arab-nationalist and Muslim "pride" that the armed Zionist tyranny over Palestine (and other Near-East states, and beyond) has always represented.

Mass discontent with the Western imperialist "New World Order" was already swelling anyway. A bloody end to the sham of US "neutrality" in Palestine, adding to America's mounting discomfort and unpopularity over Iraq and Afghanistan, etc, would bring this anger closer to boiling point.

This Zionist colonial symbolism of Western imperialism's "might is right" unfairness and incompetent economic domination is now receiving more and more open condemnation from the Third World, marking a new decisive stage in monopoly capitalist crisis.

And international bourgeois press opinion has been predictably "alarmed" but also interestingly restrained in its reaction against the "shock" of one particularly outspoken outburst:

ASIA'S longest-serving leader and scourge of the West, Mahathir Mohamad, used his final appearance on the international stage to deliver a typically acerbic speech yesterday warning his fellow Muslims that Islam had reached a low point while Jews ruled the world.

Addressing the opening session of the 57-nation Organisation of the Islamic Conference, the Malaysian Prime Minister said that Israel was "the enemy allied with most powerful nations".

"The Europeans killed six million Jews out of 12 million. But today the Jews rule this world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them," he said, "1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews."

It was time to plan a counter-attack against the enemies of Islam who treat Muslims with "contempt and dishonour" he said. "We cannot fight them through brawn alone, we must use our brains also." Dr Mahathir said Muslims must learn from Jews and that the Jewish people had "survived 2,000 years of pogroms not by hitting back, but by thinking

..[Jews] invented socialism, communism, human rights and democracy, so that persecuting them would appear to be wrong; so that they can enjoy equal rights with others. With these, they have gained control of the most powerful countries and they, this tiny community, have become a world power."

Nervous accusations of "anti-semitism" have cut no ice. Versions of "master race" or "chosen people" philosophy, such as shared by many religious derangements (Jews included), have been a non-stop feature of Western imperialism's 800 years of world domination.

And the Jewish slant on this ruthless "New World order" imperialist mentality is inevitably influential in Western monopoly corporate policy-making and political circles today, especially in Washington, New York, and London, etc.

What else could possibly explain the sickening Western imperialist bias for the past 56 years condoning Zionist colonial brutality and tyranny, genocidally repressing the Palestinian nation??

It is a grotesque injustice and racial prejudice against the Arabs which is beginning to exasperate and alienate the whole planet and not just "anti-semites" and Muslims, etc.

It is a sinister conspiratorial imbalance which even respectable "liberal" circles, confused enough to be generally "in favour of Israel's right to exist" etc, are beginning to find intolerable and inexplicable.

Listen to the mother of a young British human rights activist who was butchered in cold blood by the Zionist colonists earlier this year:

Last Thursday, I delivered a letter to Mr Blair expressing my despair at the Israeli government's lack of response to our call for a full inquiry into the death of my son, Tom.

While working as a photojournalist, Tom was shot in the head by an Israeli commander in Rafah, Gaza. He had been walking down a calm civilian street where 20 children were playing when snipers began shooting at them. He was carrying the children to safety when he was shot, and was wearing a fluorescent human rights jacket. He posed no threat. His brain is severely damaged and he will not recover.

Following our traumatic seven-week stay in Israel as we watched our son on the verge of death, we submitted a report to Israel's judge advocate general through the British Foreign Office, and requested a fully transparent inquiry. We included 13 eyewitness statements and considerable photographic evidence of Tom just before and after he was shot.

It has now been six months since Tom was shot, and three-and-a-half months since his case was handed to the Israeli judge advocate general. As yet, we have heard nothing apart from a collection of unutterably bland excuses. "The complexity and subtleness of the examination process," we are told, "demand due consideration and considerable time", and "There was another suicide bombing and so he [the judge advocate general] has a lot to deal with.'

We note the sense of urgency with which Britain condemned and apologised for the British passport holding suicide bombers; we note, too, the speed with which America dispatched FBI agents in response to the bombing a week ago which killed three US security personnel at the Erez checkpoint in the Gaza Strip. In Tom's case, as in Rachel Corrie's and others, there has been no urgency at all, and yet the need to ensure that evidence is carefully assessed and gathered is surely no less crucial.

Why should it be for grieving parents to have to arrange interviews with the 13 eyewitnesses to the shooting, or to gather photographic, ballistic, forensic and medical evidence?

The British government ought to have been proactive in collecting and protecting evidence. But while it dragged its feet, the Israeli army demolished the tower from which Tom was shot to move it a few metres down the border. This action alone will make it almost impossible to dispute the claim that the " sniper who shot Tom had no clear line of vision. Six months on, eyewitnesses have dispersed, some have even found themselves inappropriately detained and then deported.

The tragedy that has befallen Tom and our family is a microcosm of the widescale terror felt by thousands of other families in the occupied territories.

I am in ineffable distress after the loss of a son. But I have a regular income, food, running water, electricity, an intact roof over my head, access to a hospital, the knowledge that gunfire is unlikely to endanger my other children on their journey to school and that my sleep is unlikely to be broken by gunfire or the sound of tanks. I have a decent life.

Last week the Israeli army's incursion into Rafah — the largest since the beginning of the intifada three years ago left 120 houses demolished, 1,500 civilians homeless, eight dead and 60 injured. Afterwards, I received an email from Anees, one of Tom's friends in the city, telling me that his house has been demolished. He and the 26 members of his extended family are among those left homeless and very afraid that the Israeli army may come back at any moment. It was this young man who, in a state of complete anguish, lifted Tom from the ground after he was shot.

Why won't Tony Blair represent the interests of his citizens and put significant pressure on Ariel Sharon to conduct a full and transparent inquiry into Tom's death? Polite requests will not do. And why won't he challenge Mr Bush's support of Israel, a regime which is cruel beyond human understanding? I have seen it for myself: the demolition of houses, the destruction of olive groves, the process of depriving people of the ability to earn a living, the closure of checkpoints, the destruction of water supplies and electricity, lethally enforced curfews, humiliation, terror. In short, the dehumanisation of a people.

It should not be necessary to experience the terror of Palestinians in order to act. Britain finds it acceptable to indulge in a facade of diplomacy by abstaining from two critical UN security council votes: one condemning Israel's policy decision to assassinate or expel a state leader, Yasser Arafat; and the other seeking to bar Israel from extending a security fence deep into the West Bank. Both these issues have received worldwide condemnation - on what basis can Britain justify being unclear or undecided about its position on these questions?

I can't help recalling Mr Blair's resolve, when deciding to go to war. with Iraq, that he did not wish to be accused of inaction or for this to be on his conscience at a later date. Where does his conscience lie now in relation to Britain's inaction over Palestine?

Tom Hurndall, 22, remains in hospital on life support

No wonder that more and more Zionists themselves are condemning the existence of "Israel" as the colonial genocide of the Palestinian nation.

Few of them are yet prepared to speak the really "unspeakable" and to challenge the whole corrupt nonsense of the original Western United Nations thinking in 1947 which arbitrarily decided to lay some of World War III's specific seeds by ordering the Palestinian nation to give their homeland to the powerful Western Jewish imperialist lobby in compensation for what Western imperialism itself had done to mostly poor Jews (in Italy, France, Spain, Denmark, Holland, Norway, Germany, Austria, Poland, Russia, etc, etc) under the impact of monopoly-capitalism's last great "New World Order" upheaval (to try to escape from insoluble international private enterprise "overproduction" economic crisis), - fascism.

But some Zionists with some shreds of "conscience" have become appalled enough by some of the consequences from this demented "promised land" religious bigotry, (allied to Western-imperialist colonial-warmongering opportunism) to selfishly try to at least minimise the disastrous outcome for "Jewish interests" if this genocidal tyranny goes on for much longer or goes much further:

A BRITISH academic has caused a furore in America by claiming that Israel is an anachronism that should be replaced by a secular binational state of Jews and Palestinians. Critics say that it is effectively a call for the destruction of Israel at a time of increasing anti-semitism.

Tony Judt, a former Oxford history don, writes in the current issue of The New York Review of Books, a scholarly journal, that if Israel keeps control of the occupied territories without resorting to unacceptable ethnic cleansing, its Jews will soon be outnumbered by disenfranchised Arabs.

"It is time to think the unthinkable," he writes. "Unless something changes, Israel in half a decade will be neither Jewish nor democratic."

Judt, a liberal Jew and former kibbutznik who previously supported the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, now says that the Middle East peace process is "finished" and that the notion of a two-state solution is "probably already doomed".

The response from supporters of Israel has been furious. David Frum, former speechwriter for President George W Bush and who helped to invent the term "axis of evil" to describe Iraq, Iran and North Korea, has denounced Judt's article for "genocidal liberalism" that would expose Jews to slaughter and exile. While his views may sound "outlandish" to Americans, Frum warns, they represent a "growing consensus" in Europe.

Judt lives in America where he is a professor of European studies at New York University. He watched the World Trade Center burn from his window on September 11, 2001, and wrote then that he had witnessed the birth of the 21st century.

However, he argues that Bush is drawing America into a widening Middle East conflict that meets the objectives of Israel's foreign policy but is of little use against Al-Qaeda. "Which war are we fighting?" he asks.

Judt concludes: "The depressing truth is that Israel's current behaviour is not just bad for America, though it surely is. It is not even just bad for Israel, as many Israelis silently acknowledge. The depressing truth is that Israel today is bad for the Jews."

John Podhoretz, a neo-conservative commentator, said: "It is the definition of intellectual corruption to say I don't like the way things are, so I'm going to wish them away." A bi-national state was "unthinkable, like assembling Yugoslavia in the middle of the Bosnian war with the Serbs".

Perceived attacks on Israel tend to provoke a strong response in America, particularly in New York, which has the largest concentration of Jewish people outside Israel.

Leon Wieseltier, an old friend of Judt, has written perhaps the most wounding denunciation of Judt's arguments in The New Republic magazine. Calling the article "haughty and ugly", he writes: "Judt and his editors have crossed the line from criticism of Israel's policy to criticism of Israel's existence."

Wieseltier said Judt's views came "almost as a personal blow to me". He believes that Judt has grown tired of being attacked for Israel's behaviour. "I detect the scars of dinners and conferences. He does not wish to be held accountable for things he has not himself done. Judt is embarrassed by Israel. And so Israel must be gone."

This clearly unsympathetic and slightly muddled sounding capitalist press report has nervously refused to note the relentless Jewish-lobby assault on public comment channels in such situations, or the Zionist lobby grip on Bush government reactions.

More uselessly, it also fails to link these fears for Zionism's future with the colonial conquest nightmare created on the ground whereby the murderous effective elimination of Palestine has itself put in doubt the whole nasty rotten "partition" fraud where this human catastrophe started, currently contemptibly going under the name of the "two-state solution" (80% to Western armed-Zionist colonisation; 20% to the crushed and humiliated Palestinian nation) which, under continued Zionist military control, would mean a Palestinian "state" which was never anything more than a wretched concentration camp reservation, and permanent refugee status, effectively.

As the EPSR has long explained, there was never going to be any stopping of the imperialist-colonial domination logic, driving out completely all notion of "fair-play rights for Palestinians", once the West had given the green light to an armed takeover by monopoly-capitalism's Zionist lobby.

This belated whinge for a "two-state" halfway-house genocidal tyranny is possibly the most despicable position of all to adopt, built of 100% hypocrisy and putrid "reformist" delusions of eternal class collaboration with the imperialist system, and only ever defending itself from criticism via inflammatory jeers of "anti-semitism", the equivalent of throwing a lighted match into a petrol station, or shouting "fire, fire" for a joke inside a crowded theatre.

And the new deal in Ireland does not back deluded advocates of "reformist compromise" everywhere, since it follows British imperialist military DEFEAT and the effective dismantling of the sectarian dictatorship ludicrously called "Northern Ireland" which can now no longer block Ireland's reunification.

Colonial propaganda presents the new agreement as "IRA and Sinn Féin concessions" but there is nothing to concede. The Good Friday Agreement, now five years old, always provided for eventual total decommissioning ON ALL SIDES, provided power sharing political devolution was continued with.

This deal is Trimble's acceptance to stop his repeated stalling of this political peace process, and to star seriously cooperating with the native Irish citizenry at long last.

With Western imperialism's longstanding Zionist colonial racket against Middle East resistance now so close to total exposure historically, it is no wonder that US imperialism's aggressive warmongering triumphalism has turned so sour so rapidly.

All its scabby tricks are falling apart.

The "justice for Israel" game is nearly up.

The "war on terrorism" meaningless posturing has been seen through.

Worse still, the planned-for easy military victories followed by joyous grateful receptions for the American invasions by the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan have slowly turned into their exact opposite.

Worst of all, and countering the persistent assumptions that the sheer wealth and might of US imperialism, the greatest by far of any empire in history, are "bound to prevail" in the end for overcoming America's difficulties currently thwarting military control and nation rebuilding in Bush's world-domination warmongering plans, — — the much-touted "recovery" in world imperialist economic boom remains as doubtful as ever.

So far, all Washington's attempts to force Japan, China, and other successful trading nations to further blatantly corrupt the joke "free market" by currency reflations to give the USA's uncompetitiveness some relief from its crippling budgetary and foreign payments imbalances, — have been rejected.

The USA remains an economic basket-case, and the dollar remains in danger of a total collapse in value.

There is only a cosmetic "recovery" in US corporate profitability but no new jobs are being created, or not enough to prevent mass unemployment becoming an ever-greater threat to the Bush-government's political survival.

And in Britain, Bank of England governor King warns that unsustainable consumer debts could end in a markets crash,— at any time.

Not surprisingly, therefore, tempers and doubts are rising inside the Bush administration at the continued lack of clear "success"-perspectives for the "New World order" control and domination programme.

As the capitalist press itself is reporting:

A Republican rebellion in the Senate against White House plans for rebuilding Iraq raised questions yesterday about President George Bush's authority in Washington as he struggles to maintain control of a divided administration.

A late-night Senate vote to turn half the $20bn (£12bn) Iraq reconstruction budget into a loan marked a serious setback for the administration, which had wanted all the money in the form of a grant It also came as a personal defeat for the president.

On Tuesday, Mr Bush had called in nine Republican rebels and ordered them to support his version of the bill, reportedly banging his fist on a table at one point and refusing to answer their questions.

The outburst did him little good. Eight Republican senators voted against the administration on Thursday. One rebel, Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine, said: "It was very difficult to stop this train because it made so much sense."

It may prove to be a pivotal moment for the Bush government. Senators of either party defy a popular president at their peril, but this president is no longer all that popular, particularly when it comes to US involvement in Iraq. Fewer than 50% of Americans believe that Mr Bush's leadership can be relied on in a crisis.

The failure to stabilise Iraq and the near daily death toll among US troops is undoubtedly weighing down the White House as it sets out on its reelection campaign.

An attempt to assert direct control on the management of the occupation earlier this month with the creation of centralised "Iraq stabilisation group" under the president's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, served only to drive tensions in the administration to the surface.

Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, who had jealously guarded his control of the situation, revolted against the restructuring. He told journalists he had not been consulted and assured them that it was irrelevant.

According to a report by the Knight Ridder news agency, quoting a senior official, a frustrated president wondered aloud whether the infighting had reached historic levels. "This isn't as bad as [George] Shultz versus [Caspar] Weinberger, is it?" Mr Bush asked, referring to a legendary duel in the Reagan administration. One senior official reportedly nodded and said: "Way worse."

One alarmed senate Republican, Richard Lugar, called for Mr Bush to get a grip. "The president has to be the president. That means the president over the vice-president, and over the secretaries of state and defence. And Dr Rice cannot carry that burden alone."

As a darkening cloud gathers over the White House, it also has to contend with a slow-burning scandal.

FBI investigators are questioning White House staff to find out who leaked the name of an undercover CIA officer in July, apparently to discredit the agent's husband, a critic of the administration.

The incident has infuriated conservative Republicans, who believe that the president should have demanded the identities of the leakers and dismissed them. The critics were all the more outraged when Mr Bush suggested the culprits might never be found.

William Kristol, the editor of the neoconservative magazine the Weekly Standard, said the leak scandal illustrated "the disarray within his administration", observing that "the civil war in the Bush administration has become crippling".

Mr Kristol wrote: "The CIA is in open revolt against the White House. The state department and the defence department aren't working together -at all. We are way beyond 'fruitful tension' ... This is a situation that only the president can fix.'

The finger-pointing over the increasingly unpopular military involvement in Iraq reminded Robert Dallek, a presidential historian, of another president and another debilitating war: Lyndon Johnson and Vietnam. "I think there is an emerging quality to the tensions Bush faces and his reactions to the criticism that is reminiscent of Johnson in Vietnam," said Professor Dallek.

"If the enterprise in Iraq keeps faltering this is George W Bush's war, just as Vietnam became Johnson's war."

The death toll does not come close to Vietnam levels, but it is climbing with no easy or honourable exit in sight. A US general in Iraq, Thomas Metz, told journalists yesterday the troops could be in Iraq until 2006. Mr Bush would like to get most of them out before next November's election.

There is worse to come for Mr Bush. The leak inquiry is expected to gather steam and will produce a culprit close to the Oval Office or provoke claims of a whitewash. Then, on November 7, humiliation looms. His most ferocious critic in the Senate — Edward Kennedy, who recently called the Iraq war a fraud "made up in Texas" — will receive an award for "excellence in public service". It will be presented by the man who selected Senator Kennedy for the honour: George Bush, the president's father.

And it is worth asking how could this demoralised imperialist mess be eased by "triumph" in Iraq anyway (still much touted) since global hatred of the Western monopoly capitalist system's domination and economic injustice is the real problem in all this, and not Saddam's "rogue state" snook-cocking which is merely a trivial symptom.

And this is precisely the fear that its fellow imperialists are spelling out to the USA, worried that American economic aggression and clumsy military arrogance and incompetence will land the whole Western imperialist system deep in revolutionary trouble if more subtle methods of continued Western monopoly capitalist world rule are not adopted. France continues to spell out most clearly the general imperialist disquiet at what America's leadership is achieving in the joint Western skulduggery of fleecing and militarily blackmailing the rest of the world, - as admitted for polite bourgeois press consumption:

'The US pursuit of forcible regime change is not a viable or safe policy in the dangerous world that exists after September 11' the French foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, said in an interview with the Guardian.

In a wide-ranging critique of US policy in the Middle East and beyond, Mr De Villepin said that any military action against Iran over its alleged nuclear weapons would be "absolutely ridiculous".

He also said that, in spite of Thursday's UN security council resolution giving the US British force in Iraq a mandate, "the conditions for real progress on the reconstruction of Iraq are not complied with today": "Reconstruction has to have a partner, you have to have real sovereignty in Iraq if you want to have the Iraqi people working with you."

Mr De Villepin declined to commit France to providing reconstruction assistance at next week's donors' conference in Madrid, in spite of urgings to do so from Washington.

While emphasising France's desire to patch up relations with the US and to work with it on a range of international issues, the foreign minister also questioned Israel's US backed security policies. He said Europe should play a vital role in advancing the peace process, not least because of Europe's close trade and aid links with both sides.

"I think that Israeli policy during the past months and years shows clearly that if you are going to imagine that only through security you are going to find solutions, you are mistaken.

"We think that using force, on the contrary, is going to ... give new reasons to some people [like al-Qaida] to oppose us."

Mr De Villepin sketched out a French vision of a radically different approach to foreign policy in which differences of culture, society and religion should be weighed alongside questions of security.

"Regime change can not be a policy on its own in today's world," he said. "You have to be respectful of sovereignty.

"Of course, there are very difficult situations when human rights are concerned ... we have known that in Kosovo. So in rare situations, we have to address these kinds of problems by military means. But you have to have the support of the international community ... If there is one country that imagines it can solve this matter alone, we are going to see more vengeance, more difficulties, more problems, and the world is going to be more unstable."

Mr De Villepin's remarks underline the continuing differences between France, which led European opposition to the Iraq war, and Washington and London.

But behind the scenes, all the urgent talk, of course, is on how the European Union imperialists might need to get together militarily at some point to actively oppose American harebrained blitzkrieg adventures, or at least prepare for a totally separate political-military scenario, divorcing EU interests from repercussions Washington might incur.

Capitalist reports play it down, but the deep rift, and its colossal significance, remain unmistakable.

The whole imperialist system is in deep crisis:

European Union leaders stuck by their controversial plans to develop defence and security policies yesterday but scrambled to soothe US fears that they would damage Nato.

Stung by reports of a rift with Washington, Tony Blair insisted Britain would never choose between friendship with America and Europe. "We will remain strong with both," he pledged at the two-day Brussels summit.

But Britain remains firmly opposed to Franco-German plans to set up an independent European military HQ, which it warns will duplicate Nato's role. "We need strong European defence, but nothing whatever must put at risk our essential defence guarantees within Nato," Mr Blair said.

The potential Anglo-American rift over a common EU defence policy was stirred yesterday by the shadow defence secretary, Bernard Jenkin, who claimed that Tony Blair has betrayed personal commitments to President Bush to retain the primacy of Nato.

Mr Jenkin, who is close to the Republican administration, believes the pressure on Britain from France and Germany to agree a common defence policy as part of the new EU constitution represents "the biggest threat to Anglo-US relations for a decade".

Mr Jenkin said: "There are voices in the US administration that now realise the French are out to deliberately sideline Nato. They are finally blowing a fuse."

The foreign secretary, Jack Straw, conceded yesterday that the draft constitution does not yet sufficiently uphold the primacy of Nato.

Diplomats say tempers flared on Wednesday after the US ambassador, Nick Burns, complained of being kept in the dark by allies. This reflects the continuing bad feeling over the war in Iraq, particularly the US resentment of France.

Washington and London are still angry at the mini defence summit held by France, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg, who led an anti-US revolt inside Nato last February.

And paradoxically, this treacherous distrust was made absolutely clear by the joke "unanimous" UN Security Council decision to allow a joke "United Nations" seal of approval to be placed on the Iraq debacle while the USA's main imperialist critics still refuse to send troops or commit serious funds for reconstruction aid all the time that Iraq still remains an exclusively American-run political, military, and economic mess.

This cynicism, confirming the really serious deterioration in relations, was even more contemptuously heaped up by the US/UK Alliance then ridiculously boasting to the world about how their "firm stand" had "won through" in the end, etc.

Nothing of the sort. The imperialist world remains in a complete breakdown condition of "shock and awe".

But there is now no holding the US imperialist regime's addiction to the Hitler–Goebbels 'Big Lie' techniques which serious counter-revolutionaries throughout the West still so ludicrously admire, making a virtue of clumsy ignorant failure.

The following capitalist press admissions are self-consciously straight out of 1984, Orwell's nightmare vision of a totalitarian imperialist future, stupidly paraded as a critique of communism.

What is remarkable is that this exposure of 'Big Lie' fascist brainwashing techniques was so casually accepted throughout the joke "free world":

Uncle Sam goes all Big Brother

"There's nothing like a war to bring out the inner George Orwell in a government. In ways little and small, Uncle Sam has been morphing into Big Brother — spinning the news, even, apparently, manufacturing news.

[On Monday], the Gannett News Service reported that 11 different US newspapers had unwittingly printed identical five-paragraph letters-to-the-editor from soldiers in Iraq. The letters were full of upbeat puff - 'the quality of life and security for the citizens has been largely restored' — the kind that some PR blitzer might dream up.

None of the soldiers contacted by Gannett for comment said that they had written the letter; it had been handed to them for signature, they said, by army superiors ...

"This administration is doublethinking, doubletime, in its effort to justify the Iraq war — and so the inconvenient truth is shipped off to convenient oblivion ... Someone needs to write a sequel to 1984. It would be called 2003."

James P Pinkerton in Newsday, New York, October 14


LETTERS home from the front that trumpet the nation building achievements of US soldiers in Iraq are appearing in newspapers across America. The only wrinkle in an otherwise cheering story is that the identical letters are signed by different soldiers, some of whom say they did not sign, let alone write, them.

Their publication comes as President Bush leads a concerted drive to talk up the good news from Iraq and halt his slide in the polls through bypassing the mainstream media.

"The majority of the city has welcomed our presence with open arms," it reads. "Children smile and run up to shake hands, and in their broken English, shout: "Thank you, mister."'

A Pentagon spokesman said yesterday that after being questioned about the letterwriting campaign, the battalion commander said that the soldiers had crafted the letter themselves. But six soldiers told Gannett News Service, which spotted the trend, that they had not written the letter

A seventh said that the first he had heard of it was when his father congratulated him on having a letter in their local paper.

Last week Mr Bush led a drive to paint a rosier picture of Iraq than that carried in the mainstream media. The number of American voters who think that things are going well in Iraq has fallen to 42 per cent, down from 56 per cent in July.

And this daft game gets curiouser and curiouser in the light of a predictable inability for aggressive imperialist warmongering to reverse the last 58 years of non-stop anti-communist propaganda which drilled into Western brains that they were "free" from manipulative control and "free" to always have their say publicly.

Ridiculing the US Intelligence Service's clumsy propaganda stunts, the American forces own press was simultaneously putting out a totally different picture from the CIA's "success" whitewash:

THE US Army in Iraq is suffering from poor morale, erratic supplies of vital equipment and a lack of strategic vision, according to soldiers surveyed by the Army's newspaper, Stars and Stripes.

Thirty-four per cent of 2,000 US soldiers questioned by the military newspaper said that morale was low or very low, while only 27 per cent described it as high. The rest said that morale was average to low. Some troops complained of having served for months on a dangerous mission without a single day off or a hot shower.

Typical of the disgruntled US soldiers scattered across Baghdad and the northern and central regions is Specialist Will Bromley, a gunner on a Bradley Fighting Vehicle. Two years ago, he joined up in the wake of the September 11 terror attacks on his homeland. Now he is guarding an empty building on Baghdad's al-Rashid Street, unsure of when he is going home or what he is doing in Iraq.

"I don't think morale is very high I think it is very low. You got guys freaking out; I heard of ten guys who committed suicide. If guys are committing suicide, morale is not high. If they're saying morale is high, they're liars," said the 24-year-old Texan from the 136th Mechanized Infantry Battalion, who has been in Iraq since May.

At a time when President Bush is seeking to portray his war in Iraq as a success misrepresented by a gloomy media, more than a third of soldiers questioned said their mission was "not clearly defined," and 40 per cent said that they were not doing what they had been trained to do.

Another 31 per cent said that the war was of little or no value.

As US troops face an average of 22 attacks a day in the hostile central region of Iraq known as the Sunni Triangle, soldiers said that they were being sent into combat without adequate medical supplies and without sufficient bulletproof plates to insert in their flak jackets.

The report also revealed yawning gaps in living standards, with some troops receiving three hot meals a day while other units survived on Elastic-wrapped rations and bottled water.

While most troops in Iraq are proud of having toppled the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, the growing sense of disillusionment as the mission drags on with no exit strategy has raised fears that army re-enlistment rates will plummet in the coming years.

"Out here there's no one in charge," Specialist Bromley complained. "I don't care what they say, you really feel like a chicken with its head cut off," he said, adding that his unit was given insuffcient time to prepare raids and other missions, putting men's lives at risks. Aside from the uncertainty of his return date, scheduled for April next year, but possibly delayed until May or June, what bothers Specialist Bromley most is the apparent lack of an overall plan by the US Administration.

"They're not stupid; but they did kind of wing it. I don't like being part of a little experiment," he said, adding that the training, he had received as a Bradley gunner served little purpose to the combat troops-turned-peacekeepers.

"The skills we've been taught don't apply here, not at all. We were taught that the way to clear a house is to fire a tank round into it. You can't do that here," Specialist Bromley said. "All we're doing here is guarding ourselves."

But it is the complete role reversal by "free world" brainwashing techniques, — now doing exactly what the West always falsely claimed that the Socialist Camp workers states were all guilty of, — which is most eye-catching.

Where are the Orwellian jeers of "totalitarianism" now???

The slither towards a trivial Western 1984 began with the blatantly orchestrated "applause" for Blair at the Labour Party conference where printed instructions told the 2,000 delegates when they were to stand up and start clapping, and how long for, throughout the speech of the "leader" in order to make the best lying impression on the viewing public.

And like automaton vegetables, they all did it.

This was followed by the even more dramatic silencing of a British ambassador speaking out against the inhuman repression which keeps a Central Asian state in close alliance with American warmongering policy in the region.

Anti-Soviet myths always recorded "dissidents" as being shut up by being made "nonpersons" or retired to a mental institution. But here it is, REALLY happening, in jolly old "free world" Britain:

BRITAIN'S outspoken Ambassador to Uzbekistan has returned to London for "medical reasons" after repeatedly denouncing the authoritarian regime in Tashkent.

Craig Murray, 45, who has served little more than a year in the post, has come back to London quietly after angering colleagues at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Bush Administration and the Uzbek Government with his attacks.

Human rights groups, who have praised Mr Murray for speaking out, expressed dismay at his return. By contrast, Washington has muted its criticism of President Karimov's repression since it established a military base in the former Soviet republic before the Afghan War. It has invited Mr Karimov to the White House.

Friends of Mr Murray, who is Scottish and one of Britain's youngest ambassadors, say that he has been "sacrificed to the Americans", but the Foreign Office insisted yesterday that it continued to support him and he remained the Ambassador. However, it has sent a charge d'affaires to Tashkent as acting ambassador.

Although a novice to the region, the new envoy brought with him the certainty that no positive change was possible until the regime of President Karimov had improved its human rights record.

After only two months in the job, and with the apparent backing of the Foreign Office, he fired his first broadside, with an attack on the regime's record.

"This country has made very disappointing progress in moving away from the dictatorship of the Soviet Union," he told an audience in Tashkent. "Uzbekistan is not a functioning democracy, nor does it appear to be moving in the direction of democracy. The major political parties are banned; parliament is not subject to democratic election; and checks and balances on the authority of the electorate are lacking.

"There is worse: we believe there to be between 7,000 to 10,000 people in detention who we would consider as political and/or religious prisoners."

His speech caused a diplomatic furore. Mr Murray told The Times in April that he had been ordered to the Uzbek Foreign Ministry to explain himself.

He also faced criticism at home. "It had an interesting reaction within the FCO, too," he said. "Some applauded what I had said and some people asked me what I was doing, whether I was simply trying to get noticed."

He certainly did not tone down his criticism. In May he lamented "the intense repression here combined with the inequality of wealth — and absence of reform". In August he said that there was "no freedom of speech, mass media, movement and so forth".

By now the British Embassy, in stark contrast to other Western missions, had become a magnet for dissent. On one occasion it received photographs of two Islamic prisoners who had been boiled to death after they refused to stop praying.

While Uzbekistan's human rights record was not in dispute, Mr Murray's very public handling of the issue was causing alarm in London and Washington, where he was regarded as "too undiplomatic". Matters finally came to a head in mid-September, when the envoy returned to London for "medical reasons" after coming under growing pressure to temper his public criticism.

"He was a victim of his own ethical foreign policy," one British source, who regularly visits Uzbekistan, said. "I'm not surprised he has been brought back. He was running amok. He was not reflecting British foreign policy."

Although the Foreign Office insists that it supported Mr Murray's stand on Uzbekistan's human rights record, some influential figures in the diplomatic service felt he had gone too far.

James McGrory, a British businessman close to Mr Murray, co-signed a letter with 15 other expatriates to Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, defending the Ambassador. The letter said that he had "promoted British culture and political ideals to an extent not previously known here and increased British prestige".

"The common belief is that Mr Murray is being sacrificed to the Americans," Mr McGrory said. "The rumours flying around are that the US Embassy objected to him disturbing their work in Uzbekistan. They certainly loathed him ... The US Embassy makes no effort to conceal its dislike of the way he repeatedly and unequivocally slams [the country's] human rights record."

Human rights organisations were upset by Mr Murray's return. "Craig Murray is an outspoken advocate of human rights," a spokeswoman for Human Rights Watch said. "His analysis of Uzbekistan was spot on. What is important is that British foreign policy continues to reflect his clear stand."

But this 1984 revisited gets even better. Now the posturing Humphrys is reported as having nearly walked out of "Today" on air because of the ludicrous censorship of a pre-recorded interview he made with Rowan Williams, which cut out the Archbishop's floundering silence when challenged that the deceitful and illegal blitzkrieg on Iraq was "immoral", a new widespread belief in the middle class, even though now deprived of God's broadcast agreement with it.

But how can mere lies reverse imperialism's relentlessly deepening crisis anyway?

Not a cat in hell's chance.

The system is rotten, and the whole world is discovering it.

And while the bourgeois media are still carrying some contradictory opinions about how badly US imperialist warmongering "nation-building" is faring in Afghanistan and Iraq, some situations reveal clearly that all mass world proletarian aspirations are still towards revolutionary anti-imperialism, — whereas the West's ability to stem the tide of this global anti-monopoly-corporation revolt is mostly thin on the ground, and getting thinner by the minute, — even in capitalist press admissions:

While world attention is focused on US and British military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, just along the Himalayas a low-intensity conflict in Nepal is on the verge of becoming a disastrous all-out war. The Maoist insurgency which started in 1996 has led to a conflict that is likely to be unwinnable — or, as Tony Blair's special envoy, Sir Jeffrey James, put it, there is no "acceptable military solution".

The Maoists took up arms six years after Nepal's first democratic elections in 1990. Incoming governments were unable to dent the appalling levels of rural poverty and illiteracy, inherited from centuries of elitist rule based on the Hindu caste system. The historic inability of Nepal's rulers to bring roads, let alone, electricity and development, to all but a tiny fraction of the rural population, together with its extremes of geography, helped pave the way for the guerrilla rebellion.

The British envoy's analysis cannot be lightly dismissed. Nepal's relationship with the UK goes back nearly two centuries and centres on the recruitment as Gurkhas of Nepalis from marginalised ethnic groups. Its longstanding cooperation with the royal Nepal army means that British intelligence is second to none in Nepal.

The Maoist war has led to the loss of more than 7,000 lives since 1996. Much hope was generated by a ceasefire in January; particularly as both sides adopted positions with enough common ground to justify expectations of serious negotiation. But peace talks broke down in August, with the Maoists digging in their heels on their rather surprising key demand: the formation of a constituent assembly which they hope will redefine the role of the king and the army.

Nepal is far from a normal civilian democracy. A year ago the king dismissed the elected government; he has now appointed two prime ministers from the pro-monarchy party, which enjoys little popular support. The aid community, which supplies more than half the government's income, is increasingly alarmed at the inability of the king's cabinets to take decisions. The king's own legitimacy has been questioned since the royal massacre of June 2001, which saw the deaths of his brother, the then king, and all his family.

The main reason for the government's paralysis is that all meaningful decision making power lies with the army and the king. The army's role in politics has grown in step with increasing foreign military assistance. While Britain is withholding lethal military aid, the US is massively increasing its support, and US special forces have trained a quarter of the army in counter-insurgency operations.

In an arms escalation which India fears could lead to new weapons ending up with its own Maoist insurgents, the US has provided 5,000 new M16s, with the same number reportedly in the pipeline. This is done in the name of combating international terrorism, though the Maoists have never been accused of operating outside Nepal and few doubt that there are plenty of genuine social grievances to fuel a popular insurgency.

For much of this year, the British government has appeared comfortable with these developments, happy to play the good cop to the bad cop role that the current US ambassador clearly relishes. But this diplomatic complacency was shattered by the killing of 21 people in the isolated eastern district of Ramechhap — attributed to the army — on August 17, just as much delayed peace talks were resuming after a three-month break. The seven-month ceasefire collapsed just 10 days later.

Nepal's human rights commission published its inquiry into the killings last month, and placed responsibility firmly with the army. Its report stated that the villagers, mostly Maoist sympathisers, were detained by 80 soldiers dressed as civilians. After a three hour march they were lined up and executed; almost all the bodies examined showed signs of being shot in the head at short range. The UN has now called for an independent official inquiry.

Amnesty International has long reported on the impunity which the Nepalese security forces have traditionally enjoyed, and the senior army official in charge of human rights issues has made it clear that prosecutions for human rights violations are out of the question during the conflict in order to maintain troop morale.

This bodes ill for the looming war. While the security forces seem to have greatly improved their capacity, due mainly to US support and Indian training (and probably the extensive use of landmines), the Maoists have amply demonstrated over the past month that they can carry out bank robberies, assassinations and destruction of government buildings at will throughout the country. Their activities have forced the government to withdraw nearly all rural police, giving the Maoists even more freedom of movement as they raise funds by a mixture of extortion and "taxes" (everyone, including employees of aid agencies, is obliged to cough up 5% of their salary if they want to work in Maoist areas).

Amnesty International pointed out that "the security forces continued to carry out unlawful killings. It was estimated that of the more that 4,000 'Maoists' officially declared as killed since November 2001, nearly half may have been unlawfully killed." In normal English that means that they were either murdered as non-combatants or that they were simply innocent bystanders shot down to make the army's figures look a little better. If 2,000 innocents were killed during the last round of fighting, prospects for this current round are not good. This week, Amnesty released a report on "disappearances" carried out by government forces, documenting 250 cases since the war began and 30 since the end of August.

Although no one is suggesting that they are being used in the current offensive, Britain provided two military helicopters to Nepal last year, reportedly another nail in the coffin of Clare Short's difficult relationship with the Foreign Office and Downing Street, as she fiercely opposed the move.

With the Nepalese army more and more obviously beyond any civilian control, British policy appears to be increasingly in disarray.


Bolivia's embattled president, Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, resigned after losing the support of his final key ally following a month of bloody street protests which have claimed up to 80 lives.

The huge popular uprising was fuelled by widespread fury over austerity plans sponsored by the International Monetary Fund [IMF], a US-backed crackdown on coca production and government plans to sell off natural gas.

The crisis was sparked by an unpopular plan to export gas to the US and Mexico through neighbouring Chile. Mr Sánchez called the project "a gift from God" that would bring millions of dollars annually to Bolivia, the poorest country in South America.

But few here believe his claims that average Bolivians, many of whom earn only a few dollars a day, would benefit. Opponents argued that the £3bn project would only benefit members of the wealthy elite.

The president, a 73-year-old US-educated businessman known popularly as Goni, who speaks Spanish with an American drawl, is one of the wealthiest people in the country. But he is disliked by millions of Bolivians, who see him as a gringo out of touch with their needs. His popular support had slipped to 8%.

A US-led effort to eradicate the growing of coca, the raw material used to produce cocaine, exacerbated the unrest. Mr Sánchez had earlier accused the opposition leader, Evo Morales, of trying to institute a "narco-syndicalist state" financed by the Farc guerrillas in Colombia and Shining Path in Peru.

But Rodrigo Llinelli, of the coca growers union Adipcoca, protesting in a La Paz street on Friday, said: "We just want to be governed democratically, we want them to listen to the people.

"We have had 10 years of them selling out to foreigners, telling us that things will improve, and they have not. We want to be a free country, not the US's puppet," he said.

"We know we have to export the gas, but not via Chile and not to the US. We want it industrialised here, so we can sell it with added value, and get our proper share of the profits" agreed a student, Pedro Vilas.

From Bolivia to the Philippines, the entire world is building up towards anti-imperialist uproar.

But the fake-'left' continues to ignore the unanswerable revolutionary education which this global situation is providing for workers everywhere.

Scargill has just started republishing Socialist News.

He shouldn't have bothered. It has little news, purely reformist views, and nothing whatever to do with socialism.

Most of the paper is devoted to infringed international human rights stories, to counter-reformist proposals to Labour Government failures, and particularly to the restoration of trade union rights, threatening defiance of anti-labour laws to get it.

The war situation is reduced to support for individuals (Dr Kelly, Arafat, peace protesters, etc) and indignation at tyranny (napalm on Iraq, apartheid wall on Palestine, etc).

But the only world view on class-war-to-destroy-imperialism is a ludicrous pacifist condemnation of "all weapons of mass destruction, whoever owns them".

The crucial Marxist science of "defeat" for imperialism is obviously poorly thought of.

Zionist colonial tyranny should be stopped by USA and Britain, it is urged (the original imperialist authors and arms-suppliers of Zionist colonial terror when Scargill's Stalinist-Revisionist-cultist educators in Moscow were not supplying Zionist colonial terror themselves).

And how philosophically bankrupt is this endless concentration on restoring trade union rights.

It will be much easier to make a socialist revolution than to achieve this.

Trade union rights as the big issue belongs to the now dead and unrevivable epoch of British imperialist triumphalism and its endless "reformist" pretend political manoeuvring (along with parliamentary "democracy") to keep the working class on a string, endlessly class-collaborating all the way to the grave.

Such an epoch of big-deal trade union rights issues can NEVER return. It is irrelevant.

No one should want its return which would mean turning history backwards to the age of British imperialist triumphalism and its "reformist" joke Labour and trade-union "opposition" which was never going to stop capitalism being capitalism, even if it had lasted a thousand years rather than 150.

The SLP has become a sad irrelevant joke.

Build Leninism. EPSR


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World Socialist Review

(edited extracts from a variety of anti-imperialist struggles)


Dying, lunatic, fascist colonial fringe still getting British imperialist protection for its last-ditch defiance of Ireland's reunification

"I SMELT the smoke and started to panic. I was crying, most in my class were crying." These are the words of an eleven-year-old pupil of Our Lady of Mercy Girls, Secondary School in North Belfast. The child was describing the latest in a spate of attacks against Catholic schools throughout the Six Counties .

Shortly after midday on Tuesday 29 September, two young unionists walked into the grounds of the Catholic school. The two men, described as around 18 years of age, were carrying cans of petrol. Neither man wore a mask. They poured petrol over cars belonging to teachers, smashing windows before setting the vehicles on fire.

Terrified mothers and children as unionists intimidate schools The attack happened just moments before the children were due to break for lunch and in full view of many of the classrooms. Six cars were completely burnt out while a number of other vehicles were badly damaged.

This is the second similar attack on Our Lady of Mercy School within 20 months. In January 2002, a gang of armed unionists rampaged through the school grounds, smashing 17 vehicles, while an armed lookout stood at the school entrance. The presence of armed paramilitaries within the school complex created panic and fear amongst pupils and teachers.

Located in the unionist Ballysillan area of North Belfast, the Catholic girls' school is particularly vulnerable to continued attack. The school has taken a number of security measures, including the installation of CCTV. It is believed that the two assailants in the most recent incident were caught on camera.

The attack on Our Lady of Mercy School came amid a series of serious sectarian attacks by unionist paramilitaries against Catholics schools, churches and homes throughout the Six Counties.

Since the beginning of the school term four weeks ago, there have been a series of attacks on Catholic schools. On 15 September, two devices were discovered and made safe at Catholic schools in Limavady and Dungiven.

Three days later, UDA bomb hoaxes closed five Catholic schools in a single day. Shortly after 1 pm on Thursday 18 September, a caller using the UDA cover name Red Hand Defenders told a Belfast newsroom that bombs had been planted at Catholic schools.

St Comgall's High School in Larne was forced to close after a device with wires and batteries attached was discovered tied to the school gates. A controlled explosion was carried out after a similar package was discovered at Fortwilliam College. The college was one of four Catholic schools targeted in North Belfast.

St Gabriel's Boys school, Our Lady of Mercy School and Holy Cross Girls primary school were also forced to close after receiving similar bomb alerts. Two weeks earlier, Holy Cross had been forced to close after a device was discovered attached to the school gates just as pupils were preparing to return to school after the summer break.

For the pupils of Holy Cross, the sectarian attack against their school on the first day of term immediately provoked fears of a return to the abuse and violence of the unionist blockade of two years ago. For months, parents and pupils of Holy Cross ran the gauntlet of sectarian abuse and a barrage of bricks, bottles and pipe bombs as they attempted to walk the short distance to and from school.

Attacks on Catholic schools have taken place against the backdrop of increased sectarian attacks on Catholic churches and homes within the last six weeks. On Wednesday 10 September, unionists daubed sectarian slogans on St Mary's Catholic church in Glengormley. A few days later the local priest Fr Dan Whyte was told that his life was under threat from the UDA.

During the annual Cemetery Sunday commemoration in Carnmoney, around 200 unionists blew whistles and horns and shouted sectarian abuse at Catholics attending the graveside service. A section of the unionist crowd went on to riot, hijacking cars and erecting barricades.


A few days earlier, Catholic graves at the cemetery had been desecrated. The attack followed a number of similar incidents over the summer. Plans to extend the graveyard have been opposed by the UDA, who have threatened to trash 'Taig' graves. Systematic targeting of Catholic graves in Carnmoney Cemetery have led to some families considering removing the remains of their relatives.

Two weeks ago, a widower described the devastation to himself and his young children following the desecration of the grave of his recently deceased wife.

"To exhume a loved one and rebury them is a very traumatic thing to do," said Fr Whyte. "It is not a thing you would do lightly. It is a very clear indication of just how horrible this situation is."

Meanwhile, the UUP member and local Newtownabbey Councillor Ivan Hunter in his topsy-turvy world of unionist bigotry, continued to blame the victims of sectarian crime for their own victimisation.

Commenting on the unionist death threat against Fr Whyte, the attack on St Mary's Church, the desecration of graves and disruption of the service in Carnmoney, Hunter told an astonished television interviewer from the Politics Show that "the Catholic community have to accept responsibility for this.

"They have to realise that they have created this situation and it's up to them to try and prevent it happening again," said Hunter. On a previous occasion the UUP councillor accused Fr Whyte of "having an agenda", which the unionist politician suggested was the reason why his life had been threatened.

Responding to outrage caused by his comments, Hunter later condemned both the desecration of Catholic graves and the threats against Fr Whyte. Sadly, entrenched bigotry of the kind displayed by Ivan Hunter is not easily dissuaded. The UUP councillor took the opportunity to repeat many of the comments that had sparked the earlier controversy.

"I have clearly come out against those within our community who have stoked the flames of sectarianism," said Hunter. In fact, the only group Hunter has 'clearly come out against' has been the Catholic Church, which lends a certain ambiguity to this statement.

"Sectarianism is a problem facing all of us," he continued. "I feel that there is a need for a wider debate on how all groups, including the Roman Catholic Church and other churches, have contributed to our problems." This curious statement is a fine example of what some might dub classic 'Trimblese' - platitudes with a subliminal message to fellow unionists that it's still okay to blame Catholics.



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