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Engraving of Lenin busy studying

Economic and Philosophic Science Review

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

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No 1251 October 5th 2004

Warmonger Blair gives philosophical green light to World War III; and the brainwashed anti-communist world half cheers, or misses the point altogether. Neocon WWIII intentions build up plainly towards a crescendo.

Only the truly communist sections of the EPSR have been convinced so far of the Review's perspective that the neocon influence on American Empire policy has degenerately outlined effectively a World War III scenario as the only "solution" to the wide-ranging threat to the Empire's dominance of the Earth arising from the insoluble economic crisis to the imperialist system, — the crisis of "overproduction" of capital investment, or in other words "too much imperialism" for the world to digest any more (see EPSR box for the classic Marxist-Leninist science on this subject).

The sceptical sections sneer that there is "no proof" as if hand-written neocon cabal briefings were likely to be available to anti-imperialist critics like the EPSR.

But the next best thing IS turning up in increasing quantities, — circumstantial evidence from unavoidable bourgeois "extensions" of main imperialist policy who are growingly doubtful about the direction Washington is leading things towards as the long-term trade-war sharpens.

Two weeks ago, we had the evidence from a WHO report for the UN that 10,000 had indeed died in Darfur, Sudan's oil-rich region, but not from "Arab genocide" as the US warmongers were claiming, — itching to"justify" by any means, fair or foul, blitzkrieg intervention on the bandwagon of a Black African rebellion against "Sudanese Arab tyranny", a revolt inspired, armed, and financed by the CIA to separate Darfur from Sudan so as to dominate its rich oil deposits, currently being exploited by China under a fair commercial contract with Sudan, — — but from a lack of drinking water which one billionth of the cost of the American Empire's planned invasion could have remedied in days, had there been any real interest in the plight of the Black-African Sudanese Darfur region, suffering from a routine sub-Saharan climate crisis.

Now comes more circumstantial evidence (again likely to be pooh-poohed by our liverish sceptics) that the UN's humanitarian officers are speaking up against this American Empire propaganda for war — led by USAID which they say is hopelessly distorting the real picture, and making the real HUMANITARIAN assistance needed,much more difficult to supply, — all as reported in an admission from the pro-imperialist press itself:

AMERICAN warnings that Darfur is heading for an apocalyptic humanitarian catastrophe have been widely exaggerated by administration officials, it is alleged by international aid workers in Sudan. Washington's desire for a regime change in Khartoum has biased their reports, it is claimed.

The government's aid agency, USAID, says that between 350,000 and a million people could die in Darfur by the end of the year. Other officials, including Secretary of State Colin Powell, have accused the Sudanese government of presiding over a 'genocide' that could rival those in Bosnia and Rwanda.

But the account has been comprehensively challenged by eyewitness reports from aid workers and by a new food survey of the region. The nutritional survey of Sudan's Darfur region, by the UN World Food Programme, says that although there are still high levels of malnutrition among under-fives in some areas, the crisis is being brought under control.

'It's not disastrous,' said one of those involved in the WFP survey, 'although it certainly was a disaster earlier this year, and if humanitarian assistance declines, this will have very serious negative consequences.'

The UN report appears to confirm food surveys conducted by other agencies in Darfur which also stand in stark contrast to the dire US descriptions of the food crisis. Another aid worker told The Observer: 'It suited various governments to talk it all up, but they don't seem to have thought about the consequences. I have no idea what Colin Powell's game is, but to call it genocide and then effectively say, "Oh, shucks, but we are not going to do anything about that genocide" undermines the very word "genocide".'

While none of the aid workers and officials interviewed by The Observer denied there was a crisis in Darfur — or that killings, rape and a large-scale displacement of population had taken place — many were puzzled that it had become the focus of such hyperbolic warnings when there were crises of similar magnitude in both northern Uganda and eastern Congo. 

Concern about USAID's role as an honest broker in Darfur have been mounting for months, with diplomats as well as aid workers puzzled over its pronouncements and one European diplomat accusing it of 'plucking figures from the air'.

Under the Bush administration, the work of USAID has become increasingly politicised. But over Sudan, in particular, two of its most senior officials have long held strong personal views. Both Natsios, a former vice-president of the Christian charity World Vision, and Winter have long been hostile to the Sudanese government.

Then came the story about African farmers, who wanted to go back to their villages to resume normal life, being deliberately prevented from doing so by these CIA-coached rebel movements, the Sudan Liberation Army and the Justice and Equality Movement.

The anti-communist stooges at the Guardian ran revealing "heroic" report on the rebels. Reading between the lines, the Western imperialist influence is obvious, none of which proves anything about the legitimacy or otherwise about the Darfuri separatism claim, but which makes the entire American Empire leaping in for "humanitarian" reasons highly suspect indeed:

Rebel officers call each other on satellite phones, paying with phonecards sent from fundraising offices in Europe and the Gulf. Some funds come from expatriate Darfuri communities but the war also sustains itself through looting.

The SLA's strategy is to mount hit-and-run raids, striking at government convoys, checkpoints, or at towns when they have the strength.

The aim is to disrupt supply lines, destroy the Sudanese military's equipment, and steal weapons, ammunition, cars, food and medicines for their effort. They cannot hold on to towns or villages because they cannot fight the government's air power.

The rebels have attacked mainly military targets, but are also accused of intimidating local civilian leaders who cooperate with the government. In April a tribal leader was abducted and murdered by the SLA after accepting food aid from the government.

The rebellion has brought ruin on the people they claim to be fighting for, but the fighters are unrepentant.

One of their officers, Izzedine Yahya Hamid, 25, said the choice was between exile or death at the hands of a government bent on their destruction. "If we fight then our people will become refugees. But if we do not fight, then our people will be killed by the government of [Sudanese president Omar] el-Bashir and the Janjaweed."

For some, the rebellion is an adventure. Many young men in Darfur are accustomed to living a semi-nomadic lifestyle. Living in a rebel encampment is not far removed from this.

There is laughter and camaraderie here, and a freedom they do not enjoy in the crowded refugee camps.

But it is noticeable that among the younger fighters, there are far fewer smiles and little laughter. A generation is being reared in an atmosphere of hatred and violence. The longer the war goes on, the more brutalised its fighters will become.

To spell out the point once again:- The imperialist neo-cons have seen the trade-war crisis coming from "too much imperialism" (to requote Marx), and know that their top-dog role in the world, — so sweet and so lucrative and so reassuring,— is DOOMED by the end of the decade unless the USA simply runs up international debts it can never repay and never intends to, and simultaneously puts the whole world on a military-destruction footing for which "rogue states","axis of evil influences", and "don't ANYBODY dare try to develop weapons of mass destruction equal-to or superior-to our own, or face a pre-emptive blitzkrieg for doing so" were deemed to supply sufficient "cause" and "justification" to bulldoze past any critics, — exactly as has so far almost been achieved, so "brain-dead is the world from anti-communist brainwashing.

The monstrous new philosophical crime of the week was, of course, Blair's disgusting Labour Conference speech, delivered in front of 3,000 "intellectual and social elite delegates" and the world's "independent-minded" free-press-cream with scarcely a murmur of serious objection at the real NAZI heart of the haranguing demagogy.

"I can't apologize for the removal of Saddam Hussein", he wheedled, "The world is better and safer with him in prison than in office".

Think about it. First of all, who is this shallow-minded stooge of imperialism to be making such dramatic pronouncements about world government with their colossal warmongering implications internationally yet with no more credibility than an ignorant hoofer on the make to climb to the top of Labour's greasy pole by hook or by crook, and then stay there preening himself??

With over 190 states registered at the UN, where will the list end of government leaders "better and safer for the world" in jail than in office???

Starting, of course, with Bush, Blair, and Sharon.

And how much warmongering destruction of the planet will that make "acceptable", bearing in mind the devastating upheaval that the removal of the scarcely loved and hardly salubrious Saddam has inflicted on civilisation????

All Blair was doing was finding fresh nauseating thespian ways to suck up to the neo-con mantra for World War III already imposed on the planet.

And the moronic petty-bourgeois opportunist almost gets away with it.

The country should be in uproar, and would be but for Stalinism and 4O years of anti-communist single-issue freemasonry dementia from feminism, black nationalism, gay rights, etc, etc, all lying through their teeth about how "emancipating" is this new "free world" which has triumphed.

Some reforms fine. But the normal processes of capitalist "democracy" were always having to give way here and there in time.

But reforming the capitalist system to stop its SPONTANEOUS, NEVER-ENDING supply of crime, despair, envy, back-stabbing, exploitation, gross inbuilt prejudices, shallow warmongering jingoism, environmental damage?????????? etc, etc.

So the world communist movement has been destroyed for what????????

And the grotesque imperialist racketeering continues, — right at the "noblest" top of what "Western civilisation" will do for the world.

This is today's imperialist press admission:

AS HAMID KARZAI stepped forward to cut the pink ribbon across the entrance to the rebuilt national museum in Kabul, a tall, grey-haired figure in a sharp suit stood beside him. The same figure was present when the President opened a new women's dormitory at the capital's university. He was there again as Mr Karzai arrived by helicopter in a dusty northern province to open a new road.

The man is Zalmay Khalilzad, the United States Ambassador, who has 'been nicknamed "The Viceroy" because of his influence over Mr Karzai's Government.

In recent weeks, however, Mr Karzai's rivals in the presidential elections — voting will be on Saturday — have accused the Ambassador of acting as campaign manager for
Mr Karzai.

Mr Karzai has long been seen as America's man and his backers have done little to challenge that perception. Mr Khalilzad's recent appearances with him were at opening ceremonies for US-funded projects that have not even been completed.

The museum's end wall stood unfinished the road to Shibarghan petered out long before it reached the town, so the ceremony had to be held in the middle of a desert; and the college dormitory will not be used until the spring.

Presidential candidates are complaining to Afghanistan's election commission about the logistical support the Americans give Mr Karzai, from Chinook helicopters to well-armed bodyguards.

Rivals also claim that the Americans are trying pressure them to drop out of the election or seek deals. They say such interference could damage the credibility of what is being hailed as the first truly democratic election in Afghanistan's long, troubled history.

Mohammad Mohaqiq, a leading candidate, was preparing his presidential bid when Mr Khalilzad dropped by with a request: that he pull out of the election in return for Cabinet posts for his men.

Mr Mohaqiq asked whether the Americans would also like to pay for a road through his tribal heartland. He said Mr Khalilzad readily agreed. When Mr Mohaqiq decided against the deal, he claimed that the Ambassador called his party colleagues and tribal associates and asked them to help to persuade him. "We all know that the Americans are not interested in a real election, they just want Karzai to win," Mr Mohaqiq said.

Mr Khalilzad denies claims by several leading candidates. including Younis Qanuni, Mr Karzai's most credible challenger, that he has offered them deals to drop out. The candidates say that since the allegations became public, American officials have made strenuous efforts to assure them that Washington has no favourites.

Few are convinced, giving rise to the growing perception that the election will be an American fix.

"It is very shameful what the Americans are doing," Mohammed Qasim, the vice-presidential candidate on a rival ticket, said. "They came here to end terrorism, not to interfere in our elections and impose their will on us."

Mr Karzai's sudden frenzy of ribbon-cutting has irked those with less tangible achievements to show off. After two years of doling out meagre reconstruction funds, the Bush Administration has paid out $1.76 billion (£973 million) this election year.

"It gives out the message that only Karzai can get these things for the people, that he is the one with the hotline to international assistance," Mr Qasim said. "In two years, the only achievement has been the Kabul to Kandahar highway, but suddenly with the election there are projects popping up everywhere."

Mr Karzai's image as America's man cuts both ways with Afghans. To the minority that strongly" resents the American presence, he is Washington's stooge who will only do their bidding; to the more pragmatically minded in this war-ravaged country, his close relations with the wealthy West are a positive boon. The irony is that Mr Karzai would be a runaway favourite even without any American meddling, but the perception that the election is a "done deal" is causing cynicism.

"It's a dangerous game the Americans are playing," Andrew Wilder, of the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit said. "The American Ambassador accompanying him everywhere is undermining his credibility. It confirms to the Afghans that Khalilzad is the real power in the country and that there is more interest in the outcome than in having a meaningful process."

And to further confirm the EPSR's charge of long-planned WWIII warmongering by the American Empire knowing that it faces an insurmountable economic crisis to its world dominance which can only be defused by turning world relationships into a military trial of strength, here are more snippets from the capitalist press:

John Denham is Labour MP for Southampton Itchen; he was a Home Office minister until he resigned in March 2003 over the Iraq war

A Palestinian voluntary organisation, HDIP, has logged 83 deaths when access to emergency care has been denied; 52 women have given birth at checkpoints after being refused access to hospital.

Road closures and checkpoints are a part of the systematic occupation of Palestine that goes well beyond the securing of borders. According to the UN, there are more than 700 checkpoints, blockages and closures throughout the West Bank, controlling the movement of every Palestinian inside their own country. While we were there, most Palestinians were forbidden to move outside the major towns.

Palestine is increasingly de facto divided into a series of isolated communities under military control. West Bank security wall goes up apace, as does the encroachment of settlements. It was extraordinary to stand in the village of Saffa, on the Palestinian side of the 1967 border, and see the new towns spreading like Spanish timeshare developments.

The new townships will be ringed by the new wall, while Saffa will be on the "wrong" side. Its residents will have no clear right to leave their village, and will be subject to arbitrary removal of their residence permits. Israelis will have every opportunity to settle the same land.

Whatever security function the wall may have, its real effect, snaking deep into Palestine, is clear. Before long, too little Palestinian land and freedom will remain to make an independent state a viable proposition.

What happens if the two-state solution founders in a failed Palestinian state or the simpler brutality of continued Israeli occupation? We and other EU taxpayers will carry on picking up the aid bill — already higher per head than any other country in the world — for mitigating the worst consequences of Israel's illegal occupation. Meanwhile our own security, and the credibility of British foreign policy, will suffer.

There are times when one tragedy, one crime tells us how a whole system works behind its democratic façade and helps us to understand how much of the world is run for the benefit of the powerful and how governments lie. To understand the catastrophe of Iraq, and all the other Iraqs along imperial history's trail of blood and tears, one need look no further than Diego Garcia.

The story of Diego Garcia is shocking, almost incredible. A British colony lying midway between Africa and Asia in the Indian Ocean, the island is one of 64 unique coral islands that form the Chagos Archipelago, a phenomenon of natural beauty, and once of peace. Newsreaders refer to it in passing: "American B-52 and Stealth bombers last night took off from the uninhabited British island of Diego Garcia to bomb Iraq (or Afghanistan)." It is the word "uninhabited" that turns the key on the horror of what was done there.

In the 1970s, the Ministry of Defence in London produced this epic lie: "There is nothing in our files about a population and an evacuation." Diego Garcia was first settled in the late 18th century. At least 2,000 people lived there: a gentle Creole nation with thriving villages, a school, a hospital, a church, a prison, a railway, docks, a copra plantation. Watching a film shot by missionaries in the 1960s, I can understand why every Chagos islander I have met calls it paradise; there is a grainy sequence where the islanders' beloved dogs are swimming in the sheltered, palm-fringed lagoon, catching fish.

All this began to end when an American rear-admiral stepped ashore in 1961 and Diego Garcia was marked as the site of what is today one of the biggest American bases in the world. There are now more than 2,000 troops, anchorage for 30 warships, a nuclear dump, a satellite spy station, shopping malls, bars and a golf course. "Camp Justice" the Americans call it.

During the 1960s, in high secrecy, the Labour government of Harold Wilson conspired with two American administrations to "sweep" and "sanitise" the islands: the words used in American documents. Files found in the National Archives in Washington and the Public Record Office in London provide an astonishing narrative of official lying all too familiar to those who have chronicled the lies over Iraq.

To get rid of the population, the Foreign Office invented the fiction that the islanders were merely transient contract workers who could be "returned" to Mauritius, 1,000 miles away. In fact, many islanders traced their ancestry back five generations, as their cemeteries bore witness. The aim, wrote a Foreign Office official in January 1966, "is to convert all the existing residents... into short-term, temporary residents."

What the files also reveal is an imperious attitude of brutality. In August 1966, Sir Paul Gore-Booth, permanent under-secretary at the Foreign Office, wrote: "We must surely be very tough about this. The object of the exercise was to get some rocks that will remain ours. There will be no indigenous population except seagulls." At the end of this is a handwritten note by DH Greenhill, later Baron Greenhill: "Along with the birds go some Tarzans or Men Fridays..." Under the heading, "Maintaining the fiction", another official urges his colleagues to reclassify the islanders as "a floating population" and to "make up the rules as we go along".

There is not a word of concern for their victims. Only one official appeared to worry about being caught, writing that it was "fairly unsatisfactory" that "we propose to certify the people, more or less fraudulently, as belonging somewhere else". The documents leave no doubt that the cover-up was approved by the prime minister and at least three cabinet ministers.

At first, the islanders were tricked and intimidated into leaving; those who had gone to Mauritius for urgent medical treatment were prevented from returning. As the Americans began to arrive and build the base, Sir Bruce Greatbatch, the governor of the Seychelles, who had been put in charge of the "sanitising", ordered all the pet dogs on Diego Garcia to be killed. Almost 1,000 pets were rounded up and gassed, using the exhaust fumes from American military vehicles. "They put the dogs in a furnace where the people worked," says Lizette Tallatte, now in her 60s, "... and when their dogs were taken away in front of them, our children screamed and cried."

The islanders took this as a warning; and the remaining population were loaded on to ships, allowed to take only one suitcase. They left behind their homes and furniture, and their lives. On one journey in rough seas, the copra company's horses occupied the deck, while women and children were forced to sleep on a cargo of bird fertiliser. Arriving in the Seychelles, they were marched up the hill to a prison where they were held until they were transported to Mauritius. There, they were dumped on the docks.

In the first months of their exile, as they fought to survive, suicides and child deaths were common. Lizette lost two children. "The doctor said he cannot treat sadness," she recalls. Rita Bancoult, now 79, lost two daughters and a son; she told me that when her husband was told the family could never return home, he suffered a stroke and died.

Unemployment, drugs and prostitution, all of which had been alien to their society, ravaged them. Only after more than a decade did they receive any compensation from the British government: less than £3,000 each, which did not cover their debts.

The behaviour of the Blair government is, in many respects, the worst. In 2000, the islanders won a historic victory in the high court, which ruled their expulsion illegal. Within hours of the judgement, the Foreign Office announced that it would not be possible for them to return to Diego Garcia because of a "treaty" with Washington — in truth, a deal concealed from parliament and the US Congress. As for the other islands in the group, a "feasibility study" would determine whether these could be resettled. This has been described by Professor David Stoddart, a world authority on the Chagos, as "worthless" and "an elaborate charade". The "study" consulted not a single islander; it found that the islands were "sinking", which was news to the Americans who are building more and more base facilities; the US navy describes the living conditions as so outstanding that they are "unbelievable".

In 2003, in a now notorious follow-up high court case, the islanders were denied compensation, with government counsel allowed by the judge to attack and humiliate them in the witness box, and with Justice Ousley referring to "we" as if the court and the Foreign Office were on the same side. Last June, the government invoked the archaic royal prerogative in order to crush the 2000 judgement. A decree was issued that the islanders were banned forever from returning home. These were the same totalitarian powers used to expel them in secret 40 years ago; Blair used them to authorise his illegal attack on Iraq.

Led by a remarkable man, Olivier Bancoult, an electrician, and supported by a tenacious and valiant London lawyer, Richard Gifford, the islanders are going to the European court of human rights, and perhaps beyond. Article 7 of the statute of the international criminal court describes the "deportation or forcible transfer of population... by expulsion or other coercive acts" as a crime against humanity. As Bush's bombers take off from their paradise, the Chagos islanders, says Bancoult, "will not let this great crime stand. The world is changing; we will win."

Stealing a Nation, John Pilger's documentary investigating the expulsion of the Chagos islanders will be shown on ITV on Wednesday at 11 pm; his new book, Tell Me No Lies: Investigative journalism and its triumphs, is published by Jonathan Cape

But the holding of Iraqi scientists, whom the Americans call high-value detainees, is significant because they, more than any other group, seem to be hostages. Taken initially into custody because it was thought they could shed light on those elusive weapons of mass destruction, it is clear they had little new to say. There were no WMD, as they always insisted.

Dr Rihab Rashid Taha, called Dr Germ by UN weapons inspectors, was an expert in biological warfare, who consistently told them before the war that all stocks had been destroyed years earlier. Why has she not been let go? She has not been charged with any crime, and even if she were, could she not be freed on bail? Is it that the US authorities don't want her talking to the press about the biological specimens she received from American companies in the 1980s when Saddam Hussein was Washington's friend? Are they worried she might produce the receipts she has said she holds?

What of Dr Amer al-Saadi, the rocket scientist who briefly became the government's link man with the inspectors in 2002? He, too, repeatedly told them Iraq's WMD were dismantled long ago. He was the first senior Iraqi to surrender voluntarily to the US authorities in April last year, expecting to be held for brief interrogation and then let go.

Yesterday his brother, Radwan, told me he was assured last month that Amer's release had been authorised and only a few bureaucratic procedures remained. It seems he was part of the same joint Iraqi-American review process which apparently gave the green light to releasing the women scientists weeks before Kenneth Bigley's kidnappers focused on them.

Why the delay?Did Donald Rumsfeld or George Bush's election advisers get cold feet, fearing the impact of interviews that would once again highlight the fraud behind the invasion? Was the Iraqi government in favour of the release, as its justice minister suggested, but overruled by the Americans and denied the sovereignty it is claimed to enjoy?

What of Saddam Hussein himself? Bush will use the spotlight on Saddam as a way of trying to justify the war on Iraq and put John Kerry on the defensive. In this cynical scheme of things, America's best-known prisoner becomes a hostage of Bush's election bid.

Small wonder that Iraqis feel humiliated and impotent. They are trapped between different sets of foreigners. On one side they face the barbarity of outside Islamists, who use Iraq as the latest and most convenient terrain for jihad against America. On the other, they see the stubbornness of Bush and the arrogance of Blair, who refuse to admit that their adventure was wrong, has become a disaster, and needs to be ended. Every Iraqi is a hostage now.

And for being the fall-guy victim of this deliberate Western fascist-imperialist hostage-taking outrage, Ken Bigley's brother Paul has just been Gestapo-raided three times in Amsterdam by British and Dutch state police, seizing his computer records, just for having sensibly tried to communicate via al-Jazeera with the Iraqi resistance terrorists who have captured his brother as a reprisal for the West's dirty hostage game:

The Bush administration knew as early as mid-2001 that a central plank of its argument about Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction was regarded by its own nuclear experts as probably untrue, it was reported yesterday. The energy department experts said thousands of aluminium tubes purchased by Iraq, and cited by the vice-president, Dick Cheney, as "irrefutable evidence" of Saddam's nuclear ambitions, were more likely destined for small-arms manufacture, according to the New York Times.

The experts conveyed their doubts to the administration in an intelligence memo dated August 17 2001, but were disregarded in favour of a junior CIA analyst who championed the idea that the tubes were to be used in uranium enrichment, the report said.

The tubes, some of which were intercepted, became the basis for the claim by Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, that pre-emptive action was justified because "we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud".

In Iraq, US troops seized control of large parts of Samarra. They said 125 militants had been killed and 88 arrested, although there were also civilian casualties. The US launched another strike in Falluja yesterday, and claimed it had hit a house containing between 10 and 15 "anti-Iraqi forces".

So the NAZI collective-punishment blitzkrieging goes on, regardless of its disastrous consequences, regardless of its degeneracy in itself, and regardless of its proven hypocrisy and lies.

Anti-communist self-righteousness and Stalinist imbecility have a lot to answer for.

But has not the corner now been turned in Iraq, as the entire Labour Party (representing the government and the majority of Britain, thanks to the acquiescence of the Stalinists, the anti-communist Trots, and the single-issue groupies of every stripe, and the backers everywhere of the grotesque fraud called "parliamentary democracy")is reassuring us???

The latest capitalist press eye-witness analyses say not so:

Among the citizens of Basra, impatience with the regime is becoming dangerously passionate. There is a widespread belief that the Shia population of the south is being neglected by Baghdad.

As long as coalition troops are contesting insurgency, no-one can address routine law and order. The consequence is that in most of the country Iraqis suffer as much from non-political crime, especially kidnapping, as terrorism. This is why people find it so hard to perceive the benefits of the coalition presence.

It is a chronic weakness of western interventions that civil follow-up to military action is inadequate or nonexistent. It remains so in the Balkans and Afghanistan. US and British troops in Iraq face no danger of battlefield defeat. The insurgents have been overwhelmingly successful, however, in frustrating even such half-baked reconstruction efforts as the Pentagon has attempted.

The catalogue of Washington's follies and lies is so extensive it is hard to know which to highlight first, but let us try. George Bush — and Tony Blair — persists in relating events in Iraq to al-Qaida and the war on terror, which is drivel unsupported by a shred of credible intelligence.

American strategy continues to focus on the exploitation of force to suppress armed resistance. Of course, it is hard to pursue political objectives when coalition troops have " their hands full dealing with suicide bombs, kidnappings and ambushes. But failure in Iraq seems certain, unless Bush, Blair and Allawi can create civil structures while containing
violence, and provide Iraqis with evidence that their lives are getting better.

In Iraq today, the vast majority of the population is standing aloof, awaiting events. Iraqis are understandably unwilling to commit themselves to the regime when it seems likely that Allawi will forfeit power sooner or later, and that coalition troops will leave.

After hearing an eager British officer holding forth on the progress of his efforts at a police training school, I asked an impassive Iraqi colonel what he made of it all. He intoned mechanically: "I merely want to serve my country in any way I can" — much as he might have said "God is great".

Who can blame such a man, who has lived through 40 years of his society's turbulent history, for a reluctance to display commitment? And who can readily believe that several hundred thousand like him, who have accepted employment from the Allawi regime merely to earn a crust in desperate circumstances, will be capable of securing their country in six months?

Most British diplomats and commanders display a wise humility about the future, partly founded on the paucity of intelligence. A political adviser told me: "I find it impossible to read what is going to happen. These people have lived in difficulties, thrown back on their wits, for so long. Iraqis don't understand their own interests, or democracy, or how to exploit a situation to their advantage."

Max Hastings is former editor of the London Evening Standard and the Daily Telegraph

In General Powell's version on Sunday, he acknowledged that the insurgency was getting harder to subdue. "Yes, it's getting worse," he said, "and the reason it's getting worse is that they're determined to disrupt the election."

The message was echoed by General John Abizaid, the US's top military commander in Iraq, who said: "We're going to have to fight our way all the way through elections, and there'll be a lot of violence between now and then."

But the words of French imperialist academic Gilles Kepel, crawling to the "free world" masters for whatever he hopes to get out of it, are no real comfort for the West either.

In fact, they grossly miss the point completely.

Kepel is the latest international conference-guru star for pronouncing, in tomed research, that the idea of Muslim jihadis winning against the "infidel domination of our planet" is pure stupidity and is even rejected by the majority of intelligent Muslims on Earth.

But who in their sane mind ever said any different, apart from the certifiable warmongers the neo-cons and Blair???

The issue is not what a one-off eccentric act like Osama Bin Laden can luckily pull off once in a blue moon, but what EFFECT his brave and 90% far-sighted defiance of American Empire domination is having on the ordinary Third World masses, suffering under imperialist crisis??? inspired by Muslim fervour or not (totally irrelevant in the long run).

And we have seen from Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere all round the Third World that illogically or not, this fanatical anarchic terrorism offensive is having a galvanising effect on the entire Third World resistance to imperialist domination.

You have sung for your supper in vain, M.Kepel, as far as the world's revolutionary future is concerned.

Because it is only a matter of time before, just as in the 19th century, anarchic terrorism gives way to purposeful, unbeatable, organised communist revolution movements.

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Patronising Bull

Royston Bull offensively suggests that my "naive delusions would be slightly more credible if [I] could be heard denouncing the foundation of the state of Israel and all its works" (Letters, September l6).

I don't intend here to detail my 28 years of active campaigning against Zionism and for Palestinian rights. The fact that Mr Bull appears unaware of this says more about his lack of involvement in this snuggle than it does about me. This lack of involvement is reflected in the remainder of his ignorant comments about the Middle East, and about the presumed benefit to Jews of Zionist oppression.

Mr Bull's letter appears beneath one from my friend Tony Greenstein, outlining the Zionist sympathies of the Alliance for Workers' Liberty. Like Tony, I have been denounced by the AWL as an anti-semite; like him, I have been banned from campuses as a result of Zionist pressure, backed by the AWL; like him, I have been reviled by the Jewish Chronicle and other elements of the official leadership of the Jewish community in Britain. 1 do not need any patronising remarks from Jew-hating bigots about my naivety and lack of involvement.

My Respect branch has now submitted a policy motion opposing Zionism and supporting Palestinian return to the forthcoming Respect conference. Some Weekly Worker readers may disagree with the call for a unitary, secular and democratic Palestine; but, even if you oppose this clause, I hope that you will back the rest of the motion. In particular, the statement that "Respect opposes Zionism as a political movement whose aim is the dispossession of the Palestinian people. Respect denies the false equation of anti-Zionism with anti-semitism, and will oppose any attempt to ascribe collective responsibility to Jews for the crimes of the Israeli state and the Zionist movement."

Roland Rance email

Murky waters

If the Weekly Worker's dedication to 'free expression' must extend to the rantings of the deranged Royston Bull, he should not get away with slandering comrades, whether from malice or ignorance.

Back in the days when Bull was relatively sane, we both worked on the daily News Line, published by Gerry Healy's Workers Revolutionary Party. Then and after the WRP was keen on supporting the  Palestinian cause (indeed I was asked to join the paper because of my interest in the Middle East, and also wrote in the Labour Review on Zionism). But I do not recall Royston Bull taking any active part in such campaigning, then or later.

Perhaps this helps explain his assertion that criticism of his anti-Jewish remarks "would be slightly more credible if Roland Rance could be heard denouncing the foundation of the state of Israel and all its works". I don't always agree with Roland, but anyone involved in Palestinian solidarity and anti-Zionist work would know his record of active opposition to the Zionist state and "all its works", both here and in Palestine. He should not have to lower himself to reply to the likes of Bull, who appears to have only discovered Palestine by way of his voyage into neo-Stalinism.

It seems odd though that Bull has not considered the part played by the late Joseph Stalin and his foreign minister Gromyko in supporting partition in Palestine and arming the Israeli state to drive out Palestinians. The Soviet Union itself had used ethnic-cleansing - for instance, the mass deportations of Chechens. Twenty million Soviet citizens perished in the war against fascism; but in Russia today, ravaged by ruthless capitalism, we have the obscenity of Stalin's portrait carried alongside Hitler's by the brown-red alliance, and a former Ku Klux Klan leader welcomed by nationalists and so-called communists to proclaim war on "dark-skinned peoples" and "Zionists". Maybe history is being rewritten.

Royston Bull's reference to overturning the "post-1945 Jewish/imperialist settlement" suggests he has drifted into very murky waters.

Charlie Pottins email

Into the sea

In reply to Charlie Pottins and Roland Rance, the issue is about political understanding, not boasts about who does' what or grotesque distortions about who did what (Letters, September 23).

Millions on the 'left' — Jews and others — claim to be "anti-Zionist" or even for a "unitary secular state covering the entire 1945 land of Palestine" without being at all prepared to denounce the "founding of a home for Jews in the Middle East" as one of the foulest acts of imperialist hypocrisy ever, and certainly as the most endlessly poisonous colonisation of all time.

Currently, that western imperialist stunt to achieve a militarised toehold permanently in the Middle East which 'no one can object to' on grounds of colonialism, ethnic cleansing, etc is providing the American empire with just the sort of perpetual provocation and unbeatable armed back-up that it needs to keep its planned warmongering offensive in the region on the boil.

Without returning to these sick postwar decisions — precisely those backed by Stalinism along with all the rest of the revisionist theoretical imbecilities with which the world communist movement was destroyed - and reversing them, then nothing but a joke 'Palestinian return' can come about, such as that contained in the evil fraud called 'the two-state solution'.

Utopian make-believe can pretend that one day the Jews will accept the dismantling of 'Israel' for Rance's "unitary, democratic, and secular Palestine" and happily budge up, 'supporting Palestinian return' to their entire 1945 positions and post-colonial expectations; but the reality of the modern Zionist-imperialist juggernaut and its whole history proves this will never happen without war. But the prospect of endless Middle East warmongering is here already, relentlessly worsening, as the paranoid American empire's economic crisis deepens.

In this uncontrollable-war perspective, the only serious anti-imperialist position is to be for the west's defeat, including driving this rotten Zionist stunt into the sea. Lying abuse about "Jew-hating bigots" won't alter this political understanding. Monstrous personal insults about "deranged", "brown-red murky waters", "neo-Stalinism" and the like only betray ignorance of the weekly output for 25 years of the Economic and Philosophic Science Review, and the intemperate immaturity of the slandering.

The actual history of Healy's Workers Revolutionary Party tells a different story from Pottins' wretched cover-up. Six years before its collapse in a rape, embezzlement and brutality scandal, Healy had to call a special, 'timeless' congress in 1979 to quell a long-standing revolt against the increasingly shallow and opportunist political degeneracy, linked to Healy's personal corruption which was finally exposed in 1985 by his own complicit inner-party circles when the rottenness had self-destructed into bankruptcy. 

Two Workers Press journalists were at the heart of that revolt, increasingly challenging Healy's growing opportunism over the betrayal of the Portuguese revolution: backing Saddam Hussein; condoning the massacre of the Iraqi Communist Party; downplaying the 'winter of discontent'; welcoming Khomeini's stealing of the Iranian revolution; and so forth.

The 1979 special congress crushed the revolt and throughout it not one of the 'heroes' of the 1985 party-corruption showdown dared to utter a peep against Healy's degeneracy, Banda included, all loyally backing that growing political backwardness to the end. And Pottins?

Royston Bull Manchester

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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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

• Elementary education at 100%, superior to U.S. rate

• PRESIDENT Fidel Castro described the start of the 2004-2005 academic year, barely three weeks after the island was hit by Hurricane Charley, as a feat of the people and the Revolution.

The Cuban leader gave the keynote address at the ceremony for the new educational period in the capital's Karl Marx Theater, involving state and party leaders, student organizations, educational agencies, and a representation of graduates from the second multidisciplinary teachers training course.

Fidel affirmed that the achievement in elementary education has been spectacular in the wake of measures taken, and evidence of that is the doubling of knowledge of Spanish and Math. This year all junior high school students — calculated at 465,000 –— should have a ratio of one multidisciplinary teacher for every 15 pupils.

He stated that Cuba is the only country in the world to have developed 200-plus computation programs for teaching in various disciplines; that the country has the largest number of teachers per capita in the world (one for every 36.8 inhabitants); and there is a net rate of 100% attendance in elementary schools, comparable to those of the United Kingdom and Canada, and superior to that of the United States (93%).

The president explained that 65% of students enrolled in secondary education benefited from a school snack during last year's course, a measure that in combination with newly built and converted classrooms meant that, in the capital at least, every student enjoyed a double teaching session.

Referring specifically to the situation in City of Havana, one of the most problematic in terms of lack of teachers, he announced that the capital is already training the necessary staff to cover all its schools.

Turning to the special education sector, he said that children with disabilities will continue to receive education in the 428 schools of this type and the 26 hospital classrooms in the country. One significant detail is that 252 children are currently being taught throughout the island, while 99% of school leavers from these special education centers are employed.

In terms of senior high school education, the president affirmed that the policy of linked work and study in rural boarding schools would be maintained, while steps are being taken to convert all of them into Exact Science Institutes in order to avoid differences existing at this level.

Senior high school students this year are to receive increased hours in Spanish and Math, classes should not exceed 30 students, 35-minute video-classes are to be used, while 4,879 televisions and more than 3,000 videos have bean assigned to the 374 centers in the country.

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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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

• THE Cuban boxers finished the Olympic boxing tournament with five titles, beating their medal tally from the last Games and dominating their principal opponent Russia. Reigning champions Guillermo Rigondeaux and Mario Kindelán held on to the titles they won in Sydney in 2000. Yan Barthelemy, Yuriorki Gamboa and Odlanier Solis were also triumphant.

"Five gold medals for any country is very good," commented Cuban trainer Sarbelio Fuentes, who seemed to have wanted more.

With five gold, two silver and three bronze medals Cuba surpassed the four golds won in Sydney 2000 as well as beating the Russian team — who had to be content with three gold medals — and avenging the defeat suffered at the 2003 world championships in Bangkok.

Rigondeaux, in the 54-kilo category, beat Thai boxer Worapoj Petchkoom 22-13.

"It was the last day of the Games and we went out to give everything so that we could finish on top," commented the Santiago athlete. "I want to see my wife, my dad, my mum and all the people that have supported and encouraged me, but I also want to be in my homeland and for that reason, this triumph is for the Revolution and for our people," he affirmed emotionally.

To win his first Olympic gold, Solís is successor to triple champion Félix Savón retired. A man of few words, Solís dedicated his medal to President Fidel Castro.

Yan Bhartelemy achieved his first Olympic gold in the 48-kilo category, which he dedicated to "Fidel, my mum and my girlfriend, but also to all those people that made this triumph and to the people of Cuba, who deserve everything."

During a brief exchange with the sportsmen and women, Fidel commented that he believed Athens 2004 will be talked about for many years to come and referred specifically to several outstanding performances by the Cuban team.

The Cuban leader praised the courage displayed by the baseball team who won their third Olympic title, as well as the boxing squad and the "impressive number of consecutive victories achieved."

"For the first time, we witnessed a boxing competition in which the referee maintained a just position, although not one hundred per cent, but there were no fights that were scandalously stolen," he commented.

He dedicated some words of encouragement to hammer thrower Yipsi Moreno, who won the silver medal, as well as to the women's volleyball team who had needed just a little more luck in their semifinal match against China.

Fidel Castro criticized the trading of those athletes born in poor or underdeveloped countries in order to compete for other more powerful nations.

With respect to the future, the president assured those present that the resources needed to increase development in sports would be available and concluded his welcome speech by congratulating all the Cuban Olympians.

Shortly before, Osleidys Menéndez — Olympic champion in the women's javelin — spoke on behalf of her colleagues with advice to make the most of the experiences gained in the Greek tournament and begin preparations for Beijing 2008.

She called on them not to allow themselves to be dazzled by gold medals, as "all the glory of the world lies in a grain of corn", quoting Cuba's national hero, José Martí.

For his part, Humberto Rodríguez, president of the Cuban Sports Institute, condemned the increasing commercialization that prevails in large scale international competitions dominated by the most developed countries.

He also recalled Cuba's role in training athletes from other regions of the world, through sports cooperation agreements and by sending coaches to other countries on international missions.

Cuba finished in eleventh position in Athens with nine gold, seven silver and 11 bronze medals. •

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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

(edited extracts from a variety of anti-imperialist struggles).
Crisis in the system
Granma International Special

The crisis in the old system and of so-called representative democracy has been more clearly confirmed, to the extreme that, at the present juncture of international politics, to talk of a multi-party system is outside of reality. Similarly, many nations in the world are confronting the problem of ungovernability, the most significant example being Argentina.

An analysis of the acute crisis of representative democracy and the multi-party system has become a pressing need in our time; such a crisis is demonstrated by the system's lack of credibility, constantly growing abstentionism among electorates and the emergence of alternative groups seeking to channel citizens' dissatisfactions in other ways.

The birth of the political party institution in its modern concept is associated with the British parliamentary system, first with the old Whigs and Tories factions, and later by the French Revolution. They reflected the confrontation of hostile social classes or groups with opposing economic interests. It was precisely in the heart of the French Constituent Assembly that the Girondins and Jacobins, both republicans, distinguished themselves from the realists.

These active trends in French political life had a considerable influence on other European countries, giving rise to parties representing progressive ideas and including those with a conservative leaning. That political schematic was reproduced in Latin America and the Caribbean without the social classes that gave them life being present.

Today the majority of the traditional parties, formerly confronted by heterogeneous ideologies, are inserted in a plot of petty profit and privilege in the battle for public posts, corruption and surrender to the interests of foreign exploiters in general, as the application of neo-liberalism demonstrates.

For a broad section of voters, politics has become something dirty and has degenerated into politicking. It is a universal phenomenon and it should be recalled that Mr. Bush was elected president without winning the majority of votes cast, and in elections that were evidently fraudulent.

This process of decomposition has a long history in each particular country, but I shall make reference to the case of Cuba, where the destruction of multi-partyism was demonstrated in the most naked form, given that the traditional parties were unable to articulate any response to the Batista coup, which destroyed the nation's constitutional order. This same drama was revealed in Chile, where the most elaborate and cultured multi-party system in Our America brought about the victory of President Allende, who was violently overthrown by a fascist coup when he was defending the constitutional system.

The situation in Argentina is extremely enlightening; the system of representative' democracy had no immediate' possibility of response to the chaos derived from neo-liberal policies and a submission to foreign interests.

The crisis is persisting; suffice it to see the exceptional documentary Memoria del saqueo (Memories of Plunder) by the talented Argentine filmmaker Pino Solanas, to realize the magnitude of the drama. In relation to the country's economic way out, analysts have confirmed that what was and is needed is a political alternative. Roberto Gargarella, Argentine professor of Constitutional Theory, noted in the context of events in his country:

"What has been happening in recent months, with thousands of citizens in the streets ready to protest, would seem to tell us that something has broken, that most people are effectively tired of being unable to express themselves, of lacking the means to do so, of being deceived after having accepted certain promises, of being ignored after having expressed their opinion via the vote, of being intentionally misinterpreted in their electoral verdict...

After more than 200 years of the existence of constitutional democracy in the world, it is time that we began to rethink an institutional system that, logically, has aged, slowly leaving us on the margin of that which most concerns us.

Hunger and a grand popular discontent led to a rupture of the regime in Argentina. The people found a way within the narrow margin offered them by the party system and elected Néstor Kirchner as president against the grain of the designs of the old opportunist politicking.

At the present juncture, the motto 'divide and rule', which had its cultural and political expression precisely in the plurality of parties, has been dramatically superceded by the realities of the globalized world. Martí also offers us a valid definition of what politics signified for him: "Politics is the art of inventing a resource for each new opposing resource, to convert reverses into fortune; of aligning to the present moment without that alignment costing sacrifice, or the wastage of an ideal being pursued; of holding back to press forward; of falling on the enemy before its armies are marshaled and its battle prepared."

In his visionary essay Nuestra America (Our America), Martí warned 110 years ago: The incapacity is not in the nascent country, which asks for ways of being accommodated and useful grandeur, but in those who wish to dominate the original people, of a singular and violent composition, with laws inherited from four centuries of free practice in the United States, of 19 centuries of monarchy in France. A Hamilton decree cannot detain what it is supposed to detain. The congealed blood of the Indian race cannot be removed by a phrase from Sieyés... The government has to be born of the country. The spirit of government has to be that of the country. The form of government is no more than the balance of the country's natural elements."

These words of José Martí should be analyzed now in the light of the specific case of Venezuela, given the economic and social repercussions of the rupture with the rightist regime proclaimed by the Bolivarian Constitution of 1999. For that, the victory of the "NO" in the land of the liberator (Bolivar) should be understood as the negative of its people to the dull-witted proposition of leading the country along the road to chaos, because it is a fact that the only valid option is represented by Chávez; the other would be generalized anarchy. This can be observed on analyzing the question of oil and its financial, economic and productive aspects. It would seem that certain sensible members of the bourgeois world are in the process of understanding that. An imbalance in Venezuela like one provoking the defeat of President Chávez would lead to a series of unforeseeable consequences for the world economy.

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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

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

• The United States applying selective attacks whose victims are children

• IN Baghdad, the scene of some of the most intense fighting in months, a U.S. helicopter brought death on a Sunday among Iraqis peacefully regarding a Bradley tank, an insurgency target, burning in the street. The preliminary toll was 27 deaths and 107 injuries.

The hit was deliberately planned, as is the military occupation of Iraq underway for 16 months now, and which is being responded to with growing resistance.

The U.S. intention to progressively withdraw its troops from combat in the cities and leave that dangerous responsibility to the Iraqi security forces being structured and trained, is not demonstrating much effectiveness in the complex situation of the cruel war beyond the famed Sunni triangle — explained by the reasoning that it is a region of the followers of Saddam Hussein and the Baath Party.

The opposition extended its field of armed action long ago to the Shiite cities and areas, currently the terrain of the fiercest fighting. Last week fighting broke out in Tal Afar, where the U.S. forces repeated the massacre of the civilian population, the majority of Turkish origin, as part of their pretensions to annihilate combatants wherever they arise.

It is evident that the resistance to the foreign occupiers and those who have become their puppets — as part of the interim government or the military — goes beyond ethnic differences or confessionals. It is a fact that there is no national unity as such that would allow an organized opposition on any front and at any point. Nevertheless, the insurgency is multiple and growing, placing the coalition in a tight corner.

The shifting sands in which the United States is currently operating were predicted by a man who has already completed his mission in Iraq - quite simply because he elected to resign - General Lieutenant James T. Conway, chief of the First Marines Expeditionary Force in charge of the western region of the country.

On his arrival in March at the Sunni province of Anbar to guarantee the labors and investment of contract companies there, he discovered that, despite his own tactical opposition, he had to put into practice the assault on the volatile Falluya, in a revenge strike for the death of four of the contractors, security force agents from the Blackwater Company acting as mercenaries. Believing that once started, the operation had to be carried through, Conway also reluctantly executed the subsequent decision to withdraw from the city and hand over "control" to the security forces with former Iraqi soldiers in their ranks.

The dismantling last week of the so-called Falluya Brigade, made up of those Iraqis, reaffirms that the use of military force only worsens the circumstances in an occupied country. The brigade was unable to contain the insurgency movement or capture its members; on the contrary, according to Conway, it helped them, giving them weapons, vehicles and radios and some brigade members even took part in attacks on the marines surrounding the city, the first to become a no-go zone for the U.S. troops. And the cities in which they cannot enter are growing in number and locality in the Iraqi geography.

After the formal handing over of command to Lieutenant General John F. Sattler, Conway admitted to journalists that when they were told to attack Falluya, he thought that that would definitely increase the existing levels of animosity.

Some people would like to know where that order came from, as well as the subsequent one to halt the punitive operation. The finger points very high up, to the man commanding the troops in Iraq at the time, Lieutenant Ricardo Sanchez the same accused of the practice of torture in Abu Ghraib while enjoying full liberty for now - and the very same Bush White House, which although it pretends otherwise, is not at any remove from the aberrations in Iraqi prisons.

Likewise, the new orders of "selective" Israeli-style attacks that are converting many Iraqi cities into points of massacre and doubtless fueling the resistance, come from that very same source and the Pentagon.

Is it any coincidence then that the victims of the U.S. helicopter in Haifa Street, a Baghdad trouble spot west of the Tigris River, included Palestinian journalist Mazin Tumaisi, who was reporting for the TV satellite network Al Arabiya?

Seif Fouad, a cameraman who was gravely injured, captured that moment: Tumaisi is reporting next to the Bradley, you can see the crowd, the camera points upward and shows two helicopters flying low and firing heavily; they hit Tumaisi, his blood splatters the camera lens and he can be heard saying: "Please help me. I'm dying..."

Meanwhile, in the Baghdad offices of Al Arabiya, the employees weep as they watch the video footage of the combat. They find a photo of the Palestinian journalist and place it on the door of the office with the following inscription: "Martyr Mazin Tumaisi, killed by the U.S. forces on September 12, 2004."

Almost simultaneously in Ramadi, U.S. tanks and helicopters opened (ire on a residential district: another 10 dead and 40 injured, including women and children. In the early morning of September 13, a similar incident in Falluya with a toll of at least seven deaths, including those of women and children. In Babil, 10 Iraqis dead and in Basra two, in non-specified circumstances.

And the count continues, bringing the total of dead Iraqi civilians to 1,000 just in the week ending September 13. These have no names, and include women and children... •

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