No 1223 9th March 2004
Outrageous American assault on Haiti and the vicious treatment of Gaza show Blair's lying "terrorism" fears as just the same old cover-up allowing the imperialist warmongers to get on with their arbitrary NAZI violence while the West's "democracy" and "human rights" posturing turns a blind eye. The real Armageddon is what the West is preparing to inflict all over the entire Third World in order to keep the revolt against capitalist crisis and injustice under control via "shock and awe" so that the power of Western monopolies, dominating the planet, is, never threatened. The "problem" of terrorist anarchy is a complete joke and a diversion. Imperialism's real fear is of serious communist revolution starting again: as the exploited, humiliated, and blitzkrieged Third World finally discovers this as the only way forward.
The EPSR's view, that a drive towards all-out warmongering has long been Western imperialism's sole policy, saw startling new evidence in the last 7 days from the cynical US coup in Haiti — against "democracy"; the start of a monstrous Zionist plan to completely devastate the Gaza Strip and its 12 million Palestinian people; and Blair's mad-eyed speech rant in Sedgefield.
"We need non-stop total war" is effectively Blair's message. Listen to him:
In what amounted to a personal testimony of his reasons for taking the country into conflict, the prime minister said the September 11 terrorist attacks had been a "revelation" that had convinced him of the need to tackle rogue states and "religious fanatics" prepared to "bring about Armageddon".
Speaking in his Sedgefield constituency, he suggested that international law should be reformed in light of a security threat that was "of a different nature from anything the world has faced before": "It is monstrously premature to think the threat has passed."
Using Churchillian language, he added: "This war is not ended. It may only be at the beginning of the end of the first phase.'
"We are in mortal danger of mistaking the nature of the world in which we live ... The threat we face is not conventional. It is a challenge of a different nature from anything the world has faced before."
September 11 crystallised this thinking. "September 11 was for me a revelation ... What galvanised me was that it was a declaration of war by religious fanatics who were prepared to wage war without limit."
He referred to the growing amount of intelligence he received on terrorism and WMD, and stressed that, as prime minister, he did not "have the luxury" of not coming to a decision.
Admitting that Saddam Hussein might not have acted, he said: "Do we want to take the risk? That is judgement. And my judgement then and now is that the risk of this new global terrorism and its interaction with states or organisations or individuals proliferating WMD is one I simply am not prepared to run.
"This is not a time to err on the side of caution."
In a move backed by the Tory leader, Michael Howard, he also repeated his call for reform of the United Nations, to make its security council fit for the 21st century, and suggested a shake-up of international law so that action could be taken against tyrannical states.
And right on cue, who next gets it in the neck but that apparent threat to civilisation as we know it, — Haiti:
A FURIOUS diplomatic row was raging last night after the United States was accused of kidnapping the President of Haiti and ordering him into exile after dictating his resignation letter.
Several members of the US Congress called for an inquiry into the events surrounding the departure of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was taken from the presidential palace by US troops early on Sunday morning and flown to the Central African Republic.
However, an eight-person delegation from the Congressional Black Caucus expressed their concern about the removal of Mr Aristide last night to Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary-General. and said that they would hold congressional hearings on the matter.
Charles Rangel, a veteran New York Democrat. said that he had spoken to Mr Aristide several times by phone from the Central African Republic.
"President Aristide feels it was a coup, that he felt he was kidnapped. He wanted to make it abundantly clear that the so-called resignation was dictated to him over the phone by representatives from the United States Embassy."
Maxine Waters, a Californian congresswoman, also claimed that Mr Aristide had described by telephone how he was flown out under armed guard from Port-au-Prince, without being told where he was going. "He said that he was kidnapped; he said that he was forced to leave Haiti," Ms Waters said.
Her claims were supported by Randall Robinson, a veteran black activist who has lobbied for years against US policies on Africa and the Caribbean.
Mr Robinson told CNN: "Clearly the American officials are lying. It is not true. [Mr Aristide] did not resign. He was kidnapped. We have undertaken a coup against a democratically elected government in Haiti."
ANGER is growing in Haiti and there are fears of more violence on the streets of the capital Port-au-Prince today as thousands are expected to turn out for a protest march against the toppling of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Now the warring factions are being quelled by the presence of more than 2,000 international troops, mostly US marines, — who patrol the streets of the capital in armoured vehicles. But in much of the country no one really knows who is in control.
US marines and French troops dispatched to Port-au-Prince were slow to react to the power vacuum, spending their first three days quartered at the international airport. They began tentative patrols on the streets on Wednesday and, although the explosive violence has abated, revenge killings have continued.
'I would warn those who see the relative calm in many parts of the country as a sign that law and order has been restored that this is far from so,' said Jan Egeland, the UN's emergency relief coordinator. 'Beyond the capital, there is a security vacuum.'
In Port-au-Prince the marines, accompanied by French, Canadian and Chilean troops, have received a mixed reception. Some Haitians were happy to see the GIs back on the streets; others blame them for driving their President from power.
In a show of support for Aristide, thousands marched on the National Palace, where marines stand guard, on Friday, shouting for the Americans to go away and to bring back their President.
With thousands of cheering supporters in tow, rebel leader Guy Philippe arrived at National Police headquarters next to the presidential palace, then watched as his supporters looted an art museum.
Philippe agreed to stand down and urged rebels to lay down their arms, but he remained in Port-au-Prince and there was little evidence the rebels planned to comply.
The rebels are hoping to play a role in the future of Haiti and want the army reconstituted, but the United States has made it clear that it does not want to see leaders of the insurrection in any position of power.
And this is just how the shallow pro-war and pro-Blair capitalist newspapers themselves have "reported" this imperialist NAZI tyranny.
The bourgeois commentaries (below) on this slide to insanity are even more eye-opening.
And what comes next???
Watch out Venezuela!!!The following academic note appeared in the pro-Blitzkrieg Guardian's correspondence columns:
President Hugo Chávez, who assumed power in 1999, has also annoyed the ITS by being very open and honest (and popular). The US has funded an increasingly dangerous opposition movement, again featuring a minority of failed politicians from previous governments, the "business" community and corrupt elements who pillaged Venezuela's oil wealth from 1958 to 1998, leaving 80% of the country in poverty.
The US and Britain supported a bloody coup in 2002 in which Chávez was kidnapped, after refusing to resign. In this case, however, he returned after popular protests overthrew the illegitimate puppet government.
The minority opposition in Venezuela, just like in Haiti, is falsely claiming recent electoral irregularities. It is now calling for the US to send in troops. It has already organised a four-month "bosses' strike" to try to cause economic collapse.
As in Haiti, the opposition is totally lacking in legitimacy and cohesion and has no programme, besides a desire to remove Chávez. The undermining of his presidency began before he even took up office. He is the single most popular figure in Venezuelan politics; and his human rights record is exemplary by comparison with the 2002 coup government and the 1958-98 regime.
The US is once again involved in the promotion of subversion and terrorism in Latin America. It seems it is again trying to install thugs and murderers as its puppets in government. History is repeating itself.
Dr Michael Derham. University of Northumbria
But not even this cynical outrage quite yet really captures the full fascist warmongering nonsense of Blair's call to "Armageddon".
Two conservative admissions from the pro-Zionist press, — one before the latest conscious brutal butchery, warning of its arrival; and one giving details of the savagery, — provide more flavour of the pure repressive violence by all-powerful Western armaments against utterly defenceless and exploited Third World masses that Blair is really talking about in his "war without end" madness:
THOUSANDS of settlers' homes will be destroyed if Israel pulls out of the Gaza Strip this summer. The "scorched earth" strategy is part of a plan to be put to President George W Bush by Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister, at a meeting in Washington later this month.
An adviser to Sharon said the homes of the 8,000 settlers would be blown up or bulldozed to prevent Palestinians from occupying them.
"We'll leave, but they will not gain a single solid house in which to celebrate victory," he said. "The idea of Hamas flags flying over the villas of Gaza's settlements on CNN and Al-Jazeera [the Arabic television news channel] is intolerable."
The settlers are to be offered new homes in the Negev desert on the eastern border of the Gaza Strip. Each family is expected to receive about £80,000 compensation. Sharon will ask Bush to contribute to the cost.
The Israeli military said it would intensify attacks on Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the run-up to a withdrawal. Sharon has ordered that the militants be crushed before any Israelis leave.
"The shameful picture of the hasty, not to say panicky, Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon under Hezbollah attacks will not be repeated in Gaza," the source said. "When we leave, Hamas and Jihad will be begging for mercy."
The biggest Israeli raid into Gaza for months left 14 Palestinians dead yesterday, including three children, amid fears of a sharp upsurge in violence before Israel's planned withdrawal from the Palestinian territory.
Dozens of tanks and armoured vehicles backed by Apache helicopters entered the crowded Bureij and Nusseirat refugee camps before dawn, provoking fierce resistance from Palestinians armed with rifles, rocket launchers and anti-tank weapons.
The Israeli forces cut telephone and electricity lines between the refugee camps and central Gaza when the raid got under way, Palestinian sources said, and put snipers on rooftops.
In Nusseirat, Mahmoud Abu Hujair, a father of three, said: "Soldiers blasted their way into our housing block at 4 am. They turned our roof into a base to battle gunmen.
"Women and children were screaming. The building was heavily damaged."
The Israelis withdrew by mid-morning.
Palestinian doctors said three of the dead were boys aged eight, 12 and 14.
At least 72 Palestinians were wounded.
It was the biggest death toll in Gaza, since an Israeli raid on the Khan Younis refugee camp in October 2002 killed 19.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians joined yesterday's funeral processions. A Hamas gunman told mourners that the militants were "ready for confrontation" with Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister.
The Palestinian government accused Israel of committing "state terror against our people" and said it was deliberately intensifying its military action as a precursor to its planned evacuation of Jewish settlements in Gaza.
"At a time when they're speaking about withdrawing from Gaza, they're destroying Gaza," said Saeb Erekat, a Palestinian cabinet minister.
These Jewish NAZI psychopaths will stop at nothing, and Blair's "Labour" gangsterism supports everything the Washington warmongers are behind, who in turn back-up, finance, and arm EVERY murderous stunt that the Zionist colonisation of Palestine has genocidally inflicted on the native Arabs from the very beginning (post 1947) of this sickest of plans by the West to let the West's Jews relentlessly infiltrate, to force the Palestinian people off their own homeland of 1,500 years in order to make a country for "Israel" because of, allegedly, some "promised land" Biblical myths of 3,000 years ago.
The real aim, then as now of course, is long-term control of the Middle East for Western monopoly-capitalist interests.
The token fightback by "terrorism" in recent years is just the EXCUSE for-more and more imperialist aggression, (as per Blair's lying rant.)
It fits in perfectly and cannot be separated from the US imperialist decision for general international warmongering mobilisation to keep the world "safe" for the West during the coming years of non-stop economic "overproduction" crisis and slump, which can only consist of an ever rising volume of anti-imperialist instability, resistance, revolts, and revolutions, — to which Washington has already made up its mind to answer in one way only, — by "shock and awe" blitzkrieg at the earliest possible opportunity.
It will be Armageddon, — inflicted by Western monopoly-capitalism's interests.
And this idiotic "New Labour" imbecility is going along with it.
It is time for the 'left' to start getting its act together.
This is not about "Stop the war". This is not about Weapons of Mass Destruction, and non-proliferation. This is not about "racism", or "terrorism", or "fundamentalism", or "peace processes", or "two-state solutions", or September 11, etc.
It is not about "oil" as such.
In the light of Haiti, and Gaza, and Blair's speech, it becomes more and more crucial to show that global imperialist economic CRISIS is the problem, and that generalised warmongering AGGRESSION is the absolutely essential traditional "solution" to which the most powerful monopoly-capitalist-colonial interests have ALWAYS turned in such moments of uncontrollable, unpredictable, revolution prone, domination-threatening CRISIS in the international economy.
Obviously, it is impossible to prove the Socialist Alliance "anti-catastrophists" wrong, or any other scepticism.
There will be no "proof" of collapse until well after it has happened, even if then.
But the evidence along the route of the Western imperialist ruling circles relentlessly preparing the world both ideologically and materially just for warmongering "solutions" and very little else, — has never stopped accumulating.
And the precise framework of these insoluble "overproduction" difficulties does generally keep on clarifying itself, drawing attention in particular to the dollar pollution that the EPSR has long highlighted as both the basis, in endless cheap credit creation, for the "free world" trade and development boom which finally bamboozled Stalinist Revisionist idiocy ("the imperialist system can no longer resume economic expansion" — JVS, 1952) into self-liquidating the Soviet proletarian dictatorship in 1989; and thereafter as the INEVITABLE subsequent causal certainty of inter-imperialist "overproduction" trade-war conflict not long afterwards.
This latest capitalist press revelation about the potentially catastrophic consequences of the political manipulativeness and total economic-anarchy of this non-stop dollar printing to "pay for" non-stop US imperialist counter-revolutionary and subversive-activities against the Third World and the workers states, — continues illuminating the struggle for crisis
Warren Buffett, the second wealthiest man in the world, continued to bet against the dollar last year, increasing his company's ownership of foreign currencies to $12bn.
He attacked the Bush administration's tax cuts and railed against greedy chief executives, corrupt mutual fund managers and ineffective independent directors.
Berkshire Hathaway reluctantly entered the foreign currency for the first time in 2002 and Mr Buffett said it had enlarged its position last year, increasing its holdings in five unnamed currencies. He put the blame on the ballooning US trade deficit. He said that in late 2002 foreign investors began "choking" on the flood of dollars.
"As an American, I hope there is a benign ending to this problem," he said, though he warned that the situation was unlikely to improve. "Whether foreign investors like it or not, they will continue to be flooded with dollars. The consequences of this are anybody's guess. They could, however, be troublesome — and reach, in fact, well beyond currency markets."
Mr Buffett, whose common-sense strategy has earned him a legion of fans, built the company's fortune by canny investments in companies including American, Express, Coca-Cola and Gillette. More recently he has taken to buying businesses outright as it became more difficult to find undervalued stocks. Equity holdings are now down to 50% of Berkshire Hathaway's net worth.
Last year, the company again stayed away from the equities market. Mr Buffett said Berkshire had bought some shares in the bank Wells Fargo but otherwise had not changed its position in its top six holdings. "Brokers don't love us," he said. "We own pieces of excellent businesses but their current prices reflect their value."
The company, which owns several insurance businesses as well as house builders, clothing and confectionery firms, reported $8.lbn in profits, compared with $4.3bn in 2002. The company has $36bn in cash and Mr Buffett remains on the hunt for further acquisitions. An $8bn investment in junk bonds during 2002 paid off but he stopped buying last year as prices rose.
He offered stinging criticism of the mutual fund industry, which has become the latest Wall Street business to find itself under scrutiny for improper practices. Mr Buffett said the industry had "betrayed the trust" of millions of shareholders. "Hundreds of industry insiders had to know what was going on, yet none publicly said a word."
In all of the 'left' fury against Blair, he still never gets asked the most crucial basic questions of all about why the West, — with its ghastly record of provoking non-stop colonial wars and two scarcely conceivable World-War total devastations in living memory, and completely responsible for the endless international arms-race in the first place (and everything which spins off from that), — considers itself to have any standing at all in the vital philosophical challenge now facing the whole of civilisation of whether or not it has any future at all if ever recurring wars are to be its unending theme.
What is this capitalist "freedom" which the fake-'left' cheered on to "victory" over workers-state "totalitarianism", which now sends these Solidarnosc-freed Poles into Iraq to become the prison-camp guards propping up the US imperialist warmongering tyranny there????
The fake-'left' just keep on ignoring such crucial polemical questions while nevertheless still cheekily and hypocritically noting and deploring the absence of the Soviet Union to any longer restrict the "sole superpower" arrogance of US imperialist warmongering.
And thus in the hope of preventing their own clear counter-revolutionary history from nova being fully brought out by these subsequent total US warmongering developments, the fake-'left' would prefer to leave untold the real story of incipient imperialist economic crisis, forever interacting with essentially toothless Stalinist Revisionism so as to put seriously Marxist revolutionary anti-imperialism well off the scent for ever and a day.
Far from restoring real Marxism, the fake-'left' just leaves Blair unchallenged about where this "deadly threat to our world" has arisen from, — out of the essence of capitalism, not communism.
This warmongering as a way of life in its new "modern" presentation, really again got going with "left" help, to cut Serbian Revisionism's "anti-imperialist" posturing down to size, using the 'Tonking Gulf' trick of citing the totally fabricated "Reçak incident" as a completely phony "human rights" cause for invading Kosovo and flattening the Serbian economy and civil structure with airstrikes.
The equally anti-communist Afghanis got it next, their country totally devastated because US imperialism decided no longer to tolerate the Taleban it had encouraged to rise to the top of the Mojaheddin pile of Islamic fundamentalism which was specially cultured to terroristically undermine the revolutionary Afghan workers state (established in 1978 and eventually forced to ask for Soviet help in 1980 to stop Mojaheddin/CIA terrorism.)
Another of Western imperialism's anti-communist creations, Saddam Hussein's Iraq, was next on the list.
Once again, fake-'left' idiocy was often well represented in the bogus "human rights" hysteria surrounding this sick former Western-stooge regime.
Now Haiti has come under the cosh, a yet further protégé of American imperialist interests.
And of the additional list of "rogue states" up for targeting, only North Korea could even remotely be considered "obvious" or "natural" for yet more imperialist blitzkrieging.
All the rest, such as Iran, Syria, Philippines, Burma, Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Argentina, etc, etc, which may suffer invasion or an imperialist coup, are solely the product of capitalism's crisis-ridden evolution.
So what is "wrong" with the world that it has thrown up this "challenge of a different nature from anything the world has faced before" (in Blair's apocalyptic demagogy) via these next states which might get blitzed???
What system of life has been governing the world in this period which has produced this "terrifying threat" of WMD proliferation and terrorism, yet to be dealt with; and also this "axis of evil" to which the US imperialist masters of the "new world order" feel entitled and obliged to reply with the self-same pre-emptive blitzing that Blair insists the really frightening "terrorist rogue states" are crying out for??????
Capitalism. The "free world". "Democracy". It is the way of life insisted upon by the West's world domination which is alone throwing up this ever-mounting catalogue of breakdown, war-terror upheaval, and murderous imperialist "police actions" to "restore order again", — i.e. put the same corrupt capitalist class system back in the saddle which has produced the insoluble contradictions and armed conflicts in the first place.
How serious is this threat of Armageddon that Blair hysterically postures about???
In direct military menace terms, his scaremongering is completely farcical.
Sept 11 was spectacular, but it was nevertheless merely a one-off lucky-chance terrorist stunt from a cranky terrorist-anarchist outfit which has basically been on the run ever since, with very few and ever decreasing places to hide.
The real threat from this al-Qaeda phenomenon is precisely its POLITICAL SYMBOLISM, nothing whatever to do with WMD or direct military dangers, but EVERYTHING to do with an entire growing revolt, Third World-wide, to philosophically and politically dispute Western imperialist world domination, and potentially to inspire MASS POLITICAL REVOLUTION at some future stage.
THAT is the "danger" that has Blair doing his bribed-stooge hysterics on behalf of American imperialist aggression about "Armageddon" on the way, the certainty that blitzkrieg repression is going to be pre-emptively inflicted on every "trouble spot" on Earth, if Washington can manage it, before local mass consciousness, in revolt against monopoly-capitalist injustice, can flower into fully-fledged and unbeatable communist REVOLUTION.
And the "terrorism', in Palestine??????
It is a disgusting hypocrisy and libel on the unbelievable heroism of the Palestinian resistance to the indescribably cruel brutality and humiliation of the Zionist colonisation stealth of their country.
The "terrorism" has one application only in Palestine, the deliberately murderous demoralisation and torture which has been systematically imposed on the Palestinian people since 1945 by the West to wipe out Arab nationhood aspirations and to relentlessly ethnically cleanse the Palestinian populace from the land.
But Blair's hypocritical funk is once again an accurate political pointer, which, once again, the fake-'left' is failing to pick up, hopelessly comatose.
The truth is that the Palestinian national and political resistance has started, against all the odds, to swell to UNMANAGEABLE proportions for the security of this foul genocidal armed imperialist colonisation/dispersal.
The Palestinian nation just WON'T GO AWAY, — no matter how violently and vilely they are terrorised, tortured, and humiliated.
The 'left' has just one answer to this Jewish NAZI blitzkrieg tyranny, — to totally reverse the utterly evil post-1945 Western decision, and to remove all notions of Zionist statehood out of Palestine completely. No "Israel" at all, just one country of Palestine as it was, with all the stolen land going back to its original Palestinian population.
Any Jewish religious/nationalist fanatics who want to live out the 3,000-year-old Biblical myth, let them stay as best they can, if wanted by the majority Arab population.
And as for Iraq itself, the brooding potential catastrophe in the midst of all Blair's desperate Armageddon lying fantasy,— these third-rate UK and American NAZI warmongers are frightening no one about the "dangers" to the West that they allegedly went in to suppress, but only making themselves look more and more stupid as their lies and incompetence get increasingly found out and caught out, bringing Bush and Blair closer to international shame and overthrow rather than to international embrace as lauded Armageddon crusaders.
Some quite rightwing commentators are becoming the most scathing about this crisis in Western-world affairs, such as this in the Times:
THREE public deceptions preceded Britain's invasion of Iraq. As yet only two have come to light. One was that Saddam Hussein presented an urgent and substantive threat to Britain. 'That was untrue. The second was that an attack on him accorded with international law. That was untrue. The third deception still lurks in the dark, shrouded in spin and fog. Yet it is massive in its presumption. It holds that the West can, by force of arms, bring stability, democracy and freedom wherever it chooses to set foot, even in Saddam's Iraq.
On Monday Jean-Bertrand Aristide fled into exile from Haiti to the Central African Republic. His fate should be a warning to all members of Washington's handpicked Iraqi Governing Council in Baghdad. President Aristide was a left-wing democrat who, despite being re-elected in 2000, contrived to upset both the French and the Americans. Draconian IMF "adjustments" were forced on his poor people and he was denied aid to control the resulting discontent. His disgruntled militias turned to banditry and toppled him. The Americans, who backed President Aristide to the hilt in the 1990s, must now find someone else to rule Haiti. It will cost them dear.
In Baghdad, the Governing Council on Monday agreed something called a transitional administrative law, supposedly to guide the handover from the Americans to Iraqi sovereignty on June 30. The deal was reached after the Americans told the 25 members to agree fast or they would not be worth two fleas in the Baghdad market. Last year's stately progress to democracy has become today's headlong rush. Washington is desperate to leave Baghdad by November's presidential election.
The deal duly left unresolved such matters as the make-up of a transitional government, the status of Islamic law, the meaning of "federal" and the extent of Kurdish self-rule. Freedom of speech and religion is proclaimed, but so is Islam as "the official religion". Since the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani knows that elections within a year will give him absolute power, he could afford to concede the Americans their moment of joyous illusion.
Iraq a year ago posed no threat to anyone outside its borders. I wrote at the time that Saddam was still vulnerable to possible intervention because of his contempt for United Nation's Resolution 1441. But no shred of evidence then or since has explained why America and Britain felt obliged to defy the world by suddenly pre-empting 1441's inspection regime. Nothing has explained an invasion so urgent that soldiers were not even properly equipped. I still reel that so many Britons believed what they were told about this war. If they and the present denizens of Downing Street and the White House were thus able to deceive themselves and others during a real nuclear stand-off, God help us all.
It is sad that those who cheered on the war now feel obliged to applaud every coalition deed.
Compulsory pre-war paranoia has given way to compulsory postwar euphoria. Past deceptions are forgotten since Iraq is seen as progressing towards stable democracy. The end will justify the means, you all wait and see.
Having visited Iraq and met some of those involved in yesterday's deal, I can only wish them good luck. After 30 years of tyranny, rape by UN sanctions, invasion and now military anarchy, Iraqis deserve a break. My instinct would indeed be to hail Monday's deal as heralding a new dawn.
Yet this would be ludicrously naive. The idea that over the next year Iraq will blossom into Western-style democracy through free elections is fantasy. So is any hope of civil, religious and gender freedoms in a united federal state. Such a political Eden might just have been conceivable had the Americans and British staged a "clean coup" last March, had they seized Saddam's state apparatus and bent it to maintaining security and prosperity.
They did no such thing. They set in train the most incompetent regime seen in the Middle East since Lawrence of Arabia's two days of chaos in Damascus 1916. Nothing was done to protect property, maintain order, revive business or secure middle-class loyalty. Nothing was done to prepare for elections. Saddam's prisons were refilled. Local opinion was alienated at every turn. Commanders went out of their way to incite terrorists and misfits from home and abroad.
I am puzzled that America's rulers, from a nation composed of immigrants, should find it so hard to understand foreigners. The veteran US Defence Secretary, Robert McNamara, was asked in 1995 by a Vietnamese war leader whether he had read any book on Vietnam before going to war on Hanoi. Did he not know that Vietnam would never be a Chinese lackey? Mr McNamara admitted he had read nothing.
When I asked the coalition boss, Paul Bremer, why he had so little faith in his own governing council, he complained that they refused to behave like "proper democrats". They should "get out there and form political parties, start newspapers and radio stations", he said. He had no clue about Arab politics. Yet he disbanded the only two quasi-political institutions, the Ba'ath party and the army, and wrecked Iraq's economy by allowing unrestricted imports.
Even Mr Bremer must know in his heart that democracy is not going to happen in Iraq. An invader cannot impose institutions and values which have taken decades, if not centuries, to develop elsewhere. It cannot impose an ideology as if it were a can of Coke. Just one prerequisite of democracy is that all groups share sufficient national cohesion for a minority to acquiesce in majority rule. Only a fool could say that of today's Iraq. Democracy will merely serve as a transition to Shia theocracy Iran-style, while Sunnis and Kurds break loose. Yet Donald Rumsfeld and Tony Blair cite Iraq in the same breath as postwar Germany and Japan. Was world statesmanship ever so dumb?
Of course the UN, Washington's new friend in need, persuaded Ayatollah al-Sistani to delay his demand for elections until (early) 2005. He will have his Sharia. The Shias will have their revenge on the Sunnis, while the Sunnis will get their separatist retaliation in first, as with outrages such as the bombs in Karbala yesterday. Instability is inevitable without a strong central power. Baghdad may well become another Beirut 1982. The Kurds and their peshmerga units seem certain to secede. Along the border there will be "ethnic cleansing" galore. "Democracy" in such states is code for partition. It was in the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and now in Afghanistan. It will be so in Iraq. The most likely outcome for post-coalition Iraq is a country split in three, none of them a democracy.
Yes, this is a prophecy of doom. It is also what is most likely to happen. I only hope responsible policymakers are preparing for it. How far will Britain go to guarantee the Kurdish region's borders? How far will we try to curb the censors and anti-feminist mullahs of Karbala and Najaf? How far will we offer protection or political asylum to persecuted Sunnis? What contingencies are in place for returning to patrol Baghdad if it is enveloped by a Sunni-Shia civil war? What happens if some new strong man nationalises Halliburton's assets?
I have seen none of these questions addressed, only burble about Iraq becoming a "cradle of democracy". Last year America and Britain occupied a country ruled by a dictator (like now-beloved Libya) that was at least a functioning state. After a year in absolute coalition control, Iraq's public and private sectors are barely back to their condition under Saddam, when they were under sanctions and on a war footing. The Coalition's performance has been truly abysmal.
The sole remaining justification for this venture is that autocracy really will be replaced by stability and democracy. I cannot see how this is going to happen. We have been deceived twice over Iraq, with dodgy intelligence and dodgy law. Now it is not we but the Iraqis who must face the dodgiest deception of all, that they may not get security or democracy after all, only a shattered nation. The end, we are told, will justify the means. What end?
Perhaps even more damagingly for Blair and Bush, the "free world" greatest expert on the "dangers" of Saddam Hussein's Iraq, — Hans Blix, the former chief UN weapons inspector, — has started branching out into openly political criticism of US and UK hypocritical "reasoning" behind the pre-emptive warmongering.
This almost unprecedented departure from traditional UN civil service forelock tugging is not only useful as a well-informed opinion on the West's warmongering rationalisation, but could prove even more significant about how disastrously international bourgeois ideology is now split and dismayed, over the problems the imperialist world faces and the worst-possible outcomes that have been thrown up by these initial Bush-Blair blitzkrieg thrusts at insane "solutions":
Hans Blix, the UN's former chief weapons inspector, last night delivered a robust critique of Tony Blair's defence of the invasion of Iraq, questioning the prime minister's judgement, especially his response to claims made by the intelligence agencies.
Asked about Mr Blair's admission yesterday that intelligence was not "hard fact" Mr Blix told the Guardian that was precisely how it was presented to the UN in the run-up to war.
Britain and the US "were selling it as such", he said.
Mr Blair yesterday played down his reliance on pre-war intelligence, describing himself as a man haunted by the risk that terrorists and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) might come together one day, but who recognised the limits of intelligence material.
In Mr Blix's accounts of meetings with him, a different Mr Blair emerges: a man convinced to the point of credulity by intelligence reports, and fuelled by a religious enthusiasm of his own, to do battle with evil.
President Jacques Chirac of France, by contrast, said that the west's intelligence services, including his own, were "intoxicating each other"; believed that Iraq's WMD did not exist; and predicted that a war would be the worst outcome, in flaming anti-western feeling among Muslims.
Speaking from his home in Stockholm, Mr Blix last night insisted he was not accusing the prime minister of bad faith: "What I am saying is there was a lack of critical thinking."
He highlighted the notorious 45-minute claim, played down yesterday by the prime minister in his speech. The claim, said Mr Blix, was clearly meant to convey something "ominous".
By the end of January last year, he said, UN inspectors had been to a number of key sites named by British and US intelligence. "Nowhere did we find WMD," he added.
It seemed at times Britain and the US were acting like "witch doctors", he said. They should have allowed UN inspectors to continue their work.
"Gradually [the British and US governments] ought to have realised there was nothing. Gradually they would have found that the defectors' information was not reliable."
Mr Blix added: "Inspection proved its value. We were independent and therefore did have legitimacy":
So too did the security council, he added, referring to Mr Blair's remark that the UN's top body should represent "21st century reality". Did the prime minister mean he wanted the security council to be more "trigger happy", asked Mr Blix.
He said he agreed in principle with the British proposal to send Saddam an ultimatum with a number of "benchmarks" he had to satisfy. However, he asked, how were the Iraqis able "prove a negative" —, proving they had not got weapons the US and UK said they had?
Pre-war wrangling in the UN collapsed not over the principle of benchmarks but because Britain and the US reserved the right to judge for themselves whether they had been fulfilled, said Mr Blix. Other countries, notably France, had no faith in that, Mr Blix told the Guardian.
He said that it seemed President George Bush had decided to go to war once 300,000 troops were amassed in the Gulf and the hot season was approaching.
Mr Blair yesterday said he was not prepared, before he decided to go to war, to take a "risk" with Saddam: "It is unlikely that the US congress or the British parliament would have accepted that as a reason to invade Iraq, Mr Blix said.
The dubious quality of the imperialist warmongering "understanding" of the Iraq quagmire they have blundered into is increasingly becoming the issue (as any clearcut "victory" for "freedom and democracy" remains hard to see).
The awkwardly-postponed constitution signing made it look more and more like an elaborate Sistani game to eventually reap the maximum security and advantage for Shias but without anti-Sunni aggravation or too much kowtowing to Bremer.
If the elections go as planned, the Shias will be secure to play the "good Muslim" role in all directions, alienating none, while maintaining respectable anti-Americanism.
The fratricidal anarchist terrorism last week in Karbala and Baghdad seems to have brought most wrath onto the US imperialists, as planned.
The Western media reported the rock throwing jeers at US forces for this security failure, with some commentaries even putting the CIA in the doghouse again:
THE US Central Intelligence Agency was facing a fresh crisis yesterday after the failure of its huge operation in Iraq to penetrate lethal terrorist groups like the one responsible for this week's massacre of Shia Muslim worshippers.
As US officials tried to fend off growing criticism for the latest security lapse, which left 171 people dead in a well coordinated series of attacks in Baghdad and Karbala on Tuesday, there were growing doubts about the CIA's intelligence-gathering capability in Iraq, where it has built up the largest station in its history.
Already reeling from its failure to anticipate the September 11 attacks, and for misreading the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, the CIA is now under fire for failing to halt the anti-coalition insurgency in Iraq and the threat posed by terrorist groups bent on plunging the country into civil war.
The CIA's shortcomings have not gone unnoticed in Washington, according to reports in the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post.
Although the Bush Administration has publicly supported the agency, the last station chief, who was brought in from a neighbouring Arab country, was replaced in December after just a few months in the job. The new station chief, although not an Arabist, is more senior and gained his experience running intelligence operations during the Kosovo conflict.
"I have met both men and they are very professional," said one Iraqi source. "But to understand Iraq, you need Iraqis. They will always know the country better than the foreigners. This is the problem they have faced."
The CIA in Baghdad does not lack resources. The station employs more than 500 staff in Iraq, including 300 intelligence officers, its own paramilitary force, private security guards and freelance agents, many of them former officers brought out of retirement.
Most are reportedly based near Baghdad and the city's airport but field offices have also been opened in Basra, Mosul and other regional centres.
While intelligence networks can be slow to establish, there are fears that the CIA has lost valuable time in Iraq. Officers have at their disposal a huge budget to recruit agents, pay informants and buy influence with tribal sheikhs. But many of the agents who have agreed to serve here only sign up for short tours of 2-3 months. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that CIA officers are under orders to travel only with security escorts, which rules out many covert operations. Even Iraqi civilians, who learnt through bitter experience how to spot undercover intelligence officers under the old regime, can point out the CIA convoys; typically, armoured sports utility vehicles driven by heavily armed men wearing sunglasses.
Finally, anti-American discontent has also been the main theme of the more reflective bourgeois pieces on this bizarre Haiti mess.
And why not? It has long been a stooge American client state, suffering almost a dozen US invasions in its 200-year "independence" history since becoming the first ever successful Third World anti-colonial revolution.
The American failure to even keep its puppets straight, in spite of being by far the most powerful and wealthiest empire in the whole of world history, speaks marvellously about the depths of the imperialist-system crisis after 800 years of triumphant but fundamentally corrupt and contradictory capitalist world-rule which has never been able to stop steadily preparing the ground and conditions for its own self-destruction (see EPSR box).
These commentaries show that this understanding is rapidly gaining universal reflection:
FOR THE second time in less than two years, the Bush administration is fighting accusations that it backed the violent overthrow of a democratically elected government in Latin America.
Former Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide has said the United States forced him from power at gunpoint. US Secretary of State Colin Powell dismissed that as 'absurd', but there is growing international disquiet.
As with the unsuccessful US-endorsed coup against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in April 2002, Washington faces claims that it is reverting to Cold War tactics to dispose of leaders it dislikes. Such views found support yesterday from John Kerry, the likely Democrat candidate for the presidency, who said that if he had been in the White House last weekend he would have sent an international force into the city to protect Aristide.
Kerry expressed astonishment that Bush, who often talks of supporting democratically-elected leaders, withheld any aid, then helped spirit Aristide into exile after telling him the US could not protect him.
Even before Aristide's departure became an alleged kidnapping, some Latin American leaders warned that American's role in Haiti was ominous. 'The removal of President Aristide in these circumstances sets a dangerous precedent for democratically elected governments anywhere and everywhere,' Jamaican Prime Minister P.J. Patterson, chairman of the 15-nation Caribbean Community (Caricom) said last week.
'We are bound to question whether his resignation was truly voluntary, as it comes after the capture of sections of Haiti by armed insurgents and the failure of the international community to provide the requisite support, despite the appeals of Caricom.'
Three days before Aristide fell, Caricom had appealed to the United Nations for immediate intervention in Haiti. The UN Security Council did not authorise peacekeepers until last Sunday, after Aristide had left and Washington had announced it would send marines.
'We cannot fail to observe that what was impossible on Thursday could be accomplished in an emergency meeting on Sunday,' said Patterson. 'We are disappointed in the extreme at their failure to act.'
After Aristide took office in February 2001, the US played a leading role in forcing hundreds of millions of dollars in international aid to be cut off, while bolstering a minority opposition led by Haiti's tiny elite. In the past three years, the nation's already moribund economy further deteriorated and the government ground to a halt as the opposition refused to participate in elections.
The blocked aid and election boycott were a response to legislative and local elections in May 2000 — six months before Aristide was elected — in which the methodology used to tally eight Senate contests was questioned by the Organisation of American States.
In recent weeks, the US ignored pleas from the government for an international peacekeeping force as a motley band of armed thugs led by a suspected drug trafficker and fugitive death squad leaders overran more than half the country. US marines now in Haiti have made no effort to disarm these rebels.
While in the military in the early 1990s, rebel leader Guy Phillippe received training from US Special Forces in Ecuador. He later became police chief in Cap-Haitien, where he was accused of drug trafficking and plotting a coup. Another rebel leader, Louis-Jodel Chamblain, was second in command of the murderous FRAPH paramilitary group, suspected of killing thousands during the 1991-1994 military regime.
Former FRAPH leader Emmanuel 'Toto' Constant, who lives in New York, has acknowledged working for CIA agents while FRAPH was massacring dissidents.
There is no evidence so far of the US backing the rebels, as Aristide aides maintain. But US policy towards Haiti appeared to be a war of attrition, driven by animosity towards Aristide, a former priest who upset Washington with his anti-capitalist sermons and his adherence to liberation theology, a Catholic doctrine that advocates spiritual and economic help for the poor and oppressed.
'US policy right now is in the hands of the ideologues,' said Larry Birns, director of the Washington-based Council on Hemispheric Affairs. 'You cannot overestimate the relevance of these people in shaping US policy. In a sense the Helms school of Haitian strategy is at work here.'
Jesse Helms, right-wing former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was a sworn adversary of Aristide. One of his protégés, Assistant Secretary of State Roger Noriega, is now the top State Department official overseeing Latin America.
Helms denounced Aristide as 'psychotic' on the Senate floor, based on a CIA document later discredited as a forgery.
US officials have played down their involvement in Aristide's fall. But critics of US policy believe this is a thinly veiled coup, comparing it to the failed overthrow in Venezuela — America backing a minority opposition that had snubbed polls in favour of removing an elected president by force.
Aristide, like Chavez, has been accused of abuses, including corruption and arming slum militias, but both were freely elected and had fervent support from the poor.
When Chavez was ousted, Latin American leaders threatened to impose economic sanctions on the de facto government, helping to restore the President to power after two days. But they have been silent about Aristide's exit, although South Africa has denounced the 'unclear' circumstances.
But over the past week the Haitian people have been not actors but spectators in their own destiny, watching one band of armed thugs, who supported a leader with diminishing democratic legitimacy, replaced by another band of armed thugs, who support a movement with none at all, with the help of foreign governments.
The death squad leaders, army officials and US marines are back. There are no longer any democratic violations to criticise because there is no longer any democracy. What happened was not a revolution but a coup. And no simple domestic overthrow either. This was the kind of regime change that the French and the US could sign up to.
Aristide says a huge number of US and Haitian "agents" came to his house and forced him on to a plane that eventually landed in the Central African Republic What cannot be seriously contested is that Aristide did not go voluntarily in any meaningful sense, and that the Bush administration was the primary instrument in his removal.
It is debatable, yet doubtful, whether the Haitian rebels could have achieved his removal on their own. Whoever the US came into protect, it was not the Haitian people. Even as they were advising people to stay out of the country because it was not safe they were sending Haitian boat people, fleeing the crisis, back home.
Just follow the quotes from the US secretary of state, Colin Powell, over the past month and the policy shifts are clear. On February 12, Powell told the Senate foreign relations committee: "The policy of the administration is not regime change [this will come as news to the Iraqis], President Aristide is the elected president of Haiti."
On February 17, he said. "We cannot buy into a proposition that says the elected president must be forced out of office by thugs and those who do not respect law and are bringing terrible violence to the Haitian people."
By February 26, after a week of shopping around, he decided to buy into it after all. "[Aristide] is the democratically elected president, but he has had difficulties in his presidency, and I think ... whether or not he is able to effectively continue as president is something that he will have to examine."
A day later he was selling it, arguing that Aristide, having "the interests of the Haitian people at heart", should "examine the situation he is in and make a careful examination of how best to serve the Haitian people at this time."
Just 48 hours later, after the coup, he was asking the rest of the world to wear it. He explained why the US had not been prepared to go into Haiti and support "an individual who may have been elected democratically but was not governing effectively or democratically".
Were it not for the fact that Aristide has at least won a couple of elections, Powell could have been talking about President Bush.
Powell argued that Aristide, who had presented his resignation letter not to his constitutional successor but to the US government, had done the appropriate, wise and patriotic thing by resigning, crucial factor that turned the rebels from "thugs" to a government in waiting in Powell's rhetoric was that they took over the second city, Cap Haitien. Once the US sensed that the side they wanted to win could win, they simply switched sides.
The principal message to the Haitian people from Aristide's ouster is that force works. If you do not like the effected leader of the country, start a rebellion and refuse to negotiate. If it is strong enough, and its politics amenable enough, the Americans will come and finish the job for you. With 33 coups in 200 years, this was a message the Haitian people did not need.
Two key lessons emerge from this, which go beyond Haiti. The first is that military force is not just the most important element in US foreign policy; it is the beginning and the end of that policy. It imposed conditions by the IMF and the World Bank, followed it up with an embargo on the poorest country in the western hemisphere, and when none of that worked, sent in the marines against a nation with no army.
The second is that the US supports democracy when democracy supports the US. When it is inconvenient, as in Aristide's case, Washington will turn its back on it in a heartbeat. Faced with a clear choice of either sending the marines in to protect an elected president, however flawed, or an armed insurrection, they chose the insurrection because they didn't like the president.
"We can't be called upon, expected or required to intervene every time there is violence against a failed leader," said the State Department spokesperson, Richard Boucher, last week.
"We can't spend our time running around the world and the hemisphere saving people who botched their chance at leadership.'
However, the US can be called upon not to intervene to promote violence against elected leaders. This latest intervention did not prevent a bloodbath — more people were killed on the day Aristide left than on any other — and crushed what was left of democracy. Instead of breaking the spiral of violence, it has given it a new lease of life. Given that kind of legacy, the US should indeed stop "running around the world" to "save people".
This pathetic reformist plea will not be heeded, of course, much to the dismay of these Guardian Trots.
Instead, the warmongering bullying crap and confusion can only grow relentlessly worse as the world population increasingly shows that it is no longer content with its colonised wage-slave status.
The coming economic crisis chaos will push Marx's international proletariat increasingly into action. Build Leninist theory more soundly than ever. EPSR
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