No 1259 30th November 2004
Now for the REAL POST-WAR western imperialist conspiracy — the story of how against the whole direction of postwar ANTI-colonialism in the world, the Palestinian NEAR-EAST was DELIBERATELY given to Western Jewish monopoly-imperialist interests for permanent COLONISATION and for subsequent TOTAL and PERMANENT NAZI-CONCENTRATION-CAMP DOMINATION, which will never end until the fascist-Jews and their US NAZI-imperialist mentors are DEFEATED by PALESTINIAN REVOLUTION —— soon (historically speaking)
The whole country (and most of the rest of the world too) was sickened by the weekend's BBC documentary on TV showing how the 100,000 British "United Nations" Mandate Army, occupying Palestine postwar, — supposedly protecting it for the rightful owners (the Palestinian nation, who have owned, occupied, and husbanded this land for three times longer than "ENGLAND" has been "ENGLAND" (roughly 1500 years — just walked away from its obligations, and simply abandoned the whole country (and all state power and authority for ever) to about 7,000 viciously-determined Jewish fascist-imperialist FANATICS who only ever had one aim in life, — to make "ISRAEL" by far the most powerful military and state power in the NEAR EAST, and simultaneously completely dedicated to TOTAL, AMERICAN-EMPIRE WARMONGERING DOMINATION of all Arab nationalist-independence (to maintain total Western-imperialist monopoly control over the world oil trade, — and hence over ALL WORLD affairs.
And it has worked briefly. The world is currently loosely in the diktat of the insane American Empire warmongers.
BUT IT IS NOT WORKING.
And it will be another historic FAILURE, — to go with the historic imperialist-warmongering system FAILURES of 1871 (when the Franco-Prussia war pointless bloodshed and destructive shame caused the world's first proletarian revolution (the Paris Commune) of 1917 when the greatest proletarian revolution ever (the BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION)forced an end to the lunatic universal slaughter for imperialist-purely-destructive purposes (to pointlessly try to control monopoly "overproduction" (uncontrollable —see Marxist science — EPSR Box)) — ("TOO MUCH IMPERIALISM BECAUSE OF PHILISTINE ARROGANCE").
Another Western imperialist FAILURE looms in Ukraine where the American Empire's chosen NAZI coup leader to steal the election result for NATO anti-communism and monopoly-capitalist total control is a fascist drug-addict who is an integral part of Western Ukraine's long and unbroken pro-NAZI history going back to the world's first anti-semitic CONCENTRATION CAMP which was set up by fervent Hitler-admirer Josef Pilsudski in the early 1930s to house (and massacre, or hand over to the Gestapo-SS murder squads) the anti-communist and anti-Soviet Polish dictator's own hated Jewish minority population:
Conflict in Kiev
James Meek may be right that western intelligence services have tapes of outgoing Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma being anti-semitic "in private" (Bold but bloodless, November 25). But what about the anti-semitic utterances of Viktor Yushchenko's supporters in public? One of their key targets is Kuchma's Jewish son-in-law, television boss Viktor Pinchuk. But pro-Nazi revisionism goes deep in the orange-uniformed ranks of Yushchenko's Our Ukraine.
When one of the party's main newspaper backers, Silski Visti, was prosecuted under race hate laws for declaring in 2003 that 400,000 Jews had invaded Ukraine along with the Nazi forces, Viktor Yushchenko and his key allies started a campaign "Hands off Silski Visti". Other pro-Yushchenko media in western Ukraine have blamed the Babi Yar massacre in 1941 on the Jews. Maybe the new European order which Tim Garton Ash sees Yushchenko's supporters striving to join isn't quite so new after all.
Mark Almond (Election observer),
Oriel College, Oxford
Oranges can often be bitter, and the mass street protests now going on in Ukraine may not be quite as sweet as their supporters claim.
For one thing the demonstrators do not reflect nationwide sentiments. Ukraine is riven by deep historical, religious and linguistic divisions.
Their traditions are not always pleasant. Some protesters have been chanting nationalistic and secessionist songs from the anti-semitic years of the second world war. Yushchenko, who claims to have won Sunday's election, served as prime minister under the outgoing president, Leonid Kuchma, and some of his backers are also linked to the brutal industrial clans who manipulated Ukraine's post-Soviet privatisation. Countless elections in the post-Soviet space have been manipulated to a degree which probably reversed the result, usually by unfair use of state television, and sometimes by direct ballot rigging. Boris Yeltsin's constitutional referendum in Russia in 1993 and his re-election in 1996 were early cases.
Azerbaijan's presidential vote last year was also highly suspicious.
Yet after none of those polls did the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the main international observer body, or the US and other western governments, make the furious noise they are producing today. The decision to protest appears to depend mainly on realpolitik and whether the challengers or the incumbent are considered more "pro-western" or "pro-market".
In Ukraine, Yushchenko got the western nod, and floods of money poured in to groups which support him, ranging from the youth organisation, Pora, to various opposition websites. More provocatively, the US and other western embassies paid for exit polls.
The US's own election this month showed how wrong exit polls can be. But they provide a powerful mobilising effect, making it easier to persuade people to mount civil disobedience or seize public buildings on the grounds the election must nave been stolen if the official results diverge.
Intervening in foreign elections, under the guise of an impartial interest in helping civil society, has become the run-up to the post-modern coup d'etat, the CIA-sponsored third world uprising of cold war days adapted to post-Soviet conditions. Instruments of democracy are used selectively to topple unpopular — once a successor candidate or regime has been groomed. In Ukraine's case this is playing with fire. Not only is the country geographically and culturally divided — a recipe for partition or even civil war — it is also an important neighbour to Russia. Putin has been clumsy, but to accuse Russia of imperialism because it shows Close interest in adjoining states and the Russian-speaking minorities who live there is a wild exaggeration.
Ukraine has been turned into a geostrategic matter not by Moscow but by the US, which refuses to abandon its cold war policy of encircling Russia. What concerns Putin is the threat of an anti-Russian regime on his borders and American mischief.
Yuschenko never went there to study. Instead, he headed all the way here, to the west, to Ternopil, because his mother knew someone at the university.'
Boldiryev insists Yuschenko has always had a strong woman pushing him forward: his mother; his wife, Chicago-born ex-State Department official Katya, who introduced him to Washington; his deputy, Yulia Timoshenko. How, then, is this man with the ravaged face now threatening to overturn the Ukraine's corrupt political order? And, crucially, what does he promise?
A YEAR AGO, Victor Yuschenko was, an uninspiring opposition politician in a largely ignored eastern European country best known for being one of the world's most venal. His movie-star looks made him the presentable frontman for the opposition, while his ritual patter was that of a prosaic fan of the free market.
The effect was staggering. He stood before parliament after his release from the clinic, his suntan now jaundice, his wrinkles transformed into the deep pock marks of chloracne that some experts say is consistent with ingestion of dioxins.
VIKTOR YUSCHENKO was not born into the Soviet elite that retained control of the country after its independence in 1992. A teacher's son, he grew up in the tiny town of Khoruzhivka. After an education in Ternopil in western Ukraine, he returned home to take up a job his mother found him in the bank in their hometown.
Yuschenko's account of his decision to head to Ternopil university rather than to Moscow is more colourful than that of detractors such as Boldiryev.
But these were, perhaps, a later rationalisation. In his early career, Yuschenko would show little sign of being adventurous, moving into government under the tutelage of the then head of the USSR's central bank, Vadym Hetman, a powerful figure who went on to head Ukraine's first national bank and become Yuschenko's mentor as he rose to take his boss's old job.
Surviving a corruption scandal at the central bank, he impressed president Leonid Kuchma enough to be appointed his prime minister in 1999.
Two turbulent years would follow in which Yuschenko's free market ideas — his decision to pay off Ukraine's debts to Russia and try and regain the country's economic independence — would begin to rile the corrupt business oligarchs around Kuchma. A basket-case economy improved, but by 2001 he had upset too many interests and he was sacked.
It is this period that has led some at least to suspect Yuschenko's motives — most notably for his public statements of support for Kuchma in a series of controversies, including Kuchma's alleged involvement in the murder of journalist Georgy Gongadze, that saw thousands of Ukrainians take to the streets in 2001. But with his sacking, Yuschenko was suddenly on the outside and angry — his wife Katya becoming the catalyst for what would happen next.
Fervently anti-communist in her youth, Kateryna Chumachenko, had worked in the human rights bureau at the State Department, in the White House and the US Treasury — a devotee of free market economics described by one associate as 'one of the most dedicated conservatives I have ever known'. Katya took him to Washington, introducing him to senators as 'their man'.
For all the allegations of attempts by the government to steal the election, it is also true that many — perhaps almost half of Ukrainians — did not vote for Yuschenko and policies that looked to a future with Europe and the West. Millions of Ukrainians in the east — who identify themselves as Russians — voted for a future allied with Moscow and the past.
Added to that, there are serious questions about what an 'orange revolution' - elements of whose Ukrainian nationalist coalition encompasses both anti-Semitic and anti-Russian sentiments - signify for the country's future.
With their websites and stickers, their pranks and slogans aimed at banishing widespread fear of a corrupt regime, the democracy guerrillas of the Ukrainian Pora youth movement have already notched up a famous victory — whatever the outcome of the dangerous stand-off in Kiev.
Ukraine, traditionally passive in its politics, has been mobilised by the young democracy activists and will never be the same again.
But while the gains of the orange-bedecked "chestnut revolution" are Ukraine's, the campaign is an American creation, a sophisticated and brilliantly conceived exercise in western branding and mass marketing that, in four countries in four years, has been used.
Funded and organised by the US government, deploying US consultancies, pollsters, diplomats, the two big American parties and US non-government organisations, the campaign was first used in Europe in Belgrade in 2000 to beat Slobodan Milosevic at the ballot box.
Richard Miles, the US ambassador in Belgrade, played a key role. And by last year, as US ambassador in Tbilisi, he repeated the trick in Georgia, coaching Mikhail Saakashvili in how to bring down Eduard Shevardnadze.
Ten months after the success in Belgrade, the US ambassador in Minsk, Michael Kozak, a veteran of similar operations in central America, notably in Nicaragua, organised a near identical campaign to try to defeat the Belarus hardman, Alexander Lukashenko.
That one failed. "There will be no Kostunica in Belarus," the Belarus president declared, referring to the victory in Belgrade. But experience gained in Serbia, Georgia and Belarus has been invaluable in plotting to beat the regime of Leonid Kuchma in Kiev.
The operation — engineering democracy through the ballot box and civil disobedience — is now so slick that the methods have matured into a template for winning other people's elections.
In the centre of Belgrade, there is a dingy office staffed by computer-literate youngsters who call themselves the Centre for Non-violent Resistance. If you want to know how to beat a regime that controls the mass media, the judges, the courts, the security apparatus and the voting stations, the young Belgrade activists are for hire.
They emerged from the anti-Milosevic student movement, Otpor, meaning resistance. The catchy, single-word branding is important. In Georgia last year, the parallel student movement was Khmara. In Belarus, it was Zubr. In Ukraine, it is Pora, meaning high time. Otpor also had a potent, simple slogan that appeared everywhere in Serbia in 2000 — the two words "gotov je", meaning "he's finished", a reference to Milosevic. A logo of a black-and-white clenched fist completed the masterful marketing.
In Ukraine, the equivalent is a ticking clock, also signalling that the Kuchma regime's days are numbered. Stickers, spray paint and websites are the young activists' weapons. Irony and street comedy mocking the regime have been hugely successful in puncturing public fear and enraging the powerful.
Last year, before becoming president in Georgia, the US-Educated Mr Saakashvili travelled from Tbilisi to Belgrade to be coached in the techniques of mass defiance. In Belarus, the US embassy organised the dispatch of young opposition leaders to the Baltic, where they met up with Serbs travelling from Belgrade. In Serbia's case, given the hostile environment in Belgrade, the Americans organised the overthrow from neighbouring Hungary — Budapest and Szeged.
In recent weeks, several Serbs travelled to the Ukraine. Indeed, one of the leaders from Belgrade, Aleksandar Marie, was turned away at the border.
The Democratic party's National Democratic Institute, the Republican party's International Republican Institute, the US state department and USAid are the main agencies involved in these grassroots campaigns as well as the Freedom House NGO and billionaire George Soros's open society institute. US pollsters and professional consultants are hired to organise focus groups and use psephological data to plot strategy.
The usually fractious oppositions have to be united behind a single candidate if there is to be any chance of unseating the regime.
Officially, the US government spent $41m (£21.7m) organising and funding the year-long operation to get rid of Milosevic from October 1999. In Ukraine, the figure is said to be around $14m.
Apart from the student movement and the united opposition, the other key element in the "democracy" template is what is known as the "parallel vote tabulation".
There are professional outside election monitors from bodies such as the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, but the Ukrainian poll, like its predecessors, also featured thousands of local election monitors trained and paid by western groups.
Freedom House and the Democratic party's NDI helped fund and organise the "largest civil regional election monitoring effort" in Ukraine, involving more than 1,000 trained observers. They also organised exit polls.
The exit polls are seen as critical because they seize the initiative in the propaganda battle with the regime, invariably appearing first, receiving wide media coverage.
In Belgrade, Tbilisi, and now Kiev, where the authorities initially tried to cling to power, the advice was to stay cool but determined and to organise mass displays of civil disobedience.
If the events in Kiev vindicate the US in its strategies for helping other people win elections and take power- it is certain to try to repeat the exercise elsewhere in the post-Soviet world. The places to watch are Moldova and Central Asia.
Aged 50. Born north-west Ukraine. Divorced his first wife to marry an American, Katrin. Has two sons, three daughters.
Who's behind him? At his side is Yulia Timoshenko, Ukraine's "iron lady", who made a fortune from re-sale of gas under the protection of prime minister Pavel Lazarenko in 1996-97.
Aged 54, born in Donetsk region. Married to Liudmila, two sons. Claims to be a "professor". Has tried to hide his criminal record — for theft in 1967 and GBH three years later.
Background Rose from car factory welder to top manager in vehicle manufacture. From 1997 to 2002 was head of the Donetsk regional government.
What does he stand for?
Says he'll tax the rich. Has raised pensions. Says he'll be tough on corruption. Favours Russia. Putin supports him.
Who voted for him? His base is in the Russian-speaking industrial workers of the east and south of the country.
MARKO MARKOVIC does not look as if he could pose much of a threat to Ukraine's powerful ruling elite. But the sight of the 25-year-old. Serb, on the eve of the second round of Ukraine's presidential elections tomorrow, should alarm the country's leaders and others in the former communist world.
Mr Markovic began his revolutionary career handing out leaflets and spray-painting graffiti as an activist for the Serbian youth movement Otpor (Resistance), which helped to overthrow Slobodan Milosevic. Last year, Otpor activists headed to Georgia to train the leaders of the "rose revolution" that ousted Eduard Shevardnadze.
The poll has split the country, with the Ukrainian-speaking, Catholic west behind Mr Yushchenko and the Russian-speaking, Orthodox east backing the Prime Minister.
It has also sparked a proxy contest reminiscent of the Cold War. The United States and other Western nations have funded pro-democracy groups, among them Mr Markovic's organisation, called Znayu.
The work by Otpor activists has not gone unnoticed by the authorities. Last month, one of Mr Markovic's Serb colleagues was arrested and deported. Mr Markovic fears the same. If Mr Yushchenko wins, he will apply for Ukrainian citizenship. Or he will hit the road again.
And who should turn up for the American Empire's would-be fascist election-stealing stunt than the CIA-Vatican stooge of the defeat of the Polish workers state - Lech Walesa. Himself.
The EPSR is reluctant to count its chickens, but after a 25 year wait, it is beginning to look as if the Orange-fascist-bastardised acceptance that British-imperialist FAILURE and DEFEAT from the sick colonising enterprise of for 800 years trying to subdue Ireland - - is at last being acknowledged and accepted even in the dyest-hard [die-hardest] fanatical corners of the Paisleyite imperialist mind.
This confirms what the EPSR has ALONE IN THE WORLD, - with its unique MARXIST understanding, - been explaining since the 1970s, - - namely that British imperialism took a big decision THEN that it was pointless to try to continue maintaining the British-imperialist Industrial Empire via the back door of OCCUPIED IRELAND any longer.
The heavy armaments industry was now hugely loss-making; this role was no longer being played by Britain in the world (of being the major FASCIST "free world warmongering hitman on Earth) - but MOSTLY because the "TERRORISTS" (i.e. armed resistance, prepared to fight for their country, - and in particular to die for it) WOULD NOT BE BEATEN, despite every fascist "shoot-to-kill", death squad barbarism that the British Empire had perfected (including concentration camps; hostage-taking for judicial slaughter; amateur Orange-NAZI murder squads;) and systematic domestic terrorisation of Republican families.
The EPSR even was able to tell the petty-bourgeois nationalists of Sinn Féin that they had DEFEATED British Imperialism when everyone else was still only talking "continued British-Imperialist intransigence" and "continued permanent domination of Ireland".
The EPSR even explained in detail to the Republican Movement that the hunger strikes to death in the early 1970s, - exactly the opposite of being a "FAILURE" and a "TRIUMPH" for Thatcher's and Orange intransigence, - had in fact become the symbol for the whole world of British-Imperialism's final DEFEAT and TOTAL POLITICAL FAILURE in Ireland.
Sadly, this all had to be confirmed again to Scargill's incurably anti-communist trade-unionism in 1998 when the EPSR insisted that only the truth of Marxism could now save the world from warmongering destruction.
The Socialist Labour Party was systematically told repeatedly that it was talking petty-bourgeois, Trotskyite, anti-communist gibberish (Scargill included)to keep insisting that "the IRA has surrendered; that Sinn Féin had capitulated; and that Adams had "sold out" for high state office".
Scargill's reply was to order the expulsion of his popularly-newly-elected communist vice-president Royston Bull, and the immediate closure of the EPSR:
Dear Royston Bull:
You have refused or failed to comply with a National Executive Committee Instruction, 12 December, 1998: "that the publishers and contributors of the EPSR (Economic and Philosophic Science Review) cease, publication of that Journal. Yours
Dec 12 1998
Sadly, some longstanding personal, spiteful, petty-bourgeois, Trotskyite and incurable anti-communist gossip entered the situation at this point in order to pretend that the expulsion was only "for non-payment of party dues ".
Scargill is an INCURABLE anti-communist. Possibly with state help and advice, Scargill knew exactly what he was doing in expelling the popularly-elected communist Royston Bull from the vice-presidency of the Socialist Labour Party (which aimed to restore a belief in socialism in Britain, ostensibly) from the very first day that he was elected.
Let us hope that this slight (but vaguely understandable, on a personal level, unpleasantness)for ever now stays buried.
The biggest, most MONSTROUS, philistine scandal currently inflicted by the American Empire on the world concerns the "benign neglect" of the value of the world's major trading currency, - the US dollar.
Such unscientific insanity will eventually totally destroy the entire "free world" monopoly-capitalist economy under American Empire warmongering dictatorship, as it is already half-admitting itself:
Jeremy Warner Independent, November 25
"Since George Bush was sworn in as president in January 2001, the dollar has slumped by a stomach-churning 30% against the euro. Its performance against the pound has scarcely been much better... "The Bush administration's stance so far has been one of benign neglect... By making imports more expensive and exports more competitive, a weak dollar helps to ease America's burgeoning current account deficit and support US employment... There are bound to be some possibly quite serious short-term financial crises.
Wall Street Journal Editorial November 23
"The Bush treasury, and perhaps Mr Bush himself, seem to have fallen for the notion that a country can devalue its way to prosperity. This is the patent medicine of the manufacturers' lobby, as well as the kind of economist who has done so much for Argentina, Mexico and other nations over the years...
"Nothing will more quickly sap Mr Bush's hard-won 'political capital' to borrow his phrase, than a sharp weakening of global demand for American economic capital. "
US government is spending beyond its means ..."Mr Bush talks of halving the deficit - $412bn (£218bn) this year — in the next five years, but he and Congress have caused spending to soar
William Rees-Mogg Times, November 22
"Without confidence in the dollar, the world has no valid reserve currency. The euro lacks political strength, if nothing else, and itself seems overvalued; the Chinese renminbi is tied to the dollar. If confidence is not restored, there will be pressure for the familiar false remedies, for competitive devaluation or protectionism. Already the exports of the eurozone are being undermined by dollar competition. Yet the world exchange crisis is being treated as everybody's problem and therefore nobody's. "
HEDGE funds and nervous dollar investors have ploughed $1.3 billion (£695 million) over three days into a new gold tracker fund in New York.
Analysts have described the success of StreetTRACKS Gold Fund, which gives investors a direct exposure to the gold price without buying and selling the precious metal, as unprecedented in US exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
Analysts believe that most of the money is from hedge funds looking for a commodity to replicate oil's strong run, and investors selling dollars.
The fund listed on the New York Stock Exchange only last Thursday and is the first pure commodity-backed investment to list.
In its first three days, the fund attracted $830 million, $241 million and $419 million, according to TrimTabs Investment Research,
Its success eclipses the strong demand from investors in Gold Bullion Securities (GBS), which is traded on the London Stock Exchange. GBS has attracted more than $770 million since it listed almost a year ago.
Two UK companies with heavy dollar exposure, Tomkins and Icap, both blamed the weakening currency for cutting their returns. Profits made by US offshoots of British companies are shrinking after being translated into sterling, with pharmaceutical firms, manufacturers, banks and media groups looking most vulnerable.98
Another huge imperialist scandal still brewing concerns the British Zionist Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, lifelong supporter of the military domination of the Near East by "Israeli" total fascist-military control, - never to be abandoned, - and never to give the the ancient Palestinians a state of their own:
BRITAIN was given a full outline of an illegal coup plot in a vital oil-rich African state, including the planned date of the putsch, several months before it was launched, according to confidential documents obtained by The Observer.
But, despite Britain's clear obligations under international law, Jack Straw, who was personally told of the plans at the end of January, failed to warn the government of Equatorial Guinea.
The revelations about the coup, led by former SAS officer Simon Mann and allegedly funded in part by Sir Mark Thatcher, son of the former Prime Minister, will put increasing pressure on the Foreign Secretary
Officials said that Straw and Minister for Africa Chris Mullin were personally told of the plot on 30 January.
In December 2003 and January 2004, according to the documents seen by The Observer, two detailed reports of the plan were sent to two senior officers in British intelligence and to a senior colleague of Donald Rumsfeld, the US Defence Secretary. They were written by Johann Smith, a former commander in South African Special Forces. He has now given a full statement outlining the contents of these documents to lawyers investigating the coup.
The new claim by Smith, that Britain was given clear and specific warnings in advance of the coup, raises questions about Straw's recent parliamentary answers in the Commons. In August officials flatly denied any prior knowledge of the plot, but earlier this month Straw was forced to admit that the government was informed in late January. On 17 November he admitted his department had received 'confidential information' on the plan
However, the documents seen by The Observer gave names of many of the South African mercenaries involved in the plan who have now been sentenced for their roles. Most significantly, the January report warned: 'These actions are planned to take place in mid-March 2004.' The alleged plotters were arrested in 7 March en route to Equatorial Guinea.
The reports, which Smith asserts he passed to UK intelligence, and marked strictly confidential concluded: 'Knowing the individuals as well as I do, this timeline is very realistic and will provide for ample time to plan, mobile, equip and deploy the force.'
The fresh claims of Britain and America's prior knowledge of the plan raises questions about whether they ignored UN conventions designed to protect heads of state against violent overthrow. There have also been claims that western governments ' were keen to see regime change in the state because it suited their strategic and commercial interests.
Smith gave a statement last week to lawyers acting for the government of Equatorial Guinea. He says he had been tipped off about the coup by two former military colleagues who were recruited to overthrow Obiang by Nick du Toit, a mercenary who was given a 34-year jail sentence last week for his role in the coup,
In his statement, seen by The Observer, Smith said: 'I considered it my duty to warn the authorities in the US and England' I submitted a report in December 2003 of what I had discovered to Michael Westphal of the Pentagon [in Rumsfeld's department]. I expected the US government to take steps to warn Equatorial Guinea or to stop the coup. This was also my expectation as regards the British government which I warned through two SIS [Secret Intelligence Service, i.e. MI6] people I knew, and to whom I sent the report by email, also in December 2003 to their personal email addresses.' Westphal is the Pentagon's deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence in charge of special operations and combating terrorism.
In January, Smith received more detailed information about the plot from former colleagues. He said: 'After preparing and sending my December report I received further information... and put this in a second report which I sent by email to the same people as the first one: Michael Westphal of the US and British SIS contacts.'
Smith, who claims he has received death threats since the plot was thwarted, said there was no response from British or US authorities to his warnings: 'The only thing that happened was that; the US authorities froze the Equatorial Guinea money with the Riggs Bank in the USA.'
One very obscure story of unresolved Western imperialist intrigue concerns Margaret Hassan, the dead international "care worker". Imperialism reports:
I met Margaret Hassan in 1987 during the Iran-Iraq war, when I was an aid worker running an educational programme for young Iranian prisoners-of-war in Ramadi, then a quiet town where the only gunfire heard was during weddings. Margaret hadn't yet become an aid worker for Care Iraq. She was assistant director of studies at the British Council in Baghdad.
I'd gone to see her to ask if the council might let me have any leftover English books to stock the meagre prison library. I wasn't hopeful, given the sensitivity of the demand. Margaret could not have been more generous.
What I remember most of that meeting was the concern she showed towards the young Iranians. Were they getting enough to eat? Were they mistreated in any way? Did they have warm clothes to protect against the harsh Iraqi winter? And as I was leaving, she said I had to come to her home one day for a slice of her renowned lemon meringue pie.
I was expelled from Iraq in 1989 for criticising the government's treatment of PoWs. I went on to be a country director for various aid organisations, doing a similar job to Margaret in Africa and south-east Asia for another 10 years. Like her, I worked in countries at war where the security of the personnel was a constant preoccupation.
"Who killed Margaret Hassan?" many are asking,
I have a question too, which is just as relevant: why hadn't Care International, which oversees Care's activities worldwide, suspended operations in Iraq, as other aid organisations such as Oxfam had done months before?
The answer lies in a trend that has been developing among international aid organisations, or non-governmental organisations, since the mid-1980s. This was the time of the Ethiopian famine and Bob Geldof's Band Aid appeal, which raised millions of pounds for the victims. Most of the money was channelled through the NGOs, which almost overnight were transformed from small-scale charities into multi-million-pound institutions. Growth continued, indeed became a strategic aim for most. Care International spent £250m this year. Oxfam and Save the Children's budgets both exceed £100m.
Donations by the public, however, have not kept pace with the growth of the NGOs. Increasingly, they depend on government funding. And, whereas in the past, NGOs set strict limits to government funding in order to maintain operational independence,those limits have quietly been removed: Care UK received 64% of this year's funds from the Department for International Development. Care USA, which is by far the wealthiest member of the Care International. family, received 75% of its annual expenditure of £320m from the US government.
Care can no longer claim to be an independent NGO. All its operations, including those in Iraq, will depend to a degree on US government funds and, to coin a phrase, you don't bite the hand that feeds you. In many countries, close links to the US government go unnoticed. Not so in Iraq. And there are clear indications that Care's operations in Iraq were compromised by links to the US and UK administrations. While Margaret is on record as condemning the invasion of Iraq, Care headquarters profess only to being "deeply concerned about the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Iraq".
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