No 1242 20th July 2004
Iran being lined up next for the blitzkrieg treatment. And no elections are going to be able to stop this life-or-death need for the Western imperialist "free world" system to bulldoze civilisation into a PERMANENT warmongering mode so as to avoid monopoly-capitalism perishing by economic crisis.
As more revelations explain that warmongering (Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran next, Palestine, and more to come) is the degenerate PERMANENT CONDITION of the imperialist system in terminal crisis (a conclusion Michael Moore gropes towards by the end of his excellent anti-war film 9/11), the by-elections in England showed the bourgeois parliamentary political system to be just as sick.
The "winning" candidates became the all-powerful spokesmen for their constituencies by getting just one seventh of the electorate to turn out to vote for them, - meaning that six-sevenths of the electorate do not necessarily support at all the full-time "representation" that they now have.
What a farce. It is the collective raspberry that this political flea-market has been given which should be reflected, recording that NONE of the politics on offer struck the electorate as worth any confidence at all.
The Respect 4th place with only a few hundred less than the Tory Party polled, has caused a bit of a stir, but should serious anti-imperialism get involved in this temporary opportunist stunt?????
On programme and party-development grounds, clearly not.
It is a middle-class voting alliance which would be embarrassed, cynically horrified, or appalled if anything more than "left" reformism ever started to become the driving force within Respect.
But should its obvious vote-catching potential not be helped driven as far as it will go????
That would mean judging that the working class still has not had enough historical experience of outstanding hopeful figures on the "left" turning into useless anti-revolutionary windbags once having reached the top of the tree, and needs the process repeating once more with George Galloway to become finally convinced that revolution which actually speaks revolution will be the only way to get it.
Or it would mean gambling that being INSIDE a "left"-reformist lash-up as it reached the top and then imploded would be the best or the only way in which to try to pick up the revolutionary pieces following such a debacle.
Both of these seem highly dubious speculations at best, but then have the huge disadvantage of being very time consuming in a period when the work of building a party of revolutionary theory is going to be demanding absolutely gut-busting efforts from EVERY serious-minded worker in the class struggle.
The great debate is slowly beginning.
Workplace, district, and community Bolsheviks will become the decisive force for civilisation.
The CIA's global anti-communist propaganda machine is already working overtime to brainwash the "free world" via an endless variety of media tactics into preparing for the next phase of "blitzkrieg discipline" for imposing the "new world order" under the American Empire:
THE US will mount a concerted attempt to overturn the regime in Iran if President Bush is elected for a second term.
It would work strenuously to foment a revolt against the ruling theocracy by Iran's "hugely dissatisfied" population, a senior official has told The Times.
To what extent the official, known to be hawkish, was speaking for the White House was unclear, but his remarks are nevertheless likely to cause alarm in Europe. He hinted at a possible military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities, saying that there was a window of opportunity for destroying Iran's main nuclear complex at Bushehr next year that would close if Russia delivered crucial fuel rods. To destroy Bushehr after the delivery would cause huge environmental damage. The rods would allow the Iranians to obtain enough plutonium for many dozens of nuclear weapons, he said.
Iran is one of the three members of President Bush's "axis of evil" and has further angered Washington with its covert interference in Iraq since the end of last year's war to topple Saddam Hussein.
The official dismissed suggestions that Washington would hesitate to seek regime change in Iran, given the problems it has encountered in Iraq, and Colin Powell, a restraining influence as Secretary of State, will not be serving a second term. It is less clear how the Administration could foment a revolution without uniting Iranians against "the Great Satan".
There is little organised opposition inside the country and financing it directly or through front organisations would probably play into the hands of the mullahs anyway. At present the US relies on about a dozen Farsi satellite television and radio channels in the San Fernando Valley, California. They beam pirate broadcasts to the estimated seven million Iranians with illegal satellite dishes.
Last year Washington also set up a Persian-language Voice of America programme that is broa[d]cast into Iraq. The internet offers another channel for US propaganda, but efforts to impose stiff sanctions or fund anti-Government exile groups have been frustrated by a Republican split over the relative merits of confrontation or engagement
Despite the US threats one of Iran's top ruling clerics vowed yesterday that the Islamic republic would continue to pursue its controversial nuclear programme. "We are resolute. It is worth achieving it at any cost," Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, head of the Guardians Council, said.
If the Europeans fail to get Iran to back down at a meeting this month, the US wants to close the gap between the rival diplomatic approaches and refer Iran to the United Nations Security Council.
Russia is due to deliver the first shipment of nuclear fuel to Iran early next year for insertion into the reactor at Bushehr before the end of the year.
Despite that, the official believes that "it is not impossible to get Russia to see it our way" and back a UN resolution that would "raise the international saliency" of Iran's nuclear ambitions. He is convinced that Iran is afraid of a "conveyor belt" that would lead inexorably to sanctions and even military action.
The United States would not use military force, as in Iraq, but "if Bush is re-elected there will be much more intervention in the internal affairs of Iran", declared the official. The official also stepped up the pressure on Britain, France and Germany to take a tougher line on Iran, voicing the disdain within the Administration for the Europeans' attempt to defuse the Iranian nuclear threat through diplomacy. Britain had joined the effort in order to demonstrate its European credentials, he said. France and Germany had teamed up with Britain because they realised that the pair of them could no longer run Europe alone.
Washington believes that the trio has been embarrassed by Iran's failure to hold good to a deal it struck with the Iranian regime last October. Iran pledged to give UN inspectors the freedom to make snap inspections, and also to suspend uranium enrichment.
Since then, some members of the Administration have begun referring in private to Britain, France and Germany as "the Tehran three", and to Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, as "Jack of Tehran".
As things stand Russia is due to ship the rods early next year. The Bush Administration will urge Moscow to delay shipment again.
But if it does not the US official suggested, the best time to mount a military strike on the reactor would be during 2005, before the rods are installed.
The official left it unclear whether such an attack would be carried out by the US, or by Israel, which destroyed Iraq's Osirak reactor in 1981 before it was completed.
The Bush Administration is also deeply worried about Iran's plans to develop a heavy-water plant at Arak. This would be a quicker way of producing plutonium than extracting it from spent fuel in a reactor.
Earlier this month Iran's Defence Minister, Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani, said: "The US and other enemies of the Islamic Republic must know that we will respond to a military action against our country with all our force."
Admiral Shamkhani added that the retaliation would be "unlimited by time and space". He said that he did not fear a full scale invasion, arguing that before attempting military action against Iran, Washington would have to wait the same number of years — 30 — which separated the end of Vietnam and the invasion of Iraq.
The US official dismissed the suggestion that the US had been too badly wrongfooted in Iraq to contemplate military action against another country. That was "nonsense".
Ariel Sharon, the prime minister, recently called Iran the "biggest danger to the existence of Israel". He said: "Israel will not allow Iran to be equipped with a nuclear weapon."
Amid growing concern in the US government over Iran's apparent determination to build a nuclear bomb, the official said he believed Israel would attack the plant, on the Gulf coast, if it appeared fuel rods were about to be shipped there.
Sources in Tel Aviv confirmed that the Israeli military had completed rehearsals for such a strike. "Israel will on no account permit Iranian reactors — especially the one being built in Bushehr with Russian help — to go critical," an Israeli defence source said.
According to Israeli sources, any strike on Bushehr would probably be carried out by long-haul F-151 jets, flying over Turkey, with simultaneous operations by commandos on the ground.
"If the worst comes to the worst and international efforts fail, we are very confident we'll be able to demolish the ayatollahs' nuclear aspirations in one go," said a source familiar with the plans.
The source said the strike could be accompanied by an attack on other targets, including a facility at Natanz where the Iranians have attempted to enrich uranium — another route to making a bomb. A plant at. Arak producing heavy water could also be hit.
A classified document delivered to Sharon earlier this year and seen by The Sunday Times highlighted the anxiety of the Israeli defence establishment over the seriousness of the perceived threat from Iran. The document, entitled The Strategic Future of Israel and written by four of the country's senior defence experts, said the military "should attack countries which develop nuclear weapons". It also described Iran as a "suicide nation" and recommended "targeted killings" of members of the country's elite, including its leading nuclear scientists.
Israel, whose own nuclear weapons programme is undeclared, showed its determination to prevent "rogue" Middle Eastern regimes acquiring the bomb when its planes destroyed a reactor built by Saddam Hussein, then the Iraqi leader, at Osirak in 1981.
Israeli sources believe that despite criticism at the time from both the US and Europe, Washington would not attempt to stop a similar attack on Bushehr.
However, they acknowledge that it could provoke a ferocious response from Iran — which could target northern Israel with rockets based in southern Lebanon or stage terrorist attacks against Jewish and Israeli targets abroad.
The emergence of the Israeli plans coincides with a growing rift between Europe and the US over how best to rein in Iran's nuclear ambitions.
This "nuclear attack threat" from Iran is a complete joke, of course, as was the "weapons of mass destruction" nonsense with Iraq.
And as this stuff leaks out and builds up through a variety of influencable sources, the CIA is busy denying that it is involved spreading this "intelligence", or even that it believes any of it itself. Thus the pot is kept boiling.
A permanent warmongering footing is what the sick imperialist economic system needs right now, its only political guarantee, as it sees it, of the Empire avoiding complete disintegration through uncontrollable economic global crisis.
And staying in power by keeping the world permanently at war has the added advantage of at the same time commandeering the planet's crucial oil supplies (if the right targets are chosen), and knocking out all POTENTIAL future armed challenges to American domineering.
The whole of historical science (Marxism) explains that only class revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat worldwide will bring this insane reaction in civilisation's progress to an end.
And the shallow idiocy of all "electoral systems" only confirms it.
To see a route from voting for Yvonne Ridley in Leicester South to finally ordering the disbandment of the entire US imperialist military vise gripping the world and dictating to the whole planet via thousands of armed-to-the-teeth army, naval, and air force bases over all continents, — — requires a visionariness of either astonishing perspicacity or great stupidity.
How the revolution will in fact happen is obvious, and it is already beginning.
The entire Third World now does nothing but constantly give notice that it is rapidly ceasing to be willing to be pushed around by Western imperialism any longer.
Palestine, closely followed by Iraq, and even to some extent Afghanistan, have proved to be the eye-opening turning point in this period of the world's dramatic class-war affairs.
The Western-backed Jewish genocidal colonisers of Palestine (to create "Israel" after 1945) are effectively being forced towards killing all 8 million Palestinians to get some peace, and it is never going to come.
What is coming is a Palestinian revolution to eventually overthrow class—compromise Arafatism (after much intervening confused turmoil such as has already broken out this week in the Gaza Strip) which will ultimately increase tenfold the effective combativeness which has already rocked the Zionists and the West in four years of muddled Intifada.
And that will be followed by even greater inspiration to other related anti-imperialist Middle East struggles such as has already monumentally stopped the American blitzkriegers in their tracks in Iraq (and to some extent in Afghanistan).
And at the same time it will be accompanied by a swelling worldwide revolt protesting ever more effectively against the way that the West conducts its global-domineering militarism, subterfuge, and sabotage.
Out of these three elements, the international socialist revolutionary movement of Leninism will begin to revive.
Meanwhile, step by necessary step for the record, the new "handover" stooge regime in Iraq is teetering on the brink of discreditation and collapse already.
Iyad Allawi's "strongman" bluster has comically only earned him some liberal Iraqi jeers of "Saddamism", while the actual "strongman" performance in practice is in reality proving anything but, — by the downpage admissions of the Empire's own Western-media cheerleaders:
Mr Allawi's path has not been entirely smooth. When he and his officials floated the prospect of an amnesty for anyone accused of killing American soldiers — saying this was legitimate resistance against an occupying army — there was opposition from US officials, fearing a backlash from their own electorate. "Let's wait and see what the law says," one senior diplomat said last week. "When it comes out I do not think this will be in it" Nor despite an initial lull in attacks have the insurgents packed up and gone home.
Two car bombs killed 21 people and injured scores in Baghdad and Haditha this week, the governor of Mosul was assassinated, and the Foreign Ministry's security chief was killed when gunmen attacked his convoy.
Insurgents also torched the main pipeline from Iraq's northern oilfields, again halting exports through Turkey, while US officials reported attacks on multinational forces rose to 55 following a brief dip to less than half that number.
One departing US military official indicated that only a broader approach would solve Iraq's problems in the long run.
"All of us understand that simply an iron hammer approach will not be sufficient. It is going to take more to end the insurgency in this country," he said. "Some would say that the violence is simply a manifestation of larger problems and if you don't attack the larger problem, including unemployment among former military officials cut off without a future, all you end up doing is attacking the results."
There is also unease about the sweeping powers Mr Allawi has assumed with the new National Safety Law that allows his — unelected — Government to impose curfews, detain suspects and close down political parties.
After a huge raid on alleged kidnappers, murderers and drug dealers on Monday his officials proudly trumpeted their success in arresting around 525 suspects. But days later they had to concede that more than 300 had already been released without charge. Critics question how the very Iraqi security forces who were seen to be an under-trained, under-motivated problem a month ago when surrendering and delivering their weapons into the hands of insurgents in Fallujah have miraculously become a cure-all.
The Iraqi police themselves — at the sharp end of the fight against violence and terrorism — are among the most gloomy. One policeman who took part in the big raid said his bosses simply ordered him to round up anyone in arcades or playing backgammon in cafés. "Allawi is acting just like Saddam," he grumbled.
Another warrant officer at Baghdad's police headquarters said: "I'm pessimistic, and I think the Iraqi people will soon be pessimistic too."
Morale is low among the police — underpaid, still poorly equipped against well-armed gangsters, and with a leadership that changes every few months. "Corruption and nepotism are a real problem," said a captain at al-Doura police station in southern Baghdad.
Of al-Doura's 325 police officers, a dozen have been killed and more than 100 wounded in bombings, shooting and rocket attacks. They have only 19 bullet-proof vests, and have to buy their own bullets tor 40p each, a price they can scarcely afford on a salary $200 (£110) a month, working 12 hours on, 12 hours off, in a environment fraught with danger.
"The ministry is so weak it's under the control of political parties who promote their own, unqualified members over more experienced officers," the captain said.
In Iraq pessimism, and optimism, can be found in the unlikeliest of places. At Baghdad's mortuary Salam Hilleya says he has no idea why his cousin Hamid Ju-waiyad Ali, a 45-year-old father of eight, was shot dead in his car near his home. Nothing was stolen.
And on top of this bleak news for the imperialist crisis comes a repositioning by JK Galbraith to give a Lenin-like analysis of the disaster for mankind that imperialist corporate management of the planet represents :
The greatest military misadventure in American history until Iraq was the war in Vietnam. When I was sent there on a fact-finding mission in the early 60s, I had a full view of the military dominance of foreign policy, a dominance that has now extended to the replacement of the presumed civilian authority. In India, where I was ambassador, in Washington, where I had access to President Kennedy, and in Saigon, I developed a strongly negative view of the conflict. Later, I encouraged the anti-war campaign of Eugene McCarthy in 1968. His candidacy was first announced in our house in Cambridge.
At this time the military establishment in Washington was in support of the war. Indeed, it was taken for granted that both the armed services and the weapons industries should accept and endorse hostilities — Dwight Eisenhower's "military-industrial complex".
In 2003, close to half the total US government discretionary expenditure was used for military purposes. A large part was for weapons procurement or development.
Nuclear-powered submarines run to billions of dollars, individual planes to tens of millions each. Such expenditure is not the result of detached analysis. From the relevant industrial firms come proposed designs for new weapons, and to them are awarded production and profit. In an impressive flow of influence and command, the weapons industry accords valued employment, management pay and profit in its political constituency, and indirectly it is a treasured source of political funds. The gratitude and the promise of political help go to Washington and to the defence budget. And to foreign policy or, as in Vietnam and Iraq, to war. That the private sector moves to a dominant public-sector role is apparent.
None will doubt that the modern corporation is a dominant force in the present-day economy. Once in the US there were capitalists. Steel by Carnegie, oil by Rockefeller, tobacco by Duke, railroads variously and often incompetently controlled by the moneyed few. In its market position and political influence, modern corporate management, unlike the capitalist, has public acceptance. A dominant role in the military establishment, in public finance and the environment is assumed. Other public authority is also taken for granted.
It ordains that social success is more automobiles, more television sets, a greater volume of all other consumer goods — and more lethal weaponry. Negative social effects — pollution, destruction of the landscape, the unprotected health of the citizenry, the threat of military action and death — do not count as such.
The corporate appropriation of public initiative and authority is unpleasantly visible in its effect on the environment, and dangerous as regards military and foreign policy. Wars are a major threat to civilised existence, and a corporate commitment to weapons procurement and use nurtures this threat It accords legitimacy, and even heroic virtue, to devastation and death.
Power in the modern great corporation belongs to the management. The board of directors is an amiable entity, meeting with self-approval but fully subordinate to the real power of the managers. The relationship resembles that of an honorary degree recipient to a member of a university faculty.
The myths of investor authority, the ritual meetings of directors and the annual stockholder meeting persist, but no mentally viable observer of the modern corporation can escape the reality. Corporate power lies with management — a bureaucracy in control of its task and its compensation. Rewards can verge on larceny. On frequent recent occasions, it has been referred to as the corporate scandal.
As the corporate interest moves to power in what was the public sector, it serves the corporate interest. It is most clearly evident in the largest such movement, that of nominally private firms into the defence establishment. From this comes a primary influence on the military budget, on foreign policy, military commitment and, ultimately, military action. War. Although this is a normal and expected use of money and its power, the full effect is disguised by almost all conventional expression.
Given its authority in the modern corporation it was natural that management would extend its role to politics and to government. Once there was the public reach of capitalism; now it is that of corporate management. In the US, corporate managers are in close alliance with the president, the vice-president and the secretary of defence. Major corporate figures are also in senior positions elsewhere in the federal government; one came from the bankrupt and thieving Enron to preside over the army.
Defence and weapons development are motivating forces in foreign policy. For some years, there has also been recognised corporate control of the Treasury. And of environmental policy.
We cherish the progress in civilisation since biblical times and long before. But there is a needed and, indeed, accepted qualification. The US and Britain are in the bitter aftermath of a war in Iraq. We are accepting programmed death for the young and random slaughter for men and women of all ages. So it was in the first and second world wars, and is still so in Iraq. Civilised life, as it is called, is a great white tower celebrating human achievements, but at the top there is permanently a large black cloud. Human progress dominated by unimaginable cruelty and death.
Civilisation has made great strides over the centuries in science, healthcare, the arts and most, if not all, economic well-being. But it has also given a privileged position to the development of weapons and the threat and reality of war. Mass slaughter has become the ultimate civilised achievement.
The facts of war are inescapable — death and random cruelty, suspension of civilised values, a disordered aftermath. Thus the human condition and prospect as now supremely evident. The economic and social problems here described can, with thought and action, be addressed. So they have already been. War remains the decisive human failure.
In reality, of course, it is the whole-class economic, political, social, ideological, and cultural role by which the bourgeoisie keeps being allowed to fail civilisation with war after war after war, and Galbraith is old enough now to get the point at last, but probably won't.
But his eloquent criticism of the rotten system is as useful as ever.
It adds to a growing bourgeois ideological theme of increasing scepticism and disbelief about the warmongering direction civilisation is being led into by its imperialist establishment yet again.
These doubts take the useful form, for instance, of re-examining the ways in which the public has hitherto been brainwashed to get things towards this present dire warmongering hysteria-filled situation:
Television news is the main source of information on the Israel-Palestine conflict for about 80% of the population. Yet the quality of what they see and hear is so confused and partial that it is impossible to have a sensible public debate about the reasons for the conflict or how it might be resolved.
Senior journalists told researchers that they were instructed not to give explanations — the focus was to be on live action. As Paul Adams, the BBC defence correspondent, put it: "It's covered as if it's a very large blood feud and, unless there's a large amount of blood, it's not covered."
The result of this approach is that there is almost nothing on the news about the history or origins of the conflict and viewers are extraordinarily confused. Many believed that the Palestinians were occupying the occupied territories or that it was basically a border dispute between two countries who were trying to grab a piece of land which separated them.
The great bulk of those we interviewed had no idea where the Palestinian refugees had come from — some suggested Afghanistan, Iraq or Kosovo. Without history or context news reports tend to focus on day to day events and, in reporting these, there is a strong emphasis on Israeli perspectives. The research found that Israelis were interviewed or reported more than twice as much as Palestinians. There were also a large number of statements from US politicians who tend to support Israel. They were interviewed twice as much as politicians from Britain.
The language of the "war on terror" is frequently featured and journalists sometimes endorse it in their own speech, as in this example: "That attack [by a Palestinian] only reinforced Israeli determination to drive further into the towns and camps where Palestinians live — ripping up roads around Bethlehem as part of the ongoing fight against terror". (ITV, early evening news in March 2002). This report also illustrates a familiar theme in news coverage whereby the Palestinians are seen to initiate trouble and the Israelis are then presented as "responding".
The Palestinians see themselves as resisting a brutal military occupation by people who have taken their land, water and homes and who are denying them the possibility of their own state.
The analysis of news content suggests that the first of these perspectives tends to dominate news reporting. Between October and December 2001, for example, on BBC1 and ITV news, Israelis were said to be responding to what had been done to them about six times as often as the Palestinians. This pattern of reporting clearly influenced how some viewers understood the conflict. As one young woman put it: "You always think of the Palestinians as being really aggressive because of the stories you hear on the news... I always think the Israelis are fighting back."
There were also differences in the language used for the casualties of both sides. Words such as "mass murder", "atrocity", and "brutal murder", were used to describe the deaths of Israelis, but not Palestinians. The emphasis on the deaths of Israelis was very marked in the coverage. In March 2002, when the BBC noted that the Palestinians had suffered the highest number of casualties in any single week since the beginning of the intifada, there was actually more coverage on the news of Israeli deaths. This again apparently had a strong influence on the understanding of viewers and only a minority questioned knew that Palestinians had substantially higher casualties.
The gaps in public knowledge closely parallel those in the news. The Palestinian perspective, that they have lost their land and are living under occupation, was effectively absent. It is perhaps not surprising that some viewers believed that they were simply being aggressive and trying to take land from the Israelis.
Claims by Andrew Neil in a recent criticism of our work that people "naturally" sympathise with the Palestinians because they use stones against tanks is not borne out by the research. One of the difficulties in giving historical background is simply that the area is contested and controversial. Journalists spoke to us of the pressures they were under and of the hate mail they received, particularly if their reports were deemed to be critical of Israel.
Bad News From Israel by Greg Philo and Mike Berry is published by Pluto
DOWNING Street has admitted to The Observer that repeated claims by Tony Blair that 400,000 bodies had been found in Iraqi mass graves are untrue: only 5,000 corpses have so far been uncovered.
The claims by Blair last November and December were given widespread credence, being quoted by MPs and widely published, including in the introduction to a US government pamphlet on Iraq's mass graves. In that publication — Iraq's Legacy of Terror: Mass Graves, produced by USAID, the US government aid distribution agency — Blair is quoted from 20 November: 'We've already discovered, just so far, the remains of 400,000 people in mass graves.'
On 14 December Blair repeated the claim in a statement issued by Downing Street in response to the arrest of Saddam Hussein and posted on the Labour website: 'The remains of 400,000 human beings [have] already [been] found in mass graves.'
The admission that the figure has been inflated follows a week in which Blair accepted responsibility for charges in the Butler report over the way in which Downing Street pushed intelligence reports 'to the outer limits' over the threat posed by Iraq.
The Baathist regime was responsible for human rights abuses — - but serious questions are now emerging about the scale of Saddam's murders.
While few have any doubts that Saddam's regime was responsible for serious crimes against humanity, the exact scale of those crimes has become increasingly politicised in Washington and London, as it has become clearer that the case on weapons of mass destruction has faded.
It is an issue of which Human Rights Watch was acutely aware when it compiled its own pre-invasion research — admitting that it had to reduce estimates for the al-Anfal campaign produced by Kurds by more than a third, because they believed the numbers they had been given were inflated.
Hania Mufti, one of the researchers who produced that estimate, said: 'Our estimates were based on estimates. The eventual figure was based in part on circumstantial information gathered over the years.'
A further difficulty, according to Inforce, a group of experts in mass grave sites based at Bournemouth University who visited Iraq last year, lay in the constant over-estimation of site sizes by Iraqis they met. 'Witnesses were often likely to have unrealistic ideas of the number of people in grave areas that they knew about,' said Bournemouth's Jonathan Forrest.
'Local people would tell us of tens of thousands of people buried at single grave sites and, when we got there, they would be in multiple hundreds.'
• A majority of Americans feel for the first time that their country should have stayed out of Iraq, a poll published yesterday reveals.
Saddam was an unpleasant and vicious dead-end anyway, but it is the exposure of this standard imperialist blood-temperature raiser here that it is important.
The "mass graves" hysteria never fails to get a "bomb them" stampede going, or to get cheap politicians out of a tongue-tied hole when their other "justification" lies have started catching them out.
And although Blair's cheap politics have not quite caught up with him yet, the stench of lies and failure now seems incurable, as the knives get closer and closer to home in the scandal that just won't go away:
The gap between what we were told to expect and the evidence that has emerged on the ground in Iraq is simply too wide to be dismissed as an excusable margin of error. No stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons have been uncovered. The mobile weapons laboratories have turned out to be nothing more than a figment of the imagination. Even evidence of ongoing weapons of mass destruction programmes has proved elusive.
To be quite blunt, the intelligence services were wrong in just about every significant judgement they made.
A report that ignored the role of politicians and laid all the blame at the door of the intelligence agencies, as the Senate intelligence committee did last week, would be a travesty of justice. The faulty assessments produced by the joint intelligence committee (JIC) were not the only, or even the main, reason for the decision to go to war.
Tony Blair claims that if his belief that Saddam retained a weapons of mass destruction capability was mistaken, it was one shared by many other world leaders. There is certainly truth in that argument, but it raises the obvious question of why most of them nevertheless opposed America's decision to launch an immediate, pre-emptive invasion. The answer is that the intelligence picture, distorted though it was, simply did not justify it.
What's more, evidence unearthed by the Hutton inquiry reveals that the government knew this perfectly well. An email circulated within Downing Street recorded the horrified response of one official who read an early draft of the September dossier and realised the paucity of the intelligence case for war: "Very long way to go. I think. Think we're in a lot of trouble with this as it now stands." Jonathan Powell, Blair's chief of staff, noted in another email that a later draft "does nothing to demonstrate a threat, let alone an imminent threat from Saddam". These concerns were also evident in the rather desperate last-minute plea issued by Sir John Scarlett for the intelligence agencies to scrape the bottom of the barrel for anything they might have overlooked.
It was the realisation of how shaky the government's case was that led to the second, more important stage of Britain's intelligence failure on Iraq: the one that became famous over allegations of "sexing up". In part, this involved the systematic filtering out of anything that might point to a conclusion other than the one the government wanted us to reach. At Powell's behest, a key phrase revealing the JIC's assessment that Saddam would use chemical or biological weapons only in self-defence was struck. The observation that he did not have the capability to strike Britain was similarly removed.
At the same time there was intense pressure on the JIC, starting with Alastair Campbell's instruction for it to come up with something "new" and "revelatory". It was in this heightened atmosphere that the notorious 45-minute claim and other intelligence purporting to show that Iraq was continuing to produce chemical and biological weapons was passed on to Downing Street without being properly examined by the intelligence officers best placed to assess it. Much of this is now said to have been withdrawn, although ministers have yet to correct the parliamentary record. It is significant because it was this information that allowed Blair to strengthen the language in the dossier and claim in his foreword that the threat from Saddam was "current and serious".
The government's supporters argue that all Downing Street did was insist that the case against Iraq should be as strong as the JIC was willing to make it. But this misses a rather significant point. Had Blair been genuine in his belief that Iraq posed a serious threat, all he needed to do was publish a declassified version of the intelligence reports on which his conclusions were based. There would have been no need for anything "new" and "revelatory" What had convinced the prime minister ought to have been sufficient to convince the rest of us.
It is the very existence of the dossier and the process that led to its publication that exposes the biggest untruth of the whole Iraq saga: the pretence that the decision to go to war was evidence led. In order to promote a war he had decided to fight with America come what may, the prime minister and his staff took intelligence that was sketchy and circumstantial and transformed it into something that appeared compelling and definitive. He can certainly argue that it was already faulty when it reached him. What he should not be allowed to do is evade responsibility for the way it was embellished once it reached his desk. Without this final step the case for war would have collapsed.
David Clark was a special adviser at the Foreign Office from 1997 to 2001
These sharp stones are thrown, however, from the still sadly reformist perspective, deludedly dreaming yet that logic and justice COULD be made to work, with more luck and in the right hands, etc, etc, etc.
It is gobshite. The American Empire is a class force now out of control and in crisis which only world socialist revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat is going to be able to master.
Build Leninism. EPSR
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The homosexual disruption of a Palestinian political demo against Zionist tyranny in London last week demonstrates the EPSR's point that single-issue reformism (feminism, black nationalism, etc) will be the last refuge of anti-communism, and will provide history with the most reactionary last-ditch defenders of the monopoly-imperialist "free world" system in its final counter-revolutionary debacles.
When the "personal became the political", it was endless variants of extreme individualist philosophy which were being deliberately aggressively promoted.
Forget the pretence that society "hated" having to accommodate improved rights for women, ethnic minorities, homosexuals, etc, etc.
Just the opposite. Temporary conservative lifestyle discomforts apart, the culture shock was quickly adjusted to by Big Business, the media, and bourgeois politics, and quickly taken advantage of via "political correctness" bureaucracy, Blair's Babes, the Pink Pound, and a huge new pool of "entertainment" clichés for the soaps, game shows, ever-more-extreme pop-music novelties, etc, etc, etc, etc.
So-called "human rights" became more successful than ever as a major battering ram for the Western imperialist controllers' non-stop worldwide propaganda priority to wipe out communism.
This homosexual counter-demonstration against Palestinian "homophobia" inevitably completely sabotaged the aim of the protest to draw attention to the unbelievable suffering and humiliation still daily tormenting this 8-million strong Arab nation who have now been ethnically-cleansed out of 85% of their own homeland since 1945 to make way for "Israel" at Western imperialist insistence (approved by a tame UN), and whose assassinations, mass murders, beatings, house demolitions, and increasing effective total imprisonment in refugee camps and patchwork reservations, criss-crossed by Zionist military highways and other non-stop surveillance and interference, continue nonstop today, ignored by the whole world.
This greatest longstanding colonial-genocide tyranny in modern records can remain without public attention or sympathy as far as these homosexuals are concerned who are only interested in their own message.
Such extreme anti-communist individualism could not care less that by undermining this key anti-imperialist struggle in the world, the rebirth of international socialist revolutionary perspectives is further delayed.
Some personal homosexual agendas believe that reformism has served their interests, and just want more reforms, not revolution.
Their counter-demonstration was 100% politically reactionary.
And with their single-issue agitation driven 99% by powerful subjective motives, then in the coming world era of communist revolution, reactionariness is bound to be the perceived character of more and more of this "personal" politics.
In the Newsnight TV studio later, Tatchell, goaded by the BBC, kept up his "homo.
phobia" provocations in all directions, particularly relishing, of course, dishing out anti-Zimbabwe abuse and more anti-Palestine abuse as being obviously the most offensively provocative, (being currently among the greatest world victims of imperialist tyranny and vilification).
The SWP's Lindsey German was totally cowed, terrified that she would get branded "homophobic" too, and so her vague attempt to admonish Tatchell for disruptive tactics on the "left" was swept aside, virtually incoherent.
A Marxist explanation of the need to isolate the main enemy and singlemindedly put off all other issues in order to concentrate on death or victory there would have been lost, of course, on both of these rival varieties of single-issue opportunist anti-communism, but at least the SWP occasionally shows enough sense to at least stick to one issue at a time (however pointlessly reformistically) such as "stop the war" or "overthrow Castro for building state capitalism", etc, etc, throughout a 60-year record of anti-Soviet counter-revolutionary barminess and treachery.
But German dare not tell Tatchell anything pejorative about a tendency towards extreme and unbalanced individualism.
Nor dare she try to explain that the rejection decades ago in the West of the crude medieval traditions of persecuting homosexuals for public consumption (whatever went on in private within the ruling class) would never necessarily develop in all cultures into an acceptance of the homosexual condition as "normal".
Plenty in the West will still put up an argument, for example, against gay adoption; and many would argue for a franker assessment of the sexual histories and orientations of candidates for work in the schools service, or in orphanages and children's homes, etc, etc.
Too many crimes have been committed in local government where suspects have been protected by a PC claque against "homophobia" for it ever to be possible for many people ever to agree automatically with the homosexual lobby's insistence that heterosexual and homosexual orientations must always be regarded as completely equal.
But whatever arguments might be relevant for Palestinian cultural improvement on such matters in ideal circumstances, to publicly upbraid Palestinian "homophobic" backwardness at this critical moment of history, — wrecking a London demonstration at a time when the Palestinian cause gets little enough good publicity or any fair hearing at all, — is not only unbalanced, it shows an unhinged readiness and capacity for criminal political treachery.
If it gave rise to a Palestine-wide outburst of homophobic abuse in Tatchell's direction, who could be surprised.
This homosexual exhibitionism contains an even nastier philosophical core of unique egocentric viciousness.
What is claimed is the "RIGHT" to agitate for a belief or a cause above all other considerations.
This is not only destructive in practice, — as shown,— but sick mentally, — the solipsistic absolute inevitably taxing homosexual personalities moulded by a lifetime's extremely subjective torment and struggle, growing up in an invariably hostile and nasty heterosexual world.
This is true of all "human rights" extremists, and is close to the bedrock of all single-issue political fanaticism.
It was the real philosophical driving force of 99% of all the "left" criticism and "left" reformism in history which populated the West pretending to have a "positive" and "friendly" attitude towards the Soviet workers state.
It is what has automatically taken the "left" so far to the right today that on issues like Solidarnosc, Kosovo, 9/11, and Palestine, the "left" has provided imperialism with some of the most reactionary propaganda available.
The Kosovo Albanians were taken up as having an "absolute" right to self-determination. The fact that this issue was a long-planned American Empire stunt to make staged provocations possible which would give imperialist blitzkrieg the chance to devastate Serbia and thus bury the great history of the Yugoslav Socialist Federation once and for all, is STILL ignored by the fake-"left", even after it has long become clear that the worldwide degenerate American neocolonial-control plans have no more meant anything good happening to the ex-Yugoslavia peoples than they mean for Afghanistan and Iraq today.
For Solidarnosc, there was eye-blazing, screaming hysteria, swearing that this was "rank-and-file socialism", "socialism with a human face", etc, based on zero real understanding of a movement plainly organised and financed by the CIA and the Vatican to set going the death and demoralisation of the workers states of East Europe, a counter-revolutionary process which has now ended with the "triumph" of Polish forces helping the neocolonial repression of Afghanistan and Iraq, and Poland negotiating with the Bush neo-cons for a US imperialist missile site near Warsaw.
What was the "left" screaming hysterically about??? Its "absolute" hatred and fear, under petty-bourgeois conditioning, of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
In their real agendas, the "left" are of a mind with Tatchell today over Palestine, fearing the proletarian dictatorship movement so obviously coming which will wipe out this disgusting colonial genocide problem once-and-for-all, completely.
They are all for the "absolute" of a "right to exist for a Jewish state", regardless of the ludicrous impracticability of this in real history, and the NAZI-warmongering murderous butchery and tyranny which is all that the post-1945 Zionist invasion has meant in practice, or could ever mean this side of the world socialist revolution.
Many "lefts" like Scargill are so brain-dead from "principles" that they even denounce Palestinian suicide bombers, tragically seen by some Palestinians as their last despairing chance to strike a blow back for their people against an utterly ruthless and overwhelming tyranny.
Paralleling Lindsey German's cowed ineffectiveness, few on the "left" will try or even want to tackle the homosexual disruption of the Palestinians' political struggle.
All round, the fake-"left" much prefers to support the totally abstract world of "absolute rights", as far away from the unavoidably brutal realities of the dictatorship of the proletariat as it is possible to get.
Tatchell's even weirder "left" posturing sticks to one issue too, of course, — the determination to force the whole world to say that it is "normal" when a person's psycho-sexual emotional development ends up in same-sex attraction.
The vastly talented and single-minded homosexual lobby has made itself the target of the EPSR's agitational analysis (when otherwise the issue could be left a matter of biological/social science and private human conduct, — once all the age-old barbaric victimisation of homosexuals has been outgrown) by its own obsessive-emotional need to hear society declare homosexuality "normal".
This manic pursuit is not merely incidentally disruptive (wrecking pro-Palestinian demonstrations, for example) but can only ever guarantee perpetual emotional self-torment for homosexuals.
A "left"-backed PC tyranny means that ludicrously misleading statistical claims get made about the real strength, significance, and frequency of "homosexual behaviour" throughout the natural species, but never get challenged.
In the evolution of human society, potentially interesting inquiries like whether the incidence, prominence, combativeness, and attention-seeking of homosexuality accumulates during historical periods of increasing ruling-class-system decadence and decline, — reflecting the general loss of drive, confidence and purpose in the
leadership of society, — are less likely to be made for fear of homophobic reaction.
The possibilities that decadent fashions and culture geared up-for homosexual themes might spread more readily during such eras of the falling-apart of the major international ruling-class, — and the significance of this, — cannot even be examined.
Political and professional homosexual freemasonries are now as prevalent as every other kind of jobs-for-the—boys mafias, but do not get reported-on or investigated nearly as frequently as alternative bent networks for fear of the homophobic outcry.
From a Marxist point of view, there is little to be gained for the exposure of the corrupt degeneracy of the entire capitalist system from capturing the excessive details of any particular old-boys-network used for running a racket; but the critical-bourgeois vividness of the general reporting of scandals suffers appreciably when the homosexual freemasonry gets let off the hook.
Private Eye and the wilder satirists like Bo Selecta remain a rare exception.
Is this instance from the current Eye, for example, a healthily Palestinian way of looking at things, or just monstrous homophobia:
WHAT is going on in Cardiff, where the young music director of Welsh National Opera, Tugan Sokhiev, has fallen victim to sharp tongues and much sniping gossip?
Sokhiev was all of 24 when he took up the job last year amid a fair amount of gossip even then about why he was appointed. He had no obvious experience in opera other than a single La Boheme in Iceland (not one of the world's great vocal centres) and another trial Boheme in Cardiff that the WNO orchestra considered unremarkable.
Outside opera his experience wasn't extensive either, largely based in outfits like the North Osetian State Philharmonic of Vladikavkaz (no kidding: there is such a thing) in which he rose to the dizzy heights of principal conductor.
The question on many Welsh orchestral lips — why did Sokhiev get the job? — has grown to something of a clamour as his subsequent appearances in charge at Cardiff — Don Giovanni, Traviata — have attracted miserable reviews. His players have been calling him "Boy Blunder" and "the biggest single mistake in WNO's history'", responsible for a collapse of company morale.
But they've also started a stage-whispering campaign that points out how young, cute and "cosmetically fragrant" he is, and how attractive such qualities might have appeared (especially on a dour night in Iceland) to the bachelor chief executive of WNO, Anthony Freud. When Sokhiev's charms cast comparable spells on the star of his own Don Giovanni and resulted in a serious continuing relationship, the orchestra had a field day. And so it goes on.
Poor Mr Freud, an internationally respected opera chief, insists Sokhiev was appointed on merit not looks.
For speaking out some time ago over the Mark Trotter case in Hackney where this homosexual borough official for children's homes spent 10 years sexually preying on orphans and homeless infants before dying of AIDS, protected through countless publicised doubts, half-hearted police checks, and nascent internal inquiries about his suitability and trustworthiness for such a post, entirely by the "no homophobia" hue-and-cry raised by the local Labour leadership "politically correct" worthies, — the EPSR has had a strange political club of pot-smokers, homosexuals, and Zionists called the CPGB on its case.
Trotter even got himself promoted by sucking up smartly to the Labour Party politically.
Similar scandals went on until exposed in other London boroughs, but none of this has ever interested the propaganda subtleties of this peculiar sect's parroting, who are inspired to this animosity by the most virulent but best hidden anti-communism imaginable, but who choose to keep this 8-year-old record playing alleging homophobia.
They have just excelled themselves with two major anti-EPSR blasts in two issues on this same old theme, — so bizarrely that a correspondence has even now started up in the Weekly Worker, with an amused bystander wondering if this fanatical editorial obsession is entirely healthy.
It is a losing game, more to the point.
Whoever these oddballs are, who emerged from the Stalinist brain-dead milieu of the old Communist Party as it was collapsing in the full logic of its long total anti-revolutionary paralysis, — emerged oddly posturing as the greatest Leninist revolutionary theoreticians ever to have held a party card, — they will only oddball their way from political debacle to political debacle.
The anti-communist idiocies of these "revolutionary" frauds are what bystanders really want to check out on the EPSR's online archive (there in scores of examples about the CPGB and all the rest of the fake-"left"), not the subsidiary questions of how they all capitulate to single-issue reformist bandwaggonning.
But on this exaggeration of abstract "absolute rights" too, their anti-communist fanaticism will end in bitter confusion also, as this scandalous homosexual attack on the Palestinian cause in practice demonstrates.
And this CPGB is routinely in the wrong itself on all these issues, helping imperialist propaganda put the boot into Palestinian "terrorist methods", and racially insulting the Palestinians by refusing to reopen the whole ludicrous 1947 question as to why the United Nations allowed the imperialist racket in the first place of recolonising part of the Middle East with Western imperialist influences so as to keep the Arab world permanently divided and ruled; and still peddling the ridiculous tyranny of a "two-state solution" which
a) still means the Palestinian land has been colonised; and
b) is an impossibility anyway since Zionism would never relinquish its domineering position of overwhelming military superiority.
Naturally, the Weekly Worker has nothing to say against this outrageous homosexual stunt to make it difficult for the Palestinians to protest at the ongoing genocidal butchery since 1945 by millions of invading colonising Jews who have now ethnically-cleansed 85% of the Arab people from what had been their homeland for 1,500 years, twice as long as England has been the home of the English.
Where in 1945 there was only Palestine, now there is "Israel and the Occupied Territories".
To the 15% still not yet usurped, now just a patchwork of refugee-camps, barbed-wire reservations, and hacked—up plots criss-crossed by strategic Zionist military highways, permanent watchtowers, or the gigantic imprisoning wall which turns what's left of Palestine into just one giant dungeon, — the 8-million strong Palestinian nation now look utterly pointlessly for a homeland.
Even if the Jewish monopoly-imperialist system is finally forced by its American Empire guarantors to retreat a fraction to some earlier lines of conquest, still only 20% of their land is all that will be available for a Palestinian "state" making it doubly a joke since Zionist-imperialist police—military control will always maintain overall sovereignty.
And now the turmoil in Gaza against Arafatism looks like a major revolutionary development towards proletarian-dictatorship politics, as the EPSR has always explained must happen.
The single-issue anti—communist extremist mentality of Tatchell and the CPGB will now find vastly more rough-and-ready edges on mass Palestinian culture to stage their provocative disruptions against; but real supporters of anti-imperialist revolution will eagerly be watching for Bolshevik tendencies developing out of this tumult, — proclaiming revolution, and denouncing all single-issue reformists everywhere for the essential class collaborative stooges of the Western "free world" status quo that they represent.
Build Leninism. EPSR supporters.
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Letter to the Weekly Worker readers (in case it doesn't get printed there in full or at all, which is usually the case).
Terry Starr of Bristol (letters, July 15) is not quite right.
The EPSR is as hostile to the underlying politics of gay rights campaigning as it has always been to all single-issue reformist protests (feminism, black nationalism, environmentalism, anti-racism, etc) believing this whole movement to be the last resting place of anti-communist philosophy which hates and fears dictatorship-of-the-proletariat politics but is too cowardly to say so.
Dream on if you think that reforms have banished racism, or reduced violence, or made for happier families, or replaced drugs and booze for discontented youth, or taught society to really value all people equally, or stopped the misery of discriminated-against minorities of all kinds, or improved the environment, or stopped international imperialist tyranny.
The EPSR believes along with Marx and Lenin that this imperialist world is on a course of total cultural degeneration and breakdown due to the impossible and ever-increasing contradictions in the daily global reality of its grotesquely unequal class-dominated economic life.
Your silence on the homosexual disruption of a recent Palestinian protest in London shows you are as cowed by single-issue PC absolutism as Lindsey German was by Peter Tatchell, fearing a "homophobia" branding, in the Newsnight TV studio arguing about this monstrously reactionary provocation.
You share all single-issue reformers contempt for the revolutionary aspects of Palestinian "terrorism". But the Gaza developments show that dictatorship-of-the-proletariat politics is the future, not your infamous "two-state solution" which the treacherous Arafat peddled out of the Revisionism he learned from CPSU and CPGB Stalinism which spawned you too.
You should explain to Terry Starr that you keep up this not-quite-accurate charge of homophobia because you have not a clue how to answer 25 years of polemics with which the EPSR has exposed your anti-communism.
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