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 1210 27th November 2003

Oil-rich Caspian region's coup-plotting by rival imperialist stooges makes the "end of history" anti-communist delusion look sillier than ever, and gives "democracy" back its true Nazi-Reichstag flavour. American warmongering still means business, in spite of this Georgian-chaos extension of the USA's blitzkrieging disasters (in Iraq, and Afghanistan, & in its monopoly-capitalist Jewish freemasonry's attempted genocidal colonisation of Palestine). Arab and Muslim hatred of western imperialism's brutalising "shock & awe" military domination will spread worldwide as the system's incurable economic warmongering crisis relentlessly deepens.

The CIA-run upheaval in Georgia could cause massive headaches for the unappetising Bonapartist regime in Russia, and indicates a fantastic escalation in the imperialist crisis's degeneration towards World War III.

The imperialist media are hardly making a secret of their belief that Saakashvili, who has ousted Shevardnadze, is Washington's trained and chosen stooge.

But then so was Shevardnadze before him, the West's former "hero" of the anti-communist liquidation of the Soviet workers state as the USSR's last foreign minister, but now toppled for alleged "corruption" and "anti-democracy".

What these murky and sordid goings-on certainly represent is more colossal evidence, if it was needed, of how utterly bankrupt, and what a total fraud, is the entire Western Cold War stance for "democracy" and "against totalitarian communism".

And they also reconfirm how shaky is this entire edifice, of "New World Order" warmongering-imperialist recolonisation offensives, which are now laying siege to various parts of the politically and economically-crucial Middle East region, and threatening the same blitzkrieging and coup onslaughts far further afield too.

Despite total Western support for 12 years and massive injections of American dollars, among the highest per-capita rates of subsidy in the world, the US imperialist top crook Shevardnadze has failed to turn round Soviet Georgia into a safe and reliable haven for monopoly capitalist skulduggery. And the essential corruption and anti-democracy of the imperialist "New World Order" may be being "ousted" by Washington's own man again, Saakashvili, but it is an ENFORCED second choice; and how much genuine popular sentiment went into the mass demonstrations to hound the rascal Shevardnadze out (alongside the obvious "velvet revolution" and "hunger-strike" trademarks of the CIA in such middle-class exploitable circumstances) remains to be seen.

This is no longer Soviet Georgia; but anti-imperialist-corruption revolutionary traditions do not ALL die that quickly; and the fact that Washington's golden-boy Shevardnadze has had to be bums-rushed out of office so suddenly and dramatically only just a matter of weeks after rigging yet another "democratic election" narrow but "valid victory", so-called, — would indicate that not all of the people, once again, can be fooled all of the time by "democracy".

And although "anti-catastrophist" critics will suggest that the EPSR is getting too excited over what remains for the moment a relatively minor upheaval in a relatively minor place, the potential implications of this CIA coup in such a sensitive region could be gigantic.

Throughout history, the worst timing problems that attempted revolutionary analyses have truly suffered from have ALWAYS been from falling BEHIND events, and rarely from being too far ahead of them.

It is the bourgeois press itself which is currently claiming that this chaotic upheaval in Georgia could have some truly colossal and explosive implications.

Here is a Guardian view, with a nice swipe at bogus Western "constitutionalism":

The US support for change clashed with signals from the Russian president Vladimir Putin, who said he was "naturally concerned by the change of power in Georgia taking place against the background of strong pressure".

He said: "Those who are organising and encouraging these actions take on responsibility before the Georgian people."

Yet he added the regime change had resulted from policy mistakes by the Shevardnadze regime that "reduced [Georgia] to a fight for demeaning handouts from abroad" and put the country "literally in a state of default".

The comments exposed the continuing battle between Washington and Moscow over the Black Sea state, whose history binds it to Russia, but whose young are turning to the west. Its geopolitical significance is vastly disproportionate to its four million population since a consortium headed by BP opted to run a $3bn pipeline from Azerbaijan to Turkey across its territory.

The US spent $2.4m on the November parliamentary elections, later declared fraudulent. Georgian officials said the new acting president, Nino Burzhanadze, had asked for $5m for a new vote scheduled for the first week of January.

A senior Georgian cabinet member said: "US intervention will be more than desirable." He said Tbilisi's time to prepare was "limited" because the constitution demands elections within 45 days.

In a move which could exaggerate tensions with Russia, the US national security adviser Condoleezza Rice signalled the US intended to continue to play a lead role in the Caucasus yesterday when she telephoned her Georgian counterpart to confirm that the US was "ready to help Georgia, and support it in transition" according to a senior Georgian official.

The US yesterday denied it had forced the Georgian president, Eduard Shevardnadze, into surrendering power but confirmed that the secretary of state, Colin Powell, had played a behind-the-scenes role in defusing the crisis in Tbilisi.


Nepotism and patronage, adroit exploitation of American backing over the past decade, and ruthless control of the communist security apparatus throughout the Soviet Union's final two decades ensured Mr Shevardnadze's longevity. But despised at home and increasingly isolated, he miscalculated badly in the end. Most importantly, perhaps, he lost Washington's confidence as the guarantor of longer-term western interests in the country, which lies between Russia and the Middle East, astride the fabulous hydrocarbon riches of the Caspian basin.

Clinging to power in the face of the kind of popular demonstrations he helped to trigger in the pro-democracy revolutions of 1989-91, Mr Shevardnadze was pushed back into Moscow's embrace, a bitter irony for the man who had spent the past decade snubbing the Kremlin and currying favour in Washington.

The KGB veterans and "great power" Russia advocates running Vladimir Putin's Kremlin despise Mr Shevardnadze as the man who helped destroy the Soviet superpower. Mr Putin's hostility has been compounded by his conviction that Mr Shevardnadze has been less than helpful on the war in Chechnya, across Georgia's northern border.

Building on the plaudits he gained in the west as the Soviet foreign minister, "Shevvy" had long been Washington's darling. But in recent months, the US has despaired of him. Richard Miles, the US ambassador in Tbilisi, has been actively grooming the young, US-trained lawyer Mikhail Saakashvili to lead the succession. A series of senior US figures passed through Tbilisi this year to warn Mr Shevardnadze that his days were numbered.

"We would like to see stronger leadership," Mr Miles told the Washington Post recently in an unusually public criticism of a long-standing US ally.

The November 2 election shambles that triggered the Tbilisi tumult featured a number of elements cut straight from the template the Americans are using to engineer democratic change in target countries. The same tactics were applied by the US triumphantly in Serbia in 2000 to topple Slobodan Milosevic. Michael Kozak, the US ambassador in Minsk, then sought to emulate the success in elections in Belarus against the authoritarian Alexander Lukashenko and failed.

Mineral bonanza

The elements include grooming an opposition leader, such as Mr Saakashvili. US-funded pollsters, strategists, consultants and non-governmental organisations are also deployed to defeat ballot rigging by conducting "parallel vote tabulations" and instant exit polls that win the propaganda by getting the message of extensive poll fraud out long before the official results. As a result, a tidal wave of discontent with Mr Shevardnadze was unleashed and built up for three weeks, leaving the president to conclude bitterly that Washington is a fairweather friend.

For most of the past decade it was different. Back in 1999, Boris Yeltsin phoned Mr Shevardnadze and demanded to use Georgia for a Russian invasion of Chechnya. Strobe Talbott, the Clinton administration's Russia specialist, said no and Mr Shevardnadze took his cue from Washington. Mr Putin, then just entrenching his power by launching the war in Chechnya, never forgave the Georgian leader.

Within a month of the September 11 attacks, Mr Shevardnadze was in the White House offering to host US troops while Georgia benefited from some of the highest per-capita aid handouts made by the US. In late 2001, at US bidding, Mr Shevardnadze purged the top ranks of the security agencies and brought in the pro-American former ambassador in Washington, Tedo Japaridze, as his national security chief. The latter now appears to be the hinge between the old and the new regimes, and his role will be central to the outcome of the current tussle.

The proactive US policy on Georgia is explained not least by the country's centrality to control of the Caspian wealth, with the US-backed BP pipeline being built from the Caspian to Turkey running through Georgia, bypassing Russia and Iran.

In short, Georgia has continued to be a cold war playground, with Russia and the US competing for a country that is a strategic prize in the contest to control the Caspian mineral bonanza. "This is a place," said a senior European official in Tbilisi, "where the cold war is still boiling hot. You have a clear confrontation between Russia and the west."

While the US shored up Mr Shevardnadze as Georgia degenerated into a classic "failed state"; the Russians made mischief and contributed hugely to keeping Georgia as a failed state. They kept troops and military bases there and refused to pull out. They backed separatists and turned off gas and electricity supplies to keep Tbilisi in the dark. They crippled Mr Shevardnadze's Georgia and fomented disaffection. But the prospect of a Saakashvili regime that owes its arrival to strong American backing is also anathema to Moscow.

The American, British, European and UN statements on the crisis all called for dialogue, compromise and eschewal of violence, but said little of the constitution.

The Times had a slightly different emphasis, obviously more hopeful that the corrupt imperialist "New World Order" overall does not face any insurmountable economic-crisis difficulties for all of the anti-communist crooks, troughing around the Central Asian pot, to be able to carry on hoodwinking, manipulating, and robbing the people of the region indefinitely:

Mr Shevardnadze signed a letter of resignation at his residence outside Tbilisi, where the leaders of the main opposition parties had gathered with Igor Ivanov, the Russian Foreign Minister, at the end of all-day negotiations to head off the threat of violence and possible civil war.

Mr Ivanov, sent to the Georgian capital late on Saturday night by President Putin, won a dramatic diplomatic coup, persuading all sides to compromise and successfully inducing Mr Shevardnadze to step back from his earlier threat to use force to quash the protest and arrest the opposition leaders.

Mr Ivanov left Tbilisi immediately, saying that his role as a mediator was now over, and that it was up to Georgians to decide their own future. He had insisted from the moment he arrived that Russia would not intervene nor attempt to sway the outcome. But Mr Putin, who spoke with Mr Shevardnadze twice on Saturday as the demonstrations were coming to a climax, left the embattled leader in no doubt that he could not count on any outside support to remain in power.

RUSSIA and the West share an overwhelming urge to avoid bloodshed in Georgia. For the Russians, the turbulent and impoverished Caucasian republic is the backdoor to Chechnya and the key to quelling the Islamist rebellion on its southern flank.

For the Americans, it is the strategic alternative to Russia for the proposed new pipeline to take the vast oil exports from the Caspian Basin to the Mediterranean.

Each side has a vital interest in stopping Georgia falling decisively into the other's camp. The Russians have long resented what they see as Georgian provocations: the assertive anti-Russian stance of Georgian nationalists after independence in 1991, the sheltering of Chechen rebels in the Pankisi Gorge and the fiercely anti-Moscow stance of President Shevardnadze.

The Americans fear that instability or the threat of civil war might tempt Russia to intervene in an attempt to ensure a pro-Russian government on its border. The fear is that Russia could use the 5,000 troops who have still not been withdrawn from a former Soviet base in northwestern Georgia to fan ethnic rivalries, perpetuate Tbilisi's stand-off with breakaway regions and stop Georgia's rapprochement with Nato.

Nevertheless, both Moscow and Washington are eager to co-operate in resolving the impasse in Tbilisi, as neither could tolerate anarchy created by a prolonged stand-off between Mr Shevardnadze and his opponents.

This would encourage the corruption, gangsterism, crime and economic despair that have already brought Georgia to the present crisis, creating the ideal climate of lawlessness for terrorists, extremists and religious fanatics who might quickly form links with both Chechen rebels and anti-American al-Qaeda groups.

For the past ten years, relations between Russia and Georgia have been the worst between any two post-Soviet states. The mediation mission by Igor Ivanov, the Russian Foreign Minister, carries the risk of stirring Georgian resentment further. But if he can negotiate an outcome that avoids bloodshed, the long stand-off with Tbilisi may at last come to an end.

But the week of the CIA's hasty Georgian readjustment is also the week of Western imperialism's worst nightmares yet in its blitzkrieging re-colonisation insanity, ludicrously described as its "war on terrorism".

The devastating explosions at a British bank and consulate in Istanbul, plus the humiliation of Bush's visit to Britain, have now left no-one in doubt that the whole world is currently poised not just to denounce this warmongering degeneracy, but to fight against it more relentlessly and ruthlessly than the Western populations and states are themselves prepared to stomach.

Bush and Blair made a sick and ridiculous spectacle as they stammered to make sense of the devastating news arriving in mid press conference (which was supposed to be dedicated to imperialist triumphalism).

And no-one in shell-shocked Turkey or in the huge crowds jeering Bush was prepared to "blame the terrorists for the terrorism" as Blair despairingly and inanely urged everyone.

The whole of world opinion seems just about prepared to accept that it is the Western blitzkrieging on Afghanistan and Iraq, the threats to spread the warmongering even wider, and the rotten injustice of Western economic imperialism's treatment of the entire Third World in general which is really responsible for the Third World fighting back with these deadly and unstoppable suicide bombers.

And most catastrophically of all for the West's "New World Order", causing the greatest public demoralisation, it is the blitzkrieging which appears to be LOSING.

And it is the smell of DEFEAT which is the most corrosive thing of all affecting the Western loss of equanimity and unity.

The Washington warmongers were already in total disarray, and the coalition reeling from disaster after disaster in Iraq itself (and to only a slightly lesser extent in Afghanistan too), with more and more would-be allies of the blitzkrieg (like Turkey and Japan, e.g.) suddenly finding that directly joining in the dictatorial military carnage and economic rape (of the first two "rogue states") themselves was no longer quite such a good idea.

Now the Turks KNOW that directly helping to kick Iraqi and Afghan state independence to pieces is DEFINITELY not a good investment.

The Georgian events will now be once again reassuring of US imperialism's vicious NAZI ruthlessness and traditional crisis time panicky recklessness; but will Shevardnadze's cynical and desperate toppling, and his even more shameful 12-year-rule as US imperialism's Central Asian stooge-in-chief, be at all more soothing (than chaotic recent setbacks) that the overall Western warmongering re-colonisation project is certain to win??

It is defeats and hiccups for the West which are going to turn the already seemingly unbeatable "terrorism" offensive by various nationalist/religious individualist extremisms, towards the more and more consciously revolutionary possibilities of which it is a foretaste.

And the split in the imperialist camp from the setbacks already, which has helped to encourage the resistance thus far, will grow worse, and grow more and more encouraging of revolution, the more that the defeats and humiliations for the West pile up.

Do not all these latest hiccups, including the Georgian skulduggery, add more to the justifiable speculation that the whole Western imperialist world-domination SYSTEM has basically started running out of time, historically speaking, — rather than just begun to "preemptively assert its unique super-power position at last", as is being pretended by the fascist-minded neo-conservatives (and by the more nervous of the anti-theory 'left' petty bourgeois defeatists)??

Certainly, despite all of the West's renewed propaganda bluster about "defeating terrorism" and of "winning the reconstruction battle to build a new Iraq" (and, somewhat less loudly and prominently, a "new Afghanistan" into the bargain), — nevertheless the news from the ground in the Middle East imperialist warmongering theatres (Iraq, Afghanistan, and Occupied Palestine) still cannot be censored enough to provide the "free world" with many reassuring images.

The imperialist press's own admissions remain relentlessly gloomy:

A LYNCH mob set on two American soldiers who had been shot while driving through the northern Iraqi city of Mosul yesterday, mutilating and robbing the men's bodies in a gruesome new blow to US forces in Iraq.

Witnesses said that the soldiers had been shot while driving from one military compound to another in the city 200 miles north of Baghdad.

Bahaa Jassim, a teenager, said that the civilian vehicle had careered into a wall and a crowd had quickly formed. People stripped the car of weapons and the soldiers' possessions. When the bodies fell out of the vehicle into the street, Iraqis beat them with concrete blocks.

Other witnesses said that the men had their throats cut by the mob, although it was not clear whether they were already dead.

US troops quickly cordoned off the area of the brutal attack and a military spokesman declined to go into detail about the men's deaths.

"We're not going to get ghoulish about this," Brigadier-General Mark Kimmitt said, although such a display of stark hatred will certainly raise concerns about troops in the United States. The spectacle of American soldiers' bodies being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu a decade ago did much to hasten the US withdrawal from Somalia ten years ago.

Mosul, an ethnically mixed city, had been viewed as one of the Americans' success stories until two US Army helicopters crashed there a week ago, colliding while apparently trying to dodge enemy fire. Seventeen soldiers were killed and some locals rejoiced at the deaths of the occupation soldiers.

In another attack in Mosul, on Saturday night, an Iraqi police colonel was shot dead coming out of a mosque. General Kimmitt also said that the Iraqi chief of police in Latifiyah, 20 miles south of the capital, had been killed, with two of his officers, yesterday when their car was found riddled with bullets fired by unidentified gunmen.

Another soldier was killed by a roadside bomb in the town of Baqouba, to the north of Baghdad.

In Samarra, close to Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, six US Apache helicopter gunships blasted marshland on the edge of town after guerrillas had fired rocket-propelled grenades at a US army base there.

An Iraqi bystander was killed in the blasts, witnesses said. The attacks came a day after simultaneous car bombings outside a police station in Baqouba and Khan Bani Saad, both in the central Sunni region of Iraq, which killed at least 18 people.

An oil pipeline was blown up near Iraq's northern oil centre of Kirkuk last night, sparking a fire that lit up the sky for miles around. Jumaa Ahmed, the head of the fire department in the Kirkuk-based North Oil Company, confirmed that an explosive device had caused the blast on the pipeline, which transports gas from the Jambur oilfield to a refinery in Baiji, 250km (155 miles) north of Baghdad.

Attacks have increased during the Muslim holy months of Ramadan, which is due to end today, further shaking the American led reconstruction effort and emboldening guerrillas and saboteurs even as the US Army launched its own crackdown, rounding up hundreds of suspects across the country.

In Washington, Senator Joseph Biden, the most senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that more troops needed to be sent to Iraq to end the escalating attacks. Around 130,000 US troops are deployed in Iraq, the vast majority of an international coalition of nearly 150,000.

He added that it was unlikely that enough Iraqis could be trained in time to take over security by next spring, when the United States is set to hand back control of the country to Iraqis.

Yesterday the military ordered the suspension of all civilian flights in and out of Baghdad after confirming that a missile had hit a DIIL courier aircraft flying out of the capital on Saturday. The cargo plane, with part of its wing missing and its engine in flames, was forced to turn around and make an emergency landing in Baghdad.


BRITISH and American Armed Forces are likely to remain in Iraq for at least another four years, even if they succeed in handing power to a transitional civil government next summer.

Senior Foreign and Commonwealth Office sources have told The Times that a training programme is already under way to set up a new Iraqi internal security police, which they hope will prevent the present insurgency spiralling out of control, as well as speeding the end of the official occupation.

However, the British Government believes that an Iraqi-led administration would need continued military support for "several years", which officials suggest means at least four, while some sort of security presence is likely to remain for the next decade.

From Afghanistan, the news is even worse in one sense, since the invasion is already two years old into what had never ceased to be a civil-war divided country in the first place, (thanks to past reactionary imperialist interventions).

The "reconstruction time" in which the situation in Iraq is promised to "get better" has already elapsed in Afghanistan.

And so how much "better" are things there really???????

Here are three different recent imperialist-press reports, but all admitting the same gloomy conclusion: that the West's imposed "New World Order" is proving to be a completely fraudulent and hypocritical disaster:

AFGHANISTAN could fall under the spell of drug cartels and narco-terrorists.

Opium cultivation was suppressed by the hardline Taleban regime, but since the Taleban were forced from power two years ago farmers have resumed production and account for 77 per cent of global opium production according to the UN.

If Afghanistan's government did not curb opium poppy cultivation for heroin production the country would fall to the type of violence, corruption and disorder brought on Colombia by cocaine cartels according to the latest report from the United [Na]tions Office on Drugs and Crime.

The area under opium poppy cultivation has increased by eight percent, from 74,000 hectares (183,000 acres) in 2002 to 80,000 this year according to research by UN experts.

As a result opium production went up by 6 per cent from 3,400 tonnes to 3,600 tonnes.

Even more alarmingly, 28 out of 32 provinces in Afghanistan now harvest the drug crop compared with 18 provinces in 1999. Cultivation has spread beyond the traditional production areas in the eastern and southern provinces.

Antonio Maria Costa, who heads the UN drive against illegal drug production said, as he presented the report yesterday: "The country is clearly at a crossroads. Either major surgical drug control measures are taken now, or the drug cancer in Afghanistan will keep spreading and metastasise into corruption, violence and terrorism."

He added: "There is a palpable risk that Afghanistan will again turn into a failed state, this time in the hands of drugs cartels and narco-terrorists."

The UN report shows that the income of Afghan opium farmers and traffickers has reached about $2.3 billion (£1.3 billion), which is equivalent to half the legitimate GDP of the country.

Opium poppy cultivation plays a direct role in the livelihood of about 1.7 million rural people, or about 7 percent of the Afghan population of 24 million, the UN report said.

"Out of this drug chest, some provincial administrators and military commanders take a considerable share: the more they get used to this, the less likely it becomes that they will respect the law, be loyal to Kabul and support the legal economy," the UN says.

"Law enforcement alone cannot suffice," he said. "The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime calls on the international community for adequate resources to help rebuild the economy of Afghanistan where far too many people still have no food security, no electricity, no running water, no roads, no schools and no health services."

With up to 90 per cent of heroin on the streets of Europe based on Afghan opium, the international trafficking chain from Afghanistan to Western Europe is worth $30 billion a year and involves half a million people. The average income per opium-growing family was 3,900 in 2003.

The UN report also called on the international community to step up reconstruction of Afghanistan and to provide more aid to reduce poverty and hunger in the country, where poppy harvests provides a livelihood for many farmers.


While fighting is growing in intensity in southern Afghanistan, as US forces engage resurgent Taliban forces in the Pashtun heartlands two years after they were supposed to have been defeated, the jockeying for power in the north is between three main groups, all of which are financed and supported by the Americans.

Casualties are fortunately few and front lines in this largely unreported struggle are invisible. All that is different when places change hands, usually by night and with one side running away, is the loyalty of the men who sit in the fort which commands the highest point in every Afghan village. To which warlord do the new local rulers owe their allegiance, and who will enjoy the "taxes" that the militias exact from ordinary people?

The incident is not isolated. It is being replicated throughout northern Afghanistan in what amounts to low-level civil war as militias use the autumn, the country's traditional fighting season, to change the map of power.

How is it possible that the Bush administration could launch its war on international terror while being so unwilling to clip the wings of warlords who inflict terror mainly on other Afghans? The cynics may say the question answers itself. But even a less negative view has to accept that, just as in Iraq, no planning was done for providing immediate security in Afghanistan once the Taliban lost power. Most of Afghanistan was too poor to have had electricity or piped water before the war, so Afghan complaints are different from those of Iraqis. For Afghans, the lack of security is the big issue.

It was not just that a vacuum developed. The Americans encouraged the leaders of the Northern Alliance to resume their old positions. Their forces played little role in defeating the Taliban and only managed to advance on the ground thanks to US carpet-bombing of Taliban positions. But in victory, the Americans behaved as though they were in the warlords' debt, rather than the other way round.

Like its American variants in the central highlands and the south, the British "provincial reconstruction team" in Mazar creates new problems while it tries to solve old ones. Scores of attacks on aid workers in southern Afghanistan, where a full-scale war appears to be resuming, are causing the big international organisations anxiety. Long before the bombing of the International Committee of the Red Cross building in Baghdad this week put the focus on the dangers aid workers face, an ICRC man was, killed near Kandahar. Another dozen aid staff, mainly Afghans, have died since March this year.


"There's no one who isn't glad the Taliban are gone," said Mr Bazena. "Even those who aren't making money have peace."

For those in the capital that may be true. But outside the city there is a different story to tell, a story that leads some British soldiers to dub their mission here "Operation Forgotten".

While the capital is protected by a 5,700-strong International Security Assistance Force (Isaf), under Nato's control, much of the rest of the country is in turmoil.

Observers say regime change has no more brought an end to conflict in Afghanistan than in Iraq. Indeed in Afghanistan there are now two conflicts: a continuing war pitting the US-led coalition against the remnants of the Taliban and al-Qaida; and a flickering civil war, which the coalition's invasion interrupted.


In recent months Afghanistan has seen its worst violence, on both fronts, for nearly two years.

Hitting-and-running into the south from their safe havens in Pakistan, the black-turbaned Taliban are rallying. American officials report more attacks on the coalition's 11,500 troops in the past three months than the previous 12.

A recent battle in southern Zabol province featured 200 Taliban fighters.

On the mosque doors of Kandahar, the Taliban's former stronghold, edicts forbidding "moments of happiness and other occasions containing music" appear overnight. The Taliban's white flag flutters in outlying villages.

The Taliban have reason to celebrate. When they ambush coalition troops, they invariably come away bloodied. But with a new and repellent tactic, they appear to be scoring a major hit. In March, Taliban fighters shot dead an El Salvadorean Red Cross worker in southern Oruzgan province. In the past three months, 12 local aid workers have been murdered, causing most agencies to withdraw from southern Afghanistan.

"It's a brilliant guerrilla tactic," said Gorm Pederson, whose Danish NGO, Dakaar, lost four aid workers to a Taliban attack in September. "How will we know when it's safe to return?"

On Tuesday a UN office in Kandahar was gutted by a car bomb, raising fears of a major bombing spree, as recently predicted by the UN.

Northern Afghanistan is more secure, but only just. From Herat to Jalalabad, west to east, the warlords again hold sway. The new central government of President Hamid Karzai appears powerless against them.

Last week, Mr Karzai ordered two of the hardest warlords, including his former deputy defence minister, General Abdurrashid Dostum, to Kabul, after a recent tank battle between their militias cost 100 lives. They refused to come. Their grip on northern Afghanistan is largely the result of America's policy of paying the warlords to fight its battles.

When it drove the Taliban out, America had no idea who to replace them with.

As in Iraq, the US refused to countenance UN peacekeepers until chaos was upon it: the UN security council mandated Isaf only two months ago.

Almost all the international community supported the bombing of Afghanistan, and promised to support its reconstruction. Yet those promises appear to be forgotten.

Though mandated to expand out of Kabul, Isaf currently cannot maintain the complement it needs to patrol Kabul.

"The status quo will lead to failure ... The government's remit extends across the whole country, but its writ extend only as far as we go — Kabul," said the force's Canadian deputy commander. Major General Andrew Lesley.

"We need 12,000 to 15,000 soldiers, and there area million soldiers in Nato. What the hell are these countries doing?

Excluding Canada, Isaf's remaining 30 contributors do not muster 4,000 men. And manpower is not the only problem — money is also short.

Even allowing for an initial underestimate of the cost of reconstructing Afghanistan, the donor response has been pitiful.

Around $4.5bn (£2.6bn) in grants — the original estimate — has been soaked up by emergency humanitarian needs. There has been virtually no reconstruction.

President Bush recently vowed to complete the single exception, a US-funded road from Kabul to Kandahar, by Christmas. But local progress is slowing after a Turkish road worker was kidnapped by the Taliban last week.

Ashraf Ghani, the finance minister, and one of a handful of Afghan politicians of international standing, estimates the cost of reconstruction at $30bn. So far, around $2bn has been pledged.

Meanwhile Afghanistan's life expectancy remains at 43 years and only 13% of its 26 million people have access to clean water.

On a rocky slope, high above Kabul, Fudama Mohammed, a refugee newly returned from Pakistan, ticked off his worries. He had no food, no water, no house, no job, and the police had stolen the stakes he had bought to make a roof for his lean-to shelter.

"You go and tell the president that, and you tell him to come here and sort things out," he said.

But beyond these shameful and humiliating catastrophes for the "free world", it is the further knock-on effects of the DEFEATS and the SPLITS which are even more significant.

All these setbacks "could" be remedied, as the West keeps promising.

But much more interestingly, they could be signs of a Western imperialist system now completely OUT OF DATE and utterly INTOLERABLE to an ever-more-rapidly maturing Third World, being made increasingly REVOLUTIONARY by capitalist globalisation, — exactly as Marxist science so long ago explained must eventually happen (see EPSR box).

And while these "reflective" comments on how recolonisation's imposed "new nation building" is going are bad enough, even worse are the "hot news" reports which are now coming back into the headlines, — what with troop-carrying US helicopters now going down in Afghanistan too, as well as in Iraq, and with nasty back-biting splits in the Warmongering High Command now being indicated not only over Iraq ("more harsher military repression"? or "more gentler Iraqisisation"?) but over Afghanistan strategy too:

Despite a two-year manhunt by thousands of American troops, inside sources say that the Taliban's elusive leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, remains firmly in control, directing operations through a 10-man leadership council that was created in June.

"Since this council was set up, the Taliban jihad has much improved," a Taliban official, Mullah Abdul Rauf, told Reuters from an undisclosed location. "Mullah Mohammed Omar is still in charge and head of the Taliban, and all our jihadi activities are being carried out with his permission and consultation.

"During the last two years Taliban commanders attended a number of meetings chaired by Mullah Omar during which they planned tactics of the Taliban jihad," said Mullah Rauf. "He also issues instructions to Taliban commanders through other secret means:'

The Taliban were ousted from power in 2001 by the American-led coalition for refusing to hand over Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaida.

It is not clear how closely the two organisations work together today, but al-Qaida is said to be active in parts of Afghanistan and there is mutual sympathy.

"Osama bin Laden is the greatest mujahid [holy warrior] and all Muslims think he is their ideal," said Mullah Rauf. "All those fighting a jihad anywhere in the world against the cruel infidels, including [in] Afghanistan, are our brothers and allies."
Reuters in Kabul and Spin Boldak


A senior American official in Kabul told the Guardian that British efforts to temper Afghanistan's opium output had had "absolutely no impact" on the amount of opium produced since the fall of the Taliban two years ago.

British and Afghan officials in Kabul privately complain that their efforts have been compromised by the US military campaign against the Taliban and al-Qaida. America employs local warlords to prosecute its war, including many who are allegedly involved in opium production. US special forces in southern Helmand province told the Guardian they routinely went on patrol through opium fields, but had no orders to interfere

Washington's change of tack is less a response to Britain's failed counter-narcotics effort than to its own failure to quell the Taliban and its allies, analysts in Kabul say. During the past year, the Taliban has reorganised and returned from its rear-bases in Pakistan, and now loosely controls pockets of south-eastern Afghanistan. Its influence extends across much of the prime poppy-growing land in Hilmand, Kandahar and Nangarhar provinces; including the fiefs of many of America's supposedly loyal allies.

Poppy-growing areas in the north are proving a similar draw for America's enemies. According to western intelligence sources, opium production in northern Badhakshan province is now heavily controlled by Hizb-e-Islami, a fundamentalist group allied to al-Wda and the Taliban and linked to Chechen rebels. Badhakshan's opium production rocketed by 55% this year, making it the third most productive poppy province.


"America's efforts to defeat the Taliban through local proxies has failed on the back of some very compromised intelligence," said Vikram Parekh of the International Crisis Group thinktank "The Taliban will be defeated by good governance and law enforcement, and that includes counter-narcotics."

Failing drastic measures of the kind America is planning, most analysts expect that Afghanistan's next opium crop will exceed 1999's record haul of 4,500 tonnes. 'There's no doubt we're about to see a record breaking crop,' said Abdul Ghaus, the beleaguered chief government counter-narcotics officer in Jallalabad, capital of Afghanistan's most productive poppy-province, Nangarhar. "The British are doing nothing to prevent it."

This year's harvest was up on last year's bumper poppy crop — the first since the Taliban's fall — despite two devastating crop diseases, a ham-fisted government eradication campaign and British-led efforts to train local police and provide poppy farmers with alternative livelihoods at an estimated cost of £65m.

"The Brits will stay in the lead, but we're facing the fact that their efforts have had no impact on opium tonnage whatsoever," the American official said. "Meanwhile we're seeing that this issue affects our counter-terrorism interests: it's become more and more clear that the principal source of financing for al-Qaida and the Taliban is Afghan drugs."

According to the plan America would persuade a moderate Muslim ally, either Turkey or a Balkan state, to deploy some 400 soldiers to Afghanistan to provide security for a similar number of Afghan counter-narcotics police. Sweeping the country from south to north, the eradication team would arrive in each province during the two-week window in the opium poppy's growth cycle when it can be ploughed up without regenerating.

US intelligence sources believe this would serve the dual purpose of destroying at least 25% of the poppies and flushing out many Taliban and al-Qaida operatives. "This is going to be the biggest frickin' pheasant drive you've ever seen" the American official said.

A British diplomat in Kabul yesterday confirmed the American plan, but questioned whether a foreign force could be deployed in time for the coming harvest. "To start eradicating in the south, you'd have to be ready by February, which looks unlikely," the diplomat said. "If we know anything about this country, it's that everything takes time."

Mohammed Jan was preparing to sow three of his nine jeribs — the Afghan unit of land, denoting a fifth of a hectare — with opium. "Last year the government destroyed my crop, but never again;" he said to the delight of local children. "If they bring their tractors, I will fight them with my sword and my gun."

Mr Jan, who had grown opium his entire life, said that if he could not continue with the crop, his eight children would starve.

"These people are not starving peasants," said the US official in Kabul. "They are small landowners. If they've grown opium before, they're not poor. There's nothing that could replace the monetary value of poppies, so there's only one good reason for farmers not to grow it — it's against the law. Sorry, but if we can't get alternative livelihoods to keep up with law enforcement, that's just tough."

Yet, if that appeared true of Mr Jan, it was not true of his near-neighbour, Mr Nayamatullah, who may be more typical of the 1. 7 million poppy farmers. "Growing poppy may not be right, but it's the only means of survival we have," he said.

Last year, Mr Nayamatullah accepted a government compensation offer of £200, and grew wheat instead of opium, but he was paid only £50. He and his brothers found occasional work as labourers but were compelled to borrow £750 from an opium dealer, in return promising to sell their next crop at half the market-price. If the crop is good, they will make only £875; and will have to borrow again.

"What choice have we?" asked Mr Nayamatullah. "When my neighbour ran out of money last winter, he collapsed his house on himself and his children for shame. Must I do the same?"

Few analysts dispute that Afghanistan needs more forthright measures to counter its opium explosion. Yet a blanket eradication scheme would risk beggaring thousands of farmers like Mr Nayamatullah — to America's cost. "The Taliban are operating in the south-east because they have support there," said ICG's Mr Parekh. "By destroying opium crops without offering any economic support, America could end up turning virtually the entire population against it."

It would be better, Mr Parekh said, to start with Afghanistan's rather more powerful drug barons. "There are members of the government and their family deeply involved in the drug business. Everyone knows who they are, and that goes right up to cabinet level. Prosecute them, take out the big fish. That way you'd solve a lot of this country's other problems too."

• Five US soldiers were killed and seven injured when their helicopter crashed yesterday near Kabul.

It is all these growing doubts about the workability and effectiveness of all this recolonising "New World Order" imperialist triumphalism (following capitalism's supposed "victory over history") that will be clouding Bonapartist brows in Moscow with ever-deeper furrows.

Playing second, third, or fourth spear-carrier to an all-conquering and invincible single "superpower New World Order" is one thing. Being just a scorned side-kick to ridiculed and failed US imperialist arrogance is a different prospect entirely. Even among the most starry-eyed ex-communist admirers of American glitz and know-how, there will by now be the beginnings of grave doubts about whether imperialist domination really won the "battle of history", — as is indicated by the chaotic unrest in Georgia, long echoed in many other former Socialist Camp countries.

And Putin and Co knew nothing of ever having to face serious real DEFEAT in anything the Soviet Union ever did or undertook. Deliberate decisions forced the liquidation of the USSR's Afghanistan involvement, and then of the Soviet workers state itself, — not ENFORCED decisions.

And getting ever closer understanding of the basically ruthless skulduggery and amoral instability of imperialist anarchy from firsthand experience of intrigues around Georgia, Chechnya, and the Great Game for oil and geopolitical influence in Central Asia, etc, will increase Moscow's doubts about where Russia's bizarre and painful "free market" experiments are really heading.

And once the suffering and disasters of imperialism's imminent global "overproduction" economic collapse (and dollar collapse and subsequent warmongering chaos) start coming ever more clearly into the picture, the wretched Bonapartism of Putin & Co will be obliged more and more to reconsider the wisdom of the fateful "market forces" path which was chosen to eliminate the Soviet Union with.

But however Moscow's ugly opportunism chooses to play all this, this latest "democracy" scandal will reek all round the world.

It is one thing for the slimy Western media to suddenly present "revolution" as a wonderful thing to its gullible audiences in order to cover the CIA's back for imposing a blatantly "unconstitutional" coup, but millions more eyes around the world will be watching and noting the completely hollow and expendable fraud that "democracy" really represents for the West's "anti-totalitarian" (i.e. anti-communist) Goebbels machinery.

And imperialism's problems don't stop there. Its Zionist hitmen, who have genocidally stolen at gunpoint the homeland of the Palestinian nation in order to create the armed-fascist colony called "Israel", are now bleating louder than ever about how their post-1945 sobstory of "needing a homeland for the persecuted Jews" is now being universally seen through as nothing but a land-grabbing imperialist colonisation racket to create permanent clenched-fist intimidation of the entire Arab and Muslim Middle East

"Your criticism of the poor Jewish settlers is nothing but anti-semitism revived," they are wailing. "Any criticism can only be directed against specific acts of specific governments of Israel", they go on. "It must not be directed against the Jews".

But "Israel", and all its claims to "a right to state self-determination in Palestine", and all its acts of colonising "government" since the imperialist-dominated UN gave the armed occupation the go-ahead in 1947, are NOTHING BUT the sum total of EVERY BELIEF which has been the core of this particular self-serving religious freemasonry (among many throughout Western history) since it began.

At the heart of what has kept 'Jewishness' self-protection and mutual assistance going for so many centuries, now uniting dozens of different nationalities and racial mixtures, is the comforting delusion about a special "God", a "chosen people", and a "promised land", or "next year in Jerusalem" as a popular prayer has had it for hundreds of years.

Now, it is PRECISELY the Jewish religious freemasonry and its powerful influences inside the monopoly imperialist ruling circles of the USA (and elsewhere throughout the West, past and present) AND NOTHING ELSE which continues to foist "defence of Israel" (i.e. the armed genocidal colonisation and strike Arabs-&-Muslims-anywhere tyranny) onto "New World Order" policy as a sacrosanct principle.

Western imperialist world domination will now blitzkrieg ANY nation which tries to become a nuclear weapons power, especially around the Middle East, — except this "state" proclaimed by the Jewish colonists occupying Palestine right in the heart of the Middle East.

Crippling international sanctions or blitzkrieg destruction is now imposed on ANY state which can be accused of attempting any degree of "ethnic cleansing" against any minority, or of imposing any hint of racist discrimination or race privilege laws whatever (as Serbia was monstrously set-up for, e.g., and as Zimbabwe is on the way to being set-up for soon, — in both cases because of resistance to full freedom for the imperialist system's international property "laws"), — but the Jews' colony called "Israel", implanted at gunpoint on the homeland of the Palestinian nation in 1947, has been allowed to ethnically cleanse no less than the entire 7 million Arab population of Palestine out of their homeland since then, and into nothing but one giant semi-desert concentration camp on the West Bank and Gaza, or into permanent refugee-camp hovels outside of Palestine.

And uniquely on Earth, the Jews' state of "Israel" is ALONE officially permitted to make its few remaining Arabs blatantly second-class "citizens", — formally "by law" deprived of all kinds of "rights" which trampling armed colonialism reserves for THE JEWS, entirely because of their JEWISHNESS, and for no other reason.

Let as many Jews as want to, proclaim their adherence to their religious freemasonry as loudly as they like, and also let as many of them as want to formally migrate to their "promised land", — provided a Palestinian state's inevitable Arab majority is prepared to invite them into this tiny overcrowded territory from the vast open spaces of the USA (which could swallow a thousand Palestines and still have room to spare, — and better soil) where most of these aggressive settlers came from.

But before any of that is tolerable or feasible, there first needs to be heard from the majority of Jews in the world a clear denunciation of what an unspeakable and intolerable fascist-tyranny is the armed colonial occupation of the land of the Palestinian nation, masquerading as the "legitimate state of Israel".

This genocidal colonisation is no such nonsense. It is nothing but a permanent explosive powder-keg, waiting to blast the whole planet into World War III.

And international opinion is slowly catching on. Here are more bourgeois press revelations (and from the most liberally politically correct anti-"anti-semitism" wing of the capitalist media too) of what an unspeakable fascist tyranny this "hallowed state of 'Israel' " really amounts to:

"Our main conclusion is that it exists to make torture possible — a particular kind of torture that creates progressive states of dread, dependency, debility," says Manal Hazzan, a human rights lawyer who helped expose the prison's existence. "The law gives the army enough authority already to hide prisoners, so why do they need a secret facility?"

Unlike any other Israeli prison, the International Red Cross, lawyers and members of the Israeli parliament have been refused access. One leftwing MP, Zahava Gal-On, describes Facility 1391 as "one of the signs of totalitarian regimes and of the third world". The Israeli government declines to discuss the secret prison other than to issue a standard response: "Facility 1391 is situated on a secret military base. The base is used by the security services for various classified activities and thus its location is kept confidential."

But it is not just human rights lawyers and leftwing MPs who have a problem. Ami Ayalon is a former head of Israel's intelligence service, the Shin Bet. He was told about 1391 but says he refused to have anything to do with it. "I knew there was a facility not under the responsibility of the Shin Bet, but under the responsibility of the military. I didn't think then, and I don't think today; that such an institution should exist in a democracy," he says.

Facility 1391 has been airbrushed from Israeli aerial photographs and purged from modern maps: where once a police station was marked there is now a blank space. Sometimes even the road leading to it has been erased. But Israel's secret prison, inside an army intelligence base close to the main road between Hadera and Afula in northern Israel, is real enough. For 20 years or more it has been housed in a large, imposing, single-storey building designed by a British engineer, Sir Charles Taggart, during the 1930s as one of a series of garrison forts designed to contain growing unrest in Palestine. Today, the thick concrete walls and iron gates are themselves protected by a double fence overseen by watchtowers and patrolled by attack dogs.

The prison has held Lebanese abducted by the Israeli army as hostages, Iraqi defectors and a Syrian intelligence officer who tried to defect but was accused of spying and chose to remain in another prison rather than return home and face a firing squad. More recently, scores of Palestinians were incarcerated in 1391 for interrogation, which finally led to the almost accidental disclosure of a prison the state decreed did not exist.

Those who have been through its gates know it is no illusion. One former inmate has filed a lawsuit alleging that he was raped twice — once by a man and once with a stick — during questioning. But most of those who emerge say the real torture is the psychological impact of solitary confinement in filthy, blackened cells so poorly lit that inmates can barely see their own hands, and with no idea where they are or, in many cases, why they are there.

Sameer Jadala was detained at his home in Nablus last year at 3 o'clock on a December morning. For three days, the 33-year-old Palestinian was moved from one prison cell to another. On the fourth day, he was blindfolded, handcuffed and his feet manacled. Blacked-out glasses were pushed over his eyes as he was forced into the back of a car and on to the floor. Then he was covered with a blanket.

"I was barefoot in my pyjamas when they arrested me and it was really cold," says Sameer Jadala, a Palestinian school bus driver. "When I got to that place, they told me to strip and gave me a blue uniform. Then they gave me a black sack They told me: 'This is your sack. You need to keep it with you. Anytime someone comes to your cell, you must put it on your head. Any time they deliver the food, you must put it on your head. You must never see the soldiers' faces. You do not want to know what will happen if you take it off' Sometimes I thought I would die in that place and no on would ever know."

Raab Bader, a 38-year-old accountant and father of two, was also in the cells, although the two men had no contact. He too had been detained in Nablus, though he was convinced he had nothing to hide. "I was held like a blind mole, except for the prolonged hours that an [intelligence] agent interrogated me," he says.

Bader was variously told that he was on a submarine, in space or outside the borders of Israel. He was pushed into a windowless cell, 6ft square. A fan high in the ceiling drives air into the cell, but inmates say the noise is deafening.

"The cell walls were painted black. I never saw the ceiling. When I looked up, I saw only darkness. Light no stronger than the power of a candle penetrated in a peculiar way from one side of the room," he said in an affidavit.

The bed was a thin, damp mattress on a concrete slab a few inches above the ground. The toilet was a bucket, emptied every few days. Water to the cell came out of a hole in the wall, controlled by the guard. "On the ninth consecutive day in the stench filled cell, one of the soldiers was supposed to come and take me out. He almost vomited and rushed out of the cell," Bader says. "I spent many days in that solitary confinement cell and in others  like it, and hour after hour I would talk to myself and feel that I was going crazy, or find myself laughing to myself."

Jadala was still trying to work out why he had been arrested in the first place. "I asked the interrogator: why am I here? What do you want from me? When I asked where I was, they told me I was in Honolulu. I didn't ask again," he says.

Sameer Jadala now believes he was detained as part of an elaborate psychological game to pressure his brother into talking. Mohammed Jadala, who is still a prisoner, has signed an affidavit alleging he was tortured into a confession. He says he was beaten during his initial interrogation at a regular prison and then moved to 1391. When he asked where he was, the reply was "on the moon".

"They kept me there in a solitary cell for about 67 days. During this period, they continued with the torture, but they used a different method. They did not let me sleep more than two hours a day. When I started to get drowsy, they woke me up by making noise or by throwing water on me. As a result of the torture, they were able to get me to admit to all kinds of offences," he says.

The interrogators brought the brothers together briefly, apparently as a means of letting Mohammed know that Sameer would pay the price if he didn't talk. 'They took my brother and cousin to the secret facility and showed me them crying; the interrogators said that they would be tried because of me," Mohammed says.

Probably the first prisoners at Facility 1391 were Lebanese. The prison is part of a military camp that is home to an army intelligence group, Unit 504, which specialises in interrogation. The unit has a hard reputation, and some of its members have badly blemished records. One has been accused of murder, another of spying. Unit 504's glory days were during Israel's 18-year occupation of southern Lebanon, interrogating captured Hezbollah fighters and running an extensive network of collaborators, some of whom are still being put on trial for their lives by the Lebanese authorities.

In the late 80s, Unit 504 went in search of another kind of prisoner; men who could be held hostage and exchanged for captured Israeli soldiers and airmen. In 1989, the Israelis seized Sheikh Abd al-Karim Obeid, a spiritual leader to Hezbollah. Five years later, they snatched Mustafa Dirani, a leading Shi'ite fighter. Both were taken directly to Facility 1391.

The soldiers who grabbed Obeid also abducted his bodyguards, members of his family and Hashem Fahaf, a young man who happened to be visiting the sheikh to seek his blessing and who found himself locked up for the next 11 years, initially at 1391.

Fahaf was never accused of any crime, but he was refused access to a lawyer and any other contact with the outside world. For the first few years, the Israelis denied they were even holding him. In April 2000, the Israeli supreme court finally ordered Fahaf's release. The government said it had been holding him and another 18 Lebanese as hostages — or "bargaining chips', as Israeli officials prefer to call it — in the hope of winning the release of an airforce navigator, Colonel Ron Arad.

Mustafa Dirani, the primary target of the abductions, had been the head of security in the Shi'ite movement Amal, and held Arad for about two years, at times driving around with the Israeli colonel in the boot of his car. Dirani was questioned for five weeks around the clock. Freed from Facility 1391 eight years later but locked up in another Israeli prison, he filed a lawsuit in the Israeli courts alleging that he was sodomised by his Israeli interrogators. The legal action names a "Major George" who, Dirani alleges, ordered a soldier to rape him. On another occasion, the Lebanese prisoner accuses the major of thrusting a stick up his rectum. Other former prisoners at 1391 have described how they were stripped naked for interrogation, blindfolded and handcuffed, and a stick was pressed against their buttocks as they were threatened with rape.

In its response to the lawsuit, the Israeli government denied Dirani was raped but it confirmed that prisoners were routinely stripped naked for interrogation. However, the state attorney's office later went further and said that "within the framework of a military police investigation the suspicion arose that an interrogator who questioned the complainant threatened to perform a sexual act on the complainant".

"Major George" was sacked. Dozens of other interrogators signed a petition objecting to his punishment for using methods they said were sanctioned by the authorities.

Another Lebanese prisoner, Ahmed Ali Banjek, was convicted of smuggling a surface-to-air missile into the Israeli-controlled zone of southern Lebanon on the basis of a confession made at 1391. He later told a military court that it had been extracted under torture, including being forced to sit on a stick until it penetrated his anus. The court was persuaded that the confession was not reliable, and released Banjek.

A Jerusalem human rights organisation, the Centre for the Defence of the Individual (Hamoked), went in search of one man, Muatez Shahin, who was taken from his home by the army a year ago. The military insisted he was not on any of their lists of prisoners. Hamoked petitioned the high court and, after various attempts by the state to block the truth, won an unprecedented admission earlier this year that Shahin had disappeared into the previously unknown prison.

State prosecutors initially told the court that the prison was no longer, in use. A few weeks later, the state was forced to confess otherwise.

But the confession really needed, and from a majority of the ENTIRE Jewish religious freemasonry, is that the whole idea of "Israel", colonially implanted at gunpoint on the 1500-year homeland of the Arab Palestinian nation is a TOTAL IMPOSSIBLE NONSENSE and one which increasingly permanently threatens to spark off World War III.

And the fake-'left' "two-state solution" is exactly the same stupidity.

A nation-state community was already living on this territory, — for 1500 years, — the majority-Arab Palestinian people, now tragically and genocidally dispersed or butchered, 7 million strong.

They must all return, — with all their own old lands back.

Any Jewish pioneers determined to try to stay in their "promised land" and who get citizenship, will have to take their chances for seeing through their religious-freemasonry principles. Build Leninism.

EPSR supporters

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World Socialist Review

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


The British colonial bigotry which massacred unarmed Irish protesters on Bloody Sunday in 1972 is still being left deliberately uncontrolled by Blairite imperialism's dog-in-the-manger viciousness against Sinn Féin's national-liberation triumph.

As the only Sinn Féin representative to sit on the Protestant dominated Newtownabbey Borough Council, she has first hand experience of unionist intransigence, institutionalised bigotry, and a degree of unprofessionalism that would make any three-year-old blush.

"It has been absolutely horrendous," she says, speaking of her treatment during the last two years on the council. "There are times when you go up to council meetings feeling really confident and you want to express that confidence. within the chamber, but the way you're treated... It does deflate you on occasion. But it also makes you stronger."

Meehan recalls a day when the council met last year. A DUP Minister, who leads the Council in prayer before the monthly meetings, was in attendance that day.

"I don't attend the prayer session," says Meehan, "but I still put out my hand to shake his and said, 'I'm Briege Meehan, Sinn Féin councillor.' He shouted, "Take your hand away from me, they're full of blood!"

And then he yelled all the atrocities of the day. There are two SDLP persons on the council. They had heard what he had shouted, but they were still headed inside. I asked them, 'why are you going in to listen to that man after what he said to me?' And I was told, 'fight your own corner'.

The ironic thing about it was that a reporter who went in, and was present during the prayers, phoned me the next day. He said, 'Briege, you'll not believe this. Do you know what he (the Minister) was preaching about?' 'What?' I asked. 'Love thy neighbour...' he said.'

'They call her 'Sinn Féin Briege," says Martin Meehan, Briege's partner of 26 years. 'The abuse she has had to endure is disgusting. Newtownabbey Council is 93% Protestant. "They make her sit on her own at meetings and regularly treat her with complete contempt."

Behind the insulting and deeply bigoted conduct of her fellow council members is the blatant sectarianism of unionist paramilitaries. Meehan has been threatened with death on so many occasions since she took her seat, she has lost count.

"It started on my very first day," she sighs. "Two years ago in June. It was the first night I was to sit on the council. The PSNI came to my door around five in the evening and told me they had gotten a threat. The LVF had said that if I entered the council chamber I'd be shot on sight. I still went. I was more than a little anxious, but I went.

"Now it's the 'Loyalist Action Force', she says, referring to the most recent threat, which came only last week. "But they aren't going to shoot me, they're going to use 'bombs and grenades'. It can be alarming and stressful but I guess I must be doing something right.

"Alex Maskey has been a big inspiration. He was the first Sinn Féin Councillor in Belfast, so he knows what I'm going through and he has been very, very supportive. Whenever I find myself under pressure I say to myself, 'Alex, where are you'?

"He actually told me, 'some days you'll come home and you'll want to cry, but there'll be other days when you feel brilliant' and that's true. Some days I come home and say, 'What the hell am I going up there for?' But other days, it's great. You come home just ecstatic, and that makes up for it a bit.

"At one of the last meetings in June, I was making a point about the bigotry within the council. I was just fed up with it and I ended up being hammered out of the meeting! The mayor was pounding the table with a gavel yelling, 'Order, order,' and here's me, yelling back at him. It was brilliant."

Five people have been killed by loyalist paramilitaries in the Glengormley area in the past few years and this has taken its toll on residents. Many live in constant fear of further attacks.

"Young Danny McColgan, a postman, was murdered going to work in a sorting office in Rathcoole," says Meehan. "Prior to his death I had called for the closure of that office because people from Glengormley had come to me and said that when they had to go to that office to collect letters or parcels, they were uncomfortable and concerned. I called for its closure but nothing happened. Then Daniel was killed and I pressed and pressed and actually got it shut down. But the council didn't like that. They actually prayed at one of their meetings for it to be reopened."

Meehan is also awaiting a date for a judicial review, taken against Newtownabbey Council for their sectarian discrimination against the nationalist community in Glengormley.

"The nationalist population in Glengormley has quadrupled over this last number of years,' she says. "Glengormley now is predominately nationalist. The people who live there simply want value for their money. They pay the highest rates in the North, yet all the facilities in the Newtownabbey district are in unionist areas.

'We are also getting calls from the unionist community, asking for our assistance on one thing or another. I believe it is because people know their complaint will be dealt with quickly and positively.'

The issues of concern to Meehan and those she represents on the ground are the same as most places in the Six Counties; leisure facilities — or the lack thereof, playgrounds for young children, parks for quality of life. But the deeply sectarian nature of the local political scene is never far away.

Orange marches are a constant concern. This summer, more than 10,000 Orangemen and their supporters gathered in the area and life for nationalists was brought to a standstill.

Newtownabbey Council also flies the British flag outside its chambers 24 hours a day, but when Meehan raised the issue, the response was fast and furious.

"One of the councillors remarked that if the flag was taken down tomorrow, he'd have a thousand up by that night," she says, "and he meant it".

When an Orange Order arch recently appeared in the centre of Glengormley, Meehan's phone rang nonstop. "People are deeply, deeply offended by the erection of the arch,' she says. "The majority of residents in Glengormley are opposed to it.

"I have asked the Orange Order why they don't put it where it's more appreciated, but they haven't gotten back to me.

"So I have met with the Parades Commission regarding both the arch and the marches in general, in the hope that things can change next year. But I have already been told that it won't be removed this year.

"What does bother me, is that I can't get anything done without a constant battle. I'm excluded from positions within all of their committees. They vote for each other. They just get together and have a wee tête-à-tête. They also shout me down quite a lot," she smiles. "But I do shout back."

Meehan's goal within the Glengormley area is to get a purpose-built community centre built, which would be available to the entire community — from toddler groups right through to the aged. But in spite of an innovative plan, her attempts have been thwarted.

"I thought I had hit on a terrific plan; she says. "I was told by the council that they didn't own any land on the Hightown Road, which is true. But St Enda's GAA has spare land, so I grabbed on to this idea about the land at St Enda's. I brought out Brenda Turnbull, a development officer in the Newtownabbey Borough Council, to meet with the committee and discuss the possibility of them purchasing some of the land for the centre to be built there. I thought it was a very fruitful meeting.

"And then someone on the committee received a short letter, saying it wasn't feasible. End of story. No explanation, nothing. Just that it 'wasn't feasible'. "

In spite of continuous attempts to isolate and intimidate her, Meehan is a woman determined to make a difference and she remains optimistic that things can improve.



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